Italian business culture guide - Learn about Italy
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Italian business culture guide - Learn about Italy

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Italy. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at ...

http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Italy. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide.

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Italian business culture guide - Learn about Italy Italian business culture guide - Learn about Italy Document Transcript

  •            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Italy   http://businessculture.org/southerneurope/business-culture-in-italy/ Content Template businessculture.org   This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the view only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Content  Italy  
  •            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Business  Culture  in  Italy  ............................................................................................................  4   Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Italy .................................................................................................5   International Business in Italy ...............................................................................................................6   General Education ................................................................................................................................6   Educational standards ...........................................................................................................................6   Other Issues such as transportation infrastructure ................................................................................7   Cultural taboos ......................................................................................................................................8   Business  Communication  ..........................................................................................................  9   Face-to-face communication .................................................................................................................9   Language Matters .................................................................................................................................9   Business Relationships .........................................................................................................................10   Making contact....................................................................................................................................10   Personal Titles .....................................................................................................................................11   Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  12   Corporate Social Responsibility ..........................................................................................................12   Punctuality ..........................................................................................................................................13   Gift giving ............................................................................................................................................13   Business Dress Code ............................................................................................................................13   Bribery and corruption........................................................................................................................14   Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  15   Importance of Business Meeting .........................................................................................................15   Business Meeting planning ..................................................................................................................15   Negotiation process .............................................................................................................................16   Meeting protocol .................................................................................................................................16   How to Run a Business Meeting .........................................................................................................17   Follow up letter after meeting with client............................................................................................17   businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  3     Business meals .....................................................................................................................................17   Business Meeting tips ..........................................................................................................................19   Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  20   Work experience .................................................................................................................................20   Internship and Placement advice ........................................................................................................20   Social security and European health insurance ..................................................................................20   Safety ...................................................................................................................................................20   Do I need a visa? .................................................................................................................................21   Internship and placement salary .........................................................................................................21   Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................21   Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  22   Money and Banking ............................................................................................................................22   Traveling costs.....................................................................................................................................22   Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  23   National holidays.................................................................................................................................23   Working hours .....................................................................................................................................24   Health insurance .................................................................................................................................24   Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  26   Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business .........................................................26   businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Italy   The following is a very short introduction to Italy. External links at the end of this page provide you with more in depth information concerning different topics. The following video gives you an overview of the general facts: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6BR99GzrVDo) Italy is a peninsula covering 301,401 km2, and surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. The population is about 59,5 million according to Report ISTAT Census 2011. The climate is mainly Mediterranean: in the north of the country winters are cold and summers are warm. In Central Regions the climate is milder and in the South and in the islands winters are never particularly harsh, and Spring and Autumn temperatures are approximately equal to those reached in the summer in other areas of Italy. Italy is in the time zone of UTC+1, but during the period from March to October the clock changes to UTC+2. Over the past 3,000 years Italy has seen many migrations and invasions and has been influenced by many civilisations including the Etruscans, the Greeks and the Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476, for many years, Italy remained fragmented into a large number of city-states. In the Early Modern period, it was annexed to the Spanish Kingdom, the Austrians and also to Napoleon’s empire. During the restoration period (1815– 1835), there were popular uprisings throughout the peninsula. At the end of this period, the Italian Wars of Independence began. All this led to the unification of Italy under Victor businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  5   Emmanuel II in 1861 and this status quo continued until 1946 through 20 years of Fascist Dictatorship until the end of the Second World War, when the Italians opted for a republican constitution. Italy jointly with Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg founded the European Economic Community. The Italian Peninsula is divided into 20 Regions; each divided into Provinces which in turn are divided into Municipalities. Italy is a Democratic Republic based on a system of civil law. The Chief of State (“Presidente della Repubblica”) represents national unity and has an important role in the political arena as a mediator and guarantor. The Prime Minister (“Primo Ministro”) is the head of the government, being president of the Council of the Ministers (“Consiglio dei Ministri”). Italy has a bicameral Parliament (“Parlamento”) consisting of the Senate (“Senato della Repubblica”) and the Chamber of Deputies (“Camera dei Deputati”). Italy has a diversified industrial economy: the Northern regions are the industrial “engines” for the Italian economy. The main sectors are: food, textiles, machinery, iron and steel, clothing, footwear and ceramics. The Southern Regions, on the contrary, are much less prosperous and there is a clear economic gap between north and south, where the economy is based on small enterprises mainly agricultural and manufacturing, and the tourism sector (the south of Italy is incredibly beautiful). There is high unemployment, especially among women and young people. The main exports of the south are engineering products, food, especially olive oil, wine, beverages, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; minerals and nonferrous metals. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Italy   Italians are very pleasant with foreigners, probably because Italy is a favourite place for tourists who are often captivated by the country’s history, natural beauty and culture. For a long time, Italy was a country of emigrants, especially during the last century, when millions of Italians moved to other European countries (mostly Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, UK), Latin America, the United States and Australia. Recently, however, Italian society has been facing racial issues precipitated by the growth of large immigrant communities, some illegal, from nearby areas in the Balkans (Albania, etc.) and north African countries as well as from Oriental countries (Chinese, Indian, Philippine communities are growing in many large Italian cities). Generally, there are no major prejudices even if subtle forms of racism can be perceived and the role and rights of immigrants in Italian society (i.e. the right to vote for non-residents, businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  6   annual limitation of migratory flows, etc.) are currently the subject of an extensive political debate. International  Business  in  Italy   Cross cultural awareness should improve the potential of having business relations in Italy. Before starting doing business in Italy, it could be very important to look at the way in which meetings are conducted and Italian negotiation styles. General  Education   Education is compulsory for 10 years in the first cycle (primary and lower secondary education) and the first two years of the second cycle (from 6 to 16 years of age). Therefore, the last two years from 14 to 16 years of age, can be completed either in upper secondary schools or within the three-year vocational education and training courses (falling under the competence of the Regions). Universities are divided into different faculties and provide a degree (“Laurea”). The former system provided a university degree after four or five years, eventually followed by a PhD. A new regulation (1999) has introduced three levels of university degrees: a basic three year degree; a specialist two year degree; and a PhD degree. Higher education is completed by a large number of private and public postgraduate courses, generically called “Master”. The actual level of qualification and the official ministerial backing of such supplementary courses have yet to be assessed specifically. The number of people taking advanced secondary school and University courses is slightly below the OECD average but is constantly increasing. Education still varies with age and sex, although this gap is being reduced. IT and foreign language competencies are generally lacking among the older generations but this situation is improving with the