— Country Culture Business
“..if you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. You are like a pebble thrown into water; you become wet on the surface, but you are never a part of the water”
–James a Michener
Population: 60 million
Religion: 90% Roman Catholic
Head of Government (HOG): Prime Minister
Growth Rate: 3.1%
France has 4th largest economy in the world.
A history: Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered large losses in its wealth, manpower, and its status as a dominant nation-state. However, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world. Since 1958 is has constructed a presidential democracy soundly found and resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies.
Recently, Germany and France have mended ties contributing to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of the euro in 1999.
Currently, France is at the front of European states looking to take advantage of the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European defense and security apparatus.
When considering doing business with or in French or France respectively, keep these business ideas in mind.
-The French are Ethnocentric meaning that ideal thought is important, each situation is unique. Arguments are analytical as opposed to abstract. Their pride in heritage makes them appear egotistical and they typically reject things contrary to cultural norms. They also are very motivated with status, rank and formality.
-The French are punctual in that they make appointments for most all business and social occasions. They also get 4-5 weeks of vacation a year, and do virtually NO business in August.
A history: The defeat of the Russian Empire in WWI led to the seizure of power by the communists and the formation of the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef Stalin strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following declared until General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev introduced glasnost, openness, and perestroika, restructuring, in an attempt to modernize communism. However, the initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splinted the USSR into 15 independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period.
Population: 147 million
Religion: Russian Orthodox, Muslim
Head of Government (HOG): President
Exports: Petroleum products, natural gas, raw materials to European Countries, U.S., Canada
Imports: Machinery and equipments, medical supplies, chemicals to European Countries, U.S., Canada
-Russians process information subjectively and associatively. Personal feelings or idealogy guide them to the truth. The more educated Russians let objective facts dictate the truth.
-Patience, not punctuality is a virtue. Be punctual but not unusual for them to be 2 hours late. Meetings usually run 2 or 3 times longer than expected.
-Russian negotiators are sitters. They see compromise as a sign of weakness, and morally incorrect. Final offers are never final. In other words, if you haven’t walked out at least twice, you’re being to easy- play hardball.
-Be prepared to drink. Russians confident their ability to drink heavily and still think clearly. In Russia, it is preferred to conduct business when you are drunk. Also, mixed drinks are not popular and if you open a bottle of Vodka, you must drink the entire bottle.
-The Russian language is abundant in curses. They use vulgar gestures including a shaken fist, or the American OK sign. Thumbs up means they approve. Also, do not sit with legs splayed or with one ankle resting upon the knee.
Business in Russia
-Practice authoritative, not authoritarian, leadership.
-Build strong organizational culture with visible foreign elements
-Work to create an empowered organization, step by step
-Respect local rules, but play your own game
-Stand firm on major goals and be flexible on details
-Learn to live and manage in a crisis
-Recognize that corruption is omnipresent in Russian and must be managed
-Cultivate relationships with government agencies at all levels.
Russian Business Lesson: In doing international business, especially Russia or Poland, you have to always consider the mentality of the people you work with. Personal contacts are very important and deals are often made in the pub.