Do you work with Poles? Is it easy or not? Perhaps you are going to move to Poland. Or you already live there?
In all these cases you should know someting about Polish business culture. That really might help you in your everyday life!
* If you struggle with cultural shock check also our article “Culture shock – what to expect?”
What connotations do you have with Poland and Poles?
Let’s guess… Probably it would be:
- polish cuisine and hospitality (who didn’t hear about full tables with pierogi and vodka? ?)
- conservative views
- respecting traditions
- hard working
- private and suspicious
But did you ever wonder why Poles behave in certain way, how and why they perceive certain things or communicate with each other in certain way?
To understand this you should know that:
culture is like an iceberg
There is a lot of things we see at the top. But much more is happening underneath that has a real impact on what we actually see: history, religion, standards of conduct, way of life, communication cues, ways of thinking and living, beliefs, values.
That is why when you start living in Poland it is extremely important to understand Polish iceberg as it will make your cooperation and communication with Poles easier and smoother.
What are Polish cultural values?
Freedom and independence
Structures and procedures imposed by others in the company can be seen as acounterproductive limitation rather than a supportive measure.
Patriotism and pride
Easily offended. Any direct criticism may be perceived not as an argument,discussion point or suggestion, but as a personal insult.
Family and “in-group”
Loyal people will do their best to help the company grow and survive, even underdifficult conditions. In return, they will expect the same loyalty from their employer.
Courage and heroism
In difficult situations most Poles are ready to make great sacrifices regardless of the risk or cost.
Faith and religion
For hundreds of years, religion has been a source of strength and determination for the Polishpeople. For the younger generation, the church is becoming a folk artifact.
Creativity and improvisation
Poverty, oppression and emigration have encouraged people to deal with problems creativelyand to think outside the box. In unexpected or chaotic situations, Poles have the ability to use these improvisational skills,which can produce unexpected and innovative solutions.
In order to fully understand polish culture and values we encourage to familiarize yourself with the history of Poland. You don’t have to study all the details but to know some facts and dates may be useful to understand the whole context.
Tips for cooperation with Poles
We have for you some quick and useful tips for effective cooperation with Poles, especially if you just moved in and know little about the culture and values.
- Poles are short term oriented and they like things to happen quickly. So if things are going to take time – explain them why.
- “The word given to Poles is more important than money”. That is why it is so important for Poles to keep arrangements and spoken words.
- Prevention is well perceived so inform about changes openly and in advance.
If you would like to go deeper, we suggest you to check titles:
- The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Poles – Ewa Lipniacka
- The God’s Playground – Norman Davies
- The Culture Map – Erin Meyer
- Why are Polish people so rude? Lost in translation – Monika Chutnik
Now you are almost ready to live and work in Poland 🙂
Run your training with us!
If you want to work on intercultural competence in your team, ETTA Leadership & Culture specialises in and provides training on development programmes for leaders leading international, multicultural and virtual teams. See the offer.