younger generations as IT and foreign language courses have been compulsorily introduced at all levels, starting with primary schools. Young people are more interested in travelling abroad and are very interested in European exchanges. Many Italian students join mobility projects within EU countries, often to complete their academic studies or to carry out research projects in other European Universities. Educational  standards   Over the last twenty years the education system in Italy has seen a series of transformations. A recent education reform has been implemented from the 1st of September 2010 regarding the organisation of the High Schools (two categories: Licei and Technical and Professional businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  7   Institutes) and the University system (the presence of an ethics code, amendments to academic professors and researchers evaluation methodologies and recruitment procedures, reduction of disciplines, etc). In September 2009, the Minister of Work, Health and Social Policies jointly with the Minister of Education, Universities and Research, presented project “Italy 2020”: a plan of action to support youth employment by integrating learning and working”. The actions are tailored towards re-launching technical-vocational education, to enhance apprentice contracts and focus on the need to reform the university offer, by reducing mismatches between demand and offers of work. Other  Issues  such  as  transportation  infrastructure   Smoking etiquette. In Italy, smoking in restaurants, bars, offices, factories and any public place without special non-smoking areas, is illegal. The law is applied quite extensively in public places and in most offices. Mobile etiquette. Mobile phones are widely used by Italians of all ages, cultures and social status to communicate and socialise. Generally, “mobile etiquette” is based on concepts of courtesy and respect, but it is not unusual, in public conferences or during business meetings, to hear mobiles ringing. In fact, the use of mobile phones can be rather intrusive in Italy: conversations can be loud even in public places (restaurants, public transport, etc. and incoming mobile calls can be given precedence over a face-to-face conversation. Religion. Italians are mostly raised as Roman Catholics even if the influence of the Church is decreasing and large sectors of society are open to civil rights issues (e.g. divorce and abortion were made legal in the 1970s opposing Catholic principles; artificial insemination and unconventional families are current issues). Women. The presence of women in technical and business positions is increasing, although it is still relatively unusual to find them in the highest position of an organisation. Only 38% of Italian women under 65 are in the labour market – one of the lowest percentages in Western Europe. Nonetheless, the Italians are generally not inhibited when working together with the opposite sex and foreign women can do business in Italy without great difficulty. Sense of humour. Italians are generally not easily offended and you can criticize them and joke with them indeed, your sense of humour may well be appreciated by Italians. Regionalism. Italian regions should be grouped into three “macro-regions”, usually indicated by: the South, the Centre and the North of the Country. This distinction reflects a series of linguistic, geographic, and socio-economic regional differences. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  8     There are many tradition-related differences that exist between Northern and Southern regions. Some of them make Northern people appear more reserved and Southern people more open and relationship oriented. From a linguistic point of view, Italy has a large number of dialects and linguistic inflections that characterise all regions, towns, and even small villages. Gestures. Sign language is rich in ”expressions”. Two of the most popular signs you may see are: - grouping all fingers’ tips together against the thumb and waving the hand back and forth is to say “what do you want?” or “what is it ?”; - pointing the index and little fingers downwards to shape two “horns” is a sign to protect against bad luck, whereas the “horns” pointed upwards are a sign of offence. Cultural  taboos   While it is difficult to pinpoint a specific “taboo”, it should be considered that a number of topics are sensitive, e.g. politics, the mafia, private family issues, private income. Also, Italians are usually uncomfortable if their acquaintances start telling graphic jokes. Finally, even when your host is being explicitly negative about some aspects of the Italian situation, avoid expressing additional criticism of your own. On the contrary, movies, sport, arts, travel, fashion etc. can be good topics for discussion. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  9   Business  Communication   The ability to use the right language and the right gestures when communicating is very important, especially in Italy. Hand gestures and personal contacts are a feature of Italian conversations. If you move away or keep your distance, this can be considered unfriendly. Italians are often guided by their feelings and trust is very important in establishing a good business relationship. During a meeting, try not to create a sense of urgency since this can appear rude or a weakness. You should make small talk and demonstrate your interest in Italian food, art, fashion or sports. Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   According to a popular joke, to stop an Italian talking just block his/her hands. Italians, in fact, tend to gesture to emphasize their speech. They are also very tactile: upon meeting and leaving, embraces and “kisses” are common between close friends and relatives. Eye contact is vital because it is considered to be a sign of interest, openness and frankness. On the other hand, looking away is not appropriate and would send negative signals. Business cards can be exchanged at any time during a meeting. Italian business cards normally contain all important business information including: contact details, business position, education degree and/or professional titles. Sometimes, such titles are crossed out when the card is handed over. This is to indicate that a less formal relationship has been established and the formal title is not required when addressing your Italian partner. Language  Matters   The average language competence level of Italians is below EU standards, especially among the older generation. Currently, English is the most used foreign language. English, French, and German are frequently spoken in tourist resorts as, in these areas Italians are obliged to communicate with foreigners in order to conduct their business. German is widespread in some areas, in particular in the north-east regions. The use of a professional translator is widespread among businessmen. