Intercultural Management - Slovenia
Being a Manager in Slovenia
The business set up in Slovenia is egalitarian. In order to achieve successful cross cultural management, it is important to treat everyone with respect and deference. This is a culture that frowns upon people who think that they are better than someone else. Status, when achieved, is based upon personal accomplishments rather than social class. It is a good idea to avoid "hard sell" techniques and hyperbole.
As in other egalitarian cultures, positions of authority are generally earned on the basis on individual achievement and employees may aspire to those positions while respecting authority.
The Role of a ManagerThe management style in Slovenia is an interesting combination of German efficiency and Italian enjoyment of life. The people are polycentric, which means that they will change their style to mirror that of the people with whom they are meeting. Therefore, the behavior you observe may be an attempt to do what the Slovenes think will make you comfortable rather than their natural behavior.
As a rule, Slovenians are polite and reserved in their business dealings, at least until a personal relationship has been developed. Slovenian culture places a premium on punctuality and meeting deadlines. Although they may spend time getting to know you, this will not overshadow the business at hand. Successful cross cultural managers will be able harness the talent of the individuals for the benefit of the organization.
Approach to ChangeSlovenia’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Slovenia is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
Approach to Time and PrioritiesSlovenia is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Slovenia missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence. People in controlled-time cultures tend to have their time highly scheduled, and it’s generally a good idea to provide and adhere to performance milestones.
Since Slovenians respect schedules and deadlines, it is not unusual for managers to expect people to work late and even give up weekends in order to meet target deadlines. Effective cross cultural management skill will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.
Decision MakingFor effective cross cultural management it is important to remember that in general, decisions are made by the person who has overall responsibility for the issue. Depending upon their personal style, some will consult with trusted advisers while others will not.
Since the culture prizes individualism, staff is generally allowed a great deal of leeway in how they meet deadlines. The important fact is that deadlines must be met. To facilitate meeting deadlines, managers try to guarantee that their subordinates have the proper materials to do their jobs.
Boss or Team Player?Despite their focus on individualism, Slovenes can work well in teams when members are selected based upon skills and knowledge. Role allocation is generally clearly defined.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas. Praise should be given to the entire group as well as to individuals.
Communication and Negotiation StylesDo not sit until you are invited to do so. A small amount of getting-to-know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins. The time orientation tends to be focused on short-term profitability, although long-term relationships are also important. Slovenians are indirect communicators and are reluctant to speak ill of others. Avoid confrontational behavior or high-pressure tactics. It can be counterproductive. Negotiations are usually reserved and polite. Business can be conducted slowly or at break-neck speed, depending upon the organizational culture. If there is a strict adherence to protocol, it is important that you are patient.
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