Marti, Iunie 5, 2007, 12:03 AM 

Corporate culture - Romania vs EU
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This post is dedicated to all those who think that Romania is fully integrated in EU at least on the corporate grounds. They may argue that there are the same definitions and characters both in EU and in Romania. Maybe we should review these terms. Step by step.

8:00 PM in the week-days – It should be the hour when you are at home/in town for 2 or 3 hours. However, what happens if you are still in the office?

EU: This action will be very risky. After you’ll open the door the next sound you’ll hear will be of the alarm system. I remember the story of one of my colleagues’ sister who works for a multinational Company in Germany. She worked until 9:00 PM when she called for a cab to go home. Unfortunately, she could not find the way to the taxi as all the doors were locked. Finally, she called again the taxi Company, which called back the cab driver, who went to the office’s security guard, who finally released her from the corporation.

Romania: In the so-called busy-season, leaving at this hour will be also dangerous. You’ll always find a manager that will call you asking why you’re not at the office. Usually, there are only two situations when you can leave so early: when you have an urgent medical situation or when you have a job interview at another Company (in which case you tell your boss that you have an appointment to a doctor).

IT Staff – meaning the staff that by its nature of support staff is supposed to help the business

EU: They really do their job, meaning helping people when they have problems. If there are many IT requirements, they are able to predict them and to hire people in due time. As a last resource solution, they outsource some of their tasks to specialized IT Companies. The large multinationals have even some organizational staff whose main task is to prioritize the IT’s tasks.

Romania: You will always find a “smarty” whose only purpose in life is to prove you how smart he is and how poor your IT knowledge is. His feeling is that the corporation will not survive without him and that he is the heart of it. He will always tell you that they have no time to implement anything. Their in-house developed applications will always have bugs. Anyway, they will continue to attack the products of the main soft producers (like Oracle, Microsoft, SAP) saying that these are not suitable to the Company’s needs.

Accounting and Controlling Staff – meaning also support staff whose role is to help the organization to understand better its financial performance and position

EU: Here you will find accountants. When they join a new Company, they will first try to understand the business, not to judge the debit-credit accounting records. Their main concern will be that the accounts should reflect in the best way the business and the substance of its transactions.

Romania: Here you will find bookkeepers. Romania is the country where the bookkeepers speed on the debit – credit highway. Their greatest fear is that they will be fined by the authorities for using a different analytical account that the one suggested by the Ministry of Finance. Their universe is limited to figures and tables imposed by the Government, they never heard of IFRS and narrative disclosures.

Assessment – including both self-assessment and assessment of the people you’re working with

EU: Assessment and feedback are common terms in all the organizations. They are used to measure the employees’ satisfaction with their current workplace. They are also used to objectively assess the performance of an individual and to determine if he is ready to perform higher-level task and to face a promotion. In EU, you can assess both the individuals under your supervision but also your supervisors.

Romania: Usually, the ones that are assessed are the big bosses and the Heads of the organization. Of course, there is no formal assessment, this happens only in the backyard where the regular employees spread rumors at a cigarette. The main assessment criteria here are how many sex affairs the big bosses had, how many cars the new boss has and how many strange habits the expats have. In the very rare cases, where multinationals from Romania implemented the outside procedures of assessment, the whole process is treated as a copy-paste procedure from the examples given (and from one to another).

Recruitment – meaning the process of ensuring the adequacy of the staff

EU: The purpose of recruitment is to match the organization’s needs with the recruits’ aspirations and goals. The interviews focus on the candidates’ background and on the experience in the field. The recruits’ interest in the Company is limited to a couple of questions. They are not terrorized by the recruiters with the overwhelming importance of the employer. The recruiters are also trying hard to convince the potential employees that their Company is the best choice for their career.

Romania: Where do you see yourself in five years? seems to be the most addressed question. Usually, the recruit is perceived as an offender whose purpose is to kid the employer about his CV. You will rarely find a recruiter concerned about attracting the candidate to the offered workplace.

Retention – meaning the complementary process of recruitment

EU: It is a crucial process whose purpose is not to waste suddenly all the efforts and resources spent with an employee during the recruitment process. Here, the employers ask periodically the hired people about their level of content. They are interested in the professional development of the individual, offering him trainings and free courses.

Romania: If you are Romanian, you probably never heard of this term. This process is obviously the MISSING link in the chain of the corporate culture. They begin being concerned of your existence only when you mention about your leaving. Here, the employees are perceived like any other resource, no differentiation being made between them and raw materials.

Company’s values – I mean not only communicating them to employees, but also ensuring they are applied through organization.

EU: Here, the management’s job is to ensure these are known, understood and applied. These should be applied by all employees, regardless their level of seniority. Company’s values are not part of a legend, they make a benchmark.

Romania: Usually, you may find about them only one time in your life there: from the brochures that you pick on the Career Days. You may also hear about them from the PR’s mail to all employees on the Company’s birthday. Anyway, your interest will be captured by the cup of champagne for free. You may also hear these words at the Christmas Party, being whispered by the Big Boss in a big hurry in his way to the well deserved glass of scotch or whisky.

I could speak more about it, but I don’t want you to get bored. There are obviously many areas where big differences exist between Romanian and EU corporations. I feel more and more tired, helpless and bored about this system. My desire to escape from here and to join the western side of EU is stronger each day goes by. Maybe someday I will.


  1. dracu

    well, mostly correct :d

    HR sucks everywhere. is their job to do that. they will try to screw you every time, and if you don't have another option (like quit), or you are not bloody rich (so you don't give a shit), they will...

    mine are happy to give me any training (well, that's 'couse I'm considered "key personnel"), including expensive ones, as long as I don't ask for money. If I do, they will offer me 100E more. :d maybe. after a really tough training, which doubles my value on the market.

    and because of that, they are "bleeding" people all over the place. and I will leave probably in a year or 2 as well.

    anyway, kick their ass. feels really god, trust me :d
    when I left the previous "corporation", I took 10 guys with me. they still didn't recover, after 6 years >:)

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