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  10   Business  Relationships   Personal relationships. Italians, generally establish relaxed personal relationships, often from the very first acquaintance. They also tend to be eloquent and curious. Questions about you, your family and your personal interests are all possible topics of conversation. Be aware, however, that this does not necessarily mean that you and your business have gained their trust. In fact, during the earlier contacts, the establishment of trust in a business relationship is as relevant as the presentation of a business project. Management structure and style. Italian companies tend to have a pyramidal hierarchy; final decisions are centralised and taken by the persons positioned in the upper levels of the pyramid. Employees also have a great respect for their bosses and they tend to look for consensus with their colleagues. Meetings are one of the best ways to get a deeper and common understanding of an issue rather than being the conclusive part of a decision making process. In this sense, meetings are more analysis-oriented than decision-oriented. Making  contact   Usually the first contact with an Italian business partner should be formal. You should send an e mail, make a phone call or send a fax or letter. The general format you should use is the following: Name of the Company Title and name of the person addressed Name of the street, followed by the number Post code (5 digits), Name of the city followed by the province abbreviation code Country Recently, Italian companies have been using Social Media like LinkedIn in order to promote their businesses and a lot of contacts have also been initiated throughout this communication tool. Please also consider that after the first contact, Italians like to do business on a face-to-face basis rather than by phone, fax or e-mail. If you don’t speak Italian, you should indicate this clearly in your letter, e-mail or fax, indicating the language you feel more confident speaking. Often, Italian businessmen do not speak English and they are prepared to use the services of a professional translator. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  11     Personal  Titles   A certain formality is still common and appreciated. The use of professional titles is required, especially in writing. Initially, you should address people by their title and last name (e.g. Dottor Rossi, please…) and wait to be explicitly invited to use other forms (first name or last name coupled with the Italian “tu”). On the other hand, the use of colloquial forms of address can be adopted quite rapidly, even during the first meeting, depending on the company culture and personal attitudes. Dottore and Dottoressa are generic (male and female) titles for people with a university degree. Specific titles are used for lawyers (Avvocato), engineers (Ingegnere) and architects (Architetto). In these cases, the same forms also apply to women. In writing, such titles are respectively abbreviated as Dott., Dott.ssa, Avv., Ing., Arch. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  12     Business  Etiquette     When doing business in Italy having cross cultural skills should improve the potential of your business trip. In order to prepare yourself and also to ensure that your business proposal is well tailored to the target audience, leading to a successful meeting with your Italian counterpart, you should demonstrate and understand Italian culture and etiquette. Courtesy is a quality that is very much appreciated in Italy, so ensure your conduct is always polished. There are specific etiquettes and protocols for individual social and business situations however, you should remember that Italian codes of behaviour are less important than consideration. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   Environmental issues have rapidly taken centre stage over the last two decades and specific legislation has been developed, according to European and International Standards (ISO – EMAS). In Italy, safeguarding and protecting the country’s natural heritage is very important. Restrictions are currently in place in 47% of the territory with an environmental protection system of: • 20 national parks; • 142 state natural reserves; • 89 regional parks; • 197 regional natural reserves; • 106 other protected areas; • 16 state marine reserves. However, the importance of enforcing environmental legislation is not always fully supported by public opinion. A common example of a rather generalised abuse is the building of houses, etc., without the required permits. Italian law has gradually included many principles of European law to protect consumers, securing them the right to form associations in this field. Product Safety is protected by law (L.281/98). businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  13   The activities that SMEs usually undertake under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are focussed on employees and local communities. CSR and ethical values are not seen to be as important for small businesses as are other values, such as security, innovation and quality. SME’s of Italy still don’t consider CSR and social values as being part of their strategic goals that could have a positive influence all aspects of their business. Punctuality   Punctuality is not a priority for Italians. Be patient and be prepared for some delay when you start working with a new Italian partner. In particular, do not take a small delay as a sign of lack of respect. As a general guideline, work plans are often not taken too strictly, so that some flexibility can be built into a deadline. Where a deadline must be firmly met, be sure to make it very clear to your Italian partner. Italians tend to ”multitask”, since they like to do many things at once, shifting their priorities as new demands arise but being unruffled by interruptions. As a consequence, you might experience differing reaction times from your Italian contact as he/she is probably following several other projects at once. Gift  giving   In Italian business culture, gift giving is not particularly common; only after a tried and trusted familiar relationship has been established, might it appear natural to give a