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Are Slovaks monochronic?

Let’s continue in our discovery of own cultural software. I will focus on Slovaks as my blog is devoted especially to them. However, I believe you can also find some incentives for your own particular culture.

Recently I have been coaching the employees of a Slovak company which has been attempting to establish business relationships in Italy. The representatives of the company had their first meeting with Italian partners and found themselves disappointed. As they reported: “The Italians did not take their first meeting seriously. They did not follow the agenda, answered phone calls during the meeting and after one hour they invited us to a business lunch.”

With reference to cultural dimensions, deep consideration of the circumstances of the meeting leads us to the following interesting observation: “Italians represent a polychronic culture while Slovaks represent a monochronic one.”

What does it mean if you or your business partner is from a polychronic culture?

Business partners from a polychronic culture are able to do several things at the same time. They can conduct a business meeting, answer phone calls and study project documents simultaneously.  They place a focus on people and good relationships, and consider these more important than meeting deadlines.

Business partners from polychronic cultures are always flexible to change their plans. They break rules and prescribed procedures when the goal requires it.

However, if your business partners are from a monochronic culture, they expect everyone to follow the agenda and adhere to a schedule. While discussing tasks and solutions they do not respect interruptions. They take time commitments seriously and follow the rules and procedures no matter what the conditions are.

Final conclusion:

I would recommend you to ask yourself what culture you belong to. Once you know your own cultural software you can guess similarities or differences when negotiating and cooperating with colleagues or business partners. Being disappointed that someone hasn’t met your expectations is probably a good starting point on the way to discovering your own cultural input.


Copyright © 2011. Eva Gáboríková. EFE - English For Everyone