History-1 u The Aborigines were the only inhabitants of Australia until the Dutch began exploring parts of the continent in the 1620s. u In 1770, Captain James Cook took formal possession for Britain. Starting in 1788, the British founded penal colonies, mainly in the areas of the present- day Sydney, Hobart, and Brisbane. As a result, many of the early settlers were either prisoners or soldiers.
Australian English u Chrissie Christmas u “He’s flat out like a lizard drinking!” Very busy. u Grasshopper or Grassie Tourist u “It’s your shout, mate.” Your turn to pay for drinks.
History-2 u Free settlements were established in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. The number of people immigrating to Australia increased rapidly after gold was discovered there in 1851. The successful breeding of sheep also attracted immigrants. u 1868: transportation of convicts to Australia ended. Convicts there were declared free.
History-4 u 1901: the colonies became states in Federal Commonwealth of Australia. Western Australia attempted, but failed, to secede from Commonwealth in 1930s. UK granted complete autonomy in 1942. u Country has been stable and has grown throughout 20th century. Most immigration was Caucasian, due to discriminatory policies. Policy altered in 1966…immigration slowed.
Religion u Christians, divided equally between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, make up 76% of the population. Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists are also present. A significant proportion (13%) claim no religious affiliation.
Demographics u Population of 18 million. Concentrated on southern and eastern coasts. About the population of Florida in an area the size of the USA. Aborigines constitute only about 1.2% of population. 93% are of European ancestry. u Urbanization of 85+% One of world’s highest rates.
Introductions-1 u First names are widely and quickly used in Australia. However, it is wise to wait until invited to do so. Many visitors have found themselves surprised by the speed with which Australians adopt the first name as a way of addressing their visitors. This should not be mistaken as a sign of real friendship -- it only indicates Aussie friendly informality. Australians are generally quite informal. Don’t be too stiff or overly tactful.
Introductions-2 u People shake hands upon introduction as well as at the beginning and end of meetings. The handshake should be firm and friendly. u When addressing business colleagues, even senior managers, the business title is generally not used. Australia has its share of British titles and honors. Holders of such titles in Australia may or may not use them. In case of doubt, the general term “Sir” may be used to address anyone with respect.
Introductions-3 u Aussies greet each other with “Hello” or an informal “G’day,” but they tire of hearing tourists overuse the latter. u It is appropriate to present a business card at an introduction. Don’t be surprised if you do not get one in return, since many Australians do not have them.
Social Conventions-1 u Australians are direct, like people from the U.S. u There are many unique words and phrases in Australian English (more on this later). u Introductory conversation unrelated to business should be short. The spectacular Australian architecture, local cultural events, and leisure and outdoor activities are useful conversation topics. u Avoid making comparisons between U.S. and Australia.
Social Conventions-2 u Don’t give unsolicited advice and avoid “putting on airs.” Australians demonstrate their disdain of class by sitting up front with their drivers, both in taxis and limousines. Aussies are suspicious of pretension and status-conscious behavior. It is very difficult to impress an Aussie. u Men are fairly quick to call another man “mate” if they take a liking to him.
Social Conventions-3 u Australians have a healthy sense of humor. Often their barbs may be directed at the visitor in a good-natured way. The international visitor should not take such teasing lying down -- while being frank and friendly, he or she can reply with good humor and become respected by the hosts. Aussies frequently use humor when they are under stress.
Social Conventions-4 u Australians enjoy controversy and love to discuss subjects about which they disagree. Fairness is an important principle in Australian life. u They do not give praise easily. When they do, it is often done in a sarcastic, joking manner.
Large power distance Low individualism Individualism and Power Distance 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 66 72 79 85 91 11 28 44 61 77 94 111 Small power distance Low individualism COS PAK TAL COL PER KOR THA CHL PHL EAF HOK MEX YUG WAF SIN EQA VEN IDO POR GUA PAN PHI MAL JAM URU GRE TUR BRA ARA IND JPN ARG SPA SAF FRA BEL ITA FIN GER SWI SWE IRE NOR AUT ISR DEN NZL CAN NET GBR USA AUL Small power distance High individualism Large power distance High individualism Power Distance Index (PDI) SAL IRA
Uncertainty Avoidance and Masculinity DEN NOR SWE NET FIN SIN HOK MAL JAM IRE GBR INDIND PHI SAF AUL USA NZL CAN IDO EAF WAF IRA THA ARA PAK TAI SWI GER AUT MEX VEN BEL ARG COL ITA JPN GRE CHL COS YUG ISR BRA POR GUA URU SAL PER PAN TUR SPA FRA KOR Weak uncertainty avoidance Feminine Weak uncertainty avoidance Masculine Strong uncertainty avoidance Feminine Strong uncertainty avoidance Masculine 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 88 96 104 110 5 23 41 59 77 95 Masculinity Index (MAS)
Key Negotiating Pointers u Be punctual. Australians are easy-going, but they are sticklers about time. u Be informal, but courteous. Americans tend to feel very comfortable dealing with Australians, who regard formality as insincere and artificial. Efforts to impress usually are hurtful. u Don’t be afraid to use humor.
