A Guide to Business Culture in Romania

Romania has a fascination, challenging, and lengthy history. The country’s language is Latin in origin.

Businesses work within a model of delegation that goes from the top down in a reliable hierarchical process that everyone follows.

These decisions are almost never challenged or questioned by workers of a lower position.

Culture in Romania:

Romanians are known throughout history as great survivors.

The mentality of Romanians has been developed through years of struggle, with behaviors and attitudes that are simple, plain, and shaped by orthodox Christianity.

While those who are unfamiliar with the culture may initially find them unreceptive or difficult to talk to, they are actually considered some of the most hospitable and most generous people across Europe.

They have large hearts, a strong cultural dedication, and a special sense of humor.

» Business Culture

The culture of working Romanians is often very formal and relies on hierarchy; it is based on treating older or more experienced individuals with a great deal of respect and courtesy while accomplishing business tasks.

Many businesses wind operations down during the summer, making it a bad time of year to try to conduct business.

Christmas and Easter are also tough times of the year, as many companies are closed for an undetermined amount of time.

The normal business hours in Romania are from 9 to 5 in their time zone.

» Romanian Business Structure

Romanian businesses follow a strict chain of command with a strong hierarchy. Once a decision is made, it is almost never questioned by anyone of a lower business rank.

Many business transactions are extremely formal. Any senior members of the business group are given the most respect and the most privileges and benefits.

All positions and responsibilities are formally defined within the business. Individuals with more authority are able to obtain a higher degree of respect.

This may be seen in how decisions are made and in how formal greetings and titles are utilized.

» Business Negotiations and Meetings

Meetings are often very formal and may be dominated by senior members of the group who make most decisions.

There is almost no informal discussion or small talk. One should not ask personal questions or expect to be given personal information, as the Romanians value their privacy.

Meeting schedules are not especially rigid. An agenda may be created, but it usually acts as a basic outline for discussion and then serves as a springboard to other topics.

One should remain as flexible as possible when entering a Romanian business meeting.

Romanians can drive a hard bargain and tend to negotiate. As a culture, they may be concerned about foreigners taking advantage of them.

This means that decisions can only be made by the most senior members of the business party that you’re working with.

This means that it’s best to save any concessions that you have until you are in a meeting with this individual.

Contracts are seen more as statements of a business’s intent than as a binding agreement.

These decisions can be revised or reversed. This means that there are no absolutes when doing business in Romania.

The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf) from Bucharest Romania, National Day with romanian flags, view from Kisseleff Avenue.

» Communicating in Romania

Typically, a firm handshake and good eye contact are the usual business greeting. It’s important, however, to only shake hands with a woman if she initiates.

Titles are also very important in Romania. One should take the time to address individuals by their academic or professional title, along with their family name.

First names are almost never used when doing business in Romania.

The typical communication style is frank and direct, but also polite and sensitive, taking as much care as possible not to offend people.

Although it’s important in Romania to be straightforward, it’s also extremely important to deliver information in a sensitive way.

This means that if you are dealing with a traditional firm, you may want to hire an interpreter; however, newer companies with an international presence may have numerous English speaking employees.

» Social Interactions

Romanians often choose to do business with individuals who do not brag about their monetary achievements or accomplishments and who are down to earth overall.

They are proud of using correct etiquette no matter the situation, and they expect that others will do the same.

Romanians are a very friendly culture, however, their business dealings may be initially formal or reserved.

The culture still insists on good manners and a polite demeanor. This means that one should do their best to always appear professional.

While the country has a culture that is driven by relationships, the people there also give a great deal of importance to privacy.

It can take a long time to earn trust, but once it is gained, it can open many doors for you. Romanians are often quiet and shy initially, while this trust is built.

» Tax

Romania is part of the EU and is privy to the terms of taxation that any other EU country is. If you want to read more about Romanian tax and Romania VAT laws then you can do so here.

» Gifts

Gifting is not common or normal in business culture in Romania.

However, it’s customary to bring a small bouquet of flowers, a small bottle of liquor, or chocolate as a gift if you are ever invited to a Romanian home.

» The Business Environment

Romania is still ruled by bureaucracy, to a large degree. If one desires to cut through the red tape, it’s vital to build personal relationships.

Often it’s necessary to overlap with local bureaucracy to conduct business effectively. This can make conducting business in Romania a process that requires perseverance and takes time.