Teamwork in Spain

Written by Aranka Kuin September 2012. Posted in Int. Skills, Teamwork

Teamwork in Spain

Business teams in Spain are often seen as a sort of family. In this way a team is a social system instead of a functional system because relationships, shared experiences, long familiarity, personal attachment and bonding for life are important aspects in the eyes of the Spaniards. They often work in teams, for instance, at schools, universities, but also in business situations. For example presentations for foreigners are mostly the work of a team.

Teamwork is an aspect of collectivism or group orientation. The renowned Dutch sociologist G. Hofstede sees Spain as a collectivistic country when compared to other European countries but as an individualistic when comparing Spain with countries from other areas around the world. This dichotomy makes Spain a good business partner, especially for the more collectivistic non-European countries, because the Spanish can work on both levels. Sometimes Spanish people are more individualistic than group oriented, which can be a negative aspect when it comes to teamwork, but does not have to be one. Although Spaniards can see success as their own and not as a result of the group, group loyalty is very strong.

Although group loyalty is usually strong, the different regions of Spain can affect working in a team. The region from which the individual team members come is usually more important than their common Spanish nationality and this can create different groups within a team and make the teamwork ineffective. The individualism of team members can also affect the team if every member wants to express his or her own opinion clearly and wants to have a say in everything. Despite that it seems the Spanish are not good at teamwork, they can be good team workers and the collectivistic side of them can have a positive influence on teamwork.

Hofstede says that Spanish people are not bad at all at working in teams and do not necessarily need strong motivation from the manager. Even so, a successful team will need a good team leader. Spanish team members will work hard if they have a good relationship with their manager and know what is expected of them. Members of a team in Spain are very grateful if they get more responsibility as long as they are prepared for that.  

Teamwork in the Spanish business world is often seen as a social system because of the importance of relationships. Not only relationship is important in teamwork. The flexibility towards other countries, in being individualistic as well as collectivistic, makes Spain also a good business partner. Nevertheless is Spain not always as smooth in teamwork as it seems to be. If individual members of a team come from different regions of Spain this can cause different groups within a team and affect working as a team. All in all a good team leader that has good relationships with their team members will make a team successful.