The features of economic culture of the Polish society, revealed in the process of deepening contacts with the West, are considered. The guiding hypothesis is that the processes of institutional transformation and the economic changes initiated in 1989 must have been affected by the cultural legacy of state socialism and of the pre-communist past. The article presents a preliminary, pilot phase of research. The core of the study consisted of twenty in-depth interviews with foreign and Polish businessmen and managers, who faced 'the other side' in the course of their business contacts. The results of this research suggest a generally positive appraisal by Poles of western economic culture, combined with a rather limited understanding of its deeper patterns, an ambiguous character of individualistic attitudes, and an uneven pace of cultural adjustment of different groups to the challenges posed by international economic cooperation.