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Indonesian Working Culture You Need to Know

Get to Know Indonesia Working Culture

Indonesia, as a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, has a unique work culture influenced by various factors, including traditional values, religion, and globalization. The culture can vary across different industries, companies, and regions within the country. Modern workplaces, particularly in multinational companies or urban areas, may exhibit more Westernized work practices. That doesn’t mean they don’t include their acculturation in a working environment. Here are some key aspects of work culture in Indonesia you need to know before making your business path in the mentioned country:

Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia, which various business are running
Source: Unsplash

Hierarchy and Respect

Indonesian workplaces generally have a hierarchical structure, which means authorities and decision-making power are concentrated at the top. It is crucial to respect authority, seniority, and older colleagues, and individuals are expected to show deference to their superiors. The concept of “face” (hormat) is important, and maintaining harmonious relationships is valued. This leads the employees to be more respectful of the power structure within the workplace. They would ask less and be more open to ideas from someone higher up. Sometimes, lower-level employees must obey their seniors without questioning them, talking back, or complaining if the boss gives orders related to work.

It is worth mentioning once the lower-level employees have built a nice relationship with their seniors, together with good experience, skills, and expertise, they may have opportunities to move up the hierarchy through promotions or lateral moves. It definitely will not happen in one night— some people might take years and years of work before getting the desired high position.

Collectivism and Harmony

Indonesian society emphasizes collectivism and group harmony. This is reflected in the workplace as well— teamwork and collaboration are highly valued. Building strong relationships and fostering a sense of community are important aspects of Indonesian work culture.

Workplaces in Indonesia often have a strong emphasis on socializing and celebrations. Team outings, group meals, and celebrations of religious or cultural events are common. These activities contribute to building camaraderie, strengthening relationships, and promoting a harmonious work culture. The closer they got to each other, the more they will contribute to a harmonious work culture where individuals feel valued and supported.

Communication Style

Indonesians tend to communicate indirectly and subtly, relying on non-verbal cues and context to convey their message. Politeness and tact are valued, and confrontation or direct criticism may be avoided to maintain harmony. Face-to-face interactions and building personal connections are preferred over relying solely on written communication.

How to address your boss or colleagues is also important. You can’t just call them by their first name, unless with a friend of similar age. In Indonesia, you have to call them “Bapak” or “Mas” which means “Sir”. For female seniors, you can call them “Ibu” or “Mbak” which means “Madam”. Whether you know their age or not in the first meeting, it is important to address them as respectfully as you can.

Religious Influence

Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, and Islamic values have an impact on the work culture. Prayer times and religious holidays are observed, and accommodations are made for religious practices. However, it is important to note that Indonesia is a diverse country with other religions present, such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, which also influence work culture in specific regions.

It’s not questionable when religious beliefs influence an individual’s attire and appearance. Some religions have specific dress requirements, such as modesty guidelines or wearing religious symbols. Employers may establish dress codes that consider religious requirements and provide reasonable accommodation for religious attire or accessories.

Religious beliefs often emphasize acts of charity and giving back to the community. In line with these values, some companies engage in corporate social responsibility initiatives that align with religious teachings, such as supporting charitable causes, volunteering, or contributing to community development projects.

How to Adjust to The Indonesia Working Culture as Foreigner?

  • Learn the Indonesian language
  • Learn about the Local Culture
  • Respect Boundaries and Appreciate Differences
  • Build Relationships
  • Adapt Communication Style
  • Be Patient and Resilient
People working in a the office
Source: Unsplash

What Can We Do to Help?

Mediamaz Translation offers an Immigration Document Translation Service which provides the process of translating various documents for a smooth and successful immigration process. Those documents are critical for establishing your identity, background, qualifications, and eligibility for immigration.

We will provide a high-quality translation that meets your specific immigration requirements. Our team will protect your documents and keep personal and non-personal documents secret to keep them private. If you want to work in Indonesia, we can assist you with the maximum ability.

Simply get in touch with us here or access our website and our marketing team will be ready to help you 24/7 with the best service and provide solutions to your needs and problems.

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