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What does it mean to be from polychronic business culture?

Recently I have met with the employees of the Slovak company which tried to establish business relations in Italy. The representatives of the company had their first meeting with Italian partners and they were disappointed. In their opinion, the Italians did not take their first meeting seriously. They did not follow agenda, answered phone calls during meeting and after one hour invited them for a business lunch.
 
With reference to cultural dimensions the meeting could be commented on with the conclusion: “Italians represent polychronic culture while Slovaks monochronic one.”
 
What does it mean if your business partner is from polychronic culture?
 
Business partners from polychronic culture do several things at the same time. They conduct a business meeting, answer phone calls and study project documents simultaneously.  They place a focus on people and good relationships which are more important than deadlines to be met.
Business partners from polychromic culture are always flexible to change their plans. They break the rules and prescribed procedures when the goal requires it.
However, business partners from monochronic culture expect everyone to follow agenda and adhere to schedule. While discussing tasks and solutions they do not respect interruptions. They take time commitments seriously and follow the rules and procedures under any conditions.
To find a common solution requires from you to transmit and receive information. It is only up to you to identify the best ways how to do.
Each business partner is “unique” and you can’t apply general rules.

 

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