Topic 1 Cultural dimensions of Greek workplace

The Greek labor market is diverse as there are many international (EU and non-EU) workers, with this number changing frequently. However, in comparison to other EU countries, Greece experiences limited labor mobility.

The official language in the country and hence in the workplace, is Greek. Many people speak English as a second language, and it is required in many jobs such as in international organizations, or tourism.

Some job sectors that are in high demand in Greece are storage, transport, processing, public administration, education, while the tourism industry is blooming.



2.Non-verbal communication


1.Emotional Intelligence

2.Time Requirements

3.Dress Code


1.Ethnocentrism – “Us” versus “Them”

2.Gender Based stereotypes


1.Culture Shock

2.Gender and LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace

3.Signs and Religious symbols
  • Language: The lack of common language among the co-workers can be a major obstacle and it can create various miscommunications. Such examples can be a mispronunciation of a word, phrases that can be interpreted differently in each culture or the complete absence of language knowledge. In this way, uncomfortable situations can be created which might generate a hostile environment, prevent people from sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings or give honest feedback. Since language reflects culture, different meanings can be given to words.
  • Non-verbal Communication: Misunderstandings can be a result of non-verbal communication as well. Facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact, vocal cues and in general body language have various meanings depending on the culture. For instance, in Western countries eye contact could be interpreted as respect or confidence in contrast with some Asian countries that it could be interpreted as disrespect. In the Greek case, it is important to maintain eye contact in specific cases, such as greeting someone. Gestures, touch and physical distance are also interpreted differently depending on the country and the culture and it is important to be aware of the non-verbal communication rules in the workplace.

In general relationship building through communication is important in Greece, while face-to-face communication is more preferable.

  • Mutual Respect and Courtesy: A healthy working environment is built through respect. Treating people with politeness, encouraging coworkers to express their opinions and avoiding any behavior that may be infringing or offensive and emboldening constructive dialogue and mutual understanding creates an environment of appreciation and solidarity. Moreover, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in the workplace, as showing emotions and sharing thoughts improves the well- being of the work team and develops interpersonal relations.
  • Time Requirements: Punctuality is very important in the workplace, although it varies among cultures. In Greece, working hours demonstrate that employees should arrive at a predetermined time and leave at the end of their shift. Being late at work is not appreciated, especially in the beginning, as it creates serious obstacles in the relationship and team building. On the other hand, overtime labor hours must be paid according to Greek law.
  • Dress Code: Dress policy can be more or less important depending on the culture, country but also the specific type of job. In some jobs it is mandatory for the employees to wear occupation costumes, such as doctors or nurses. In other cases, casual or formal attire is well appreciated along with maintaining good personal hygiene. Employees can ask about the dress code policy in their new job.

  • Ethnocentrism “Us” vs “Them”: Stereotypes are suppositions about a social, cultural or ethnic group that are believed that all people in this group correspond to these assumptions. These ideas can be created by the media, experiences or society and they can be both conscious and unconscious. Making jokes or comments about people from these groups in the workplace creates a hostile and toxic environment, it damages the professional relationships and generates conflicts that divides the employees into “Us” and “Them”.
  • Gender Based Stereotypes: It is very likely that females in the workforce receive comments that support the traditional gender stereotypes. These could be “women are sensitive and compassionate” or that they are supposed to do specific kinds of work (caretaker, housewife). In cases that these comments are followed by skin color and motherhood biases can create a hostile environment and put women in a vulnerable situation.
  • Culture Shock: It is very common among people who change their environment and move to another country, to experience uncertainty and anxiety. Being exposed to a new culture with different rules, moving between social environments and receiving huge amounts of new information can create confusion. During the adjustment period, the person might feel disoriented, a fact that could cause communication obstacles at the workplace.
  • Gender and LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace: Gender diversity is not common among all countries and cultures. A new working environment with such changes may cause difficulties in one’s adjustment and generate communication barriers.
  • Signs and Religious symbols: Religious differences could possibly act as an obstacle in terms of communication in the workplace. Sometimes religious views impact the way someone thinks and block the communication channel.

However, the 4285/2014 Law for Combating certain forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia, creates a protection framework that victims of xenophobia or racism can refer to.


Can you reflect on other types of stereotypes in the workplace? How would you eliminate them?