How to know about Indonesian Business Culture

The rich cultural is everywhere in Indonesian business culture. So if you have a good knowledge of it you can grow your possibilities of doing business with Indonesians. Consequently, the excellent advice is to start with studying about Indonesian people and about the unwritten behavior of the country and its organizations.

Inside the following article we lift the veil on Indonesian enterprise culture.

Indonesian Business Culture and Foreigners

Mentioning a well known proverb when in Rome, do as the Romans. The same is going for doing business.

Those who come to Indonesia with a clear vision but flexible thoughts have superb possibilities of mixing in. Prejudice frequently leads foreigners into fake expectancies, consequently comply with those steps to shape your concept of ways enterprise works with Indonesians.

#1 Relationship first, then Business

The numerous cultural dynamics dominate Indonesian enterprise culture. There are some customs and traditions that want to be observed. That is to the quantity that the Indonesians every so often feel confused through their culture etiquette/code (tata krama). The equal feeling of responsibility and burden applies for the kindness (ga enakan hati).

However, Indonesians are very happy with both their cultural heritage as well as they happily display kindness closer to a foreigner. But, after you are in Indonesia, you’ll understand what number of customs really want to be followed. Additionally, how it impacts doing business.

Tip for a foreigner is to examine and get to know local customs. This can assist you to blend in better and it will become easier to emphasize on local’s dedication.

Understanding when to move on from “constructing a relationship” level to doing business is what differentiates pro veterans from foreigners new to doing business in Indonesia. That is why we recommend companies new to the market to take a skilled individual with them to business meetings.

#2 Power and Hierarchy influencing Indonesian Business Culture

Hierarchy concepts here are just like numerous other Asian nations. Supported by Hofstede’s examine, Indonesia still has an excessive power distance value.


People aren’t the same in society and this additionally displays within the organisation. In other words, employees with much less power in life anticipate and accept to have less at a place of job as well.

Hierarchy concept continues to be typically located, mainly in older generations and well-established organizations. Being brought to new humans, try greeting the eldest or most senior first. It is well mannered to refer to them with titles Mr/ Mrs (bapak / ibu) in place of direct name recognition.

#3 “Yes, boss” word in Indonesian Business Culture

This word does imply “yes”, however generally to make someone happy, show respect and satisfy the request of another. But, do not be fooled into wondering it automatically confirms what is being mentioned in among partners.

It is regularly when foreign companies get the incorrect idea, wondering that a deal has already been agreed. While in reality the Indonesian partner simply desires to please the other party. As soon as the foreign organization is going back home, they find that not anything happens.

Therefore, a one time “yes” does not suggest an Indonesian will do what’s discussed or always agrees with it. Ensure to double-check your concept multiple times.

#4 Importance of Connections in Indonesia

Who you understand is more essential than what you realize. This indicates connections are frequently more valuable than information. It comes particularly heightened when handling governmental sector in Indonesia. Consequently, it is smart to acquire companions with an extensive circle of connections, in place of having some shiny ones close to you who lack connections on important levels.

Indonesians grow a robust bond with humans they realize. They comply with up on the ones near them in addition to the ones of better rank. New friends but are similarly behind within the listing. Therefore, give it time to bond and construct relations even as putting in genuine interest.

Bragging regarding who you already know is a common practice as well – all people you know claim they know a person important. Every so often they do however once in a while it’s only a marketing tactic they use for improved popularity.

It’s also less complicated to arrange a primary meeting in case you stated you knew a person at the loop. Most effective knowing the high-rank name will be the key to your first meeting.

#5 Keep away from Agreements in the course of the First Contact with Indonesian partner

At the same time as to comply, with-u.S.To new connections aren’t prioritized, Indonesians feel dedicated to relationships and keeping them on the right terms. Saying “no” is not a term that slips over the lips of a local easily. Therefore, it is frequently that they skip a meeting or contact in the event that they feel it’s far about business and they may be not prepared. In place of saying no.

So, the tip is – do not put income as an objective within the first contact. Emphasize on introducing or beginning a relationship your organization with no agreements or proposals.

These days, it is excellent to divide business subculture primarily based on who we are handling. Let’s talk one by one.

Governmental company in Indonesia

Governmental organizations may be divided as:

    • Ministry
    • State-owned company (bumn-bumd)
    • Local government office (kelurahan, kecamatan)

Have Local Partners

Enterprise runs smoother once there may be a local honest partner by your side. They can help you in business but even more essential is them sharing insider’s information. The number one purpose is – different companies in Indonesia have their very own business style and way of dealing with things.

Learning the rules prior to getting into any facilities is a must – a local partner will ensure you’ll not be the unusual guy out. You’ll have an overview of who makes decisions within the company and who has the largest impact. In life, the influencer may also have even more power than the one rating higher.

While online research is also very beneficial, it does not display or replace what an insider will screen. Therefore, begin with building your circle of trust.

