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Dutch business culture

It is difficult to generalise for all companies and work places in the Netherlands, however, there are certain trades that most observers have seen regarding Dutch business culture:

Organisational structure
Hierarchies at workplaces in the Netherlands are often flat compared to other countries.

It is common to address managers and high-level staff by their first names.

The Dutch are proud people and do not like to be looked down upon, so a smart boss will bear this in mind and act respectfully towards staff at all levels.

However, one should not be surprised to be criticised by the boss publicly as it is a part of the Dutch directness.

Meetings and negotiations
Dutch workplaces revolve around meetings.

Meetings are mostly informal, yet fixed to times and agendas. The Dutch enjoy expressing their opinion, and the attitude is that each individual may hold information that is valuable to the company. As a result, meetings can involve staff members of various levels of seniority.

Join the debate
Negotiations are usually lengthy as people seek consensus, with the most senior staff member seen as the strategist of plans, and the general staff as the implementers. Try to prepare yourself, as you will likely be expected to contribute to the discussion at some point.

Concept of time
In the Netherlands, time is money. You are expected to be punctual as being late may 'damage' your image.

If you do find yourself running late, you should contact the relevant person and make them aware of this. Frequent lateness will affect your standing with the individual or company concerned, as a lack of time management is considered to be a trait of an unreliable worker.

Planning ahead
The Dutch tend to plan for the long term, so schedules (both socially and professionally) are often set weeks or even months in advance.

Source NL alumni network

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