When you start your own business, at some point in the journey you plan for expansion. One way in which you can attain this goal is by building strong relationships with your employees and clients.

You may search for opportunities overseas, but the situation becomes more complicated because of language, culture and time differences. At times, it becomes difficult to understand their business etiquette, maintain a steady cash flow finance because of different currencies. If you own a small business, you can get in touch with a good company to keep your finances stable and acquire the much needed financial assistance.

In order to bridge the main cultural difference, we have mentioned several basic work culture ethics of few countries.

In Europe

o   Germany

Reaching work on time is one basic norm that they believe in and walking-in late at workplace does not leave a good impression at work. Removing suit jacket during a meeting is considered to be rude to them.

Besides, it is important to address everyone as Mr/Miss/Mrs irrespective of what designation you are at or the other person belongs to. Unless the person asks you to call them by their first name or any other informal name.

o   France

France has a slightly different practice when it comes to reaching work on time. They do believe in punctuality but offer leverage so its fine if you walk-in 10 minutes late. Business attire includes well-tailored, fashionable but formal wear.

However, the norm with respect to suit jacket remains the same as for Germans. They also believe in maintaining decent eating habits like eating with a closed mouth and not making noise while chewing your food.

In Asia

o   India

If you have genuine reason for being late then it is acceptable (not always.) They prefer a simple handshake for meetings. Some also greet you with a ‘Namaste’ by folding their hands.

They do not rush straight away to the point during the meeting but instead give an introduction or gist about the reason for  the meeting. They also serve refreshments during the meeting. They believe in expressing their perspective in a subtle manner.

o   China

China is an Asian country where reaching work on time  is an essential practice and business attire is expected to be formal. Exchange of business cards can be considered as a fundamental ritual.  You should present card with your both hands and the other person must have a thorough glance at it before securely placing it in briefcase or breast pocket.

If the host offers you food refusing it is considered to be rude. They do not have any specific rules for gifts but they do accept them so you can bring them if you wish to mark good impression.

They do not appreciate criticism or negative feedback in front of everyone. Therefore, it is not a good idea to voice it in front of a large group. They believe in taking decisions towards the end of the meeting once everyone has got an opportunity to voice their opinion.

o   Japan

Just like China, Japan also believes that their employees reach on time at work and having a formal dress code. They also share the same rule for business card.  They expect their guests to bring gifts for their hosts. It is more like a small token of appreciation and an indicator that the act of giving is important than gifting something yourself.

They might not accept your gift instantly but if you insist twice or thrice they will happily accept it. Moreover, China and Japan have many similarities between their cultures.

North America

o   United States

They believe in punctuality and a firm handshake when they meet their associates. They have small talks in midst of their meetings. They only avoid handshakes if you  are out for meal or drinks.


There are some business ethics which are commonly followed by New Zealand and Australia and they are-

Business associates are greeted with a formal handshake. At times, they also greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. They favour conducting  business over drinks preferably with several rounds of beer.

Latin America

The following business ethics are with regards to Latin American countries like Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and Argentina-

Men greet each other with a handshake while women greet everyone with a kiss on the cheek. Eye contact is considered to be very important in this part of the world as it indicates interest and sincerity. With changing trends younger executives prefer addressing one another with first names while older executives prefer Mr. or Miss/Mrs.

Their time keeping norms are similar to France which means  they are allowed a leeway of 10-15 minutes but they need to inform about it beforehand.

This gist may help you to imbibe cultural values of another country with which you are probably going to merge/run your business with, and it will help you maintain business, as well as cultural integrity.

Published by Kristin Perry