As a set of assiduous efforts to produce an unparalleled result, Project Management is defined by PMI as “…the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements”, while PMI’s precise description is that “Pproject management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of 47 logically grouped project management processes, …” (PMI, p. 5).13
What makes a project successful remains a question and so does “successful,” which is attributable to “project” in this context and is, therefore, open to debate. Being an adjective, “successful” carries a different amount of weight with stakeholders depending on their views and attitudes and respective cultural background.
14 15 According to PMI, success of any project “…should be measured in terms of completing the project within the constraints of scope, time, cost, quality, resources, and risk as approved between the project managers and senior management” (PMI, p. 35).
Another term to consider is “project performance,” a measurable indicator to assess the project against approved limits or baselines.
13 Consequently, success factors are the circumstances that are conducive to the completion of the project within its constraints, thereby causing what comes out as a success. Cooke-Davies has identified a total of 12 success factors for project management in general. The ninth factor in row gives the impression that the process of delivering benefits to the project customer per se has a decisive importance in the success of the project thereof.16
It is found to be difficult to disagree with Cooke-Davies’ point of view pointing at success factors behind project management as “…those inputs to the management system that lead directly or indirectly to the success of the project or business…” (Cooke-Davies, 2002, p. 185).
Subsequently, success factors would open the way to impact factors to be devised as inputs that have an ambivalent effect on the successful integration of project customers representing the cultures that might be astonishingly divergent from one another.
Derived from the Latin, the word ”culture” has different meanings in different contexts. By one of them we refer to the myriad ways of living exhibited by a particular group of people, ways that are transmitted from one generation to the next and which distinguish that group from others (cf. Smith, 1997). On many occasions, researchers imply nationality instead of culture. On the other side, this substitute is not a paragon, for other systems, particularly religion and/or religious institutions and social class could be a factor in separating people and gradually making them affiliated with distinct qualities that are incorporated into cultures by which different groups are identified. Furthermore, it is a human being to contribute to the emergence and, subsequently, evolution of distinct cultures by following different behavioral patterns that could be as diverse as life in a rural and industrial hinterland. Consequently, the definition of culture does not seem to be easily covered from all points of view. Thus, the greater part of work on culture and decision making, on which is has a significant impact, has centered on studying and understanding North American and East Asian communities to the shameful negligence of other civilizations.
How we define a Culture
Neither scholars nor practitioners are able to arrive at a common agreement on the unified definition of culture. Their views seem to be approximate to each other on how Hofstede and Trompenaars/Hampden-Turner define culture. “Culture … is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another. Culture is learned, not innate. It derives from one’s social environment rather than one’s genes.” (Hofstede, p. 6)18
The latter definition by Geerd Hofstede combines major aspects of the studied into a single substance and, consequently, may be complemented with the following: “Our own culture is like water to a fish. It sustains us. We live and breathe through it. … a fish only discovers its need for water when it is no longer in it.” (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, p. 27)
19 An important provided by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner gives an insight into the ways the cultural predisposition of a human being impacts on the overall awareness of cultural differences.
Although this study makes the focus on national culture, it by no means diminishes organizational, professional, or ethnical cultures, for they all remain central to project management, but are not included in order to avoid miscomprehensions and/or confusion. Thus, the terms intercultural and cross-cultural are used synonymously in this thesis.
Culture according to Inglehart and Wetzel
According to Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, political scientists, an analysis of WVS data ascertains the existence of two main global strands pertaining to cross-cultural differences that might oscillate back and forth:
1. Traditional values versus Secular-rational values and Survival values versus Self-expression values.
3. In the global cultural map (below), the corresponding scores of societies are scattered across these two dimensions. With an upward shift, a switch from Traditional to Secular-rational values is reflected in this map, while a rightward shift represents a movement from Survival to Self–expression values.
Traditional values underline religion, interfamily relationships involving parents and children, as well as esteem in – and probably obedience to – the authority and traditional family values. People who live with these values also reject – or have to turn down – divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. On a general note, these communities, even societies, are distinguished by a higher level of national pride and extreme patriotism.
On the contrary, secular-rational values are opposite to the traditional ones in terms of the qualities and preferences nurtured. The communities that stand out for such values do not necessarily hold on to religion, authority, as well as the qualities that are embedded in a traditional family setting. Therefore, divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide cases seem to be acceptable to a certain extent, although far from being prevalent.
Survival values adhere to a different philosophy, thereby laying a particular stress on economic (financial) and physical security. Consequently, these values are associated with a more or less ethnocentric outlook and lower levels of confidence, anticipation and tolerance.
Self-expression values prioritize environmental protection, foster tolerance towards aliens, LGBT communities, promote gender equality, and press for economic and political participation pertaining to decision-making.
The Ways The Culture Varies
An easier analysis is such that having improved its standards of living and transitioned from a developing to post-industrial knowledge society, going through the period industrialization, a country is somewhat conduced to continue moving ahead, from the lower-left area, accommodating poor nation, to the upper-right point, at which rich countries are comfortably located, thereby betokening the passage in both dimensions.
Meanwhile, there is a clearly seen correlation between the prevailing sentiments of the communities/societies, on the one side, and dominant philosophical concepts, political ideas and religious thoughts. Conducive to materialism, secular-rational values were expressed – and driven – by philosophers and the left-wing political forces that constituted the vanguard of the French revolution. As a result, these values are evident in societies that are characterized by a long history of social democratic or socialistic policy, as well as in countries whose residents have intellectual facilities due to philosophy and science studies at the stage of tertiary education. In a sheer contrast, survival values seem to be an inherent part of the qualities that shape eastern-world countries, while self-expression values are intrinsic to the Western world. Where a liberal post-industrial economy goes, more people follow the path that tests their capacity to survive and preserve freedom of thought, thus making self-expression a favored action.
Norway is a vivid example of a society with a high score in terms of Secular-rational and Self-expression values, while Azerbaijan belongs to societies with high scores pertaining to the Survival value and a relatively high score with regard to the traditional value.
1. That the value indicates differences among societies all over the world is well reflected in the culture zone pattern. Hence Muslim societies in the Middle East are a beacon of traditional and survival values. That bears a sharp distinction with Protestant societies in Nordic countries. 6
2. On the same point, the culture zone differences and dissimilarities are not a spontaneous phenomenon, for different societies experienced various historical pathways to get prepared, even matured, before they faced modernity. These pathways are a response to the mankind’s different senses of existential security and individual agency, which in turn explains why human beings attach different level of importance to secular-rational and self-expression values.
From Israfil: about WVS
To further elaborate on the topic studied and clarify if there is room for the identified factors to be accommodated in real world projects, and look for – and discover – additional impact factors to make intercultural customers affiliated with their respective cultural segment, a qualitative empirical inquiry was developed. The decision that followed was in favor of drafting a semi-structured interview guide aimed at identifying intercultural challenges to project managers in the course of their interaction with project customers. For its part, a structured interview is not about putting open-ended questions that are vital to comprehend how national culture brings influence to bear on project-client relationship. On the contrary, an unstructured interview is likely to lack for the concentration on the specific question, i.e. the topic of study, to be investigated. Finally, a semi-structured interview provides the interviewer with an opportunity to follow new trains of thought and ideas while conducting an interview and hence to discover more information pertaining to the intermixing of project customers. 26 The interview guide was written having taken into consideration the experience of Myers with latent problems that were encountered when an interview with a project manager or another stakeholder was being conducted (2013; pp.125-126).
27 At the interview stage, the quality of focal questions is yet improved by deepening and probing questions. To remain compliant with the topic – and purpose – of this study, the responses to only the two sets of questions, highlighted above, were analyzed. Meanwhile, to lessen the risk of being misled and ensure the full understanding, the interviews are conducted with the richest medium available, involving face-to-face interviews, video- and teleconferencing, and phone calls. In the interview guide, there were introductory questions to prepare interviewees and smooth their way into subsequent conversation, thereby making arrangements for both parties to share personal information before formal questioning. This technique establishes trust among parties to the conversation partners and is further fostered by assuring every single interviewee that the information they share will be kept confidential, (recorded) and used for scientific purposes only. It is common to face difficulties in arranging for a Project Manager to undergo an interview, for they are often engulfed by work and considered the business company staff; therefore, it was important to ensure that the interview would not last longer than 90 minutes. Meanwhile, it should be noted that elite and self-selection bias are common problems for all qualitative researchers to address.
27 Selection of the interviewees was made by means of professional networks on networking platforms (like LinkedIn) or snowballing techniques. While preparing the interview guide, a due attention was paid to not introduce any theoretical ideas or concepts that could distort what was to be conveyed by the interviewee.
At the testing and interviewing stages, the initial guide was subjected to adjustments to better reflect back and analyze the views of the respondents. The eligibility criteria for interviewees constituted:
Norwegians and Azeri: working together
Norwegians tend to be quite task oriented. They are generally friendly and open, and prepared to accept people quickly. It is easy to establish a working relationship, based on task, which can develop over time to a close and successful partnership. This is built on mutual trust and positive experiences of good cooperation. However, it is important to deliver on promises and meet deadlines. Norwegians are willing to meet visitors without personal introductions and to consider proposals objectively. On meeting, they will get down to the business in hand quickly, with little small talk. Some casual and friendly comments are appreciated, especially if they reflect some knowledge of local affairs and show an interest in Norway and its culture. If a local person serves as an adviser or representative to make introductions, it is important to select them carefully – their local credentials and status count a great deal. The business community is quite small, so word gets around quickly.
Norwegians are very egalitarian. People in business are rated on their knowledge, energy and hard work, rather than who they know or their years of service. Progression up the corporate ladder is usually based on merit. Norwegians work to live, not vice versa. The work-life balance is extremely important, with dedication to business during office hours, but an equal focus on family and social life afterwards. There is a strict separation between the two. Many enjoy sporting pastimes and will leave the office on time to pursue these or family duties. Norway now ranks among the top nations in the world for quality of life and in 2007 was ranked first in the United Nations Human Development Index.
Norwegians have a direct style of communication. Spoken Norwegian is precise and lacks embellishment, so communication can appear abrupt when translated into English. The fine differentiation in levels of politeness, as expressed in British English, is generally lacking. English is the language of international business in Norway and speakers are generally highly proficient.
Norwegians are prepared to be open and speak their mind, but at the same time tend to be very conflict averse. They are not given to great displays of emotion and will rarely raise their voices in anger. In situations of conflict, people are non-confrontational and will rather wait in the hope the problem will be solved in the end. They prefer to sit down and discuss things together. It is wise for native speakers of English to make allowances for everyone to have their say in meetings, especially on the phone.
Norwegians may lack confidence in putting their point across to native speakers and tend to withdraw rather than forcefully interrupt. This does not mean they do not have an opinion. They are known for being strong-willed, and for having a robust sense of humor. Business dialogue in Norway is generally straightforward and to the point. Greetings and farewells are usually accompanied by a firm handshake and brief but not fixed eye contact. The style is quite informal.
Christian names are used between business partners and colleagues quickly. Conversation can include some silences. This indicates that thought is being given to what has just been said, and is not necessarily a sign of negativity. Norwegians respect modesty- showy or loud behavior is not appreciated.
Norwegians are very egalitarian and are strongly independent as a nation.
Due to the sometimes-harsh nature of their environment and also the financial hardship experienced following the Second World War, Norwegians are very self-reliant. Even though, good public services like education and health services are available, Norwegians still feel responsible for themselves. As a nation, they have twice rejected proposals for joining the European Union. Their great respect for justice and democracy and strong values are rooted in Norway’s history of Protestant Christianity. They are, however, sometimes seen by their neighbors as being distant and rather stubborn. There is a strong sense of community in Norway, towards the nation , but particularly focused around the family and longtime friends. Many adults stay in contact with childhood and student friends and may meet up for reunions on a regular basis. Many Norwegians travel and study abroad in their youth, but return home to raise their families. There is a strong belief that going away is good, “but home is best”. At work, Norwegians are open to dialogue and respect each other’s opinions. They are often described as strong team players. They appreciate a large degree of freedom in work, while acting in consensus with their colleagues. Women would expect to be treated in the same way as their male counterparts. They would not accept being less respected, and could feel very bad about being “put down”. Women in Norway play an active and often leading role in business and in politics. Norway was one of the first countries to have a female Prime Minister.
Norwegians are pragmatic and egalitarian and greater risk-takers than some of their near neighbors. Their characteristics can seem at times contradictory. They can be measured and cautious but also quite spontaneous and impulsive. They may pay less attention to the detail in problem-solving, preferring to take a decision and get on with the implementation. While Norwegians are often considered traditional and family-orientated they have a high divorce rate and a high rate of co-habitation. Norwegians are renowned for forming strong views and sticking to them. At the same time, they can be quite open to change. They are early adopters of new technology. IT and internet penetration is one of the highest in the world.
Norwegians were once noted for their thrift and were known as a people who had a Protestant dislike of extravagance. 100 years ago, Norway was one of the poorest countries in the world. That was before oil was discovered. The wealth of the nation has increased dramatically in the last 25 years or so since the development of its offshore oil industry. The country is now one of great prosperity with one of the highest standards of living in Europe. It has been very careful with its oil money, as the size of its pension funds show. Norwegians are now more enthusiastic spenders, but still have a dislike of anything which is perceived as too flashy or extravagant. This reflects the values laid out in the “Janteloven” – a Scandinavian concept about humility and self-restraint. People have been brought up to believe they should not think they are any better than anyone else.
Norwegians have a tight view towards time. Time periods have clear boundaries, as shown in the way they organise their everyday lives. The day is strictly divided into work and family time. The work-life balance is perhaps more obvious in Norway than anywhere else in the world. Leisure time, spent with family friends is considered extremely important. People will leave meetings in progress to meet family commitments (such as picking up the children from after-school care). This is usually a duty shared between parents.
People would not normally feel the need to apologize for leaving “on time”. People tend to start work early (before 8 am) and finish around 4pm. The main meal of the day is eaten at 5pm. After school activities for the children start after this. Outsiders may assume from this that Norwegians work less, but people still work 8 hour days, with a brief lunch break. This is generally taken as a sandwich (“niste”) at the desk.
People are conscious of using time wisely and appreciate punctuality and a pragmatic approach. People arrive early or on time for meetings, which are held to schedule and not interrupted by phone calls. Meetings can be arranged reasonably readily and easily, although it may be harder to schedule appointments during the summer months – especially from mid June to the beginning of August. As soon as the days start getting longer, people go to the countryside as often as possible to enjoy outdoor pursuits. Overtime hours are an exception, although in large organizations there is increasing pressure to work into the evening.
Norwegian organisations tend to have a fairly flat structure. People are used to working independently and do not like to be micromanaged. They believe the boss is there to make the big decisions, but would expect to be consulted on a large range of topics. The leadership style is one of consensus, although less so than in Sweden. In times of major change, all are expected to take responsibility and the leader will pitch in with the staff. “All hands on deck” (“skippertag”) is the term used to describe this.
Norwegians are keen to get on with the job. If something needs changing, they are more inclined to try something out and see what happens, than wait for permission, or orders from above. Teamwork and step by-step problem-solving processes are characteristic of the Norwegian management style. Managers are very accessible and consult with their team members and listen to their views. People are expected to participate, be energetic and efficient. People avoid conflict and confer regularly, sharing information between themselves. They are also egalitarian – women enjoy a very strong and respected position in society. They are active in business at all levels and also in national politics. Gro Brundtland was one of Europe’s first female prime ministers and women were in the majority in her cabinet.
Promotion is usually based on merit – who you know is not so important here. Modesty is valued in Norway – boastful behavior is not welcomed. It may be difficult to recognize the leader, since the leadership style is generally very low key. Qualities admired in leaders are honesty, vision and an ability to manage a team fairly and equally.
Norwegians prefer a step-by-step process toward solution, but will want to understand the big picture first and not commit themselves too quickly. They like to adopt a consensual approach and to discuss things openly and thoroughly with all those involved before taking a decision. However, once this is done, people generally stick to their decision. Going back on a decision or agreement, even if it is only verbal, is considered bad. Backing out off a written agreement is even worse. People feel they need to be consulted in order to take responsibility. If they are not involved in the process they can feel as if they are being left out or cheated on. More linear cultures (like the US) may feel that Norwegians are sometimes indecisive or tend to put off making decisions where a hard decision is necessary. This is because they are more consensus oriented and like to give sufficient attention to all the alternatives. Meetings in Norway are friendly affairs but very business-focused. In negotiations, people expect to get down to business and not to waste too much time. At the end of a meeting it is usual to go over what has been discussed and agreed. Follow-up actions are carried out by those nominated. People are willing to accept responsibility for tasks and would take offence if a manager felt the need to check too frequently.
Norwegians are very goal-orientated and are interested primarily in the facts. They are more likely to be persuaded by hearing the details of past achievements than by theories – as long as these are communicated in a modest way. Norwegians are friendly, open and direct and will expect others to be so too. They will not appreciate the use of sarcasm and may be quite upset if they believe something is being conducted behind their backs. Meetings should be prepared well, with any necessary supporting material. The Norwegians are not only pragmatic but highly educated and will expect others to be prepared and informed, particularly when it comes to the bottom line.
Presenters should have a good grasp of the relevant facts and figures which they will need to support their arguments. The “hard sell” with excessive sales pitches and aggressive attitudes is not appreciated. Solid proposals will be considered and debated objectively. Discussion is thorough and logical but deliberations are not unnecessarily drawn out. People like to understand the situation at all levels – from the details to the big picture.
Norwegians are very good listeners but they can form opinions very quickly. Once this has happened it can be hard to persuade them otherwise, unless a case can be presented which is very well researched and communicated. Citing theories or even making use of personal connections are less likely to convince.
Norwegians are direct in their style of communication which reflects their preference for keeping things short and simple. They are pragmatic and efficient. Presentations, written reports and proposals should be reduced to the basics. Arguments are best presented in a straightforward, linear manner, without irrelevant detail. Contextual material may be appreciated but is best prepared as a supplement, to be supplied if required. During business dealings, it is important to be honest and direct and to be willing to share information regularly. People work on keeping lines of communication open and consult with each other regularly. They are scrupulous about laying bare all the facts, whether favorable or not. Withholding information is likely to be viewed with great suspicion and will promote a lack of trust. When problem-solving, it is usual to pick up the phone directly to try and sort things out. Norwegians value honesty and an approachable manner. They have simple tastes and a general distaste for showiness. Their preference for simplicity is perhaps a result of Norway’s natural geography – concentration on the basics of life was the way to survive in its severe, natural environment. This preference does not however exclude depth of thought or reflection. As Norwegian’s most renowned playwright Henrik Ibsen himself pointed out “at home, every other person is a philosopher!”. He was referring to the serious and introspective nature of Norwegians during the long dark winters.
Working with Azerbaijanis is all about contacts and networks, although once an introduction has been made, preferably by a mutual, respected contact, the onus is on the visitor to prove themselves worthy of doing business with.
Great emphasis is placed on socialising and entertaining; Azerbaijanis pride themselves on their generous hospitality. Always be sure to reciprocate. Azerbaijanis are extremely friendly but trust in a relationship needs to be earned. Establishing a relationship with a complete stranger may be difficult; instead, try to be introduced by a trusted contact. If a friendship is genuine, it requires constant effort; real friends see each other often and will always help in times of hardship.
Azeris are fascinated by foreigners and will ask a lot of questions, some personal. To make a good
impression, answer as honestly and as modestly as you can, skipping round any particularly sensitive
issues. Do not be offended if your new friends and colleagues try matchmaking; the thought of someone being alone is abhorrent. If you are a married woman without children, do not be upset if people offer sympathy and concern.
Some business people will speak English, but it is best to make an effort to learn a few phrases in Azeri, both to show willing and to smooth social interactions in the country. English is rapidly becoming the language of business, especially amongst the younger generation. That said, some interpretation is liked to be needed if meeting several local companies during a single visit. Standards of written translation from Azerbaijani/Russian into English are often quite low.
Azeris tend to be very polite, but may appear to be vague and noncommittal about specifics in business transactions. A straight ‘no’ is avoided for fear of causing loss of face, while a straight ‘yes’ does not mean an absolute yes, but a ‘maybe’. Sometimes, bad news will even be delivered by an intermediary. Do not push for a direct answer; instead, read your counterpart’s body language and use your knowledge of their personality to decipher the real meaning of what’s being said.
Having said this, aside from the need to save face, communication style is otherwise fairly direct. It is
important to maintain eye contact as a sign of sincerity; averting your eyes is a sign that you have
something to hide. Members of the same sex will gesticulate and touch one another during a conversation to make a point but men and women will not. The introduction of modern feedback techniques is challenging, as Azeris are not accustomed to direct criticism and will avoid confrontation in order to save face. Direct criticism, even if highly constructive, will be regarded as an affront.
Family is considered more important than anything and family networks are extensive. Married couples are expected to produce children quickly and families will live together, with several generations under one roof.
Relationships are changing in Azerbaijan, between senior management and shop floor workers, and
between foreign investors and local partners. The move towards a Western-style economy in the oil boom has been rapid and older senior managers may be lacking in management and people skills – but may have great technical knowledge. Motivation techniques may be rudimentary or non-existent, as in communist times, it wasn’t considered necessary to motivate staff. Those who can see a quick route to riches or power may abuse their position.
Anybody wanting to do business with Azeris must understand their strong sense of kinship and the need to form personal relationships with their business partners. Maintaining these relationships means frequent visits, plenty of entertaining and careful monitoring of progress on any given project, as the Azeri perception of time is not the same as Western time. Most foreign executives doing business with Azerbaijan say the relationships they form are deeply rewarding, provided these cultural differences are understood.
Azerbaijanis are strong believers in fate, or gismet, which perhaps explains why they do not plan much for the future. Any kind of future planning is followed by ‘insh’allah’, or ‘God willing’ and people firmly believe that the future is predetermined. Azeris are fairly risk-averse in business, particularly among the older generation who have had to learn the art of entrepreneurialism following Soviet rule.
Azerbaijanis drive a hard bargain and will spend a long time negotiating, which is a normal part of daily life. They will always assume that the price you are asking for is from 20% to 50% higher than the price you expect to agree on, so build in a lot of room for manoeuvre and allow them to believe they have won concessions from you. Negotiations may take place over several meetings and you should be sure you are talking to the right person; decisions are made from the top and middle-ranking managers may not have any power at all. It is quite possible that a meeting will end, seemingly in agreement to work.
A lack of transparency and inconsistent application of regulations remain continuing challenges for foreign investors, and even the oil industry, which is governed by its own specific legal regime, encounters regular problems. Anybody planning to do business in Azerbaijan should seek expert local advice.
Time is something with which Azeris are generous. While they may be late for a meeting, they would
always stop to greet and chat to a friend; rushing by and telling the friend they were in a hurry would be unthinkable. Similarly, meetings may be interrupted as executives give their time to passersby. Patience is a virtue when working in Azerbaijan and it is important for a manager or team leader to stay on top of deadlines if they are important.
When scheduling an appointment with an Azerbaijani colleague, remember that time will not necessarily be strictly adhered to as one might expect. Social interactions tend to be a little more fluid, with people running their days on a basis of personal interactions rather than a strict schedule. Remain patient. To add to this, the government has a tendency to reshuffle public holidays at short notice, sometimes extending a weekend with just one or two days’ warning, or moving a holiday from a Friday to a Monday. There is little the visitor can do to prepare for this.
Azeris have a relaxed attitude to time and see deadlines as symbolic rather than dates to be adhered to. Although people are hard-working and motivated by profit, there is an attitude of ‘we will do it when we can’ and a belief that the completion of a project is in any case predetermined by fate, or gismet, and the will of God.
The years of Soviet rule served both to reinforce the importance of traditional Azeri culture (with its
emphasis upon familial relations and identity with one’s hoj – or clan – and ancient superstitions and
customs) as a way of remaining distinct from the Soviet yoke, and to introduce new social strata – the effects of which are still in evidence today. The division of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in society is very pronounced and many, especially those from older generations, will display a deference towards authority and officialdom. A visible hierarchy still operates on many social levels.
Azerbaijanis appreciate strong leadership and firm authority, as well as seniority, and typical Azeri
companies will have a steep vertical structure and will be headed by a charismatic male. Those at the bottom of the hierarchy are not expected to question the actions and decisions of those at the top. Status in Azerbaijan is achieved by seniority, experience, wisdom and more and more, connections and wealth.
Older people are respected and their opinion will be sought for anything from a family dispute to a
property purchase; not to do so would be considered insulting. Wise leaders are called agsakkal, or ‘whitebearded’.
Some companies may have more than one leader; it is very common to go into partnership with
other family members. Although Azeris are by nature expressive and passionate, anybody in a position of leadership is expected to show dignity and restraint. Those in senior positions will never be seen in public making fools of themselves, or smiling without reason; a stern bearing is considered to offer more gravitas.
The Azeri decision making process is a slow. For years, decision-making was not part of everyday life and communism created an environment of passivity, lack of responsibility and absence of initiative. Although Azeris are enthused and excited by their economic boom, older managers in particular have had to learn all over again how to make decisions.
Decisions are made from the top down and middle and lower-ranking employees do not expect to be part of the process. Nor do they expect to challenge or question any decisions made. In any meeting, be absolutely clear who the decision maker is and even if you are invited to hold initial meetings with lowerranking managers, ask to be introduced to the person at the top and make sure that final negotiations are held with that person present.
Once an agreement has been made, a contract will be drawn up. Although it is in theory legally binding, the verbal agreement and the trust that has led to the deal in the first place is considered far more important. So once a contract has been signed, stay in touch and follow up, as the signature is no guarantee that anything will be done. Constant monitoring of any project is essential.
In companies, information is power and is not freely shared. Those at the top of the hierarchy will rarely share decision making with those lower down; even middle managers have minimal power. Serious business discussion will not take place until several preliminary meetings have been held in order for the two parties to put one another in context and build a relationship. Once confidence and trust have been established, Azeri will act as gracious and friendly hosts, but they can be extremely wily negotiators. Be prepared to make concessions and keep something back for a last-minute offer. Azeri’s expect a win-lose outcome to negotiations and you must show that you are prepared to give a little.
Stay calm throughout any theatrical performances and do not be offended by raised voices; Azeri are
expressive and passionate and loud speech does not mean somebody is angry. Demonstrate trust
throughout negotiations; the spoken word is considered binding and your counterpart may be offended if you demand a written contract (although it is appropriate to ask for one at some point, for legal records).
Presentations are usually made to small groups and may be in the presence of an interpreter; be sure to hire one who speaks Azeri and Russian. Ii is preferred to dress smartly, because you will always be judged by the audience on your appearance.
Make frequent eye contact with the most senior person in the room during your presentation (women presenters may find male audience members reluctant to make eye contact). Keep a presentation brief, technical and to the point and do not give any impression of being condescending or lecturing your audience. Try to emphasise how your proposal will benefit the Azerbaijanis.
An audience expects time at the end of a presentation to ask questions, which will normally come from the most senior person present. No questions is a bad sign and means that your counterpart is either not interested or has not understood the presentation. Intricate questioning is a good sign.
Differences between Norwegian and Azeri cultures and its impact on decision making
Internal documents from TMA world (20181) show that there is meaningful difference between Norwegian and Azeri nationals. Previous subchapters on Norwegian and Azerbaijani cultural essentials are grouped into categories and summarized in the graph xxx (for category definitions see App xxx, TMA world, 20181 ).
Plot 1. Azeri- Norwegian Cultural Profile (TMA world, 20181 ) http://www.tmaworld.com/our-approach
In Azerbaijan decision making is a slow process. For years, decision-making was not part of everyday life and communism created an environment of passivity, lack of responsibility and absence of initiative. Although Azeris are enthused and excited by their economic boom, older managers in particular have had to learn all over again how to make decisions. Decisions are made from the top down and middle and lower-ranking employees do not expect to be part of the process. Nor do they expect to challenge or question any decisions made. In any meeting, be absolutely clear who the decision maker is and even if you are invited to hold initial meetings with lower-ranking managers, ask to be introduced to the person at the top and make sure that final negotiations are held with that person present. Once an agreement has been made, a contract will be drawn up. Although it is in theory legally binding, the verbal agreement and the trust that has led to the deal in the first place is considered far more important. Once a contract has been signed, stay in touch and follow up, as the signature is no guarantee that anything will be done. Constant monitoring of any project is essential. (TMA world, 20181 )
Write about difference according to WVS
Place map here on WVS
Graph xx. Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map WVS wave 6 (2010-2014). http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSContents.jsp
Inglehart, R., C. Haerpfer, A. Moreno, C. Welzel, K. Kizilova, J. Diez-Medrano, M. Lagos, P. Norris, E. Ponarin ; B. Puranen et al. (eds.). 2014. World Values Survey: Round Six – Country-Pooled Datafile Version: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSDocumentationWV6.jsp. Madrid: JD Systems Institute.