Cultural differences in doing business
A comparison between The Netherlands and The United Kingdom
Introduction. Facts and figures. 2
Business structure 3
Team work 7
Communication styles 8
Dress code 10
Introduction. Facts and figures.
The purpose of this research is to find the differences in business culture and behavior of The Netherlands and The United Kingdom. The similarities are much more numerous than differences, but there are interesting particularities. Both these countries have a very high rate of employment in services (74% in The Netherlands and 78% in the UK) which presents a closeness in terms of having an economy highly influenced by personal ...view middle of the document...
Big Dutch companies have supervisory boards, on top of a management board and a managing director. The board is comprised of members who are not on the payroll of the company itself and are in charge of overseeing the company’s direction, appointing the management board and finalizing annual accounts.
The Dutch are also said to be the only people which don’t view the manager as a boss per-se, and has been apparently very lucrative for them as the idea of creating and imposing policies from afar with as little consultation as possible is something that has provided remarkable results for them. The manager will seldom if ever take an authoritarian approach to leading his team and he would rather be seen as an influential colleague. For people coming from hierarchical cultures, it may seem as if the boss is not shown respect, which is not the case.
Communication must be as transparent as possible, as any reticence to pass on information to colleagues and upper management is seen as a grave offence. Bosses look for input from every member and must show respect for every idea.
In The United Kingdom, you have the board of directors, which is the actual backbone of the company, having all essential decisions being made through its accordance. All the PLCs (public limited company) are steered by a minimum of two directors who only answer to the shareholders. The board is lead by the CEO.
Unlike the Dutch, most of the British big companies have “non-executive” directors, which have the role of acting as an outside impartial expert. It is a known fact that this certain type of directors are sometimes looked down upon and even hated by the executive directors.
The structure of the typical British business can be somewhat confusing at times, as the many companies are moving towards a less bureaucratic approach. This translates into a lack of clear shape, having boundaries and responsibilities that are sometimes indiscernible, even for employees.
British managers prefer generalizing to specializing. Purely academical education is often disregarded or treated with less respect than in other countries, while pragmatism and relevant experiences are highly valued.
People managing skills are probably one of the important attributes a British manager can possess. His ability as a “fixer” and a leader that is able to hold together a team, are highly appreciated and desired. In this respect, they are similar with their Dutch counterparts as they will try to maintain a very close and somewhat soft relationship with their underlings, but they will not back away when tough decisions need to be made. That being said, they do have a weak point in comparison with the Dutch, as they will find it very difficult to give explicit instructions to their subordinates and will often transmit information in a very indirect way, which would be seen as confusing by a non-British person.
In The Netherlands, meetings are usually quite long and sometimes...