Polish business culture - training, consulting, coaching
If you’re a manager and businesses owner looking to increase your knowledge and understand of Poland’s business culture, then look no further. I can provide you with extensive cross-cultural training, coaching, and consulting in Polish business culture, Polish negotiation style, and Polish business etiquette.
Whether you’re currently working in Poland, or are about to become a trading partner, I can provide a unique perspective of both the business practitioner, and the theorist.
I’ve been actively researching and comparing national business cultures for more than 10 years. And in that time I’ve held every position from manager to director, to business owner and consultant. Furthermore, I’ve published numerous scientific articles on Polish business culture, Polish negotiation style, and more.
Let someone that has spent years learning the business habits of Poland help you with your needs today.
Doing Business in Poland - Polish Business Culture
It is very difficult to understand Polish business culture. Mainly because it's a transition economy. The Polish path from planning to markets was dramatic and risky, but now Poland is a participant in a game called “global business”. In the 1970s and 1980s the whole system in Poland was deeper and deeper in the crisis. It was beginning to collapse as the whole Eastern bloc with the USSR as the fading superpower. With the advent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s "perestroika" the fall of communism did not just help flatten the alternatives to free-market capitalism and unlock pent-up energies of millions of people, it also allowed people to think about the world from a completely different perspective.
Polish Business Culture - absolute basics
Polish business culture has been known to be formal and hierarchical. One’s ranking in the business world aligns with their ranking in society, and decision making takes place among senior level executives. Polish business culture’s reputation as formal may come from the way that they carry themselves in meetings. Polish businessmen are more reserved, especially during a first meeting. Formal names and greetings are used, and when talking business they use direct language and get straight to the point. However, not everything about doing business in Poland is formal. Often, dinners and lunches are used as opportunities to get to know their contacts rather than to negotiate or do business. And small talk before a meeting is not uncommon. This is important, because trust and honesty play a huge part in doing business in Poland. When preparing to do business in Poland, it is important to be respectful. Dress formally and always remember to respect authority. Remember that the Polish business world is hierarchical. Be sure to greet each individual with a firm handshake while making eye contact. As stated above, there may be some small talk. Be patient, as they are just trying to get to know you in order to become more comfortable with the idea of doing business with your company.
Trust and honesty are also important to Polish negotiation style. They do not turn to bargaining as a first resort, and rarely bargain at all. Instead they focus more on establishing healthy business relationships with other businesses that are familiar to them and can be trusted. Polish negotiation style tends to stray away from bargaining and lean more towards trust and honest business. First impressions are meaningful when doing business in Poland because the business relationship is important. Keep presentations lively and engaging. Be yourself and do not be afraid to show emotions. Things like this are seen as signs of honesty, and can help you to gain the respect and trust of Polish businessmen. In this context doing business in Poland should not be much different than doing business elsewhere, as you should always aim to be a respectful, honest, and trustworthy businessperson.
Polish negotiation style (absolute basics)
1.Pro-partnership or pro-transactional
So far the research suggests that Poland represents more pro-partnership culture than a pro-transactional one. Relations between people are still very important in Polish culture.
2. Time factor
Poles don’t rush through the negotiation process. They very often start from such a point that they leave plenty of room for concessions. However, one should bear in mind that first concessions in comparison to the ones that appear further in the process are unproportionally big.
3. Mixing private and business spheres
Poles very often mix private and business spheres. On can even risk and say that they seldom separate two of them. Here Poles are a little bit similar to the Chinese with their “guanxi”. In Polish way of doing business recommendations matter but they matter far more when they come from the network of friends and relatives. Poles believe that interpersonal relations matters and they need to be taken care of.
4. Polish negotiation teams
My research suggests that Polish negotiators prefer to negotiate in teams with a typical co-operational approach towards inter-group interactions, with clear fixed positions, tasks and roles. Teams rather do not have to posses a strong leader to function well and the accountability is rather mutual. The concept of changing negotiators as one of the tactics does not seem to be a popular choice.