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Serbia: Foreign Market Entry

Posted by Matej GRABROVEC on Mar 12, 2018 8:45:00 AM
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When interested in foreign market entry and doing business in a certain market, it is of a great importance to reflect on the country’s culture

Southeastern Europe: Market Entry

Southeastern Europe or Balkan peninsula is a very interesting region with many different stories and conflicts.

If you are thinking of South East Europe market entry, entering Serbian market, this blog post will give you some business insights into entering southeastern Europe and doing business in Serbia.

Within boundaries of South East Europe we can find a great deal of intriguing political, economic, historical, cultural, and geographical questions and issues.

South East Europe (SEE) among others brings together Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro. All these countries used to be one entity. They all separated one by one leaving Serbia behind.

Those collisions and disunions left marks on the region as a whole and on each country, as well. 



The cultural patterns of a specific region or country usually have very old historical roots and, thus, can’t be understood without the study of history. The region of South East Europe and Serbia are no exception to this rule.

The history of Serbia

In the farther past, for more than 500 years, Serbia had struggled under the Turkish domination. After Turks, Serbia was dominated by Austro-Hungarian Empire. During World War II Serbia was bombed and occupied by the German Nazis until the liberation in 1944.

The second part of the twentieth century was an anomaly – a harbor of relative peace across a diverse population of Croatians, Albanians, Bosnians, Montenegrins, and Serbs, in large part winded up by common Serbian identity. This ended with wars of separation of Croatia and Slovenia, and then Bosnia and Herzegovina, leaving just Serbians and Montenegrins.

At first, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro agreed to maintain the Yugoslav state, but due to political turbulence, it was restructured and renamed to Serbia and Montenegro until this union also collapsed in 2006.

Meanwhile, in 1999, Serbia was again bombed by the NATO because of the issues concerning a disputed territory, Kosovo. All these historical changes have taken its toll in Serbian culture.


How did Serbians perceive wars?

During all the wars Serbians have provided the highest level of continuous and fearless resistance.

The latest example which happened during the bombing by NATO in 1999 shows this remarkable characteristic of the Serb nation. Namely, a majority of population courageously stood on numerous bridges all over the country and held banners with target signs, while NATO’s bombing planes were flying over their heads.

So, Serbs are used to defending their territory and they have highly developed turf protection orientation. Serbian culture is more “masculine” in a way.

Both of these elements are affecting Serbian negotiation style to be quite strong. Understanding Serbian business culture answers your question How to do business in Serbia.


How did Serbian history affect Serbian culture?

According to the famous cultural researcher and sociologist, Geert Hofstede, Serbians have a special mental program, which can’t be changed within a few years, so it should probably be taken as a given fact. In Serbia, there is a high presence of rule orientation, employment stability and stress within minds of citizens.

Less powerful members of the Serbian society mostly accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Serbian society is collectivistic one. Serbs are slightly more masculine than feminine oriented.

At the present time country is going through or finishing a process of transition. The pace of life is becoming more and more intense. Different industries and markets are opening up.


The people, especially younger citizens, are quickly accepting Western habits and style of living. Older generations are still somewhat suspicious of ideas that come from outside of their cultural context.

“Serbia – a world West of East and East of West”.


Are you thinking about entering SEE or Serbian market

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Tags: serbia, doing business in serbia, market entry, culture, south east europe