Learning how to approach certain tasks as a foreign manager in the Philippines with greater cultural sensitivity and skill will help you get the job done. When doing business with Filipinos you may assume your cultural business style is just fine in building trust, cooperation and efficiency but you are probably headed for big trouble.
How can we manage key cultural business differences and work effectively with Filipinos?
When doing business in the Philippines you can improve your communication, efficiency and profitability by following these tips:
1. Despite the heavy American influences in the Philippines, Asian values of relationship building, lengthy negotiations, and ‘loss of face’ are deeply ingrained. Make time for face-to-face meetings and take the time to understand local Filipino approaches to business.
2. Forcing change on Filipino workers will be difficult. Requiring adherence to strict deadlines and drastic changes will be met with friendly resistance in the Philippines.
3. The pace of doing business in the Philippines is casual and leisurely and can be frustrating. There is a tendency to think of the Philippines as a place where it is fine to be late. However, business culture in the Philippines is changing, especially in larger cities like Manila.
4. If managing Filipinos from afar, forge strong relationships with leaders on the ground in the Philippines, who can articulate corporate expectations in a way that will motivate the workforce.
5. Given the strong conservative religious culture of the Philippines (largely Catholic; Muslim in the south), many Filipinos believe that important decisions about the future will be determined by God. This tends to place less emphasis on personal accountability, and more focus on what is unknown or unpredictable.
6. Filipinos tend to be less interested in the hard facts of a situation. A positive attitude will carry far more weight than any statistics or figures. Emotions and relationships can take precedence over evidence and facts in decision making.
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