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Spain Business Etiquette, Culture, & Culture

Spainish culture, etiquette and manners in Spain                       Spainish etiquette, manners, international cultural understanding

Spain Introduction

The Kingdom of Spain has a population of 46.5 million people, and is 194,992 sq. mi. The majority of citizens, 94%, are raised Roman Catholic, and family values are extremely important in Spain. The Spanish lifestyle is more relaxed than many other nations. For example, many businesses are closed between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30p.m. for a siesta, allowing families to get together for a meal.

When this Website was created in 1998 we reported, "Spain is behind on women’s rights when compared to many other European countries. However, Women have made quite a bit of progress since Francisco Franco’s era, but men still hold the majority of positions within companies. A woman lawyer is a very rare occurrence, and it is very unusual for a woman at any level in a company to be making a career for herself."

The latest facts appear to show a significant shift has occurred in Spain over recent years:

International Business Dress and Appearance   The ICAM (Madrid Lawyers Association), which has 50,000 members in Spain, published on their official web page an article that the majority of lawyers affiliated with the association who are 40 years and younger are women.

International Business Dress and Appearance   The Ministerio de educacion y Ciencias reports for the school year of 2003-04 there were 10,903 women versus 10,465 men who graduated from 5-year public and privates universities in Spain.

International Business Dress and Appearance   The current Government of Spain (President Rodriguez Zapatero) is working on legislation in which all companies that have more that 205 workers have to have women representing 50% if Board members.


Spain Fun Fact

When attending a business dinner, be prepared to stay up late. Most restaurants do not open until after nine o’clock, and often do not get active until around eleven!

 


Geert Hofstede Analysis for Spain


The Hofstede Analysis illustrates that uncertainty avoidance is ranked the highest for Spain, while the other three dimensions are ranked moderately. This is a result of Spain’s feelings and concerns regarding rules, regulations, and career security. One interesting thing to note is their low masculinity score. While women are still behind men in business equality, they are extremely important in society. As women continue to make progress in the workforce, look for this score to drop even lower. There is not a long-term outlook for Spain. More Details

 

Religion in Spain


* WORLD FACTBOOK 2011

In a country that has over 50% of its population practicing the Catholic religion, we found the primary correlating Hofstede Dimension to be Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI). There were only 2 countries out of 23 that did not follow this correlation, they were Ireland and the Philippines. (See accompanying Article)

 

Spain Appearance

International Business Dress and Appearance   The Spanish dress more formal than many other Europeans. In Spain, it is important to project good taste in apparel.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Business attire includes well-made, conservative suits and ties. Avoid flashy colors, as it is not popular to stand out.

International Business Dress and Appearance   Shorts are not usually worn in public.

International Business Dress and Appearance   If you pull down on your eyelid in Spain, you are insinuating to "be alert" or that "I am alert."

International Business Dress and Appearance   In Spain, crossing you fingers has several good meanings, usually things such as "protection" or "good luck". This is a nice gesture to be friendly.

 

Spain Behavior 

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  The family is the most important thing to people in Spain.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Time is very relaxed. It is wise for foreigners to be punctual, but Spaniards do not put a great emphasis on time themselves. The Spaniards often consider deadlines an objective that will be met if possible, but do not become overly concerned if the deadline is not achieved.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Although many Spanish businesspeople speak English, it is a good idea for foreigners to have all of your materials printed in Spanish.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Business cards should be two-sided, one side having English and the other side containing Spanish. When presenting your business card, place the card with the Spanish side facing your Spanish colleague.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Much like Mexico, business in Spain is often obtained as a result of personal relationships. While the relationship building process takes time, it is imperative to gain such relationships if you are to be effective in Spain. Also, you must be very selective when choosing your Spanish representative, as it is extremely difficult to change to another person.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Be prepared for chaotic business negotiations. Often numerous people will be speaking simultaneously.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Men who are close friends will often exchange a hug.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Women who are close friends usually meet and part with a small hug and a kiss on each cheek.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Negotiations are usually an extremely long and arduous task, so do not be in a rush to close a deal in Spain.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Dining is usually associated with establishing business relationships in Spain, so be prepared for your business associate(s) to join you at any or all of your daily meals.

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Dinner is usually served after 9:00p.m, so you may want to take full advantage of the siesta and get in a nap

 

Spain Communications 

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Spain has four 'official' languages.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  There are several unique languages spoken in Spain besides the predominant Spanish. These include Catalan, which is spoken in the regions of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia, where both Castilian and a dialect called Valencian are spoken. Gallego (or Galician), is popular in northwest Spain. Each of these languages has different pronunciations and spellings. Additionally, the native language of the Basque region is called Euskera. It is not a form of Spanish, and its origins are unknown.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  A large portion of your communication will take place over lunches and dinners. They are an extremely important part of business life in Spain.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  During business negotiations, rules and systems are only used as a last resort to solving a problem.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  During business meetings, doors are usually kept shut.

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Business colleagues often dine together, but different ranks within a company do not mix.

 

 Spanish Resources

Site Resource Page

International Career Center - Information on international careers and jobs

Fact Book on Spain

Visit Europe - Spain

World Travel Guide Net

 

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Page authored by: Matt Priest



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