Intercultural Management - Georgia
Being a Manager in Georgia
When working in Georgia it is important to remember that the business set up is hierarchical. Cross cultural management will be more successful if you are aware of your business colleagues’ position and rank so that you treat them with the appropriate deference.
Do not misinterpret Georgians’ graciousness and bonhomie as an indication that they are in complete agreement with what has been said. Their innate sense of hospitality makes it difficult for them to openly disagree.
The Role of a Manager
Successful intercultural management is more likely to be achieved with some knowledge and understanding of Georgia’s history. Management in countries of the former Soviet Union is a complex, constantly evolving state-of-affairs, each country moving towards a market economy (with its’ accompanying protocols) at a different pace.
The transition to a free-market economy has brought about remarkable, but not wholesale changes in the business culture. Generally, among the older generation, you will find deference to authority, coupled with a sense of loyalty and a detached attitude for meeting objectives and goals of the company. Among younger workers, however, you’ll find an eagerness to explore the new opportunities that the market has to offer.
Approach to Change
Georgia’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. This country is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk and because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required. Failure can be viewed as a personal short-coming and can cause a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by the group.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Georgia is a moderate time culture and there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines. Nevertheless, the expectations of globalization and intercultural expansion have caused Georgia to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to provide and enforce timelines.
Global and intercultural expansion means that some managers may have a greater appreciation of the need to enforce timescales and as such, agreed deadlines are more likely to be met.
Most businesses retain a hierarchical structure where employees are expected to defer to anyone in a position of authority. Georgians have great respect for age and position. The management style is somewhat autocratic. Managers expect subordinates to follow established procedures without question.
Boss or Team Player?
In post communist countries, there is a tradition of teamwork inherited from the communal aspects of the previous era where groups and work units commonly met together to discuss ideas and create plans. However, those plans seldom resulted in implementation or results, leading to apathy and cynicism among the workers.
Today the after-effects are still evident among much of the older generation resulting in a lack of drive and energy. However, there is vibrancy among the younger generation, who seem to be eager to tackle many of the challenges and take the opportunities presented. They will participate in teams and share ideas, but intercultural sensitivity will be needed and it should be understood that they will need to be coached in the process.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Friendships endure for a lifetime and Georgians maintain an intricate web of family and friends to call upon for assistance. Cross cultural management will adapt more easily if you realize that networking is the linchpin of business success. Doing favors is an important element of friendship. Nepotism does not have the negative connotation it has in many other countries.
Courtesy is crucial in all business dealings. It is important to greet people properly and stand when someone enters the room. Proper etiquette brands you as someone of good breeding who can be trusted. Therefore, never criticize a business colleague publicly. Be particularly cautious never to say or do anything that impugns someone’s character.
Although most Georgians pride themselves on their individuality, they are fiercely proud of their culture and their heritage. If necessary, they will subjugate their own desires if they see it as in the best interest of their country, their people, their friends, or their family.