Poland: In Transition
The fall of communism in 1989 and becoming a fully integrated member of the European Union in 2004 has enabled the Polish economy to grow at a much faster rate than many of its European neighbours. However, it remains a transitional economy and suffers as a result.
The contrast between the old systems and the new approach can be seen at all levels of Polish business life marking out a difference in attitude between the older generation and the new generation who have entered the workforce since the end of the communist era.
In business, Poles like to arrive at a meeting having done a great deal of preparation and would feel that people who come less well prepared are showing a lack of professionalism. As with most ‘pre-planning’ cultures, agendas are usually produced well in advance and the expectation is that the agenda will be followed with little, or no, deviation. It is also expected that people arrive at the meeting on time.
English language levels tend to be very high in Poland – especially amongst the younger, well-educated elite. Poles are direct communicators, so it is important to remember that the more direct somebody is to you in Poland, the more respectful they are being. Meetings can seem quite formal affairs, with attendees speaking one at a time and with few interruptions being allowed. People will ask questions and respond when they need to. Allow everyone the time and space needed to take part fully in the conversation.
Polish women have made great strides in business circles during recent years and are to be found in just about all walks of commerce and industry. As a visiting businesswoman, you should encounter little or no gender bias and will be judged on your professional abilities.
Share your experiences of doing business in Poland.