Business people looking to establish and grow a presence in new Ukrainian markets will benefit greatly from practicing proper Ukrainian business etiquette. Being familiar with and practicing this etiquette will give you an advantage when working with your Ukrainian colleagues.
Remember that Ukrainian culture can seem fatalistic at times and people may not seemfriendly at first. Life in Ukraine is sometimes unstable and unpredictable, which has led to the fatalistic views held by some.
Doing business in Ukraine is different from doing business in other countries, especially the U.S., England, Germany, and other northern and central European countries.
Ukrainians' sense of personal responsibility
A fundamental difference between Ukrainians' andwesterners' mindset is that westerners tend to take on a greater amount of individual responsibility and rely somewhat less on groups, while the opposite is true in Ukraine. If doing business in Ukraine, you will likely get used to "outside forces" always getting in the way of partners' work and keeping them from fulfilling their responsibilities and meeting expectations. Often Ukrainian organizationsforesee problems but hope for the best and don't warn their partners of possible difficulties until they are already underway.
Punctuality and reliability in Ukraine
Foreigners in Ukraine find that being late is the norm for Ukrainians. Arriving five minutes late to an appointment or meeting is usually seen as perfectly fine. This trait can cause aggravation between foreign and Ukrainianbusiness partners. Foreigners usually adjust to the lack of punctuality over time, and eventually they end up on the other side of the fence and are late to a business meeting with a foreign partner themselves and are surprised at the other person's "profound irritation." This is a sign that cultural adaptation is well underway...
In Ukraine, meetings are frequently rescheduled and cancelled, oftenat the last minute. Therefore, it's always a good idea to confirm meetings. On the other hand, by confirming a meeting, you're giving your business partner a convenient opportunity to reschedule.
How important are personal connections in Ukraine?
To manage one's affairs in a society that is always in a state of semi-disarray due to incomplete and illogical regulatory systems, Ukrainians relyon the power of personal contact. Contacts in government bodies are particularly prized, as relations between government and business are frequently antagonistic. In addition, Ukrainians prefer arranging meetings in person to discuss business and make joint decisions, whereas phone conferences and online discussions are now commonly used in the West. Perhaps Ukrainians are right in preferringmeetings in person; only in person can one adequately judge others' intentions and trustworthiness and resolve concerns. Ukrainians pay more attention to emotional aspects of communication rather than excluding them from business as is the case in many western countries. Many foreigners find this a waste of time.
Job-seeking and discrimination in Ukraine
It is common for job vacancies in Ukraine tospecify the age and sex of potential employees. Fortunately, this and other personal information such as marital status is supplied at the top of almost all Ukrainians' CVs. In the new economic realities of post-Soviet Ukraine, many people find it virtually impossible to find work after 45. In addition, job discrimination against young, married women is common, and sometimes women are even asked ifthey plan on having children soon in their job interviews. Of course, such questions are perfectly rational from an employer's point of view, but it grates with westerners' ethical sense and modern ideas of human rights. With Ukraine's more traditional values, discrimination is often not viewed with the same disgust as it is in the U.S.
Western businesswomen often encounter interesting...