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Argentinian management style guide

Cross Cultural Management Guide for Argentina

The guidance offered below is for managers who want to learn more about the management style and business culture of Argentina.


It provides some useful information for managers who are relocating to the country for employment as well as those who may have Argentinian employees in their global or multicultural teams.

Topics include:

  • Hierarchy
  • Face
  • Leadership style
  • Time and scheduling
  • Communication style
  • Negotiation


Being a Manager in Argentina

Argentina has a unique management style that is influenced by its cultural and historical background. Overall, it is characterized by a strong emphasis on personal relationships, hierarchy, and indirect communication. Managers are expected to be flexible and adaptable, and negotiation is seen as a key skill.

  • People are more likely to believe their supervisors have been chosen for their greater experience and it would be inappropriate for managers to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making as this would call into question their manager’s skills and competence.
  • Personal relationships are important: In Argentina, personal relationships and connections are highly valued, and this extends to the workplace.
  • Managers often prioritize building relationships with their employees and fostering a sense of community within the workplace.
  • Managers in Argentina are often paternalistic and relationships with their employees may well overlap in personal areas which means that the management role can also extend into one of advising on personal matters.

The Role of a Manager

If you are managing Argentinian staff, or, working with Argentinean colleagues, then it's important to remember the role that hierarchy plays in teamwork and collaboration.

  • Hierarchy and formal titles are respected: Argentinian companies often have a strong hierarchical structure, and titles and positions are highly respected.
  • Managers are expected to demonstrate their authority and make decisions based on their rank and position.
  • Take into account that traditionally it would have been unthinkable for someone of a higher position to collaborate with, or ask ideas of one of a lower status.
  • However, this is changing and if you would like to encourage participation, you need to make it clear this is welcome and ensure you establish a non-threatening environment.
  • Any ideas that are raised need to be treated gently to protect the reputation of the participant.
  • Flexibility is important: despite the emphasis on hierarchy and formal titles, the Argentinian management style is often quite flexible.
  • Employees may be given a lot of autonomy in their work and managers may be willing to adapt to changes in the workplace quickly.

Approach to Change

Argentina has a slight aversion to change on a cultural level. A long and turbulent political and economic past has created a low tolerance for risk. Although changes are made, they are made slowly and require a considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation.

  • Failure in Argentina risks creating long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by others and is not viewed as a positive opportunity to learn from mistakes as it may be in more risk-tolerant countries.
  • Because of this attitude, innovations need to have a track record noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Argentina is a fluid time culture, and, as is the case with many fluid time cultures, it is also very relationship-oriented.  Managers should be aware that:

  • Argentinians may be reluctant to upset others to push through a deadline.
  • While timescales and deadlines need to be set well in advance and reiterated carefully, it should be understood that these will be viewed as flexible.
  • Global working 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.
  • Where timescales are important then you need to communicate this clearly and emphasise the business value of meeting them on time.
  • Then build in sufficient time to enable you to check progress in the interim. 

Decision Making

Business can be slow while decisions are referred to the top of the hierarchy and patience is key. Other factors influencing Argentinean decision-making include the following:

  • Decisions can be based upon the personal preference of the decision maker.
  • This makes it important that you spend time developing trust and personal relationships as this will help give the decision-making process traction where needed.
  • In trying to achieve a decision, avoid high-pressure sales tactics as these are seen as confrontational and are unlikely to get you very far.
  • Repeat important points after they have been stated.

Boss or Team Player?

The hierarchical nature of the Argentinean business world means it is important that the manager maintains his/her role as the boss.

  • When the manager needs to work collectively, this needs to be clearly stated to the team to avoid being perceived as incompetent.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

Those who wish to communicate successfully should take into account Argentina’s relationship-driven culture.

  • Communication is often indirect: Argentinians tend to communicate indirectly, using nonverbal cues and gestures to convey meaning.
  • This can make it challenging for non-native speakers to understand the nuances of communication in the workplace.
  • It takes time to develop relationships and individuals typically prefer face-to-face meetings.
  • Conversations via remote means are not as productive in Argentina.
  • You should expect to develop face your relationships in both the office as well as in social situations.
  • Your Argentinean counterparts will want to get to know you as an individual before they will conduct business with you and, once a relationship has developed, their loyalty will be to you rather than to the company you represent. For this reason, you should avoid changing your negotiating team where possible.
  • Be prepared for lots of name-dropping. Nepotism is rife in Argentina and does not have the same negative connotation that it carries elsewhere.
  • Although it is not necessary to speak Spanish, any attempt to do so is greatly appreciated and marks you as an individual who is interested in developing a long-term relationship.

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