How does Indian culture affect doing business in India?

Indian culture affects business practice in many ways. You need to understand Indian business culture to be successful. Across India people trust people more than systems. Therefore good personal relationships and resolution are often more important than adherence to processes. For a good business relation in India you also need a good relation with your counterpart. Avoid personal conflict with your business partners even if that means a delay in a project.

In India you get invitations to weddings, birthdays etc. and it is important to attend if you can. Foreigners need to understand that there is often no strict divide between private life and business life.

Many aspects of Indian culture affect business. For instance, many Indians believe in astrology and a good star constellation is important before signing a new deal. It is also common in most areas to perform religious ceremonies at the start of new ventures – at inaugurations, opening of new factories and even when buying a new car.

India’s culture values hierarchy and this can affect business. Indians hesitate to criticise their boss or others more senior in the hierarchy. Foreigners who are unaware of this might get out of a meeting in India thinking that the meeting was constructive as everybody agreed on their suggestions. Only later you may find nobody is executing what was discussed during the meeting.  So if you hear a “yes – no problem Sir” you should make sure that you are not running into an intercultural trap. Building additional milestones into a project can help to identify such blocks before it is too late.

Intercultural training is really recommended before you jump in. This helps you be successful in business in India right from the start. Get in touch with our experts for useful tips on how to build a successful business relation in India. You can read more about inter-cultural differences here.