Today I’d like to continue to develop the topic of the national business etiquette. At this time you are going to learn some particularities of indian culture and its traditions in the business field.
India is a place of diverse culture, and regional values vary with respect to local character of each state. It is true that Western countries have made great impact on Indian business etiquette, and most Indian businesspersons are familiar with Western customs. However, the basic principles of doing business have not changed much.
Broadly speaking, the Southern and Eastern regions of India are more conservative and traditional, whereas the Northern and Western regions are outgoing and liberal. Whether you’re dealing with a small, local family-run shop, or a large multinational establishment, business here tends to follow traditional customs. Tradition plays an important role in Indian business etiquette. You will quickly discover that profit and the lowest price won’t always close the deal, and you may be called on to explain your company’s broader business, or perhaps even moral and ethical, philosophy. Religion, region, language and caste will all play an influential role in any business deal.
Contrary to the impression many may have about India being a conservative place to do business though, 40% of its total population is between the ages of 28 and 40, and tend to be more liberal in their views. Even though the literacy rate in India is much lower when compared to other countries, that statistic is skewed by a high illiteracy rate in rural villages. India has 15 million technically qualified people, and you will have no problems in finding highly educated and literate people to work for you in the larger metropolitan areas.
More than 18 languages have been constitutionally recognized, and Hindi is the national language. Interestingly, only 40 to 45% of the population can speak Hindi, and there is no single language in the country which is spoken by all Indians. But while learning a few words of the local language is always a good idea, you will find that English is spoken by most of the educated class and is the universal language of business.
How to make an appointment? If you’re used to living by the clock, you’re in for a surprise. Indians generally are very casual in keeping appointments and maintaining punctuality. They attach more importance to human values than time.