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 International Management Guides

International Management Guides

Designed specifically for the traveling manager, these short, sharp guides to being a manager in a foreign country offer invaluable insights and practical tips.

Intercultural Management - Australia

Being a Manager in Australia

The business set up in Australia is egalitarian and to ensure successful cross cultural management it is important to remember to treat each and every person with equal respect and deference.

Intercultural adaptability relies on the understanding that in Australia there is a sense that all people in the organization have an important role to play. Therefore, in this culture, managers will lose no respect in consulting employees to gather background information and even share in the decision-making process.

The Role of a Manager

Cross cultural communiciation will be more effective when working in Australia when you remember that the most productive managers in Australia recognize and value the specialised knowledge that employees at all levels bring. Employees expect to be consulted on decisions that affect them and the greater good of the organization.

Managers tend to be task-oriented, but do not generally micro-manage their staff. Managers emphasize achieving a goal, productivity and profits and expect their employees to do their job in a professional manner.

Successful intercultural management will remember that the role of the leader is 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.

Approach to Change

Australia’s intercultural competence and readiness for change is high. Businesses in Australia have a high tolerance for risk and a ready acceptance for change. The underlying mindset is that change, while difficult, usually brings improvements and that hard work and innovation will bring a better tomorrow.

Risk-takers who fail are not deprived of future opportunities as failure is often perceived as a necessary step in the learning process.

When discussing plan implementations, Australian managers will look for a proactive, success-oriented perspective with details about how to make the plan succeed. Without losing sight of the risk, managers are expected stay focused on the opportunity and the positive vision.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Australia is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Australia missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence.

Since Australians 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. Successful intercultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.

Decision Making

Employees expect to be consulted on decisions that affect them and the greater good of the organization. Not doing so may be significantly counterproductive because employees typically feel responsible for success beyond the execution of specific instructions.

Boss or Team Player?

The egalitarian belief of Australians supports a collaborative and participative management style. Australians are often quite comfortable working in teams and do not expect to be singled out for their contribution.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

Australians are transactional and while it is not necessary to use an intermediary to make business introductions, at the same time, networking and relationship building can be an important factor to long-term business success.

Most senior-level executives within an industry will know one another. Since the population of the country is relatively small and many people remain in the same town all their lives, people strive to develop harmonious working relationships as they never know when they will have to work with that person again. Successful cross cultural management will bear this in mind.

Communication with employees is typically direct, often with a bit of humor. Avoid 'hard sell' techniques and do not misconstrue a relaxed attitude as indicative of a lack of attention to detail.

Need more in-depth help? We run cross cultural courses on Australia which cover management & leadership.