Intercultural Management - Malta
Being a Manager in Malta
Cross cultural management in Malta is more likely to succeed if you understand that although status tends to be derived from social class and family background, getting along with others is the recipe for business success in Malta.
Since joining the EU, Malta has become one of Europe’s fastest growing economies due to the influx of foreign investment. The country has made a concerted effort to promote international trade and become a leading service center in the Mediterranean region. The country relies on international business to sustain its growth and economic situation. As such, most businesspeople you will meet will be accustomed to working with people from other countries and cultures.
The Maltese workforce tends to be well-educated and highly skilled. International surveys have found that the flexibility of the local workforce is one of the country’s greatest assets. For the most part, people quickly adapt to changing technological and market needs.
The Role of a Manager
When managing in Malta, it is important to keep in mind managers recognize and value the specialized knowledge of their staff. To ensure successful cross cultural management managers should be able to harness that wisdom by encouraging workforce participation to achieve business objectives.
Approach to Change
Malta’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Malta is a culture that tolerates change and risk quite well. The people are known for their flexibility and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. At the same time, people prefer to understand the rationale for a change and work best when they comprehend the practical advantages. Since tradition is highly valued, the fact that something is new does not necessarily make it better.
It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
Failure is not necessarily viewed as a negative if something positive can be learned from the experience.
Approach to Time and Priorities
British influence makes Malta a country where adherence to schedules and deadlines is important. Missing a deadline indicates poor management and inefficiency. It can also make you appear unreliable.
At the same time, the Mediterranean influence makes long siesta breaks and spending quality time with family a priority for most Maltese. Therefore, it is not common for business people to work additional hours except when there is a pressing business emergency. Being able to leave the job at the end of the day indicates that you have planned your day well and made the best use of your work day.
The expectations of intercultural and global expansion have caused the Maltese to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules. Effective cross cultural management skill will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.
For the most part, the Maltese workforce tends to be extremely well-educated and dedicated. They work well alone as individual contributors with overall direction as to the expected outcome or result. They also work well in groups and enjoy reaching consensus with colleagues.
For effective cross cultural management it is important to remember that it is not common to praise employees publicly, although the team or group may be praised.
Boss or Team Player?
The Maltese like working in teams and collaborate quite well. The communication within a team is generally quite collegial, albeit somewhat direct and blunt. Role allocation within the team is generally quite clearly defined and people will take greater responsibility for their specific task than for the group as a whole.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Maltese are generally interested in fostering long-term business relationships. Initially, their communication style will be reserved and somewhat direct. For the most part, Maltese are pragmatic about business and appreciate it when foreigners are matter-of-fact rather than emotional. Precedence is important. Therefore, it is a good idea to provide examples of how a recommendation fits with the tried-and-true. Decision-making is slow and deliberate. Maintain eye contact when speaking. Negotiations are usually reserved and polite. Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking.