Argentum, the Latin term for silver, is the reason behind the country’s name Argentina. The origin comes from the first Spanish conquerors to reach the Rio de La Plata, or the Silver River, where they were welcomed by the natives with gifts from this precious material.
Argentina is the second largest country in South America, known for its high quality and flavorful meats and wines and incredible natural landscapes. It is globally recognized by all Catholics as the homeland of the current Pope, Pope Francis. Argentina assumed several international leadership roles in 2017, including hosting the World Economic Forum on Latin America and the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. This year, the country assumed the presidency of the G20. As this country continues to recover economically and emerge on the world stage, keep these intercultural tips in mind for your business ventures in Argentina:
- Make a good first impression. With a score of 49 on the Hofstede Power Distance dimension, Argentina scores fairly low relative to its Latin American counterparts and is closer to the U.S. in terms of its attitude toward inequality and rather seeks to be more egalitarian. This can be attributed to its large wave of European migration in the 1900’s. In a business context, this means that the boss or highest-ranking individual does not necessarily hold more authority than the rest of the team. However, status is still considered important in the workplace and often indicated through clothing, accessories, and material items. First impressions are important and must be taken seriously. Begin with a simple nod and hand shake or briefly cheek kiss to show respect. Communicate in a direct, polite manner.
- Respect traditions Argentinians have a great respect for traditions and score low on Hofstede’s Long Term Orientation dimension. Drastic changes or veering from the norm may be met with resistance or suspicion. Prior appointments are necessary and punctuality is an essential way to gain trust. Business lunches and dinners are a common social activity and tend to go long, often accompanied by local food and regional wine specialties. Argentinians have a slower pace when doing business because conversation and socializing first is the norm. Embrace it!
- Build relationships: While personal and private life are much more separated in Argentina than in other parts of Latin America, it’s still crucial to build trust and synergy through relationships. While you can still keep meetings and conversations business-oriented, include breaks for conversations, especially topics including soccer, culture and history. Call or visit your partners often to check in and see how things are going with the project or deal; they will appreciate the personal gesture.
Iguazu falls by Andreas Kambanis on flikr
Argentinians are proud nationals who value education and progress. As Argentinians strive for excellence on the world stage, you’ll find them a joy to work with and valuable team members and business partners. What other tips do you have for doing business in Argentina? Contact us and send us your thoughts!
El Calafate by Deensel on flikr
Sharon Schweitzer and Sophie Echeverry co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.
Sophie Echeverry is a marketing manager and event coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, with a degree in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco. Feel free to connect with Sophie on LinkedIn.