Background to Business in Britain
British Business Structures
British Management Style
British Meetings
British Teams
British Communication Styles
British Dress Code
Successful Entertaining in Britain
Top Tips on doing business in Britain

As in many other industrialised countries, the last couple of decades have seen a major restructuring of British industry away from the more traditional heavy engineering and primary sectors towards the service and high-tech fields.

This process has also coincided with radical shifts in approach to management and company structure.

Many of the hierarchy and class issues which were so much a feature of the British industrial landscape have been replaced by more modern business models - often heavily influenced by US thinking.

Ideas of 'jobs for life' have largely been overtaken by an expectation of rapid change in work patterns and prospects.

Many current British managers no longer expect to spend most of their careers with one or two companies, but rather look for progression through moving from employer to employer.

One result of this could be the much talked of British short-termism associated by many continental European business people with UK companies.

Generalisation, rather than specialisation, tends to typify the British approach - with less merit being placed on pure technical ability than in some other countries.

Some commentators have quoted this tendency as one of the reasons for the demise of manufacturing in the UK over the last three decades.

As with many other European countries, the UK (with a heavy reliance on the Banking and Finance sector) was badly hit by the financial crisis of 2008 and faces a painful journey back to growth and prosperity.


One thing that can be said of meetings in the UK is that they are frequent. They are often also inconclusive, with the decision of the meeting being that another meeting should be held.

The British themselves often complain about the frequency and length of meetings they must attend.

In comparison with many other cultures, relatively little preparation is done for meetings (with the exception of client-facing meetings).

This is because meetings are often viewed as the forum for the open debate of an issue and that, during that open debate, a route forward will be found.

When the route forward is agreed, then the detailed work schedule will be implemented. Being 'over-prepared' for meetings in the UK can result in certain negative feelings towards those who have prepared in advance.

"There is no point having a meeting with the Germans (for example) because they have already decided the outcome prior to the meeting."

Agendas will be produced and followed loosely. If something important arises during the open debate it will not be excluded simply because it does not occur on the agenda.

The British consider themselves to be punctual, but when pressed will admit to rarely arriving on time. It is now fairly common for people to arrive five to ten minutes late for meetings.