Ukrainian Business Culture

Machos and Lambs

Ukrainian sense of personal responsibility

The main difference between Ukrainian and Western thinking is that people in the West, when doing business, try to take as much personal responsibility as possible and rely more on their own strength, but with Ukrainians it is completely different. In Ukraine, all responsibility is transferred to the group. In doing business in Ukraine, you get used to such a concept as “external forces.” They will always stand in your way, and keep your partners from fulfilling their responsibilities, will make you wait. The culprit of this problem are public authorities, which create permanent bureaucratic wires, require additional documents and unnecessary formalities.

Punctuality and reliability in Ukraine

Foreigners must get used to the fact that being late for a meeting is the norm for Ukrainians. It is considered normal to be five to ten minutes late or to arrive fifteen minutes before the end of a meeting or meeting. This feature can greatly aggravate relations between Ukrainian and foreign business partners. Foreigners usually adapt to the lack of punctuality of their Ukrainian partners for a long time. In Ukraine, meetings are often postponed or canceled altogether. It is best to make sure that the meeting will take place or not, although in this case, it will be an extra reason to postpone the meeting (meeting).

Are personal connections important in Ukraine?

In order to manage their affairs in a society that is always in a state of confusion due to an incomplete and illogical system of regulation, Ukrainians rely on the power of personal contacts. Business contacts in government are especially valued because the relationship between business and the state is antagonistic. Ukrainians prefer to make appointments and discuss business issues face-to-face, at restaurants, private cottages, bowling clubs, while telephone and video conferencing are more common at the event. Perhaps this is better, because during personal contact it is easier to judge the intentions of the partner and the reliability of solving all kinds of problems. Ukrainians pay more attention to the emotional aspects of communication, which is not the case with their Western counterparts.

What about leaders?

The leadership style in Ukrainian organizations has many differences from the foreign style of the West. It has already been said that Ukrainians in most cases do not take personal responsibility, which is not the case with their foreign colleagues, who are being prepared for leadership roles since kindergarten. After taking leading positions, many Ukrainians become quite authoritarian towards their colleagues. The style of democratic and equal leadership prevails among Western leaders. In Ukraine, managers concentrate all their decision-making powers in their own hands and demand impeccable obedience from their employees. Many employers resort to grueling and aggressive interviewing methods to weed out potentially weak employees who are unacceptable to boss pressure.

Discrimination during employment in Ukraine

In most available vacancies in Ukraine, it is the rule to indicate gender, age, and other personal data. When compiling a resume, this and other personal information, such as marital status, is required. In the current economic situation in Ukraine, it is almost impossible for many people to find a job after the age of 45. Discrimination in the employment of young married women is common. Whether a young woman plans to have children in the near future is considered a normal question at the interview. In the West, this issue is understandable from the employer’s point of view, but completely unacceptable from the point of view of ethical content and modern ideas about human rights.

Western businesswomen are outraged when they see their business partners treat them as “women” with all the typical “macho” gestures or with some indulgence, instead of treating them as equals. If your business partners use this for the purpose of manipulation, you have every right to manipulate them in turn, pretending to be an innocent “lamb”.

With the exception of those organizations whose leaders are hard tyrants, relations between Ukrainians at work tend to be a little warmer and more emotionally open than in Western countries, where distance and formality are the norms. Celebrations of birthdays and other personal holiday events often take place in a team at a banquet table. In the Ukrainian team, as a rule, it is much easier to establish emotional connections and find moral support, which is a big plus.

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