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Cross Cultural Management Guide - Argentina 

 

What will you Learn in this Guide?

In this guide, expatriate managers, or those going to Argentina on a business assignment, will gain a critical understanding of key business culture within the Argentinean work place:

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

 

Gaining an Expert Understanding:

Once you've read this guide, ensure the success of your Argentina business venture by: 

  • Taking part in a two hour live webinar, customised to meet your unique needs, with one of our Argentina country and culture training experts or;
  • Contacting us in respect to our Argentina consultancy services. 

 

Being a Manager in Argentina

The business set up in Argentina is hierarchical and, as such, clearly defined roles exist. To ensure successful cross-cultural management it is important to understand that, as a result of this:

  • 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.
  • Managers in Argentina are often paternalistic and relationships with their employees may well overlap into personal areas which means that the management role can also extend into one of giving advice 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:

  • Cross cultural communication needs to 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 so as to protect the reputation of the participant.

 

Approach to Change

Argentina’s intercultural readiness for change is slight. A long and turbulent political and economic past has created a low tolerance for change and the risk associated with it. 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 it is important for innovations 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:

  • Argentinean may be reluctant to upset others in order 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 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.
  • Where timescales are important then you need to communicate this clearly and emphasise the business value in 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 the key to successful intercultural management. 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 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 in this cross cultural setting should take into account Argentina’s relationship-driven culture:

  • If at all possible, it is important to be introduced by a third-party. The Argentine embassy in your country, your embassy in Argentina, or the Chamber of Commerce can often recommend people to fill this important role.
  • 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.
  • Intercultural sensitivity is important. 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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