Family Enterprise and privately Owned Company

A big quantity of companies in Indonesia is run by families. As a part of the culture, it is natural that children take over from their mother and father. The organization is inherited from generation to generation. They develop reasonably, year over year, with the oldest brother or son as the chief.

The way of business is through following the former chief. Even when the son or daughter is appointed as the brand new leader of the organization, the decision will still come from his parents or the oldest brother.

For a better understanding regarding what a private owned family commercial enterprise is all about, here are a few tips:

#1 Approaching the Family on Business

The structure itself is comparable, but power is every so often dissolved internally, regardless of who’s assigned on which role. Try approaching the whole family and spot who is behind making decisions.

Doing business with families in general just like working with another kind of business enterprise in Indonesia. The secret is – you need to win them owner through demonstrating how partnering or working with you’ll deliver profit to their business.

#2 Dinner on Business in Indonesia

It is an excellent sign if they invited you for dinner. This basically means that they may be already curious about the service or product, however, they want to know more regarding you or your organization individually.

They’ll have their very own way to judge you for the duration of dinner. At this point, profit and quality are not topics of discussion. What they need to know is how can they consider you. They’ll measure your methods of dealing with business relations and the guarantee you offer.

#3 Rescheduling on Family Subjects

Indonesia is a collective nation, therefore keeping a relationship or proceeding with own family subjects can grow to be a top priority. Even the method of decision making is now and again as long as they keep in mind the results of their moves to other people.

You’ll discover plenty of meetings rescheduled because of frequent leaves for family matters. The responsibility to assist each other does not only lay at the core family but also on more remote cousins or relatives.

#4 The Strength of a Gift

A powerful icebreaker upon a business meeting is bringing a memento from your country (Oleh-Oleh). It’s going to surprise your partner and cause them to be happy.

After a present is offered, the meeting will typically begin with fruitful small talk and laugh for each party.

Deliver both a signature snack or an object appropriate for showing on their table. They’ll ensure to show it to their colleagues or family.

#5 Expressing Yourself

There are more than one must do’s to be able to place you in an excellent light when meeting an Indonesian partner. By expressing yourself efficiently, you’ll display a sign of admiration towards the locals and Indonesian business tradition overall. Here’s an easy 5-minute exercise before of a meeting:


Hi, Mr/ Ms. How are you?

Halo Pak/ Bu, apa kabar?

Bow and handshake 

After greeting, offer a handshake

Use Right Hand

For an Indonesian, right hand is the good hand. Constantly use that one as a sign of politeness while receiving something.

Caps Lock

Keep away from using capital letters except required by the system – it could appear threatening.

Eye Contact

Keep away from significant eye contact. Indonesians are very shy people and maintaining eye contact for too lengthy will lead them to uncomfortable.

Overall, the less you confront Indonesians the better. The same goes for being critical as it can come off personal. They put in a great attempt not to get into conflicts.

Additionally, be cautious together with your statements as locals trust messages have implicit meanings. With this in thoughts, always supply your best to make a message sound as clean as possible. For future reference, have essential subjects in writing.

Making errors is acceptable even as doing business in Indonesia. The prevalence of cultural errors among foreigners is not that uncommon, mainly in a rich culture which includes Indonesia. However, locals are understanding so long as you deliver the right mind-set and it is an honest mistake. The secret’s showing respect toward their country and not dismissing or belittling the cultural requirements purposely.

Don’t be afraid in case you made a mistake that was not as cultural etiquette might require. People in Indonesia admire welcoming overseas entrepreneurs who deliver knowledge from an advanced country at the same time as being sincerely interested in the abilities of locals. Recognizing that foreigners and locals work properly together with by completing every other is an excellent starting point and admitting your mistakes with the proper mindset is where it all begins.

Locals appreciate the attempt you are making and mistakes aren’t continually taken too critically. In fact – Indonesians even remember mistakes to be common. In spite of that, ensure to mention “Maaf yah”, which translates to: “I am sorry”.

Local representation service in Indonesia allows you to navigate the culture better. Quickly you’ll be ready to fulfill your Indonesian partner for a meeting and talk enterprise. If going for that meeting through yourself still appears too foreign, have yourself an assist team.

Representation offers you with an expert help link, a representative who will give an explanation for the parts of business under discussion. Plus it is a superb way to keep away from bureaucracy and race to the deal quicker.

Local representation

Representation by means of straits partners consultant

– Straits partners will conduct agreed on activities under your organization’s name

– charged both hourly or on a retainer basis

Local controlled employees

– an employee this is operating fulltime in your organization

– the employee hires the individual under our payroll – you’ll not want a legal entity

– the employee is provided a workstation, net connection, capability to use meeting rooms

– Straits partners hr partner will monitor the overall performance of the employee

Local unmanaged employee

– an employee that is working full time for your organization

– Straits partners hire the individual under payroll – you’ll not need a legal entity

– the employee is not working from straits partners officer nor he/she managed by us.

Local illustration general method conducting business in Indonesia without a criminal entity. This service allows you to pay attention to working business without dropping any precious time.

Feel free to reach out to us:  [email protected]

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