Iranian special working culture


Table of Contents

This article delves into the reasons behind the taboo of discussing personal matters, specifically salary and compensation, in Iranian culture. We explore the cultural, social, and religious factors that have shaped this behavior and analyze its effects on the business environment, in comparison to other nationalities. Additionally, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages for intercultural leaders navigating this cultural norm.

Why Iranians are Reluctant to Discuss Requirements and Compensation:


  1. Respect for Modesty and Humility: In Iranian culture, modesty and humility are highly valued, and it’s considered inappropriate to draw attention to oneself by boasting or discussing personal matters such as salary or compensation.

  2. Influence of Islamic Teachings: Iran is an Islamic Republic, and Islamic teachings emphasize the significance of modesty, humility, and contentment with what one has. Therefore, discussing financial compensation may go against these values.

  3. Pressure to Conform: Iranians face social pressure to conform to social norms and avoid standing out. Discussing compensation can be perceived as an attempt to draw attention to oneself, which makes many Iranians uncomfortable.

What are the effects on business and teamwork?

Effects of Reluctance to Discuss Compensation on the Business Environment:

Positive Effect: The reluctance to discuss compensation can create a harmonious work environment where colleagues are less likely to argue or complain about their salaries or benefits. This can foster good relationships and maintain a positive atmosphere in the workplace.

Negative Effect: However, the reluctance to discuss compensation can also result in employees feeling undervalued or underpaid. This can lead to low morale, high turnover rates, and make it challenging for employers to determine if their employees are being paid fairly.

Comparison of Iranian cultural attitues in team

Comparison of Iranian Cultural Attitudes towards Discussing Compensation with Other Nationalities:

  1. Western Countries: In many Western countries, discussing compensation is a typical and expected part of the hiring process. Employees may openly negotiate their salaries and benefits without hesitation.

  2. Japan: In Japan, a culture of modesty and harmony often leads to reluctance to discuss salaries. Japanese employees tend to avoid discussing their compensation to maintain a harmonious work environment.

Pros and Cons of Iranian cultural attitues in team

  • Pros: As an intercultural leader in Iran, understanding and respecting the cultural norms and values can help build trust and establish rapport with colleagues. Creating a safe and supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their needs and concerns can foster positive relationships.


  • Cons: However, the reluctance to discuss compensation can pose challenges for an intercultural leader to determine if their employees are being paid fairly or to negotiate salaries or benefits. This may lead to difficulties in addressing issues related to compensation and may hinder the effectiveness of the intercultural leader’s role.

My own experience and lesson learned

As an Iranian employee, I faced challenges in discussing personal matters such as salary and compensation due to cultural norms and expectations which led to some lesson learned which here is discussed.

This is because Iranian culture highly values modesty and humility, and boasting or drawing attention to oneself is considered inappropriate. These factors made it difficult for me and my Iranian colleagues, who were developers and designers, to negotiate salaries or discuss our compensation requirements.

Furthermore, as Iran is an Islamic Republic, Islamic teachings emphasize contentment with what one has, which can make discussing financial compensation go against these values.

There is also social pressure in Iranian society to conform to social norms and avoid standing out, which can make discussing compensation uncomfortable for many Iranians.

This reluctance to discuss compensation had a negative impact on me and my colleagues, as we felt that our needs and requirements were not being met, leading to dissatisfaction and disengagement in our work.

To address this issue, our company could have provided these approaches which are mention below:

Lesson learned for my Case Study

Solution for our Multinational SaaS Company’s Compensation Challenges in United States with Iranian employees:

To address the compensation challenges faced by the multinational SaaS company, the following solutions can be implemented:

  1. Providing cultural awareness training: The company can offer cultural awareness training to its HR staff and managers, which can help them understand the cultural norms and expectations of Iranian employees regarding compensation and benefits.

  2. Offering flexible compensation packages: The company can provide flexible compensation packages that cater to the specific needs and preferences of its Iranian employees, such as health insurance, education and training benefits, and performance-based bonuses.

  3. Encouraging open communication and feedback: The company can foster a culture of open communication and feedback, where employees feel comfortable discussing their compensation and benefits requirements with their superiors and HR department.

  4. Conducting regular surveys and focus groups: The company can conduct regular surveys and focus groups to gather feedback from its Iranian employees on their compensation requirements and satisfaction levels.

By adopting these solutions, the multinational SaaS company can create a more culturally aware and inclusive compensation strategy that aligns with the expectations and requirements of its Iranian employees.

This can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and a more competitive position.

How do you rate this article?

give stars to rate this article

AVG: 4.6 / 5. Number of votes: 7

Be the first to rate:

8 thoughts on “Iranian special working culture”

  1. As a Persian person you could discuss this topic very well Javad. Thankssss it can help me as HR manager in future

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *