Facts and Statistics
Location: Central Europe, bordering Austria 366 km, Croatia 329 km, Romania 443 km, Serbia and Montenegro 151 km, Slovakia 677 km, Slovenia 102 km, Ukraine 103 km
Climate: temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers
Population: 10,032,375 (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: Hungarian 89.9%, Roma 4%, German 2.6%, Serb 2%, Slovak 0.8%, Romanian 0.7%
Religions: Roman Catholic 67.5%, Calvinist 20%, Lutheran 5%, atheist and other 7.5%
Government: parliamentary democracy
The Hungarian Language
The official language of Hungarian is spoken by 98% of the 10.3m population. Minority languages have become more prominent in recent years, and they include German, Croatian, Romani, Slovak, Romanian, Serbian and Slovene. Attempts are being made to protect these languages, as many members of the ethnic groups actually do not speak them.
Hungarian Society & Culture
Nation of Horsemen
. The Ancient Hungarians lived in the Euro-Asian nomadic pastoral region, where the keeping and use of horses played an important role in their lives.
. Therefore it is not surprising that the horse and horse riding has a central place in Hungarian History, leading to Hungarians being regarded as the nation of horsemen.
. Invitations to foreigners for horseback riding are not uncommon.
Family in Hungary
. The family is the centre of the social structure.
. Generations of extended family often live together.
. The grandparents play an important role in helping raise the grandchildren.
. The family provides both emotional and financial support to its members.
. Hungarians expect friends to share private and intimate details of their personal lives.
. If you ever feel you are being asked personal questions, this is simply meant as part of the getting-to-know-you process.
. Hungarians will even enjoy sharing details of their romantic life with you!
Etiquette & Customs in Hungary
. Both men and women greet by shaking hands, although a man should usually wait for the women to extend her hand.
. The older generation may still bow to woman.
. Close friends kiss one another lightly on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek.
. In the business context is safest to address people by their titles and surnames.
Gift Giving Etiquette
. When visiting a company it is not necessary to bring gifts.
. If invited to a Hungarian's home for a meal, bring a box of good chocolates, flowers or Western liquor.
. Do not bring wine as the Hungarians are proud of the wines they produce.
. Flowers should be given in odd numbers, but not 13, which is considered an unlucky number.
. Do not give lilies, chrysanthemums or red roses.
. Gifts are usually opened when received.
If in the rare case you invited to a Hungarian's house:
. Arrive on time if invited for dinner, although a 5-minute grace period is granted.
. If invited to a party or other large gathering, arrive no more than 30 minutes later than invited.
. You may be asked to remove your outdoor shoes before entering the house.
. Do not ask for a tour of the house.
Table manners are formal in Hungary.
. Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
. The hostess will wish the guests a hearty appetite at the start of each course.
. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
. Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times.
. Hospitality is measured by the amount and variety of food served. Try everything.
. If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork across your plate.
. Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.
. The guest of honour usually proposes the first toast which generally salutes the health of the individuals present.
. At the end of the meal, someone toasts the hosts in appreciation of their hospitality.
. An empty glass is immediately refilled so if you do not want more to drink, leave your glass ½ full.
. Never clink glasses if drinking beer.
Business Etiquette and Protocol in Hungary
Relationships & Communication
. Although Hungarians are transactional and do not require long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business, being introduced by someone they know and trust can often help
. Hungarians pride themselves on using proper etiquette in all situations and expect others to do the same.
. Socializing is an important part of the relationship building process.
. Expect many invitations to dinner or cultural events. If you have the time, reciprocate invitations.
. Hungarians prefer face-to-face meetings rather than more impersonal vehicles of communication such as letters.
. Hungarians are emotive speakers who say what they think and expect you to do the same.
. They do not like euphemisms or vague statements.
. Hungarians often use stories, anecdotes, and jokes to prove their points.
. Hungarians are suspicious of people who are reticent and not willing to share their innermost thoughts.
. Hungarians view eye contact as indicative of sincerity and believe that people who cannot look them in the eye while speaking have something to hide.
Business Meeting Etiquette
. Appointments are necessary and should be made 2 in advance in writing.
. It is often difficult to schedule meetings on Friday afternoon or from mid July to mid August. Also avoid scheduling meetings from mid December to mid January.
. Punctuality for all social situations is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation. It is considered extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and could ruin your business relationship.
. Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and for your Hungarian colleagues to determine if you are trustworthy.
. Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed. Do not move the conversation to business yourself.
. Do not remove your suit jacket without asking permission.
. If you have an agenda, it may be used as a springboard to further discussion and not followed item by item.
Business Negotiating Etiquette
. Business is conducted slowly.
. Deals in Hungary cannot be finalized without a lot of eating, drinking and entertaining.
. Hungarians are very detail-oriented and want to understand everything before reaching an agreement.
. Contracts should be clear and concise.
. Contracts function as statements of intent. It is expected that if circumstances change, the contract will accommodate the revised conditions.
. Hungarians are skilled negotiators.
. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure sales tactics.
. Business dress is formal and conservative.
. Men should wear dark business suits with a white shirt and tie.
. Women should wear either business suits or elegant dresses, complimented with good quality accessories.
. Jeans are standard casual wear. Shorts are uncommon in the city.
. Business wear is appropriate for all formal occasions.
. Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
. Have one side of your card translated into Hungarian.
. The Hungarian side should list your surname before your first name, Hungarian style.
. Include any advanced university degrees on your business card.
. Include the founding date of your company on the card.
Being a Manager in Hungary
The business set up in Hungary is formal and hierarchical. Cross cultural management needs to adopt a formal approach and pay close attention to hierarchy and status. Hungarians are highly individualistic and proud of their personal accomplishments. They work exceedingly hard and will work extra hours to complete a job to the best of their ability. They enjoy socializing with people from work and do not separate their business and personal lives as is done in many other cultures.
The Role of a Manager
Newcomers to the Hungary management style should carefully study the corporate culture of specific companies because they may vary from being hierarchical to rather egalitarian. Consequently, employees will range from feeling empowered to speak out in the management process, to those who believe it is most important to simply execute the instructions by their leadership.
Some employees in Hungary do not feel that they are authorized by station, education, or position, to either aspire to leadership or to express themselves freely in management circles. Nevertheless many do, and especially with the influence of globalization and intercultural expansion, organizations are tending to rely more heavily on the wisdom of their people and not just the direction of leadership.
Approach to Change
Hungary’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is medium. Changes are made, albeit slowly, and require considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation. It would be perceived as imprudent to introduce rapid change, and yet it would be recognized as poor management to resist change unnecessarily. Tradition is valued, thus change is not readily embraced simply because it is new.
It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure mean intercultural sensitivity is needed. While in risk-tolerant environments, failure is perceived as a learning process that encourages confidence in future ventures, failure in Hungary causes a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by others.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Hungary is a moderate time culture and typically and there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines. Nevertheless, the expectations of global business have caused the Hungarian to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to provide and enforce timelines.
Hungarians are individualistic and therefore do not always work well in teams. If you plan to use a team, make sure that everyone understands that they have been selected because of their unique talent. Compliment individual members on a regular basis for their contributions.
Conformity is not viewed as a positive attribute. Consensus is often seen as a sign of weakness. On the other hand, there is a strong tendency for managers to be autocratic in their leadership style.
Boss or Team Player?
In post-communist countries, there is a tradition of teamwork inherited from the communal aspects of the previous era where groups and work units commonly met together to discuss ideas and create plans. However, those plans seldom resulted in implementation or results, leading to apathy and cynicism among the workers.
Today the after-effects are still evident among much of the older generation resulting in a lack of drive and energy. The younger generation will participate in teams and share ideas, but they will need to be coached in the process.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Business is conducted slowly so patience is a necessary cross cultural skill. Do not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol. Hungarians are very detail-oriented and want to understand every innuendo before reaching an agreement. Do not remove your suit jacket without asking permission. Decision making can be prolonged as the person making the decision will often seek input from several stakeholders first. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking. Contracts should be clear and concise.
Hungary related Links and Resources
* Currency - the currency of Austria is the Forint. Use the free currency converter to compare to dollars, GBP, etc.
* Weather - visit Yahoo!'s up to date Weather for Hungary.
* News - check out all the latest Google news on Hungary.
* Dialling Code - the international dialling code for Hungary is +36.
* Time - Hungary is +1 hours GMT.
* History - read about the long and rich history of Hungary.
* Hotels - for accomodation see Hotels Reservations in Hungary.
information provided by www.kwintessential.co.uk