Key Negotiating Pointers u Make presentations detailed and factual. Be prepared to respond evenly to pointed questions. u Negotiations move quickly. Make brief introductory remarks and then get down to business. u Keep your administrative requirements to a minimum. Australians do not like being told what to do. Operate with few rigid lines of authority.
Key Negotiating Pointers u Stress the practical over the conceptual. Australian negotiators are pragmatic and profit-oriented. u Make the opening offer fairly close to your desired final position. Leave yourself some room for movement. Australians do not tend to be “blue-sky” bargainers (haggling for long periods from very high initial offers).
Key Negotiating Pointers u Expect Australian negotiators to remind you of the competition and to keep pressure on to make concessions. Patience is another often-used Australian tactic, as they hope to wait it out for you to concede. u Australians tend to make concessions in a descending pattern. Generous at first, then tapering off.
Key Negotiating Pointers u Contracts are written, specific, and firm.
Business Practices-1 u Australians are motivated to word hard by affliction and quality of life. Stark contrast to other countries, where status and money are viewed as key incentives. u Punctuality is highly regarded. Appointments are necessary, preferably one month in advance. u Business cards are routinely used.
Business Practices-2 u Business is often conducted while having drinks. Buy only when it is your turn, as it is considered rude to buy out of order. u Melbournians are slightly less conservative than their fellow Australians. u Meeting protocol: get down to business quickly. Presentation should be complete, while not concealing problems areas. Communicate directly and respond to their directness with confidence and good humor.
Business Practices-3 u Due to great distances, it is important to have representation within Australia. There is an Australian version of the “Old Boy” network among senior industrial executives. It helps to have connections. u Vast majority speak only English. u Australians are, first and foremost, pragmatic. Time has value and they will not waste it. Delays are viewed as inefficient.
Business Practices-4 u Decision-making still tends to be concentrated at top echelon of companies. u Informality reigns in matters of etiquette. People are seated in random fashion, generally with no special seat of honor. Seniors in company status may receive certain gestures of respect, but such a show is a formality only. Australians do not practice deference -- their overall sense of equality is well-ingrained.
Business Entertaining-1 u Business lunches are a popular and acceptable way of both initiating and doing business. However, business and pleasure do not mix in Australia. Do not use social occasions, besides lunches, as opportunities to talk business. Once a social relationship has been established, a businessperson may invite his/her contact to lunch.
Business Entertaining-2 u Dinner is usually about 6 pm. Come 30 minutes early or be on-time, but never be late. Guests sometimes bring flowers or wine -- not gifts. A “thank-you” upon leaving is all that is expected. u More formal evening entertaining is in order when the visitor is dealing with upper managerial levels or once a business relationship has been established.
Business Entertaining-3 u Formal occasions, especially if the Australians host them, are likely to take place in a club. Clubs are often formed around athletic events, but may also be professional. u The business visitor should not propose entertainment over the weekend. Australians treasure their free time.
Business Entertaining-4 u Invitations to a home are not common and must be considered special. Since this kind of entertaining could be formal or very informal, it is best to ask the host about appropriate dress. Often such visits will center around a casual outdoor barbecue and will include all family members. A modest gift for their home would be unexpected but appreciated. Otherwise, the practice of giving gifts is unwelcome and might even be considered taboo.
Dining with Australians-1 u The main meal is eaten in the evening. It may be called dinner or tea. u Table manners are European, but viewed with informality and flexibility. While it is considered proper to use the fork with the left hand, other styles are tolerated. u When eating soup, do so by moving the spoon away from you, not toward you.
Dining with Australians-2 u Salads are generally served with the main course. u Indicate that you have finished by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate. u At a restaurant, use a simple hand gesture to get the waiter’s attention. u Beer is the most popular national drink.
Gestures and Social Customs u Australians deny the existence of any taboos. However, they may have a double standard about the use of their favorite expletives. While they may use strong language at times, they do not appreciate it when an international visitor does likewise. u Winking at women is considered inappropriate, as are public displays of affection. When yawning, you should cover your mouth and then excuse yourself.
Gestures and Social Customs u The “thumbs up” sign is considered rude. u Good sportsmanship is very important in Australia.
Australian Game Plan-1 u Australians suffer from sense of isolation from rest of world. Important to show interest in them and physically visit them at least twice yearly. u Government is not so important in Australian business. Therefore, a bank or corporate reference is more important than government reference.
