Romanian Culture

Business Culture

Meetings

  • Arrive on time to give a good impression. However, be aware that the approach to time-keeping is more fluid and being half an hour late is acceptable. You may be kept waiting longer if meeting with government-run companies.
  • Meetings are quite formal and there is usually a strict routine of introductions, handshakes and exchanges of business cards.
  • Always begin addressing someone formally unless invited to use their first names. In some settings, first names will never be used. People use the titles “Mr” (Domnule), “Mrs” (Doamna) or “Ms” (Domnisoara) followed by their surname.
  • If you are wearing a suit, do not remove the jacket without indication that it is appropriate to do so.
  • Allow some time for small talk to precede any serious discussion of business if it is the first time that parties have met.
  • Boasting is not highly regarded. It is best to put yourself forward as an honest, trustworthy person, rather than pitching yourself based on your achievements.
  • Be aware that processes can be slow. Decisions are not always reached during meetings as they often serve the purpose of exchanging ideas, hashing out details and hearing the perspectives of all who are involved. It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task in some cases.
  • Using high-pressure tactics to reach a quicker decision is unlikely to work. Instead, persuasion works best when coming from an angle that is based on your personal relationship with a Romanian (see Relationships below).
  • Take an indirect approach to negotiations. Being overly direct can be interpreted as callous.


Hierarchy

Romanian business environments are generally very formal and hierarchical. For example, managers are rarely close with their subordinate employees and lower-level employees have very little decision-making power. Most decisions require several layers of approval. At times, it may appear that no one wants to accept responsibility for making the decision. However, consider that the introduction of new ideas or sudden changes to the plan can put people in an awkward position as they cannot always commit before they have sought approval from higher up.

 

Relationships

Personal relationships are crucial to business in Romania. Connections help fix daily problems, get past bureaucratic barriers and speed up processes that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort – even if what one is trying to achieve is perfectly legal and justifiable. Favouritism often plays a role in determining the information-sharing flows within a business. In some cases, personal relationships can be the only motivator that helps achieve progress during deadlocks in negotiations. 

 

Expect to be treated with formality at the beginning of a business relationship. It is important to put yourself forward as an honest, trustworthy person to build a relationship. Romanians are generally more interested in people’s character than their achievements when assessing trust. Therefore, avoid changing the person representing your company, as your Romanian business partner will often restart the relationship-building process again.

 

Considerations

  • Rules and policies may be less rigidly enforced in Romania. While some aspects of business are regulated and taxed heavily by the government, there is often less concern for procedural requirements in Romania. People are more likely to cut corners than follow the rules.
  • The topic of salaries can be raised more casually than in the English-speaking West. However, there can be very large differences between the incomes of Romanians and European/Western expatriates in Romania. It is best to be discreet about your own earnings to avoid an awkward conversation.
  • Be aware that mass emigration means one in four people (26.6 percent) with a higher education leave Romania.1 As a result, some Romanian employers face difficulties with the lack of skill/experience among their workforce.
  • The approach to deadlines and productivity is often more casual in Romania. For example, people may take long breaks or miss deadlines. It is reported that absenteeism is also commonplace in Romanian business culture (especially in government-run companies). However, this does not translate into the Romanian diaspora living in other countries where people often have a very strong work ethic.
  • Nepotism is common and people are quite open about it.
  • Contracts may be flexible and decisions can be easily reversed. For example, if circumstances change, the contract is commonly revised to accommodate the new conditions.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2018), Romania ranks 61st out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 47 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector has a moderate level of corruption.


1 De Rosa, Russo, & Dospinescu, 2018

Incluude

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world’s cultures and religions.

Inclusion Program

Inclusion logo

Join over 450 organisations already creating a better workplace

Find out more
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.