Personal relationships and networking are important in Italy. Building and maintaining good relationships with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders is key to success.
Italian Business Culture is Based on Personal Relationships
Italian business culture is characterized by a strong emphasis on personal relationships and networking. Third-party introductions can be helpful as Italians prefer to work with people they know and trust. Building and maintaining good relationships with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders is key to success in the Italian business world.
Hierarchy still plays an important role in Italian business culture. Status is often based on age and position. Italian business meetings can often be more formal than in example in the Nordics. However, it is common to spend time getting to know each other before discussing business. This can include talking about personal interests and hobbies, as well as sharing a meal or coffee together.
The meeting agenda serves as a guideline on how the meeting should go, but it is not strictly followed. Italians often hop back to discuss previously settled points or jump ahead to issues further on the agenda.
Decisions are not made during meetings as meetings often serve the purpose of exchanging ideas and hearing the opinions of all who are involved.
Decision-making in Italian businesses can be slower than in Northern Europe. It is common to make decisions through lengthy discussions and negotiations, involving multiple stakeholders, even though in family-owned businesses the owner usually says the last word.
Italian businesses also place a high value on appearance and presentation. It is important to dress professionally and present yourself in a polished and confident manner in business settings.
Overall, understanding and adapting to Italian business culture is key to success. It is important to build strong relationships, be patient and flexible in decision-making, and pay attention to presentation and appearance.