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Corus

India

Corus India Basic information
Basic information
Basic information

Basic information

India is a Federal Republic. The official name of the Republic of India in Hindi is Bharat. The republic comprises 28 states and 7 territories which are governed by Delhi. The parliament sits in the capital New Delhi (+ 9 million inhabitants).

The national language is Hindi, but there are 17 other major languages, and a total of more than 1,600 dialects. English is officially an associate language, but in practice it is the most important language for communication and trade. All official documents are in Hindi and English.

Population: 1.095 billion (estimated July 2006); average age

24.9

Religions: 80.5 % Hindu, 13.4 % Muslim, 2.3 % Christian, 1.9 % Sikh, others 1.8 % including Buddhists, Parsees, Jains and Jews. India has no state religion.

Business Hours: India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT. Normal office hours are from 09.30 - 17.30 Mon - Fri (on Saturdays until 14.00). Banks are normally open from

10.00 - 15.00 Mon-Fri (on Saturdays until 13.00) and shops from 09.00 - 19.00 Mon-Sat. Some shops in India are also open on Sundays.

India is the fourth largest economy in the world and the world’s third- ranking nation as a source of technically and scientifically educated staff. The heart of the economy lies in the Northern states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and the union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh. However, for IT it is the south, particularly the state of Karnataka (Bangalore) and the south-western states of Maharashtra (Mumbai), Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The steel industry is mainly concentrated in the north-eastern states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

Pradesh and Kerala. The steel industry is mainly concentrated in the north-eastern states of Orissa and

Good to remember

India is a society infused with religion with great respect for age, tradition and symbols.

Great poverty goes hand in hand with great wealth. That is more of a problem for Westerners than for most Indians.

Indians are sensitive about loss of face, loathe confrontational behaviour (saying ‘no’ is rude) and their concept of time is less urgent and as a result they appear less punctual to Western eyes.

Westerners who adopt a patronising attitude get little respect from Indians.

Indian society

There is tremendous diversity within Indian society: religion, language, regional differences, caste and class differences. But a number of characteristics extend right across society:

India is particularly focused on the family. The Western focus on the family extends much further in India. The family in India is something to be proud of, for which you work and from which you derive status. Don’t be surprised by questions about your family life which we might consider a little intrusive.

Daily life and religion or the supernatural are closely linked. There is more to this life than profit and markets. The Westerner is inclined to seize his chance if he sees the opportunity to do so. The Indian

is fatalistic but is very able to

exploit an opportunity. This is

often developed through personal relations.

However, material success is becoming increasingly valued

in modern India.

To Indian eyes, the stranger is

a guest. Respond with respect

for Indian customs and habits.

Authority is respected in India. Status and power are valued highly. This extends to not contradicting people in authority, even if they have the wrong end of the stick. And you need to check yourself that your instructions have been properly understood.

Indians are not as time- conscious. If you want things to happen on time, you need to remind them about it, but always remain polite.

There is a tendency to adopt a ‘big picture’ perspective on things. Nonetheless Indians can react quickly. They are creative and dare to experiment. They are pragmatic and solution-oriented, although perhaps not always as well thought-through as Westerners would expect.

Westerners can perceive Indian society as being fairly unfriendly to women. Indian men are not used to dealing with women in authority or with women who smoke. A warm, friendly and unforced approach can help ease matters.

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The Indian way of doing business

At first glance, the approach of Indians working for large multinational companies does not deviate far from the conventional way of doing business internationally. A lot of Indian businesspeople have been trained in Europe or America. But there are a few underlying aspects which characterise the Indian way of doing business.

What follows is not set in stone. Nonetheless, it is advisable to be aware of the basic attitudes which are embedded in Indian culture.

Doing business in India is

Relationship-based: you do business with friends, not with outsiders. Trust is important. Never disrupt the harmony. Reputation and self-respect are important. You are more likely to settle differences with a good relationship than with a cast- iron contract.

Synchronic: relationships and people are more important than precise timetables. A time schedule, a time limit, is flexible. An appointment at a specified time is often not kept. But the Indian also tackles problems in a different way. Indians feel that Westerners’ tendency to approach problems in a linear fashion rules out too many possibilities. Revisiting an agreement reached previously and interrupting one another is widely accepted in order to ensure that the whole context is considered.

Formal: formality exists in order to be able to demonstrate respect for others. Difference in status must be respected. It is not customary to use first names in business dealings. Protocol can be extensive. People dress formally for a meeting. Informal clothing is acceptable on everyday office days, certainly in the IT industry.

Reserved: people speak quietly; if a silence falls, that is not a problem. The physical distance between people is preferably “at arm’s length.” Eye contact is important, but you do not stare deep into one another’s eyes.

