By Jan Vincent Meertens
Consensus has always been in the DNA of the Dutch. It is the basis of what the Dutch call ‘effective decision-making’. The expat is often fascinated and frustrated by this culture of consultation and tolerance. Fascinated, because there always seems a way out of the most complex social controversies. Frustrated, because being part of a work environment that is built on the premise of consensus might be maddening for those from more hierarchical or decisive cultures.
That is why the preferred leader profile in the Netherlands is that of a co-ordinator or facilitator. He or she may be the boss, but should be available for, and capable of, constant negotiation with others – even subordinates.
Jan Vincent Meertens, author of Do We Have a Deal? (2017), intercultural management trainer and associate partner of the Hofstede Insights Group.