Spanish business culture guide - Learn about Spain
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Spanish business culture guide - Learn about Spain

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Spain. 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 Spain. 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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  • 1.            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Spain   Content Template http://businessculture.org/southerneurope/business-culture-in-spain/ businessculture.org   This project has been funded with support from the European Content  Italy   This Commission. 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.
  • 2.            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Business  Culture  in  Spain  ..........................................................................................................  4 Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Spain ...............................................................................................5 International Business in Spain .............................................................................................................5 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 ...............................................................................................................................10 Business Relationships .........................................................................................................................10 Making contact....................................................................................................................................11 Personal Titles .....................................................................................................................................11 Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  13 Corporate Social Responsibility ..........................................................................................................13 Punctuality ..........................................................................................................................................14 Gift giving ............................................................................................................................................14 Business Dress Code ............................................................................................................................14 Bribery and corruption........................................................................................................................15 Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  16 Importance of Business Meeting .........................................................................................................16 Business Meeting planning ..................................................................................................................16 Negotiation process .............................................................................................................................17 Meeting protocol .................................................................................................................................18 How to Run a Business Meeting .........................................................................................................18 Follow up letter after meeting with client............................................................................................19 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 3.            |  3     Business meals .....................................................................................................................................19 Business Meeting tips ..........................................................................................................................20 Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  21 Work experience .................................................................................................................................21 Internship and Placement advice ........................................................................................................21 Social security and European health insurance ..................................................................................21 Safety ...................................................................................................................................................21 Do I need a visa? .................................................................................................................................22 Internship and placement salary .........................................................................................................22 Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................22 Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  23 Money and Banking ............................................................................................................................23 Traveling costs.....................................................................................................................................23 Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  24 National holidays.................................................................................................................................24 Working hours .....................................................................................................................................25 Health insurance .................................................................................................................................26 Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  27 Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business .........................................................27 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 4.            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Spain   The following is a very short introduction to Spain. 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?v=MO5EolWTGeo) Spain extends 505,182 km2 over the Iberian Peninsula to the southwest of Europe. The National Institute of Statistics indicates in 2011 that the population was 46,815,916. Spain is in the Central European time zone and adheres to CET (UTC+1) during the winter and CEST (UTC+2) during the summer months from March to October. The climate in Spain is predominantly Mediterranean. In particular, winters are mild and summers are hot in the coastal regions, with high rainfall in the Cantabrian area. In the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada, the climate is alpine, whereas the south eastern part of the country is semi-arid and the Canary Islands are subtropical. However, in the northern and mountainous regions, the climate is harsher and it is usual to see snow from the winter months until the end of spring. Spain is a very diverse country and each region has its own unique character and distinctive atmosphere. The country comprises 17 autonomous regions and two autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast). Each region has its own institutional statute, which is written into the Constitution and forms an integral part of the set of Spanish State laws. businessculture.org   Content  Italy  
