Inane Gurbuz, Executive Manager EMEA of Azkan Group and professional coach in Turkish Management, shares an excerpt from his book « Doing business in Turkey: a guide to success »
Since 2003, Turkey has entered a new dimension: political change, economic growth, and evolvingconsumption patterns. Alongside the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), Turkey is recognized as an emerging market: it is the world’s 16thlargest economy, with record growth rates reaching 9% (in 2004 and 2010, source: www.invest.gov.tr). Turkey attracts numerous investors as well as expatriates relocatingto live there. On arriving in Turkey however, one needs to gain a rapid graspof local culture. Thus is where the notion of interculturality comes into play – the phenomena arising from the encounter of several different cultures. Exploring this issue further, we come to realize that Turkey doesn’t have a single culture, but multiple cultures…
Interculturality can be interpreted as a notion of reciprocal exchanges and complex interwoven relationships between cultures. It is a phenomenon that allows different cultures to coexist alongside each other and interact together.
It is like a rainbow. It belongs to a people, a region, or even a country, creatinga myriad. It is made up of complementary components: that which every human being possesses, the common culture shared by a group of people or an organization.
The aim of intercultural management is to grasp and analyse the similarities and differences between two cultures. The underlying purposebeing to gain a better understanding ofthe different parties involved in order to improve cooperation between them.
The aim of this section is not to compare cultures, but to reflect upon an optimal approach for successfully developing business in Turkey. For example, you will discover a new conceptual framework forMix Marketing with its famous 4 Ps: « Price, Product, Promotion, and Place. » This framework cannot be applied in Turkey with adding a 5thP: « People ». Human relationships take precedence over the written wordin Turkey, and the Turks have developed a whole range of methods to strengthen, multiply, and maintain contact between colleagues, friends, and family members. Turkey has the fifth highest number of Facebook accounts in the world (source: www.invest.gov.tr). This statistic is only the tip of the iceberg: Turkey is a country of networks, and the Turks didn’t wait for the Internet revolution to start networking. Turks are all linked through associations, brotherhoods, and groups of varying visibility and complexity. In reading this advises you will learn to distinguish between them and to adapt your stance accordingly.
On this section, you will discover the key foundations of Turkish culture:
– A strong sense of pride drawn from Turkish history as well as its present
– A unique organization of local society in which deep relationships are formed through networks
– Anotion of religion that varies in degree according to social class, but that is felt on a daily basis
– The Turkish way of life and customs
– The differences between the Turkish workplaceand the Western workplace
– The keys to a successful first meeting in Turkey: discover the many different local codes used during business meetings
-Becoming successful: what makes or breaks a meeting? This fine line is almost invisible to an outsider, as the Turks do not like to say « no »,making their stance difficult to interpret.
– Examples of almost untranslatable local expressions that are typical of Turkish culture
Moreover, to help you understand and compare cultures, you will discover expressions such as « Turks », « Westerners », and « Americans » that will highlight the common characteristics of people from these countries. It is clear that not all Turks or all Westerners are alike. This book aims to break away from common stereotypes in order to focus on the bottom line.
The rest of this text is available in our book « Doing business in Turkey: a guide to success » . Since 2005, AZKAN Group has acted as a consulting firm for all your development projects in the Turkish market: consulting in implementation, detection of partners, market research, Recruitment Turkey, Payroll Turkey ….