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Cross Cultural Management Guide - Uruguay

What will you Learn in this Guide?

In this guide, expatriate managers will gain an understanding of a number of key cross cultural areas when working in Uruguay:

  • Hierarchy
  • Leadership style
  • Time and scheduling
  • Communication style and;
  • Decision making


Gaining an Expert Understanding

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

  1. Taking part in a two hour live webinar with one of our Uruguay country and culture training experts or;
  2. Having some cross-cultural management training to boost your skills.

Management in Uruguay

The business set up in Uruguay is hierarchical and, as such, clearly defined roles exist.

To ensure successful cross-cultural management it is important to remember this.

People 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 Uruguay are often paternalistic and relationships with their employees usually overlap into personal areas which means that the management role often extends into one of giving advice on personal matters.

 

The Role of a Manager

If you are working with people from Uruguay, it is 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, somebody 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 to ensure that you proceed to 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

Uruguay’s intercultural readiness for change is very low. As such, they tend to avoid change if this can be helped.

Although changes are made, they are made slowly and require a considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation.

Failure in Uruguay creates 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

Uruguay is a fluid time culture, and, as is the case with many fluid time cultures, it is also very relationship-oriented.

People in Uruguay may not be comfortable upsetting their colleagues by trying to push through a deadline.

Although timescales and deadlines should 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.

 

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.

Decisions can be based upon the personal preference of the decision maker, which is why spending time to develop trust and personal relationships is essential.

In trying to achieve a decision, avoid high-pressure sales tactics as these are seen as confrontational. Instead tactfully repeat important points after they have been stated.

 

Boss or Team Player?

The hierarchical nature of the 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.

 

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