Bosnia and Herzegovina Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

More time needs to be invested in establishing business contacts in BA. An important role is played by a personal meeting and the establishment of a relationship on an interpersonal level. The influence of acquaintances and personal ties is great. Local partners generally plan less ahead, and if they show interest in a meeting or cooperation, it is good to act quickly.

Addressing

Contacting by e-mail is common, but it is often not possible to get a response to the first contact and it is necessary to contact the partner by phone as well.

It cannot be expected that business cooperation will be developed through e-mail or another form of remote communication, e.g. video conferencing (although during the COVID-19 pandemic, communication via video conferencing has become more widespread). Personal meeting plays an important role and after successfully establishing contact, it is advisable to schedule a personal meeting.

To identify and approach suitable partners, it is possible to use the services of local chambers of commerce, which play a very useful role in this regard. The BA Chamber of Foreign Trade operates at the national level. General Chambers of Commerce then operate in each entity separately: the Chamber of Commerce of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Srpska.

To successfully enter the BA market, it is useful to find a reliable local representative. Personal contacts and knowledge of the complicated local environment play an important role in doing business in BA.

  • Programingplease: Yearbook 2010 of nation Bosnia and Herzegovina, including population, politics, and abbreviations.

Business meeting

Personal contact and the creation of a friendly relationship play an important role in establishing business cooperation in BA. At the beginning of the business meeting, it is advisable to emphasize the interest in a long-term business relationship. It is important to get a business partner on a human level, e.g. by pointing out common interests, history, closeness of mentality and language, etc.

Czech companies are received positively in BA. Czech partners have a reputation for high expertise and professionalism in BA. Mentions of the tradition of economic contacts between Czechoslovakia and the former Yugoslavia, sometimes also of the common history within Austria-Hungary, tend to be positively received. Local partners often introduce the nature and consequences of social and political changes in the Czech Republic and BA after 1989.

It is not recommended to bring up the topic of nationality, religion or the armed conflict from the 1990s during the initial meeting, but it is possible that the partner will mention these topics himself.

When preparing work activities, it is common that local partners are used to planning less in advance. It is not unusual to make appointments just a few days in advance.

A joint visit to a restaurant or cafe combined with a less formal conversation can contribute to the successful establishment of a business relationship.

Communication

The official languages ​​in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. The differences between these languages ​​do not represent an obstacle to communication, and communication in any of these languages ​​is accepted (for example, it is possible to speak Serbian to a Bosnian-speaking partner). When using an interpreter, it is sufficient to provide interpretation into one of the official languages. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Bosnia and Herzegovina culture and traditions.

However, it is recommended not to name the language when communicating (it is possible to use the label “local language” or “in your language”). Given the role that language has in terms of national identification, the inappropriate naming of a language could, under certain circumstances, be received negatively by some partners.

There are large differences in English proficiency in BA. Younger people working in the private sector often have a very good command of English and other world languages. But some partners do not speak English, especially older people or some employees of public institutions.

Especially for establishing communication, more formal written contact is preferred. However, the use of the telephone clearly predominates during operative communication. Messaging applications, especially Viber, are also widespread.

It is not appropriate, especially in the initial phase of the relationship, to mention issues of nationality, religion or armed conflict from the early 1990s. An inappropriately worded statement could be received negatively by some partners. Locals also sometimes feel that foreigners perceive BA too much only in relation to war and ethnic conflicts. However, it is possible for the partner to initiate the conversation on these topics himself.

Recommendation

Establishing a business relationship with a local partner requires longer communication. You need to be prepared to travel and have a personal meeting. Personal contacts and knowledge of the local environment play an important role.

Public Holidays

BA does not have national statutory regulations for public holidays. Different non-working days are observed in each entity.

The most important secular holidays include:

  • January 1 and 2 – New Year – celebrated in both entities
  • January 9 – RS Statehood Day – celebrated in Republika Srpska (RS)
  • March 1 – Independence Day – celebrated in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBA)
  • May 1 and 2 – Labor Day – celebrated in both entities
  • November 21 – Statehood Day (signing of the Dayton Agreement) – celebrated in RS
  • November 25 – National Day – celebrated at FBA

In addition to the listed public holidays, religious holidays are observed, especially in areas where the given religious community is the majority.

The most important religious holidays include:

  • Catholic Christmas and Easter
  • Orthodox Christmas and Easter
  • the Muslim Feast of the Breaking of the Fast (Ramazan Bajram) and the Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban Bajram)

Entity and cantonal offices in the part of the country where the holiday is celebrated do not work during holidays. National offices usually work on holidays that are not celebrated in both entities, but in a limited mode. If the date of a secular holiday falls on a Sunday, it is customary to declare the following Monday as non-working as well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Culture of Business