Doing Business in Argentina * I’ll give you a comprehensive description of Argentine business culture which will help you to understand and interact more effectively with your possible future Argentine clients and colleagues. Background to Business in Argentina After decades of political and social instability, the country still has a number of strategic, bureaucratic and cultural problems which needs to be overcome by any outsiders who wish to develop successful long-term business interests in the country.
Historical factors have made Argentines unsure of the long-term and are often happiest when focusing on ‘quick wins’ and shorter-term issues. Secondly, personal relationships have always been of enormous importance in business dealings. Argentine Business Structures Argentine society in general is very status conscious and that reflects onto their attitudes to business and corporate structures. Argentine companies are often what are usually referred to as relationship driven hierarchies which means that the chain of command will not necessarily correspond exactly to the actual internal structure of the business.
Argentine Management Style Position, dignity, personal style these are all key factors in Argentine management approach. It is important that the boss acts like a boss but in the same time managers and subordinates will develop very close personal bonds. The manager is expected to take a deep interest in the interests and well-being of subordinates. Argentine Meetings Argentines prefer the spoken word over the written word, they also prefer face-to-face meetings to telephone conversations.
By far the best way to develop good business relations in Argentina is to take the trouble to visit people. It is difficult to arrange meetings too far in advance, another example of Argentine short-termism. Expect meetings to start with quite a lot of small-talk as an important element of the meeting and relationship building process. It is unlikely that people will have done huge amounts of pre-meeting preparation. Flexibility of thought and action are highly prized.
Argentine Teams Argentines work well in teams so long as all the parameters are clear. Trust grows slowly in a country where it may at some stage in the past have been dangerous to trust people you didn’t know. Argentine Communication Styles Although Spanish is the language of Argentina, English language levels are generally good and many people can speak either Italian or German as a high proportion of Argentines have either Italian or German ancestry.
A great deal of respect is given to people who speak freely and express themselves forcefully. Open, free debate is viewed positively and you are expected to express your opinions strongly. However, this should never be done if it is likely to lead to a direct confrontation. Expect meetings to be noisy, lively events with several people speaking at once, frequent interruptions and extensive use of gesture and exaggerated body language.
Do not be put off by people standing in close proximity to you or by strong levels of eye contact — this is normal in Argentina and should not be viewed as threatening or invasive. It is common for people to refer to each other through the use of surnames rather than first names. This is a sign of respect rather than aloofness. Women in Business in Argentina Female business visitors can expect to be treated with politeness and respect although they are unlikely to meet other senior women within their Argentine counterpart.
Argentine Dress Code Appearances are very important in both business circles and society at large. If you are prosperous and successful you should look it. Successful Entertaining in Argentina * In such a relationship oriented culture, entertaining is an important part of the overall business cycle. Never underestimate the importance of the bonding that can take place on such occasions. All business meals should be viewed as a primarily social situation. Avoid discussing issues such as past political problems.