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Cultural Considerations in Business

Discover how cultural norms impact business and employment in Armenia

Communication styles in the workplace

Understanding communication styles in Armenian workplaces is essential for building strong relationships and fostering a productive environment. Here's a breakdown of key aspects to consider:


Armenian communication leans towards indirectness, especially when delivering negative feedback or criticism. It's common to use softening phrases, metaphors, or third-party references to avoid confrontation. Directness can be perceived as rude or disrespectful, particularly in initial interactions. Armenians prioritize building rapport and establishing trust before addressing contentious topics.


Armenian society emphasizes group harmony and social courtesy. This translates to a preference for maintaining a positive atmosphere in the workplace, even if it means softening direct communication.


Business communication in Armenia adheres to a formal register, especially in writing and with superiors. Titles and honorifics are used regularly. Respect for authority figures is ingrained in Armenian culture. Communication with superiors often adopts a more formal tone than with colleagues.

Non-Verbal Cues

Non-verbal cues play a significant role in Armenian communication. Facial expressions, gestures, and body language can convey unspoken messages. Maintaining eye contact and attentive posture demonstrates respect.

Building Trust

Armenians prioritize building trust before engaging in open communication. This can involve social interactions outside of work to establish rapport.

For instance, an Armenian manager might preface criticism with a compliment or positive statement to soften the blow. Similarly, an employee might hesitate to directly disagree with a superior and instead raise concerns indirectly through a trusted colleague.

Negotiation practices

Negotiating in Armenia requires an understanding of the country's unique cultural norms and preferred approaches.

Negotiation Approaches

Armenian negotiation prioritizes building relationships and trust before diving into specifics. Establishing rapport demonstrates commitment and fosters a more collaborative environment. Armenia's history of cultural exchange and complex international relations has influenced its negotiation style. Armenians are adept at reading nonverbal cues, navigating subtle power dynamics, and understanding the importance of long-term partnerships. Armenians often take a long-term view in negotiations, aiming for sustainable partnerships rather than short-term gains. Patience and a willingness to invest time in building trust are essential.

Typical Strategies

Directness is often seen as confrontational in Armenia. Armenians might use indirect communication to convey their points, relying on softening phrases or subtle cues. Finding a win-win solution is highly valued. Negotiators may be willing to concede on some points to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Cultural Norms Influencing Negotiations

Armenian society emphasizes collectivism and in-group preference. Building trust with the Armenian team demonstrates your commitment to the collective good and strengthens your position. Respect for authority figures extends to negotiation settings. Addressing senior members of the Armenian team with proper deference is crucial.

For instance, an Armenian negotiator might propose social outings or extended meetings to build rapport before entering serious discussions. Concessions may be presented as a way to maintain a long-term partnership rather than simply giving up ground.

Understanding hierarchical structures

Armenian businesses often exhibit hierarchical structures, which significantly influence decision-making, team dynamics, and leadership styles.

Prevalent Structures

Armenian businesses typically operate under centralized decision-making structures. Power is concentrated at the top, with senior management making key decisions. This aligns with Hofstede's concept of a high Power Distance Index, where subordinates accept hierarchical structures. Communication in these businesses is usually top-down, with information flowing from senior management down to lower levels. While upward communication exists, it may be more filtered or indirect.

Impact on Decision-Making

The hierarchical structure can lead to slower decision-making processes due to the need for approval from higher levels. This can be mitigated through clear delegation and established communication channels within the hierarchy. Employees might have less direct influence on strategic decisions. However, the Armenian cultural emphasis on respect for authority doesn't necessarily negate innovative ideas.

Management Theories

House's Path-Goal Theory is relevant in this context. This theory suggests that effective leadership clarifies paths to achieving goals and provides support to employees. Armenian leaders can leverage this by effectively communicating goals and offering guidance within the hierarchical structure.

Impact on Team Dynamics

Team members generally show deference to superiors in Armenian businesses. This can foster a culture of obedience but might also hinder open discussions. Hierarchical structures can limit horizontal communication and collaboration between teams.

Cultural Analysis

Armenian society scores high on collectivism, prioritizing group success. Leaders can emphasize team goals and achievements to motivate employees within the hierarchy.

Leadership Styles

A directive style, with clear instructions and expectations, is often prevalent in Armenian businesses. However, effective Armenian leaders may also incorporate elements of supportive leadership, providing encouragement and emotional support to team members, and participative leadership, encouraging some level of input and fostering a sense of ownership within the hierarchy.

Holidays and observances affecting business operations

In Armenia, understanding the country's holidays and observances is crucial for navigating business operations. Here's a breakdown of key holidays impacting work schedules:

Statutory Holidays (National and Public Holidays)

  • New Year (December 31st - January 2nd): This three-day statutory holiday is celebrated with extensive festivities. Businesses typically close during this period, and resuming work might occur gradually on January 3rd.

  • Christmas (January 6th): Armenia celebrates Christmas on January 6th, coinciding with the Feast of the Epiphany. Expect business closures or reduced operations on this day.

  • National Army Day (January 28th): Honoring the Armenian Armed Forces, National Army Day is a non-working day. Military parades and ceremonies are common, and businesses are likely closed.

  • International Women's Day (March 8th): A global observance of women's rights, International Women's Day is a public holiday in Armenia. Businesses might operate with reduced hours or close entirely for the day.

  • Easter (Variable Date): Easter, the most important religious holiday in Armenian Apostolic Christianity, falls on a different date each year. However, Easter Monday is a statutory holiday. Many businesses close for the entire Easter weekend, and operations might resume on Tuesday.

  • Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24th): A solemn day commemorating the Armenian Genocide, April 24th is a non-working day. Public institutions and many businesses close to observe this day of remembrance.

  • Labor Day (May 1st): Celebrating workers' rights, Labor Day is a public holiday. Businesses are likely closed, with operations resuming on May 2nd.

  • Victory and Peace Day (May 9th): Commemorating the Soviet victory in World War II, May 9th is a public holiday. Expect public events and potential business closures or reduced hours.

  • Republic Day (May 28th): Marking the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia in 1918, Republic Day is a public holiday. Government offices and many businesses close for the day.

  • Constitution Day (July 5th): Celebrating the adoption of Armenia's Constitution in 1995, Constitution Day is a public holiday. Government institutions and some businesses might have adjusted working hours.

  • Floating Holidays: Certain holidays, like Easter, have floating dates. It's advisable to consult a local Armenian calendar or business partners to confirm specific closures.
  • Regional Observances: While not statutory holidays, regional festivals or patron saint days might cause localized business closures.
  • Workweek: The standard workweek in Armenia is typically Monday through Friday. However, during holidays falling on weekdays, businesses might adjust work schedules by offering compensatory days off or extending working hours on other days.
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