Sensitive to loss of face: you can lose face in various ways: if you fail to live up to expectations, if you fail to keep to promises, if you behave inappropriately, if you are criticised in public or if you are not addressed in keeping with your status. Indians believe that one must always preserve one’s reputation.

Indians are skilled and persuasive negotiators. Negotiation is desirable. They have the patience for a lengthy discussion and are flexible in their approach. The main aim of a meeting is to discuss matters thoroughly and explore the problems in detail. The discussions can be very detailed; Indians are very comfortable with looking at things in great detail. Indians like to use personal and emotional arguments in discussions.

Their eloquence is remarkable. They are prepared to compromise, particularly in the interest of a long- term relationship.

Indian business etiquette

Use titles and surnames; only use first names when the other person indicates that this is acceptable; therefore be aware of the context: business or private.

Indians often use ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ to attract attention.

‘Namaste’ is the traditional greeting. Do not extend your hand in greeting unless the other person does so. Women are not used to shaking hands. Westernised women do shake hands, but to be on the safe side, allow them to go first.

Traditional:

Mr. Johnson = “Mr. Johnson Sahib” Mrs. Johnson = “Mrs. Johnson Mem-sahib” or “Mrs. Johnson -ji”

Modern: “Hi”, or “Hello” (informal).

Indians are hospitable - a religious obligation - and friendly.

Offices are closed on religious holidays and there are many of those.

When visiting, make sure that you have informed the head of the company or the department in advance.

Indians like punctuality, but have a different sense of time themselves.

Arrive on time, but do not expect the other person to do it too.

Meetings can frequently be interrupted by telephone calls.

Business cards are presented with the right hand.

Table settings are ranked according to hierarchy.

Meetings start with “social small talk” (restaurants, family, travel, religion) and then move on to business.

Topics to be avoided: politics, distribution of wealth, the caste system.

Problems are not usually seriously discussed during the first meeting.

Humility is a virtue in India. Do not boast about your achievements.

Decisions must always be thoroughly harmonised with the social environment.

A

firm “No” is considered rude.

An acceptable refusal is “I will try.”

A

“Yes” is followed by the

challenge involved in carrying

out a decision.

It

is important that the context

and the background to a decision are communicated. This can strike a Westerner as being not very to-the-point and indirect.

Do not refuse any refreshments when they are offered to you. It

is

insulting. The first offer may

be rejected, but accept the second. If you really are not

thirsty or hungry, come up with

a

good excuse, this is

accepted.

Pointing or whistling is viewed as inappropriate.

Traditionally the head is only touched by a superior (e.g. parents); so do not touch a person’s head.

Feet are unclean; if you should touch someone with your foot by accident, apologise profusely.

Giving presentations

For the Westerner the Indian tradition of giving presentations can be frustrating. During their education Indians are taught to give the reasons for a decision or position before they say what that position is. It can therefore happen that you need to listen to a long introduction whilst you wonder whether the whole thing is leading anywhere. It certainly is leading somewhere, but you will only find out where at the end.

A lot of Indians love to use

extravagant language. On the other

hand those with a Western training get to the point more quickly.

Show interest and show a willingness

to be persuaded to adopt a particular

point of view. Show that you

appreciate eloquence.

If

you give a presentation to Indians it

is

important to refer to your expertise

and experience. Repeat your most important points and make clear that you are sensitive to the views of your

Indian audience, or ask what they think about your argument. Show warmth, sympathy and involvement.

An Indian audience likes to give feedback afterwards, unless you have intimidated them, so allow time for this.

An Indian audience likes to give feedback afterwards, unless you have intimidated them, so allow time

Verbal communication

Meetings, teams and working together

Do

Be aware of the importance of

Do

the face and appearance in

Show respect for seniority.

communication.

Be loyal to the leader. The

Be aware that teams without a

Leave the higher in rank to

leader makes the decision,

usually initiate the communication.

possibly after consultation.

Make appointments well in advance, but allow for flexibility.

leader work cooperatively; group members expect to be able to

Take account of the fact that

make a contribution.

your partner will want to revisit agreements made previously.

Encourage others to make their contribution.

Accept that things take time.

Take the time to listen – plans

Communicate through multiple channels.

are usually unveiled; the objectives come later.

Exercise tolerance.

Invest in relationships.

Be complimentary where appropriate.

Be flexible about who does what.

Be aware that Indians

Regularly monitor progress.

appreciate eloquence.

Emphasise the shared interest.

Be prepared for the fact that waiting and delays form part of the landscape.

Treat an Indian with the

Don’t

necessary respect; just as you would a European colleague.

Put a group or group members under (time) pressure.

Don’t

Expect to build a relationship with email alone.

Assume that things are self- evident.