Australian Game Plan-2 u Australians do not suffer from inferiority complex among nations, but they do demand respect and recognition. Proud of their country. Do not want to be thought of as a little America. Any display of superiority will turn them away. Strongest values are egalitarianism and antiauthoritarianism. Treat them as equals. Likewise, do not defer to them.
Australian Game Plan-3 u Accept their informality and do not be too formal around them. Do not be offended if they use your first name. Do not assume it means friendship…it is a way to disarm and equalize opponents. u They do not like inflated prices. Bargaining as an art is a waste of time. However, they are competitive and want the best deal. Be ready to give up something (if needed).
Australian Game Plan-4 u The Aussie’s self-worth is based on his feelings of equality and masculinity. Compliments will not have the desired effects. u His/her motivations in decisionmaking are based on company policy and national interest., but there is also strong personal interest in performance. Help to offer solutions to his problems. He/she will appreciate your partnership.
Language in Australia-1 u English is the official language. Spoken by 95% of population. Australian grammar and spelling are mix of British and American patterns. They use “labor,” not “labour.” u Communication problems can -- and do -- exist with foreign English speakers. Extensive accent and slang have developed that make spoken Australian English quite unique.
Language in Australia-2 Some idiomatic differences in “Strine” (Australian) include: “Full bottle” = fully informed; knowledgeable “No worries” = no problem “Fair dinkum” = true; genuine “Bludioth!” (Bloody oath!) = yes (emphatically u Aussies tend to shorten words to one syllable, then add a long “e” sound at the end. Therefore, a barbecue becomes a “barbie,” a mosquito becomes a “mozzi,” and the people are known as “Auzzies.”
Australian English - 3 u “There’s nothing better after a day at the beach than a few sherberts. Beers u Up a gum tree Confused u Ripper, as in “Bloody ripper, mate!” Someone or something really good. u Pommy Someone form the UK (convicts used to have initials “P.O.M.E on their clothing [Prisoner of Mother England])
Language in Australia-4 Avoid the terms “stuffed” and “rooting;” very vulgar in Australia. u Words which originated in the Australian frontier: Digger = Australian Amber = beer Banana bender = Queenslander Roo = kangaroo Heart starter = first drink of the day Grizzle = complain Across the ditch = New Zealand
Communicating with Australians-1 u There is no manual for correct behavior in Australia. Country lacks clearly defined social and conversational map. Most Aussies see this as a strength -- a license to be erudite or rude in any situation. This keeps conversation lively. u While not entirely true, egalitarianism is a cherished myth. Americans must be careful not to threaten this notion.
Communicating with Australians-2 u In many countries, accents and education will tell you a lot about a person -- not in Australia! It is a relatively classless society. Hardly any regional variations, no class pressures on one’s way of speaking, and people switch from broad to cultivated Australian at will. However, language is not boring: Uglier than a robber’s dog. Blind Freddie could have seen it. He had kangaroos in his top paddock (he’s crazy). Can I bot a chewie? (May I borrow a stick of gum?)
Communicating with Australians-3 u There are certain conversational subjects which are considered safe or dangerous: Safe Sports Shows of modesty Dangerous Being criticized by foreigners. Being constantly or too enthusiastically praised by foreigners. Taking yourself or your country too seriously. Aussies are proud of fact that their Prime Minister is frequently booed at public appearances and that many Australians do not know the words to National Anthem.
Women in Australia-1 u Although Australians shun class distinctions, some American women assigned to Australia have found difficulties in being accepted. Male chauvinism is still strong. Foreign women are often confronted with blunt, earthy males who are uncomfortable with women. u Australian women seem to enjoy that their major responsibilities are home and family. u However, generally there will be no problems between men and women associates.
Women in Australia-2 u You usually won’t find a man winking at a woman. It is considered impolite. u If, after a large meal, you say: “Oh, I’m stuffed,” Australians will think that you’re announcing that you’re pregnant. u If a man approaches you and says “Hi, I’m randy.” That’s not his name. “Randy” means “horny.”
Gestures in Australia u The thumbs-up sign is considered rude. u Men should not be too physically demonstrative with other men.
Business Dress u Generally informal. Fashions follow American trends, although women wear pants much less than in the U.S. u Men may wear a dark suit and tie (jacket can be left off in the summer). u Women may wear a skirt and blouse or dress.
Portrait of an Australian Businessperson-1 u What does he believe is a person’s responsibility? Personal satisfaction and enjoyment of life; independence. u What does he expect of others? Equal treatment. u How does he interact with others? Open and friendly. Very informal. First names are used almost immediately.
Portrait of an Australian Businessperson-2 u What impresses him? What does he respect in another? Accomplishments through use of masculine traits. u What is his attitude towards foreigners? Friendly and not defensive. Foreigners are held separate from the group if their culture is very different. Aussies are intolerant of different behavior.