Morocco – Cultural Fusion in Business
Situated in Northern Africa, Morocco has a rich colonial history. Arab heritage has been fused with Spanish and French influences to form modern-day Moroccan culture. In order to succeed, understanding this balance of cultural elements as well as modern day Moroccan business practices is essential for anyone doing business in Morocco.
Due to European influence, business is almost always conducted in French. However, some companies prefer to use Arabic or English as their standard language. Always check before attending meetings to ensure you have an interpreter if necessary. Most companies are closed from 11:00 to 3:00pm on Fridays for prayer. It is also important to avoid scheduling important meetings during Ramadan, an important Islamic holiday.
It usually takes time to reach work-related decisions. Moroccans dislike being rushed and may arrive thirty minutes to an hour late for meetings. However, foreign visitors are expected to be punctual. Decisions require the time and approval of many directors due to the bureaucratic nature of most Moroccan companies.
Moroccans are not straightforward communicators and will often avoid direct confrontation in business and they tend to look for long-term business relations. It is therefore important to get to know your counterparts on an individual basis and to form stable relationships with those you meet.
Having a network of contacts is extremely important in Moroccan business culture and will help you reach your business objectives. Many Moroccan business practices have been influenced by the French and are therefore somewhat formal. Moroccans require a certain amount of formality in all procedures and negotiations and often view informality as a sign of disrespect.
The exchanging of business cards is an informal process. However make sure that one side is translated in to French and Arabic. A handshake is required upon meeting new colleagues. Familiar friends may be greeted with an embrace or kiss. Be aware that when meeting female Muslim colleagues, men should wait for them to extend their hand before shaking it.
Showing an interest and making effort to get to know Moroccans that you meet will improve their perception of you. Don’t jump into the subject matter at the beginning of a conversation. Moroccans are critical of anyone who seems discerning and they do not appreciate foreigners who appear to judge their culture.
Share your Moroccan business experiences.
Information supplied by Communicaid Group Ltd