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Cross Cultural Management Guide for Romania­­­­

The guide below is for managers who want to learn more about the management style and business culture of Romania.

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

Topics include:

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

Being a Manager in Romania

In order to successfully manage in Romania, it is important to understand that it is still governed by a great deal of bureaucracy. Therefore, personal relationships are crucial if you want to cut through the red tape. Although eager to move to a market economy, only about half the state-owned businesses have been privatized.

  • Much business involves overlapping local bureaucracies, which makes conducting business a time-consuming process that requires perseverance.
  • The legal framework is unclear and the judicial system is slow and bureaucratic.
  • Commercial litigation is still in the embryonic stage and enforcing contracts can be difficult.

The Role of a Manager

Effective management is more likely to be achieved if you keep in mind that each person has a very distinct role within the organization, and maintaining that role helps to keep order. It is the expectation that supervisors have been chosen because they have more experience and greater knowledge. Therefore it is unnecessary, and even inappropriate for them to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making.

  • In Romania, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude toward their employees.
  • They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns.
  • This may include involvement in their family, housing, health, and other practical life issues.

Approach to Change

Romania’s cultural adaptability and readiness for change are minimal. Change is difficult to bring about and the idea of it is not received with enthusiasm.

  • The fear of exposure and the potential embarrassment that may accompany failure means cultural sensitivity will be required.
  • Failure can be viewed as a personal shortcoming and can cause a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by the group.

Approach to Time and Priorities

Romania is a moderate time culture and typically there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines.

  • When working with people from Romania it is advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon.
  • 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.

Decision Making

In businesses that retain a strong hierarchical structure, managers tend to be autocratic. They expect their subordinates to follow standard procedures without question. In such companies, getting things accomplished is a matter of knowing the right people who can then help to circumvent the system and the bureaucracy.

  • Older workers, perhaps as a holdover from the communist era, avoid admitting mistakes.
  • This can lead to excessive delays in decision-making.
  • Younger employees are more willing to accept individual responsibility.
  • Business is hierarchical and the decision-making power is held at the top of the company.
  • Most decisions require several layers of approval.
  • At times it may appear that no one wants to accept responsibility for making the decision. 

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 cultural sensitivity will be needed and it should be understood that they will need to be coached in the process.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

Business moves at a slow pace. This is a bureaucratic nation where patience is necessary.

  • Romanians have a tendency to tell others what they think they want to hear and decisions are easily reversed.
  • Use an indirect negotiating style.
  • Being too direct is viewed as rude.

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