Onceyou establish trust and relationship, Indonesian employees are usually very loyal there’s much lower turnover where conditions are good. They are extremely respectful, pleasant, easy-going and willing to work hard


However, you need to provide a lot more structure and ensure a worker knows exactly what is expected of them and what they should be doing all the time. It is very important to make sure that you have been understood, because a nod of the head doesn’t necessarily mean you have.

As long as you can accept responsibility if you didn’t explain something specifically, rather than instantly blame the employee (this happen far too often in foreign owned businesses) then cultural differences won’t get in the way too much and any problems that arise will be quickly resolved.


You can’t take it for granted that anything will be done just because it’s a logical step of initiative that a western employee might take.

When supervising a project, it is recommended to closely monitor your subordinates, ask them about the progress of the project regularly, just in case they have any problems or need help etc. be- cause Javanese are very polite people. It is very hard for them to ask for help and to be the bearer of “bad news”.


In the work place there is a lot of respect for religious duty and time is given for individuals to practice their religion of choice. Thus, the Christians in our office were off at Christmas while the Muslims and Hindus worked, but the Muslims were off at Ramadan while the Hindus and Christians worked. During the normal office hour, until 4 or 5 o’clock, you will see Muslims pray twice: the second and the third prayer of the day. In every office, a room is provided for this purpose. Please be sensitive to this need of your colleagues in the workplace. The men will also need to go to the mosque on Fridays to do the second prayer.


The concept of “saving face”, to show respect and maintaining harmony in the workplace is very important. Conflicts should therefore be dealt with in private. As a manager/ colleague you have to be very sensitive interpreting every single word and body language on a daily basis which you think might be very stressful but you will get used to it and it will then become second nature. You will know that a colleague is having problems with you when she/he avoids you or act cold towards you.

If you have a problem with someone lower in the hierarchy then it is ok to talk to them, but not aggressively, and certainly never in front of other staff. Take them aside and discuss your problem in a friendly manner. If it is someone equal or higher in status than you, this can become more delicate. If you feel comfortable with this person and have a basic personal relationship, it would be good to have a conversation and they would likely appreciate it if you made the first move since they will not likely bring it up. If the situation is drastic, between a colleague, it would be useful to ask another colleaque to help mediate or to ask your superior tointervene. If you are having problems with a superior, then it might be useful to ask other external resources for advice on how to proceed. They won’t talk to you if they are having problems with you.


Giving compliments, having a good relationship, saving their face when needed, respecting them and treating them well will motivate Indonesians. In essence, leaders are expected to fill the role of parents, protecting and guiding their subordinates. Loyalty will come by itself if they feel that you are a good parent.

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