Switzerland – private and disciplined
Switzerland is a landlocked country in Western and Central Europe, bordered by Italy, France, Germany and Austria. The population of around 8.2 million people is concentrated mostly around the larger cities, such as Bern (the capital), Zurich (the centre for banking and finance) and Geneva.
Switzerland has for centuries been a neutral state, which means that it cannot take part in armed conflict unless it is attacked. Although it lies close to the geographical centre of Europe, and most of its trade is with its European neighbours, it is not an EU member and maintains the Swiss franc as its currency.
Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Therefore the Swiss, although predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnicity or language.
The most important economic sector is manufacturing which consists largely of the production of specialist chemicals, health and pharmaceutical goods, scientific and precision measuring instruments and musical instruments. The service sector – banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations – is another important industry for Switzerland.
The country lags behind most western Europeans countries in many aspects of gender equality. Women did not gain the vote at federal level until 1971 and they are still under-represented in political life. Less than 20% of all national decision-making posts are held by women and, despite a commitment to equal pay for men and women, there is a gender pay gap of 17%.
The Swiss are a private people and in business the communication style can appear quite sober. There are clear lines of authority that cannot crossed and only the highest individuals in authority make final decisions.
The Swiss are known for getting the best possible deal in negotiations without ever appearing aggressive or demanding. Through quiet self-confidence and a no-nonsense approach to business they sidestep ‘hard-sell’ and other high- pressure tactics.
A successful meeting and/or business relationship revolves around one being a responsible, sound and honest business person. Maintaining control over your emotions and leading a disciplined personal life are also esteemed qualities.
Share your Swiss business experiences
Sources: Wikipedia, bbc.co.uk, Kwintessential, expatica.com
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