small and not obviously expensive gift as a sign of friendship. A small gift may also be appropriate as a token of appreciation for Italian hospitality. In such a case, the choice of gift may include liquors, delicacies or crafts from the visitors’ country. When invited for a family lunch or dinner (see Entertaining), small presents can be given in an informal way as typically such an invitation would indicate a high level of familiarity. Pastries, chocolates or flowers are appropriate on such occasions. Never give an even number of flowers (especially roses) and avoid chrysanthemums as they are used for funerals. Business  Dress  Code   Dress and presentation plays an important role in Italian culture. Fashionable style is considered a sign of wealthy social status and success. Milan is one of the Wold’s four main businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  14   centres of fashion and Italian design and craftsmanship is valued, respected and coveted the world over. Anything that is ‘made in Italy’ has a tremendous cachet and respect. Prada, Marni, Max Mara, Armani, Dolce and Gabbana. Missoni and Gucci are just some high fashion Italian brands. In general, the characteristics of elegance are quality fabric dresses, such as lightweight wools and silk. Quite often, great attention is given to fashionable brand clothing and accessories. Formal attire is generally expected for business meetings, for the most part dark colours for businessmen. Businesswomen tend to wear elegant and modest pant or skirt suits, accessorised with simple jewellery and makeup. While a conservative style is always accepted, more informal clothing is also common, especially outside of large companies and financial circles., To be on the safe side it is recommended to adopt tasteful coordinated clothes and to refrain from “competing” on fashion details if you are not particularly interested in such things. Keep in mind that Italy is a major centre of European fashion design and production. Even casual clothes are smart and chic. Bribery  and  corruption   The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions was signed by Italy on 21 November 1997. The Convention has been ratified and implemented through Act No. 300 of 29.9.2000 and entered into force in Italy on 26 October 2000. The Act integrated the Criminal Code, introducing Article 322-bis which provides for the criminal responsibility of anyone who bribes or attempts to bribe a foreign public official receiving and/or procuring an undue benefit for himself or others. However, Italians continue to perceive that political and business sectors are the most affected by corrupt practices and that Government efforts to combat corruption are largely ineffective. The Global Coalition against Corruption Transparency International provides quantitative tools about levels of transparency and corruption in Italy. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  15   Business  Meeting  Etiquette     The safest practice when organising and attending meetings in Italy is to ‘act local’; your business partner will appreciate your cultural sensitivity. The following sections should provide you with some useful information on local attitudes to establishing and running business meetings, conducting negotiations, etc. Importance  of  Business  Meeting   Italians, like most south European people, are relationship-oriented. They usually prefer to establish direct relationships, even superficially, before “getting down” to business. The establishment of a reciprocal climate of trust and respect is as important as the exchange of information and details about a specific business proposal. Meetings are a way to get a deeper and common understanding of an issue rather than forming the conclusive part of a decision making process, so in this sense, they are more exploratory and analysis-oriented than decision-oriented. The goal of early contact and particularly of the first meeting is to provide all the information needed regarding a proposal and, in particular, to establish a reciprocal climate of trust and respect. Business  Meeting  planning   In order to overcome possible language barriers, written forms of communication are preferred for a first approach. In this case, either a fax or a letter is appropriate to present your idea and pave the way for a subsequent phone call or visit. Whenever possible, an introduction by someone who is already connected to the company would be useful. If you only have a general reference for the company you wish to approach, your phone call should be addressed to a secretary. You might explain who you are and why you are contacting the company, referring to your previous fax or e-mail, and giving the name of the person you would like to meet. Meetings are often organised in the company offices after 10.00 am or in the early afternoon, i.e. 3.00 pm. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  16   Negotiation  process   Be prepared for lengthy negotiations. Often negotiations are conducted slowly, both because Italians tend to carefully evaluate advantages and risks, and because of the hierarchical decision-making process of Italian companies. During the negotiations, you might be contacting and/or providing information to different people with specific roles (technical, financial, market oriented) who have limited decisional authority on the matter being negotiated. Most often, they will report to their boss to take a specific decision, thus slowing down the process. Final decisions, due to rigid hierarchical management structures are centralised and taken by the chairman. Be prepared, on the other hand, to deal with new aspects introduced by the “creative” individuals involved in the negotiation. Management often adopts short/medium term plans and strategies that can be repeatedly modified or improved/adjusted to the current situation. This may also introduce sudden changes during negotiations. During negotiations, Italians give importance to verbal commitments and the final contract is certainly based on previous informal agreements. Be patient, even when the timescale for conducting business is short, it is important to give time to your Italian partners. A sense of urgency is often taken as an attempt to weaken one’s bargaining position. On the other hand, once the agreement has been reached, your Italian partner will be strongly convinced that he/she has made the best decision! Meeting  protocol   Handshaking is common on all business and social occasions. The handshake is firm but not too long. Upon introductions and departures, people shake hands individually with all members of a group. In the case of a very friendly or family relationship, people may embrace and/or “kiss” on either cheek. In this case, “kissing” is done by simply pressing the sides of the face together. When being introduced you can simply say “piacere” (i.e. it is a pleasure) and pronounce your name clearly while shaking hands. If no one is giving a formal introduction, it is proper to shake hands and introduce yourself. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  17     A daily greeting such as “buongiorno” or “buonasera” (i.e. good morning, good evening) is generally expected upon arrival and when entering an office, shop, restaurant, etc. Before leaving you can say “arrivederci” (“see you”) or “a presto” (“see you soon”). How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   Dressing formally is generally required, in particular for first meetings, to make a serious and positive impression. During meetings, it is uncommon to have a secretary taking notes and even the participants themselves tend to only make a few short notes. Interrupting a speaker in discussions and meetings is tolerated as a way of reaching conclusions quickly or to allow for the introduction of new elements as soon as they surface. Often several people may speak simultaneously during a meeting, thus creating two or more “micro-meetings”. Also, especially during preliminary meetings, Italians may not follow agendas strictly. Mobile phones are generally switched off or set to “silent” mode during business meetings. However, it is not unusual to hear a mobile ring during meetings or public conferences. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   After a meeting, especially if minutes were not taken and language was an issue, it is good practice to summarize your understanding of the conclusions and send this to your Italian partner for confirmation, clarity and mutual approval. Italians tend to be enthusiastic about joining new project ideas even if a detailed work plan has not been prepared. On the other hand, they tend to follow several projects and ideas in parallel. Thus, as their interest can be diverted to other topics, be prepared to face “higher” and “lower” attention phases and do not be upset by such behaviour. Business  meals   It is common that business meetings end with an invitation to eating out, typically in a carefully selected restaurant, as a way to socialize and establish a closer relationship. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  18   According to circumstances and time constraints, the invitation might be either for lunch or, often preferably, for dinner. Lunch is still the main meal of the day and it comprises several courses. However, lunch during the working day is very quick and informal. A break for lunch during a meeting might feature simple sandwiches or possibly a single dish in a restaurant (e.g., pasta, or salad, or cheese, etc.). Usually, lunch begins after 1.00 p.m. Dinner time is around 8.00 p.m. In southern regions, especially during the summer, dinner time is delayed until 9 p.m. and even 10 p.m. A moderate consumption of wine during the meal is considered a way to socialize. However, drinking too much or getting drunk is normally not accepted and is considered gauche. The most common way to begin lunch or dinner is “buon appetito” (i.e. enjoy your lunch). The most usual toast for drinking is “salute” (i.e. to your health) or informally, “cin cin”. To alert the waiter, try to make eye contact. If necessary, you may raise your finger or hands to call a waiter saying “senta” (literally, “please, listen”), “il conto” (literally, “the bill”) etc. According to Italian etiquette, the host always pays the bill. The person invited may offer to pay the bill but, usually, the host will decline. The tip is included in the bill but it can be appropriate to leave an additional tip, often about 5% of the total amount. Lunch begins with an appetizer (“antipasto”) followed by pasta or soup (“primo piatto”, i.e. first course), a main course with salad (“secondo piatto”), dessert and/or cheese and fruits. These several courses are served in single portions. According to “good Italian tradition” any meal should end with a cup of strong “espresso” coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is often simply indicated as “hag” (after a popular brand of decaffeinated coffee). Italy is characterised by a wonderful and very rich variety of regional cooking: dishes like “tortellini” and “lasagna” (Emilia Romagna), “pasta al pesto” (Liguria), “pizza Napoletana” (Campania), “polenta” (Lombardia) and a large variety of fresh pasta. Southern Regions and Islands present a rich variety of delicious dishes based on fish, vegetables, olive oil, cheeses and cakes. White wine, in Italian “vino bianco” is typically served with fish and salad and red wine, in Italian “vino rosso” is served with meat, cheese and vegetables. Sweeter wines, such as “moscato” or “passito”, can be served with dessert. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  19   Business  Meeting  tips   Dress “formally” to make a serious, no-nonsense impression. Italians give importance to visual appearances and are accustomed to very high quality clothing and accessories. Many of the greatest designers in the world are Italian. Allow your Italian partner to make a “bella figura” (good impression) on you, by letting him/her show his/her qualities and successes by expressing appreciation for the hospitality offered. Accept your partner’s invitations for lunch or dinner as a way to develop your relationship and to gain trust. Be patient. Before tackling the details of your business idea, be sure that a reciprocal climate of trust is established between you and your business partner. Also, be prepared for extensive discussion before final decisions are reached. Be prepared to answer all sorts of questions from your “curious” Italian partners: this clearly indicates interest in what you are saying. Avoid showing your impatience to wrap up the negotiation: the more important the contract, the more time is required to secure a response from your Italian partner. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  20   Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   Universities are the main sources of placements in Italy. A survey on the job placement services conducted in 2009 by Fondazione Crui (the Association of Rectors of Public and Private Italian Universities) offered an overview on the activities and the results of universities in Italy. Some Italian students take part time employment in order to support themselves while studying. European students who want to have a placement experience can work in Italy without a work permit. Non- EU students do need a work permit in order to work in Italy but this is not easy to obtain. The employer must produce a letter of employment to the Italian Police Station “Questura”. In Italy, the bureaucratic process takes a very long time and a work permit may not be granted at the end. English is not always widely spoken in Italy, especially amongst the older generations. Knowledge of Italian will make it much easier for foreign students to meet people and experience the culture. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are many practical issues students and companies, who would have a placement experience should know: information on arrangements, safety, social security, visa and other formalities. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   European citizens who plan to travel and to stay temporarily in another EU country will need the European Health Insurance Card. Non-EU citizens need private health insurance and a consular declaration of its validity for Italy. If you don’t have insurance cover, access to all medical treatment is very expensive. Safety   The main personal safety tips are the same in Italy as in other countries: there are greater risks in large cities but it is necessary to be careful everywhere. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  21   When using public transport (buses, trains and metro), you should make sure that your personal belongings are secure as there is a risk of pickpocketing. When you are in pubs, cinemas, fast food, restaurants you shouldn’t leave bags or jackets unattended. Do  I  need  a  visa?   If you come from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries included in the Schengen area you will not need a tourist visa if you are planning to travel to Italy for less than three months in a period of six-months. Internship  and  placement  salary   As with most internships, the vast majority of placements are unpaid. Participants can receive academic credits from their university and the placement forms part of their college degree. In order to find a paid job during their internship, students can search on line both for information and for a list of companies and locations. Internship  and  placement  accommodation   Universities usually have officers who manage university accommodation, and who offer information on renting student apartments. These are usually cheaper than the cost of accommodation in the private sector. You could also consider renting a room in a private apartment and sharing the costs of the whole apartment with other students. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  22   Cost  of  Living     The tourist areas and main cities are more expensive than small towns. Students should work on the basis of a monthly budget of 1000 / 1500 Euros to cover the costs of accommodation, food, telephone, local travel and leisure. Money  and  Banking   Non residents can open an account by providing the bank with their tax registration code (codice fiscale). Some banks can also ask for a residence certificate. You can change currency at both banks and post offices or withdraw cash from Automatic Teller Machines (Bancomat) which have an international circuit. Credit cards are used, but you should use cash if you want buy things in smaller shops or at street markets. Traveling  costs   Travel costs depend on where in Italy you are staying. Large cities usually have an airport with good connections and public transport systems. When travelling in Italy you should be aware that demonstrations and strikes are frequent and that they can cause area, street and building closures, particularly in tourist areas, as well as disruptions to public transport services, causing delays and cancellations. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  23   Work-­‐life  Balance     In general, Italians try to reconcile work with private life, reserving enough time for family and private interests. However, the high unemployment rate and the growth of new variations of part time and temporary jobs are currently placing higher pressure, on young people in particular, who are looking for and trying to keep a job. It is still common for young people to live with their parents until they get married , due to a combination of economic and cultural constraints. Likewise, ties to one’s birth area remain strong. Mobility is often enforced however when looking for a (better) job. Family, in its “extended” form with strong links between several generations, is still a source of security and stability even if its importance is diminishing, due to a falling birth rate and new economic conditions. The Italian culture appreciates individual thinking and creativity. Nonetheless, individual decisions are expected to take into account family interests. National  holidays   Summer holidays are usually taken during August, when most large industries are closed. The second choice is July. Consider this when planning a meeting or trying to contact a company during the summer. The period between Christmas, New Year Day and the Epiphany is also characterised by reduced business activity. Main holidays in Italy are: New Year’s Day: January 1 Epiphany: January 6 Easter Monday Liberation Day: April 25 Labor Day: May 1 Republic Day: June 2 Assumption Day (“Ferragosto”): August 15 All Saints’ Day: November 1 Immaculate Conception: December 8 businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  24   Christmas Day: 25 December St. Stephen’s Day: 26 December In addition, all Italian cities celebrate the patron saint as a legal holiday. All businesses are closed on: St. John’s Day (June 24) in Florence and Genoa St. Peter’s Day (June 29) in Rome St. Rosalia’s Day (July 15) in Palermo St. Gennaro’s Day (September 19) in Naples St. Ambrogio’s Day (December 7) in Milan Working  hours   In the private sector, Italians tend to work long hours. A typical week’s working hours is from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm, from Monday to Friday. Frequently, you can find people still at work after 6.00 pm. This is especially true for managers who tend to take work home for the weekend or stay longer at the office. In the public sector, typical working hours are from 8.00 am to 2.00 pm from Monday to Saturday. However, many public offices compensate for being closed on Saturday with a couple of working afternoons. According to this schedule, a morning meeting can easily be scheduled at 9.30, a late morning appointment can be placed at 11.00 – 12.00 am and an after lunch meeting can be arranged around 2.30 – 3.00 pm. Lunch breaks are normally kept to a minimum especially in large cities. Occasionally, however, lunches with your Italian business partners can be quite sophisticated and long lasting. In such cases, lunches are used to build/reinforce a personal relationship – especially during first meetings. Health  insurance   The public National Health Service (S.S.N. “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale”) operates through a network of Local Health Units (ASL – Aziende Sanitarie Locali, about 197 all over the country) and hospitals (Aziende Ospedaliere) at a regional or national level located throughout the country. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •              |  25   In all regions, you can access the “health emergency service” (“Pronto Soccorso”) by calling the number 118. European citizens requiring urgent or unforeseen health treatment during a temporary stay in Italy can obtain health treatments from the SSN by presenting a Community certificate (the most common of which is the European Health Insurance Card – EHIC) ). businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  26     Social  Media  Guide     In Italy, the number of Social Media and Social Networks users, over the last year, has trebled. Social Networks such as Facebook, My Space, Linkedin and Netlog are the most popular, followed by local social media platforms, such as ItalyLink, (for sharing interests with anyone who loves Italy and the Italian way of life), Vinix (for professionals and lovers of Italian food and drinks), Fubles (to organize playing soccer in your city ), etc. Facebook penetration in Italy is 38.42% compared to the number of Internet userswhich is 71.33%. The active presence of companies on social media is still limited, but Web 2.0 tools are becoming used more and more for marketing and PR purposes. A recent report of ECCO, an International Communication Network, (“Everything you need to know about Social media but were afraid to ask / Italy”) shows that companies are yet to employ professionals whose sole role is the monitoring of Social Media and online conversations, although only the 20% think this will be the trend in the near future. Communication professionals consider that 2 or 3 hours per day are necessary to manage online activities. They also think that monitoring Web Reputation is a strategic factor which can directly influence company profits. In general, the trend is that businesses are turning their attention more and more towards Social Media and that they will develop a growing interest in this area in the near future. Search  and  Social  Media  Marketing  for  International  Business   Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics: businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  27     How to develop a personal brand online (1/12) • • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference. Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=l9LYw0mgtn4&feature=player _embedded How to use Twitter (2/12) • • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile. Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far! http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9CVY3pp91Dc&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12) • • Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services. These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zw27cRcwtM0&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  28     How to use social media for international business development (4/12) • • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with? Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Bx-B56AHS4c&feature= player_embedded How to use Facebook (5/12) • • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual. Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UmRGn-vdcO8&feature= player_embedded How to use YouTube (6/12) • • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project. Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=G2 0OVpmTBss businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  29     How to use LinkedIn (7/12) • • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries. Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=N6e_EAUQqic&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Google+ (8/12) • • • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013. It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine. Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=8ti 3SPHkEWw How to use copywriting online (9/12) • • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text. Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5f1hx_f2ONI&feature=player_ embedded businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  •            |  30     How to stay legal on social media (10/12) • • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access. Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eQxDpiHsdk&feature=player_embedde d How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12) • • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online. How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LbEq7jsG0jg&feature=player_ embedded How to blog (12/12) • • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=OqVjR7oI8Rs&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org   • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms. Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC. Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag. Content  Italy  
  •              |  31   Passport  to  Trade  2.0  Project  Partnership   Five Universities: Lead partner: Salford Business School, University of Salford, United Kingdom Elena Vasilieva Aleksej Heinze Alex Fenton URENIO research unit at Aristole University of Thessaloniki, Greece Christina Kakderi Nitsa Papadopoulou TSE Entre Research Centre Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland Satu Aaltonen Elisa Akola Institute for Information System Research University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany Verena Hausmann Susan Williams Petra Schubert Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania Adriana Grigorescu Leonardo Badea Three Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Spin, Italy Carmine Antonio Donato Dorella De Tommaso Technology Development & Innovation – TDI LTD Bulgaria Milanka Slavova Ivan Stoychev TIS Praha, Czech Republic Anna Klosova Richard Adekeye businessculture.org   Content  Italy