General Information:Capital: Warsaw
Political system: a parliamentary republic with a prime minister (prime minister), who has executive power, and a head of state, a president who performs mainly representative roles.
Population: 40 mil
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Official language: Polish
EU single emergency number: 112
Rescue service: 999
Cultural differences and advice from Intercultural Communication Coach:
Family and the Christian religion are the two cultural values that other cultures often associate with the Poles. These two values influence the behavior of the Poles in private and professional life. The Poles are proud of their ingenuity and flexibility. The first woman to win the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie Sklodowska, was born in Poland.
Polish people belong to cultures that are more serious at the first meeting and need time to build closer relationships. They actively build networks of friends and acquaintances that help them solve work tasks. Kissing women’s hands is part of history for many, but for the Poles it is still part of polite behaviour, especially for the older generation.
The values of the Polish business culture can be characterized as a focus on long-term goals and facts, mutual trust, building relationships and traditions. The Poles are also among the cultures that are initially sceptical about changes. However, when they get excited about a change, they know how to put it into effect very quickly and flexibly. Their engagement and interest in solutions is reflected in more expressive non-verbal communication, which may seem aggressive to other cultures.
The Polish business culture is shifting from hierarchy to mentoring and coaching. The young generation expects more delegation of authority and informal communication. However, changes are slow and the more formal approach is still more common. The leader should be familiar with professional issues and should have adequate education.
Recommendations for Co-operation with Colleagues from Poland:
- When building new contacts and at the beginning of some co-operation, a more formal approach is more appropriate.
- The Poles are focused on fulfilling their tasks and, this way, they prefer teamwork, which they understand as a joint fulfilment of tasks.
- The Poles are slower in building trust in other cultures if these do not respect their values and traditions.
- Compliance with rules is important, but the ability to kombinować, in other words, to circumvent the rules if the goal requires so, is appreciated.