Business Norms in Pakistan

Whether you are a Pakistani expatriate thinking of returning home or a foreigner coming to Pakistan, you should be aware of the business norms in Pakistan. Listed below are some of them:

  • Certain formalities are followed before a meeting
Suppose you visit your outsourced supplier to check on the progress of a certain product. Ideally you would like to be given updates straight ahead. However in Pakistan you might expect some greetings and similar formalities such as offers of tea, etc before the meeting starts.

  • People get personal and take interest in your life
Some of your colleagues might ask you questions related to your personal life and your interests. They are just trying to be friendly and would like to know you better. If you don’t feel comfortable answering, you can tell them that in a subtle manner.

  • Close relationships are valued more in Pakistan than the business itself
Suppose for instance that one of your subordinate’s children gets very sick and concurrently he has a very important meeting with one of your clients, he then might skip the meeting and attend to the wellbeing of his child.

  • Respect and contribution according to gender and experience
Respectful behavior in a workplace is usually shown to a person possessing vast experience, is older in age or a person of the opposite gender. Smart people possessing expertise in their areas are also admired by peers. However the latter might need to prove his contribution since it is usually not recognized.

  • Check progress of subordinates rigorously
There is a tendency in Pakistan that subordinates might not respond actively to the work that is assigned to them. They thus need to be supervised closely most of the times. Similarly you might sometimes find people coming late for team meetings and not delivering on time. Having said that the young generation entering the work force is much more aware, bright and likes to work independently and be given confidence.

  • Norms of closing a project
Formally closing a business project might involve some religious ceremonies like the completion of the Holy Quran in a single day, or some other formal events like a reception for stakeholders etc. In some cases informal closures such as outdoor activities like bbq parties are also held.

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