Negotiating in Czech Republic

Written by Rosina Bassaur & Sylvia van Laar November 2013. Posted in Negotiations

Negotiating in Czech Republic

Argumentation style

Czechs often have a systematic and strategic way to prepare for negotiation and collecting information. In negotiations they strive to solve problems together with their counterparts. Czechs prefer arguments based on theory that can be backed up with examples. Furthermore, Czechs are not great bargainers and they will even be offended if an offer starts at a price way out of the target range of the negotiation.

Decision-making style

Czechs are characteristically conservative and cautious, due in part to repression during the communist regime. Czechs avoid confrontations and have an aversion to saying ‘no’. They are indirect when turning down an agreement. They will not rush into making decisions. Decisions are only made by top management. However, the younger generation has a different approach. They are becoming more decisiveness and assertive nowadays.

The decision-making process carries on even after working hours and a counterpart is likely to be tested even while having a drink. Attempts will be made to find hidden agendas and sub-textual intensions. Czechs are entrepreneurs, but they are still cautious about all decisions. Czechs calculate risks and benefits accurately before making a final decision. When a decision carrying many risks is required of them, they will want guarantees and warranties.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

Czech’s company culture is known for their hierarchical relationships. The largest gap between management and their subordinates are found in government departments and traditional companies. However, in modern organizations Czech managers are beginning to get used to Western management styles. Managers in modern businesses have a more hands-on mentality and are more goal-oriented. They even are beginning to delegate more power.

Value systems

One of the most important values in the Czech Republic is the polite and humble way of living. Indirect communication is necessary to maintain a certain level of politeness and to avoid confrontations. There is a difference in use of formal and informal language. Family is one of the most important aspects in the Czech Republic. Family ties are very close and more deeply rooted than many other countries. The Czech Republic is a structured society which follows rules and regulations, because the Czechs want to avoid uncertainty. They try to plan as much as possible. Business culture works best with practical approaches and forward thinking.

Contracts, legal concepts

Legal contracts are quite long, containing detailed terms and conditions. A signed contract is an agreement between a Czech partner and counterpart but this contract is not final. A contract is more a declaration of the Czech’s intent and it is assumed that the conditions will be changed during the collaboration. Unfamiliarity with Czech laws and regulations make it crucial to have a Czech consultant to read the contract before signing it. However, it is inappropriate to bring along a legal representative to a negotiating meeting. The Czech will think they are being mistrusted.