  • 5.              |  5   Spain is a country with a rich history. This was particularly so in the 15th century, when the country started to flourish under the reign of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile. At that time, Spain was one of the world’s major powers with significant overseas activities, including sponsoring the successful voyage of Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo) and his discovery of the new world. A more recent milestone in Spanish history was the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, which ended a 40 year period of fascist dictatorship. After this date, Spain set out on its path towards democracy and the establishment of a modern market economy. Spain is now a parliamentary democracy, a member of international organisations including the United Nations and NATO and has been a Member State of the European Union since 1986. Historically, Spain’s primary industrial sectors have been food, textile, electronics production, highly developed machinery, including automobile plants, railroad foundries and workshops, diesel, electrical engineering and industrial equipment plants. The main manufacturing centre of Spain is the capital, Madrid and industry is predominantly concentrated in few regions in Catalonia, in particular around Barcelona, in Asturias, and in the Basque provinces. In the northern region there are also iron and steel works, a number of engineering industries, chemical plants, and shipbuilding facilities. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Spain   Spain has experienced a considerable shift in values and attitudes, particularly after the restoration of democracy in 1975. Spanish social values and attitudes were modernized as its people came increasingly into contact with the outside world and the country was opened up to the outside world. The influx of tourists to Spain had a great impact in this respect; not only did tourists bring foreign currency to the country, they also brought the democratic political and social values of Western Europe. Another reason was the migration of Spanish workers to France, Switzerland, and Germany who brought back the cultural habits of other developed Western European countries on their return to Spain. International  Business  in  Spain   This section will deal with some salient aspects of Spanish culture, traditions and lifestyle that have a tangible impact on the way that business is conducted in the country. The knowledge of traditional values and attitudes of the people will help you to understand them better and adapt the way you do business accordingly, which is beneficial to both sides. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 6.            |  6     The following section highlights the general business and educational environment of Spain and focuses on the attitudes and values of the Spanish, as well as providing useful information on training practices and placements. General  Education   In Spain, education serves as an important instrument in national integration by promoting equal opportunities as well as democratic, social and cultural values. However, Spain has traditionally spent less on education than other western European countries. Primary education is free and obligatory and there exists an extensive network of private schools; some of which are subsidised by the government and offer primary education free or at a reduced fee. There are also a considerable number of religious schools, which often offer a high quality of education. The quality of private sector schools varies greatly and, as many of them are severely underfunded, private education is not necessarily associated with elite education, as is often the case in other western European countries. In the 1980’s, the educational system was challenged and a new law on the right to education was introduced. Schools were sorted into three categories: free public schools respecting diverse religious beliefs, private schools offering paid education and religious schools, where students enjoyed the right not to receive instruction that violated their religious beliefs. Over recent decades, the Spanish education system has enjoyed an enormous success in enrolling the population into higher education. Since the 1960’s, university enrolments have nearly quadrupled and Spain now has some of the highest proportions of young people going on to higher education in Europe. However, the situation is not so bright when it comes to the student-teacher ratio in the school-age population and a teacher’s job is not as highly regarded as in other western European countries. Although the standard of educational services in Spain is not very high compared to other Western European countries, it is gradually improving. More and more people go abroad to study, in order to gain international experience and improve their language skills. At the same time, they also become more culturally aware, learning skills and knowledge abroad that are valuable in their home country. Furthermore, today the use of information technology is spreading rapidly. All these factors contribute to the improvement of the situation in education and training. Educational  standards   businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 7.              |  7   The information from the following section should help you decide whether you need to bring an interpreter with your or whether you can rely on the language skills of your host. It may also help you decide what level of computer literacy you can expect from your Spanish business associate. The section is divided into three parts: general education, foreign language competence and cultural awareness. Other  Issues  such  as  transportation  infrastructure   The Spanish style of life is very different to other western European cultures, with a much more laidback attitude. You will most probably find Spanish people to be less worried and more relaxed than you are used to. The Spanish enjoy life to the full; they love good food, drink, dancing and music. In order to understand Spanish culture fully, it is necessary to take part in social events and understand their habits and traditions. Another characteristic of the Spanish people is that they are extremely proud of the particular region where they come from. Spanish people are very heavy smokers compared to the rest of Europe, so smoking is widely accepted in public places. However, the number of smoke-free places is gradually increasing and should you wish to light a cigarette in front of your Spanish associate, you should always ask for their permission first. Family is an important part of Spanish life and changes within the family institution also affect business attitudes. Spain has made significant progress on equal opportunities for both sexes, although men still hold the majority of senior positions within companies and it is difficult to find women in some traditionally masculine professions. Nowadays, various government initiatives are in place to promote equal opportunities and legislation has been in place since 2007 to ensure equality in the terms and conditions of employment. The most significant barriers for women entering the workplace do not include social norms, but rather chronic high unemployment and lack of part-time jobs. Laws regarding the employment of handicapped people and the responsibility of employers for their social integration already exist; obliging companies, with over 50 employees, to hire at least 2% of their staff from people with disabilities. Spain is a very religious country with a large number of churches and other sacred places. You should be particularly careful when visiting such places to ensure that your dress is appropriate. Swimwear, short skirts and revealing outfits should be avoided. If you are travelling with your pet within the European Union, you will need to obtain a ‘Pet Passport’ indicating the origin of the pet and certifying that the pet has received appropriate vaccinations. