Indonesian Office Info – An Introduction To Indonesian Business Culture

29-08-2018 | Dojo |

Indonesian Office Info - An Introduction To Indonesian Business Culture

Business is business, but when it intersects with culture, professionals can find themselves dealing with any number of complex situations. Misunderstandings can confound even the best efforts.

Conversely, mutual agreements are the fruition of basic understanding that both parties come to and a lot of this based on cultural perspective.

For many people living and working in Indonesia’s business landscape, the vast island nation is a wondrous place comprised of a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual society.

While the country is diverse, there are certain principles that many Indonesians abide by regardless of their origin.

However, when confronted by a world society that relies on technology, it is easy to forget the importance of culture in daily business.

Let’s take a closer look at all the nuances in Indonesian business culture.


While the business landscape is adopting new ways to function, it is easy for people from other countries to fall into the trap of adopting a laid-back style, even when it is not appropriate.

The virtual office is a perfect example of the way non-traditional office formats interfere with business culture.

The virtual office by virtue of its setup allows professionals to work in a primarily online format, which means you do not have to show up to work in person unless necessary, as seen in the following link

The issue is that in many Asian cultures, Indonesia included, there is a formality that goes along with establishing business relationships, even online business relationships.

While the online platform is structured for professionals to have non-hierarchical relationships, Indonesian business relationships are hierarchical. For this reason when working online, be aware of this nuance.

Family Before Business

Family is a big part of the Indonesian mindset, and the importance of family is placed above all relationships.

For this reason, it is not unheard of for businesses to hire family members, and while it might seem like a negative in Western cultures, it is a common, accepted practice.

To avoid being disappointed, or worse yet, angry, understand that family relationships play a big role in business in Indonesia and being passed over does not necessarily mean your boss is unethical.

Making Friends Before Doing Business

Another great nuance in Indonesian culture is that much of the business that occurs in Indonesia develops out of friendships. This is very important, as, on the global stage, the collaboration plays a prominent role in establishing major businesses on the global stage. For people moving to the country for business, there is a process by which these relationships develop and knowing the stages between making friends and building relationships is vital in making connections.

Establishing Connections

Building relationships is a vital part of doing business because these connections establish trust. In establishing trust, you have the chance to be pulled into other relationships that can aid your business’s growth. Furthermore, these connections can provide you with information that can help navigate Indonesia’s often changing government regulations.

Belief In A Higher Power

While many Western businesses chalk up their success to hard work, Indonesians equate business success with outside supernatural forces. Westerners believe they can change their fate while Indonesians believe just that nature is an impacting force on humanity. This is important in business because it directly affects our approach business.

An Approach To Indonesian Business Culture

The Indonesian business landscape is like many countries in the Asian marketplace. It relies heavily on family relationships and friendships to establish connections within the business community.

More specifically, these relationships are often hierarchical ones that rely on power dynamics steeped in respect. To avoid the types of faux pas that interfere with business, keep this in mind when doing business in Indonesia.

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