Embarrass people: loss of face is very serious.

Humiliate someone, particularly not in the presence of others.

Berate anyone.

Act arrogantly or confrontationally.

Be too abrupt; avoid ‘shortcut’ expressions.

Put your colleagues in a disadvantageous position.

Be too competitive.

Give up too quickly if others react somewhat tepidly to your suggestion.

Disregard older people.

Expect the agenda of the meeting to be followed precisely.

Decide anything arrogantly.

Motivating and giving feedback

Leadership and decision-making

Do

Do

Use a tried and tested approach.

Be aware that modern Indian

Listen carefully to suggested solutions; they often fit well with

organisations have a modern leadership style.

the Indian context.

Respect authority.

Emphasise the shared interest of the company or the professional group.

Be aware that family ties, professional relationships and personal connections are

Show warmth and humility; involve others in the decision- making informally and in confidence.

important, so personal decisions must be in harmony with the group and the social environment.

Express any dissatisfaction with someone’s behaviour privately.

Ensure that decisions at lower levels of the organisation are usually ratified at a higher level.

Don’t

Remain human and attentive;

Expect people to say readily that they disagree with you.

take time over decisions.

Blame other people. Indians are

Don’t

real team players.

Act patronisingly.

Give up on influencing the behaviour of others too quickly.

Make decisions from an ivory tower.

Assume too readily that others will understand you.

Impose any peremptory time limits.

Be discourteous.

Leisure

There is no sharp distinction between work and leisure time.

Giving small gifts to the host is acceptable, but they are usually not unwrapped in the giver’s presence.

Appropriate business gifts might be modest high tech products, souvenirs, corporate gifts.

Do not use black or white wrapping paper. Black is bad luck and white is the colour of mourning.

Lunches during business visits are preferable to dinners. However, dinners are more important for business networking.

Receptions and parties are excellent for networking; take along plenty of business cards; keep moving; business cards are presented immediately; titles etc. are sometimes embroidered somewhat; people promise you things; people are quick to ask for a favour.

Give tips in a restaurant if the service has been good. Tips are usually also given for carrying luggage. Giving tips is customary, particularly for high- ranking ‘Sahibs’.

If you regularly visit an establishment, a programme of unexpected and varying tips ensures that the service provided remains at the desired standard.

Foreigners are very highly regarded, but only take an invitation to visit someone at home seriously when it has been extended several times.

Performances are often staged in the home.

If you have been invited to someone’s home, you should arrive 15 to 30 minutes later than the agreed time.

Arrive with status; chauffeur- driven car, clothing etc.

Preferred gifts: Indian sweets, dried fruit, goods from Europe, flowers, cakes or fruit, French or Italian perfume.

Treat staff in a friendly manner, but maintain distance.

The kitchen is forbidden territory.

Only eat with your right hand.

Allow the hostess to serve the food, otherwise you will make the food unclean.

Indian meals can either be vegetarian or include meat, depending on the host’s religion. This also influences the attitude with regard to the consumption of alcohol (beer or whisky).

There are several servings: do not refuse any food or drink without a good reason. Leaving food (e.g. because it is too spicy) is not a disaster.

Always express thanks for a meal, particularly to the hostess, and show respect by extending a reciprocal invitation.

Sources used:

Doing Business in India, Barry Tomalin, International House London Effective Cross-Cultural Communication Between Dutch and Indians, S. Ramdas, FAR Consolidated BV India bewust!, Nicki Grihault, Uitgeverij Elmar, Rijswijk 2006, ISBN-13: 978-90-38917-02-3 Managen van Culturele Diversiteit, lecture by Sjaak Pappe, ITIM, lecture 22 March 2007, Centre of Excellence

Interesting websites:

Transnational Management Associates, www.tmaworld.com and www.countrynavigator.com An interactive map: http://www.indiatravelog.com/map-or-india.html For facts and figures: https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/in.html

Review by:

Peter Zonneveld, Managing Director Danieli Corusgroup plc Jacob Vossestein, Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands Mr S. Ramdas, FAR Consolidated BV Victor van Bijlert, philosopher and cultural historian specialising in India Ronald Israels, Secretary of the Netherlands Foundation for Business Process Innovation

www.corusgroup.com

The contents of this brochure have been compiled with the greatest care. However, Corus Group plc and its subsidiaries are neither responsible nor liable for any errors or possible misleading information.

Copyright 2007

Corus

Group HR Corus Peter Lennon

Group HR Corus Peter Lennon Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926

Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926 488027

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Group HR Corus Peter Lennon Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926
Group HR Corus Peter Lennon Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926
Group HR Corus Peter Lennon Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926
Group HR Corus Peter Lennon Ashorne Hill Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV33 9PY T: +44 (0) 1926