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 8.              |  8   Cultural  taboos   Although the Spanish are usually open and tolerant to other cultures, there are some issues that are best avoided in casual conversation or business encounters. These sensitive issues include, for instance, discussion about the Franco regime, concentration camps and prisons, the Spanish Civil War, partisan politics, religion, conflicts between regions of Spain (particularly Basque, Catalan and Gibraltar), homosexuality, personal finances or questions of a deeply personal nature. Other topics to avoid include bullfighting, machismo and feminism. Furthermore, although the body language of a Spaniard is usually more animated, it is advisable not to use excessive gestures and to avoid, for instance, backslapping or hugging in the initial phase of a business relationship. Once your relationship with Spanish business associates has developed into a strong bond, friendly gestures, such as hugging, may become acceptable. Spain is a relatively tolerant nation, but it is still advisable to follow the lead of your partner and not start discussing a sensitive topic, until they broach the subject. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 9.              |  9   Business  Communication   Good, effective communication is always an important element of a successful business encounter. The following section will focus on those aspects of communication that are essential, mainly during the initial phases of an encounter. In particular, the following section will focus on leaving a positive first impression. After reading this section you will have an understanding of the type of verbal and non-verbal communication that is expected in Spain. Also, you will have an appreciation of typical Spanish working life and the style of conducting business that you should expect from your Spanish counterparts. The final sections will then outline essential recommended guidelines that should be adhered to when eating out with your business associates in Spain. Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   In business relationships, communication is usually formal and follows strict rules of protocol that should be adhered to at all times. You should avoid confrontation as much as possible, because Spaniards do not like to admit that they are wrong, especially in public. They are very much concerned about how they are perceived by others and try to avoid looking foolish, at all times. Similarly it is advisable to stay modest when describing your achievements and accomplishments. Even during a first encounter, the Spanish tend to be extremely outgoing and very friendly. Spaniards can also be very proud and individualistic and, as a Mediterranean culture, they use their extrovert nature to get to know others and learn about other cultures. The qualities appreciated by Spaniards are, above all, those of character and modesty. There is no emphasis on professional experience or business success, as in other Western European countries. It is essential to be patient, to listen and pay attention and certainly to display some personal pride and honour, in order to prove yourself and gain the respect of your associates. Another valued characteristic is the ability to be amusing and entertaining, as humour plays an important role, even in business encounters. You should guard against any kind of sarcasm that might offend your Spanish counterparts or undermine their respect and trust; although, it is difficult to cause real offence without being directly insulting. You should avoid making disrespectful remarks about Spanish traditions or practices and, under no circumstances, should you comment on national or regional stereotypes that Spaniards may find insulting. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 10.              |  10   Welcome topics of conversation include discussion about your home country, places you have visited (particularly in Spain), Spanish art and architecture, Spanish traditions such as dance or wines and family. Sport is also a safe topic and football is very popular in Spain. Language  Matters   Generally, all members of the younger generation speak at least some English. This is in sharp contrast to the older generation, where the chances of encountering someone with a decent level of English are negligible. In the business environment, it is reasonable to expect that Spanish executives will speak English and will not require an interpreter. Generally, most international business negotiations are conducted in English, however there are exceptions. So, it is advisable to check the foreign language competencies of your business counterparts before your arrival in the country, in order to ensure that the appropriate translation facilities are available. In general, when speaking with someone in their non-native language, it is important to take care to speak slowly, clearly and without the use of slang or excess technical vocabulary. Apart from English, you may find that your business contacts will speak other languages; French and German are the most common. You may also decide to conduct the negotiation in Spanish, which might be particularly useful in cases where a long-term relationship is anticipated, as speaking the native language of your Spanish associates may help you to integrate better into their culture. Generally, Spaniards like to interact with people from abroad and they often believe in the superiority of products and services coming from abroad. You can expect your Spanish counterpart to be curious about the products or services you offer and ask additional questions. You should allow plenty of additional time for business meetings; especially where you are making a presentation.. Spanish people like to take their time and hate to be rushed when making an important decision. You can expect your Spanish business associate to be keen on setting up a meeting with you. Also, keep in mind that the more you get to know your associate beforehand, the greater are the chances of a successful outcome, since the relationship is such an important element. Business  Relationships   Trust and personal relationships are the keys to the success of doing business in Spain. Spanish people rarely conduct business with someone they feel that they cannot trust or businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 11.              |  11   someone with whom they do not have any personal relationship. The essential nature of trust within business relationships in Spain means that it is critical to get to know your counterparts well, in order to build that trust. Thus, you should allow sufficient time in your travel arrangements for long meetings and socialising, to allow time to get to know each other. Particularly in the initial phase of a business relationship, it is advisable to focus on strengthening personal bonds. It is only when these have been successfully established that you should proceed to discuss business matters and close deals. The advantage and disadvantage of the ‘Spanish approach’ is that personal connections outweigh business contacts, such that loyalties and relationships are devoted to the individuals rather than the companies they represent. So, you will keep the personal relationships you develop throughout your career and businesses have to re-invest time and resources in developing relationships whenever their representatives change. Due to the value of trust within business relationships, Spanish executives usually do not insist on written confirmation of a deal. However, this does not apply to major contracts, where legal and financial terms have to be explicit. If the norm for your company is to confirm details in writing and establish formal agreements, then it is expected that you will follow these norms with your Spanish counterparts. Making  contact   Spanish people always prefer face-to-face contact to written or telephone communications, as they believe it is easier to build a personal relationship that way. In general, physical contact is more common in Spain than in other Western European countries. People use a more animated style of body language and expressive gestures. They also stand closer when in conversation and maintain more direct eye contact when they speak. First contact is critical in developing a relationship in Spain and your appearance has a tremendous impact on first impressions. Similarly, Spanish counterparts will also do their best to present themselves well and make a good impression. It is customary to shake hands at every business encounter, particularly when introduced to someone new. In Spain, many men use a two-handed shake where the left hand is placed on the right forearm of the other person. The handshake should not be too firm. After a good relationship has been established, men may embrace and pat each other on the shoulder. Women may kiss each other on both cheeks, starting with the left. Personal  Titles   The basic rule concerning the use of names and titles in Spain is that first names are used only when addressing someone from your family circle, friends and children. Similarly, in the businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 12.            |  12     Spanish language there are two ways of saying ’you‘: ‘usted’ is the formal style of address, used for addressing older or more senior people with respect; whereas ‘tu’ is more informal and used mainly amongst family members and friends. However, in today’s language there is a tendency to use first names and tú from the outset in business relations, where associates are of equal status or seniority. This is the case, particularly in the South, where people tend to have more informal relationships that develop quickly. In the business environment, it is advisable to use the courtesy titles: ‘señor’ for a man, ‘señora’ for a married woman and ‘señorita’ for an unmarried woman together with the person’s surname. In certain cases, you may be expected to use their professional titles when addressing a person, such as professor or doctor together with their surname. However, professional and academic titles are not normally used when addressing Spanish executives. The tradition of addressing someone by the title ‘don’ (for a man) or ‘doña’ (for a woman) with their first name was historically used as a form of respect to an older or senior person. Today, this is uncommon in Spain and using this form of address may appear sarcastic or mocking in today’s language. Spanish people usually have surnames consisting of their father’s first surname and their mother’s maiden name. You will be expected to use both unless your associates let you know clearly that they only use the one name, and the same rule applies to compound first names, for instance JoséMaría. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 13.              |  13   Business  Etiquette     The attitudes and values of a country have a significant impact on the way that business is conducted. The following section will outline major themes in this area. In particular, it will deal with areas of Spanish culture that may influence the success of business negotiations. Generally, the Spanish are a very open and communicative people; they value highly their families, personal relationships and cultural traditions. They usually do not put too much emphasis upon work, as they like to focus on their leisure and live each day to the fullest. In general, family and social bonds are more important than a person’s working life in Spain. It is crucial to realise this fact when conducting business with Spaniards, as this may help you to understand the point of view of your Spanish counterparts in various situations. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   The most significant environmental issues in Spain include air, water and noise pollution. The Government has been trying to address these issues for many years and the situation is gradually improving. However, the condition of the rivers in many of the large cities is critical, as companies are dumping toxic effluents into them. Air pollution is also an issue in large cities, particularly in Madrid, and the government’s recommended maximum levels are often exceeded considerably. However, air pollution was even more serious in the past, due to oil-fired space heating, heavy road traffic and heavy industries. The development of important key laws in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility is increasing, especially since the establishment of the State Council on Corporate Social Responsibility in February 2008, which is responsible for fostering and promoting CSR policies, and planning new measures. In March 2010, the Spanish cabinet approved the Sustainable Economy Law which contains various measures related to CSR focused on transparency, including the disclosure of the remuneration of managers and directors who are responsible for sustainability in the management structures of state-owned companies. Initiatives undertaken by the European Union, international organizations, associations, nongovernmental organisations and the media are actively promoting CSR in Spain, although the degree of implementation is still moderate. The main priorities for Spain are: transparency and communication, social cohesion, diversity management, support for a productive economy, socially responsible investment, and integration of CSR into the education system. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 14.              |  14   Spanish owners, managers and employees consider that it is very important to comply with Human Rights laws in their supply chain. It seems that most customers do the same and this is one of the main issues when considering which companies are socially responsible. Nevertheless, only 12% of companies require social or environmental audits from their suppliers to verify their activities. Punctuality   Spanish people do not share the same concept of time as other western European nations. In Spain being late is usually not considered impolite and deadlines are often considered as objectives to be met where possible, but are not viewed as binding. Gift  giving   In Spain, business people do not usually give gifts to each other. However, gifts are sometimes offered at the end of a successful negotiation or to say thank you for a favour. Gifts should not be too expensive, so that they cannot be perceived as a bribe and usually take the form of food, drinks or souvenirs from your home country. Corporate gifts or books about your country are also welcome gifts, and a bottle of whisky or brandy would also make a useful alternative gift, if you