Business Language Courses
- Business Bengali Course
- Business Gujarati Course
- Business Hindi Course
- Business Punjabi Course
- Business Urdu Course
Economic development in India followed socialist-inspired policies for most of its independent history. Since the mid-1980s though, India has slowly opened up its markets through economic liberalisation. After more fundamental reforms and renewal in the 2000s, India has progressed towards a free market economy. Today, India is one of the strongest emerging economies in the world, known as one of the BRIC countries. An understanding of Indian traditions and methods of doing business is vital for your business organisation to succeed.
Hinduism and the Traditional Caste System – In India, religion is a way of life and must be respected in order to maintain successful business relationships. Despite the elimination of the traditional caste system that was a direct outcome of Hinduism, traditional attitudes still remain and aspects of Indian culture still influence the hierarchical structure of business practices in India today.
Fatalism – The concept of fatalism stems from one of the most characteristic traits of Indian culture – spirituality. The notion of Karma and that everything happens for a reason is still significant in the decision making process of many Indians. It also influences the concept of time in India and as a consequence business negotiations may take longer and are never rushed.
Collectivism – India’s strong sense of community and group defined orientation mean a greater acceptance of hierarchical structures. In India, there is a noticeable lack of privacy and a smaller concept of personal space where several generations often live together under one roof. For Indian business practices this places an additional importance on interpersonal contact, avoidance of conflict and a more indirect approach to communication.
Home of the sacred River Ganges and the Himalayan Mountains, India has a history of invasion and migration that has influenced both its culture and its economy. Following the economic reform process of 1999, India’s market has continued to strengthen and expand. Geographically, India benefits from its close proximity to the major Indian Ocean trade routes and together with the country’s rich centre of mineral and agricultural resources, India’s economy is witnessing significant inflows of foreign investment. India is also recognised for its fiercely competitive education system and is one of the largest providers of experienced scientists, engineers and technicians making it an attractive market for foreign business.
Working practices India
Structure and hierarchy in Indian companies
Working relationships in India
Business practices in India
DO use titles wherever possible, such as ‘Professor’ or ‘Doctor’. If your Indian counterpart does not have a title, use ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’.
DO wait for a female business colleague to initiate the greeting. Indian men do not generally shake hands with women out of respect.
DO remain polite and honest at all times in order to prove that your objectives are sincere.
DON’T be aggressive in your business negotiations – this can show disrespect.
DON’T bring large or expensive gifts as this may cause embarrassment. If you do take a gift, make sure you present the gift with both hands.
DON’T refuse any food or drink offered to you during business meetings as this may cause offence. In addition, it is useful to bear in mind that traditionally, Indians are vegetarians and do not drink alcohol.
1. Shaking your head from side to side is a non-verbal signal for ‘no’.
2. In India, the word ‘caste’ can be translated as ‘colour’.
3. During a group meeting, it is customary to greet the youngest member first.
4. Feet are considered unclean; therefore you must never point your feet at a person.
5. When greeting business colleagues it is polite to bow deeply from the waist and say ‘namaste’ three times.
1. False. It is a visual way to communicate to the speaker that you understand what they are saying or that you agree with him.
3. False. It is customary to greet the oldest members first as a sign of respect.
5. False. The correct way is to hold your hands together below your chin, nod or bow slightly and say ‘namaste’. However, handshakes are also appropriate in contemporary Indian culture.