Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Strategy is far from indifferent. However, a powerful and empowering cultural understanding is the path to organizational success.

How to act in a Spanish business context?

Spain is a more complicated country than you might know, with 17 autonomous regions, each with its own laws and cultures. In addition, Spain has four different languages: 

1. Castellano, which is best known as Spanish in the rest of the world.
2. Catalan is spoken in the autonomous regions of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Aragon, and Murcia.
3. Basque is spoken only in the Basque Country.
4. Galician, spoken only in Galicia. 

Although Spain is a very diverse and culturally rich country in many respects, there have also been conflicts in the nationalist regions such as the Basque Country and Catalonia. In these autonomous regions, there is sometimes a greater preference for their language and culture over the Spanish culture and language. This is because local people in these areas are in favor of independence.

What you need to know before expanding your business to Spain.

As highlighted, Spain can be tough to navigate, through not only culturally but also language-wise. 

Therefore, we have five tips for your internalization process.

1. Have a partner that speaks the language and knows the culture

Only 27.7% of the Spanish population are fluent in English, and therefore, you should be prepared for the business discussions being conducted in Spanish.

2. Getting to know your business partner on a personal level
Spain is a very relation-based society; therefore, exchanging personal information about your family and your background is essential for building trust. 

3. Wear business attire with conservative colors 
Spain is more conservative in some aspects than the Nordic countries. Therefore, proper business attire should be worn to fit into the setting.

4. Never discuss business during mealtimes unless…
Mealtimes are sacred in Spain and should not be used to discuss business but rather to get to know each other personally unless your Spanish peers initiate it. .

5. Always arrive on time to business meetings 
Spanish people are usually not very punctual in social settings; however, this is different in a professional setting.

Matias Vidal Andersen

Head of Spain

Peder Lykkes Vej 11, st, tv,
2300 København S


+45 40 36 12 00