As U.S. general manager for Madrid-based Panda Software, Patrick Hinojosa, 36, knows the culture shock faced by many continent-hopping road warriors. The security software company has offices in 40 countries.

AW: What’s the main difference between the U.S. and Spanish business styles?
Americans do business very directly, often tersely. Over there, the social niceties are critical to getting anything done. The long lunches, socializing with the boss — all that really matters. You ease into conversations when everybody’s comfortable.

AW: Did you have adjustment problems?
Here in the U.S., we have all the sexual harassment stuff. In Spain, you’d better give the person a hug, kiss them on the cheek. That took me a while to get used to.

AW: How about electronic communications?
They do a lot in person that we would normally do over the phone. And you don’t have many e-mail relationships like you do here, doing business with people you’ve never met in person. Internet penetration in Europe is a fraction of what it is here.

AW: How does all the schmoozing affect productivity?
You might not get as much done in a day there as you do here. But as one of my Spanish co-workers put it, “In America, you live to work. We work to live.” It’s a philosophical difference.