Managing Perplexity: Lessons from Inside the Romanian Business Culture

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Despite the passage of several decades since the revolution of 1989, there is little professional literature designed to prepare foreign investors for the Romanian business culture. Visitors to this nation discover a friendly people who engage in business practices often characterized as perplexing, frustrating, and imbued with selfdefeating actions. The communist period in Romania’s history imbedded unethical behavior into the nation’s culture, including the morally ambiguous practice of favor trading. This paper describes this central business activity and how it shapes business dealings and often undermines opportunities. The cultural context that created the favor trading environment is discussed, and methods for managing this perplexing practice are explained.