Zimbabwean Culture

Business Culture

Meetings

  • Arrive on time. Though your Zimbabwean counterpart may be late, your punctuality is likely to give a good impression.
  • Greet everyone individually, starting with the person who is standing closest to you and so on.
  • It is important to greet everyone using their proper title. 
  • Offer and receive people’s business cards with your right hand.
  • The meeting may commence with an opening prayer.
  • It is advisable to be honest about the price of a deal rather than giving a misleading first pitch. Such honesty will be respected and fare better in a longer-term business relationship. 
  • Expect negotiations to be quite drawn out. Zimbabweans may take some time to deliberate and think through their decision.
  • Consider that unless you are speaking with higher management, a representative may not be able to give you an answer or decision without referring back to their superiors. Hence, multiple meetings may be necessary.


Considerations

  • Personal relationships are somewhat essential to business in Zimbabwe. You may find that your Zimbabwean counterpart invites you to dine with them in order to further your personal relationship with them. If this occurs, accept the invitation graciously.
  • Zimbabwean business culture is generally hierarchical. Employees expect decisions to be made by higher management and generally don’t question them. Consensus-based decision making is not the norm.
  • Some Zimbabweans may ask you to grant favours for their friends and family on the basis of your working relationship with them. It is advisable not to do so unless you have a strong personal friendship as it can become a common expectation.
  • Be aware that there is a big economic gulf between most Zimbabweans and foreigners who have access to valuable currency like that of the English-speaking West. This is unlikely to cause hostility but can potentially fuel mistrust and resentment if problems arise from other factors during business.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2017), Zimbabwe ranks 157th out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 22 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat corrupt.
Incluude

Create your own Cultural Atlas with bookmarks, collections and a unified, searchable interface.

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.