DOING BUSINESS IN AUSTRALIA
‘Dynamic’ and ‘vibrant’ are words that accurately describe the promising entrepreneurial destination that is Australia. The forward-thinking business climate of the relatively geographically isolated country recognises the importance of international trade for the nation’s future well-being and as an antidote to the country’s lack of a large domestic market. The complete spectrum of Australian industries and the Australian skilled workforce welcome foreign competition with open arms. This coupled with Australia enjoying a huge amount of economic freedom, virtually no government interference in foreign investment and a healthy, expanding economy means there has never been a better time to do business in Australia.
Establishing a business in Australia is an extremely efficient and often seamless process with the country being supportive of enterprising professionals. Despite this and Australia being deemed easy to do business in by The World Bank, challenges can arise when running a business if Australia’s egalitarian approach to business is misconstrued. The democratic practices in Australian business are evident in the non-hierarchical, meritocratic, consultative management styles and use of humour in virtually all business settings, including meetings where debate is welcome. Just because Australian managers may employ humour in a manner that might be deemed inappropriate in one culture however it does not mean one should make the mistake of underestimating them.
When doing business in Australia it is also important to remember that there is a strong ethos of team spirit and modesty. Bragging about one’s achievements is likely to have a negative impact on the way Australian colleagues respond to a person new to doing business in Australia. Likewise, whilst pre-planning is viewed as good practice in some countries, too much preparation prior to meetings may be interpreted as clashing with the Australian value of equality and seen as dictating one’s ideas to their co-workers.
On the surface the country is an attractive location to establish commercial ties but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that just like any other country doing business in Australia is not without its unique obstacles. To help you overcome any commercial complications and receive the best reception in Australia, the World Business Culture website provides an extensive collection of pragmatic tips and insights.
Australia has been through an unprecedented period of quarter-upon-quarter GDP growth, mainly fuelled by the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and China’s seemingly limitless demand for the natural resources which are abundant in Australia. This export-led growth trajectory has been in effect for a number of decades and has enabled Australians to enjoy an enviable lifestyle.
The benefits which have accrued from its relationship with China (and other Asian economies) have allowed Australia to develop a sophisticated service sector and at the same time build state-of-the-art infrastructure across the vastness that of a country that is also a continent. However, there is also some fragility inherent in that success – what impact might recession in China have on Australia? Would employment be severely damaged if such a recession were to occur?
If you are considering doing business in Australia – and there are many reasons why you should – you need to do some research on the business culture you are likely to find when you get there. Despite historic links to the UK many observers feel that Australian business culture is more akin to the way things are done in the US. At Global Business Culture we believe that Australia takes after neither the UK nor the US and that it has developed its own distinct and unique approach.
If you arrive in Sydney thinking you can do business in Australia in the same way it is done in any other culture, you are likely to be proved wrong. Australians have a strong sense of self-reliance and their business culture reflects that characteristic.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Australian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:
- Background to business
- Business Structures
- Management style
- Women in business
- Top tips