have nothing else to offer. As Spanish people are generally brand and quality conscious, it is advisable to offer only high-quality items, preferably of a reputable brand. Gifts are usually opened as they are received. If you are invited to a Spanish home, you should take presents for the family members and suitable gifts may include a box of chocolates, sweets, souvenirs or flowers. When giving flowers, you should not give dahlias, chrysanthemums, white lilies or red roses due to cultural associations; it is also important to gift flowers in odd numbers, as long as they do not add up to thirteen. Clothing, such as branded sports or fashion t-shirts, are usually suitable gifts for children. Business  Dress  Code   Spanish people are very conscious of personal presentation and will perceive your appearance as an indication of your professional achievement and relative social standing. Thus, it is important to dress in a manner that demonstrates professionalism, style and a serious approach to business. It is advisable to dress with elegance and use only top-quality materials in subdued colours. Designer clothes are particularly recommended and elegant accessories are important for both men and women. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 15.              |  15   For men, dark woollen or linen suits and silk ties with white cotton shirts are recommended. As Spanish weather can be very hot, it is usually acceptable to wear lightweight suits, to loosen one’s tie and throw one’s jacket over one’s shoulder. If in doubt, simply follow the lead of your business host. Women should wear well-cut suits or dresses made of high-quality fabrics. In general, Spanish women are expected to avoid drawing attention to their physical sexuality and tend to express themselves through their immaculate clothes and hair. Unless you are visiting Spain as a tourist, it is best to avoid wearing shorts and dress conservatively in the cities. You should also be well covered if entering a church and dress up for the occasion, if dining out at a restaurant. Furthermore, high quality restaurants will have a formal dress code, even in hot summer months, such that T-shirts, cheap jeans and trainers are not acceptable attire. Bribery  and  corruption   Spain has, to some extent, a higher level of corruption than other western European countries. Corruption is an important issue in Spanish politics and many professionals agree that Spain should rapidly amend its laws. It is widely believed that unethical companies should be held responsible and face severe consequences for bribery and illicit activities. A number of anti-corruption initiatives have been adopted under the framework of the Plan of Economic Reactivation, presented by the Economy and Finance Ministry in March 2005. It is expected that the penalties on bribery will be increased even more in following years, so that they have a clear dissuasive effect. It is also expected that the legal definition of a bribe will soon be extended to non-monetary benefits, including nepotism. In other words, it is anticipated that measures to fight bribery and corruption will be strengthened in the following years. Today Spain is attractive to foreigners not only as a tourist destination, but also as a place for their second homes. This is one of the factors that lead to the expansion of the Spanish property market, which has, in many cases, served as a money-laundering facility for foreign residents. This type of crime is attracting other phenomena, such as drug trafficking and prostitution, which constitute serious problems in Spain and the source of much of the bribery and corruption in the country. Most of the cases of bribery and corruption are reported from the public sector. They are related primarily to concessions, ambiguous approvals to contractors and economic groups, or passing jobs to friends and family members. However, corruption is usually not identified as an obstacle by foreign firms doing business in Spain and the situation is rapidly improving, with the introduction of measures aimed to fight corruption and bribery. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 16.            |  16     Business  Meeting  Etiquette     The ways business meetings are conducted differ between different countries. Although there might be some regional variations, there are usually a number of typical characteristics that you should be aware of when conducting business in that country. The way business is conducted in Spain is more relaxed compared to other Western European nations; you should be prepared for rather time-consuming and lengthy negotiations. You should allow sufficient time in your schedule for getting to know your business partners properly, before the start of negotiations. Always bear in mind that social bonds must be built first, before business can be discussed. A sound relationship is an integral part of successful negotiations in Spain. In many cases, social bonds serve to guarantee agreements and may even replace written contracts. Often, written statements are not given as much importance as in, for instance, the UK or Germany. When preparing for business negotiations in a foreign country, it is good to bear in mind that the key to successful negotiation is to respect the culture, values and traditions of your prospective partners. Importance  of  Business  Meeting   Generally, Spaniards like to interact with people from abroad as they still believe in the superiority of products and services coming from abroad. You can expect your Spanish counterpart to be curious about the products or services you offer and ask additional questions. As mentioned before, Spanish prefer to know people before starting a business relationship, therefore, it is advisable to be open with any questions asked about your business or family life. Spaniards place great emphasis on trust and honesty, so this should be given serious consideration before arranging a first meeting. Business  Meeting  planning   When setting up a meeting, it is recommended to make appointments in advance and confirm them by letter, fax or email just before your arrival. This will avoid any confusion or misunderstanding and save time, if meetings have to be re-arranged. When arranging the initial meeting, it is advisable to choose a time around mid-morning. This will avoid any businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 17.            |  17     issues with siesta breaks, when the foreign business traveller is unfamiliar with the working practices of a particular business. Spain has the highest number of public holidays in Europe, with at least fourteen, mostly national, but also regional and local. If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, many people take a four-day weekend, known as ‘hacer puente’. In addition, the majority of towns and villages have important annual fiestas and/or ferias that may last several days. So, it is advisable to check regional and local calendars, as well as the list of national holidays, before arranging meetings and making travel plans. In Spanish business culture, hierarchy and position are valued highly and it is advisable to arrange meetings between representatives of an equivalent position and professional status. Spanish business culture places great emphasis on authority within organisations and decisions will be made by the most senior manager present in a meeting. Senior managers tend to be far removed from more junior colleagues. Generally, subordinates are required to respect their managers and follow the instructions given to them. Spaniards tend to work well in teams with managers seeing themselves as team players, even though there is usually a ‘closed-door’ approach to management. Visitors to Spain should be aware that there are two quite distinct business cultures. On the one hand, there are the bigger and newer, or reformed, industries that have received large amounts of foreign investment and have adopted modern, international management techniques. There are also more traditional small to medium enterprises and family businesses that account for the majority of Spain’s GDP. The leading banks, which still constitute the business elite, are situated somewhere in the middle. Negotiation  process   It is important to begin negotiations only after you have developed a personal relationship and a certain level of trust with your Spanish counterparts. Any meeting will normally begin with discussing general matters and catching up with each other on a personal level in order to build and establish a solid working relationship. Feelings and relationships play much more of an important role for Spaniards than facts and the personal relationships should be your primary focus. For the business matters to be discussed during a meeting, it is important to follow a set agenda so that the discussion does not stray too far from the topic. You should ensure that your presentation is clear and that everyone in the meeting is able to follow and understand the discussion. Be particularly careful here since Spanish people will not admit that they are having difficulties in front of others, as the loss of face is viewed negatively in Spain. It is businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 18.            |  18     therefore recommended that you provide a printout of the executive summary of your presentation in Spanish. As Spain is a hierarchical country, final decisions are only made by the most senior managers in the company. In your business dealings you may never actually meet the person who ultimately makes the decision concerning your proposals. This is a normal way of doing business in Spain that affects everyone, and you should not let it put you off or make you feel disadvantaged. The Spanish are traditionally very thorough and highly likely to review every detail to make certain all the commitments and implications are fully understood. Once a verbal agreement has been made, a full contract will then be written up and circulated for review and approval within a reasonable period of time. Meeting  protocol   An initial introduction at business and social meetings would usually mean a formal handshake, while maintaining direct eye contact with your host. Before the formalities of a meeting, you should spend time getting to know your host and expect to discuss general informal subjects, such as the weather, family, or travel arrangements and how your journey was. When you arrive for appointment, it is advisable to present your business card to the receptionist, which ideally should be printed in Spanish and English with the Spanish side facing up. When attending a meeting with a new business partner for the first time, it is advisable to take plenty of information about your company that you can give out. Product samples, demonstrations and working examples of your services should also be used where appropriate. The first meeting is generally formal and is used as a means to get to know each other. When taking printed material to meetings, ensure both English and Spanish versions are available. How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   In Spain, decisions are usually not made during meetings, which tend to be mainly for discussion and the exchange of ideas. Furthermore, decision-making can be slow as various levels of management need to be consulted. Therefore, you should make sure you are businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 19.              |  19   conducting negotiations with the person who has decision-making authority within the company. The majority of Spaniards do not give their opinion at meetings. So, watching non-verbal clues is crucial for the success of negotiations. You may find that a very effective way of gaining the acceptance of Spanish business associates is simply by conforming to their ways of doing things and trying to understand them. This will help you to gain respect for their culture, which in turn will make your Spanish counterparts respect you. Another element of Spanish culture that impacts significantly on the course of business meetings is the concept of time. Spanish people usually do not hurry; so don’t be surprised if your Spanish counterparts are late for a meeting or do not meet a deadline on time. When dealing with the Spanish, extreme patience and respect for their culture is required for successful negotiations. At meetings you may find that several people are speaking at once and interruptions are common. This is a cultural phenomenon and often indicates genuine interest in the discussion. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   It is always important to follow-up after the completion of a business deal to express thanks and to reinforce the personal relationships that have been created. Any action items should be followed up quickly, to ensure that the partnership does not lose momentum and establish a pattern of credibility and operational expectations. As the relationship develops, it is acceptable to invite your Spanish counterpart out to more informal social gatherings, such as at a restaurant or dinner party. 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. According to circumstances and time constraints, the invitation might be either for lunch or, a cup of strong “espresso” coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is often simply indicated as “hag” (after 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  Spain  
  • 20.              |  20   Business  Meeting  tips   Spaniards pay attention on what they say and how they say it. Especially when dealing with outsiders, Spaniards will often insist that everything is in perfect order, even when this is not the case. This is a 'face-saving' measure to appear competent and in control. The foreign visitor should pay close attention during conversations with Spanish contacts to discern the sincerity or veracity of what is being said. It is important to be aware that numbers can be particularly unreliable in Spanish culture. Spanish managers tend to be averse to budgets and action plans and they prefer oral, face-toface communication to the written form. Because of the reluctance among Spaniards to reveal bad news, it is advisable to have where possible, a network of independent, disinterested contacts that can check or interpret what you are being told. Spaniards that have worked or been educated outside Spain will be a valuable resource in this respect, since they are more likely to be sympathetic and supportive in your desire to know the truth. It is important that you stay in touch with your Spanish counterparts, helping to implement what has been agreed during the business discussions. However, it is important that sensitivity is shown towards the pride that the Spanish feel in being able to handle things independently. It is important therefore that you should never appear intrusive, but always be available. It is recommended that you show an interest in learning about life in Spain, while providing them with the resources and information they need to reach their objectives. In line with some European countries relatively few women are yet in senior management positions in Spain. Businesswomen travelling to Spain will however be treated with respect. It is important though that female business travellers dress and behave in a professional manner at all times. Machismo remains a very important aspect of the mentality of many Spanish men, who still feel the need to be in control of all situations. Having said this, most Spanish men are usually willing to accept a lunch or dinner invitation from an overseas businesswoman. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 21.              |  21   Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   International students can undertake student work placements in Spain, in addition to studying and conducting research at Spanish universities. They will need to apply for the relevant permit from the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the specific conditions and documentation required will vary, according to the applicant’s country of residence and the duration of the placement. The Foundation for the International Promotion of Spanish Universities manages and contributes to a range of international scholarship and collaboration programmes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are several practical issues related to internship and placement you should need to know. It’s very important you are aware about the formalities necessary before leaving such as Visa rules, social security, arrangements. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are entitled to access free medical and hospital care in Spain, on presentation of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Students coming from outside of the European Union will need to check whether there is a reciprocal healthcare agreement between their country and Spain and apply for the relevant documentation, in order to access free or subsidised health services. However, it is recommended that you take out private insurance to cover any costs that may not be covered by the public healthcare system and any deficiencies in your entitlement. Safety   Spain is generally a safe country, although there are greater risks in large towns and it is always best to exercise a degree of caution and pay attention to local advice. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 22.              |  22   Do  I  need  a  visa?   EU citizens don’t need a visa to enter Spain, but will need to apply for a NIE (Numero de Identificación de Extranjeros, Foreign National Identity Number) in order to open a bank account and access other services that may be required for a longer stay in the country. Foreign students coming to Spain from outside of the European Union for a period greater than 90 days must apply for a study visa. Researchers or lecturers who enter the country with a residence visa can work without obtaining a work permit, but they must start the procedures to obtain a resident’s card within 30 days of their arrival in Spain. Internship  and  placement  salary   Usually placements and internships are unpaid, although students can obtain academic credits. However, there are some private organisations that offer information and assistance to find paid work placement opportunities to students and researchers during their stay in Spain. Internship  and  placement  accommodation   There are different types of student residences, with some accommodation being provided directly by the educational institutions. Colegios mayores are residences that are usually situated close to the universities and provide cultural, social and religious services to students in support of their education. Some universities also provide accommodation through a system of local families hosting students in their own homes, which can be particularly interesting for foreign students looking to gain a more personal appreciation of Spanish culture. A common practice among Spanish students is to share a rented flat and rents vary widely depending on the city and on the number of flatmates. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 23.              |  23   Cost  of  Living     The cost of accommodation (renting a flat, living in a university residence, etc.) is usually higher in the larger cities. Food prices and the cost of other services tend to be quite similar to the rest of Europe. Different sources show that the estimated cost of living for students and researchers in Spain is between €900 and €1100 per month. Money  and  Banking   The process of opening a bank account in Spain depends on the nationality of the applicant. Residents require a valid passport and resident identity card to open an account, whereas nonresidents need to prove their non-residential status; either by acquiring a certificate from the local police issuing office, or by authorising the bank to submit the application for a fee of around €15. The bank account will not be active until the branch has the certificate. Traveling  costs   Students are responsible for their own travel expenses, although they may be eligible for a European grant to cover study in another member state. Students who participate in placement and internship programs organised by private agencies normally pay a program fee that covers registration and enrolment, finding accommodation for the entire period of the stay and placement confirmation. This fee does not include travel expenses, such as airfares, transfers, local transportation or travel insurance, which must be arranged separately by the student. Long distance buses cost less than the train, but journey times are about 30% longer and booking tickets in advance is made difficult due to the number of competing service providers in the network. The cost of travelling within cities in Spain is not expensive: a bus or metro ticket costs about €1.25 to €1.50 and there are usually a number of discounts available. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 24.            |  24     Work-­‐life  Balance     There are only a very limited number of measures aimed at balancing work and family life in Spain and those that exist are often found to be ineffective, especially those focusing on extended leave and reduced working hours. Since the economic crisis of 2008, many families cannot afford to take leave and reduce their income. Also, people are reluctant to accept reduced working hours, as they believe their professional careers would be impaired as a result. The work-life imbalance can also have a deleterious effect on companies, as workers’ productivity may decline, absenteeism may increase and accidents may occur. Particularly affected by the new pace of working life are households where both parents are working full-time. Combined with a chronic lack of childcare facilities, this often means that they are unable to take care of their children during the week. So, grandparents often play a significant role in supporting Spanish families coping with limited resources. As a result, the government is searching for new initiatives and public measures. Many professionals also argue that there is need to bring about a change in cultural attitudes. Authorities suggest that men, in particular, should be fully committed to taking care of children and the elderly, in order to achieve a satisfactory balance between work and family life. Apart from various legal frameworks concerning the work-life balance, there are plans to build more nursery schools and promote family-friendly working schemes within Spanish companies. The family is the cornerstone of Spanish culture and serves as a social and financial support network. National  holidays   Spain has 14 public holidays each year, 2 of which vary depending on the local municipality. Employees are normally entitled to 30 calendar days of paid holiday each year, except where a collective agreement or contract has been established. Holidays are usually taken in July, August or September, with August being the most popular month. The dates of the national public and religious holidays (bank holiday) are as follows: • • 1st January – New Year 6th January – Epiphany businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 25.            |  25     • Good Friday and Easter Monday – Easter falls on a different date in late March or early April each year. • 1st May – Labour Day • 15th August – Day of the Assumption • 12th October – National Holiday of Spain • 1st November – All Saints Day • 6th December – Spanish Constitution Day • 8th December – Immaculate Conception • 25th December Christmas Day Working  hours   The typical Spanish working day tends to be from around 8.30am or 9am to around 1.30 pm and then from 4.30pm or 5pm to around 8pm. The famous siesta, whilst declining in the larger cities, is still a major part of the working day in Spain. The siesta is a mid-afternoon break, usually around three hours, which gives employees a break from work during the intense midday heat. Most people tend to go home for lunch, spend time with their family or relax during this time. The Spanish tradition of long lunches and afternoon breaks has been challenged in recent years. Increased competition from other European and worldwide markets has resulted in many employers abandoning long established practices in favour of the intensive working day, where employees have a short lunch break, and finish earlier in the afternoon. Many employees in offices in the cities remain at their desks throughout the afternoon and only rural areas largely retain strict adherence to the siesta, where the pace of life tends to mean that the siesta is still a key part of the day. The standard working week is 40 hours in Spain but this does vary between occupations. The law also ensures there is a minimum of twelve hours rest between working days and that employees cannot work more than eighty hours of overtime in a single year unless there is a collective agreement in place. Hours for banks and public offices: businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 26.              |  26   Banks Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 2pm Saturday: 8.30am to 1pm From April to September: closed on Saturdays Public offices Monday to Friday: 8am to 3pm Shops Monday to Saturday: 10am to 1.30pm and from 5pm to 8.30pm Health  insurance   As a citizen of the European Union, you are entitled to free medical and hospital care when visiting Spain. Should you need medical assistance, you should first visit a GP at a local health centre. If it is necessary to go to hospital, the doctor will provide you with the relevant medical certificate. In case of an accident or emergency, you should contact the ambulance service on the international number 112. On the 1st of July 2004, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the former E111 form and is issued by the national health care providers in each EU member state. The card entitles you to the same level of medical care as received by Spanish citizens for healthcare services and emergency medical treatment; however it is not a replacement for private medical insurance. The EHIC is not accepted by private doctors and hospitals in Spain and, should you require private healthcare, you must be prepared to cover all the costs yourself. Private medical insurance is required to cover dental treatment (apart from emergency extractions) as well as any specific medical treatments and repatriation. If you require any type of special medical treatment during your stay in Spain, you will need the E112 form and authorisation from your GP. If you forget your EHIC, you will have to pay for medical treatment and claim your expenses back after your return to your home country. Make sure that you keep all receipts and copies of any documentation. Prescriptions are issued by doctors and dispensed through local pharmacies (farmacia), along with over-the-counter medications. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 27.              |  27   Social  Media  Guide     Social media usage is a regular daily activity for many people and the most used social network in Spain is Facebook, although the local platform Tuenti has the highest number of users. Video content sharing represents 87% of the total Internet use and, notably, there are 8 million registered users of YouTube in Spain. Fotolog is also extremely popular in Spain, as a local platform using the English language to encourage networking on a global level. Organisational use of social media by the Spanish is currently being led by large global companies and some local firms, with investment in digital marketing increasing year-onyear. SMEs and organisations, both private and public, are currently thinking about how to use social media as a tool to manage the client and stakeholder relations. It’s necessary to consider that transparency and disclosure when using social media on behalf of a company or an organization is expected in Spain, so policies and guidelines have been developed by many individual companies, professional organisations, and government bodies. Although there is no formal legislation pertaining to digital content and social media, ethical guidelines have developed and become reasonably embedded in Spain. This is particularly important as social media engagement becomes more integrated into the marketing and communication strategies of organizations. The guidelines focus on issues regarding disclosure and transparency, as well as the language and style of communication. Social Media communication should follow the general rules of netiquette and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association has established a formal code of ethics and standards of conduct to embody the core values of trust, integrity, respect, honesty, responsibility and privacy that is expected of its members. This code provides a basis for responsible online behaviour, which helps to build better social relationships by improving credibility and influence. 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. businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 28.            |  28     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: 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 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 29.            |  29     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 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 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 30.            |  30     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 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 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 31.            |  31     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 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 businessculture.org   Content  Spain  
  • 32.            |  32     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  Spain  
  • 33.              |  33   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  Spain