Understanding German business culture 9 comments Expats working in Germany may struggle in the new workplace or feel overwhelmed by a barrage of German regulations. Sylvia Schroll-Machl offers advice to ease the transition into working in Germany. Expats working in Germany may find themselves struggling to find their feet in the new workplace. Germans are often described by non-Germans as having the following qualities:
Cultural influences, attitudes and behaviour vary within and across nations and within and across ethnicities, and are strongly embedded within communities. In many respects, Germans can be considered the masters of planning. This is a culture that prizes forward thinking and knowing what they will be doing at a specific time on a specific day.
The German thought process is extremely thorough, with each aspect of a project being examined in great detail. Most aspects of German living and working are defined and regulated by structure, for Business communication in germany, through laws, rules, and procedures, which are evident in all economic, political and even social spheres.
Rules and regulations allow people to know what is expected so that they can plan their lives accordingly. Germans believe that maintaining clear lines of demarcation between people, places, and things is the surest way to lead a structured and ordered life.
In German business culture, this is reflected in the adherence to prescribed business rules resulting in, a low degree of flexibility and spontaneity in attitudes and values.
Germans do not like surprises. Sudden changes in business transactions, even if they may improve the outcome, are unwelcome. Business is viewed as being very serious, and Germans do not appreciate humour in a business context. In addition, counterparts do not need or expect to be complimented.
Work and personal lives are rigidly divided, and Germans subscribe to the ideal that there is a proper time and place for every activity.
When doing business in Germany, it is essential that you appreciate that business etiquette is of great importance to your German counterpart. Germany is a nation that is strongly individualistic, and demands the utmost respect at all times, therefore the highest of standards are expected.
Any unethical behaviour will seriously diminish all future business negotiations. Business executives who hope to profit from their travels in Europe should learn about the culture and customs of the countries that they wish to visit.
Flexibility and cultural adaptation should be the guiding principles for doing business in this country. Business manners and methods, religious customs, corporate social responsibilities, are all covered in the following sections.
Some of the cultural distinctions that businesspeople most often face include differences in business styles, attitudes towards the development of business relationships, attitudes toward punctuality, gift-giving customs and the meanings of colours and numbers.
The following sections give an insight into the values, attitudes and culture of Germany. From phasing out nuclear power to promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, Germany has become a pioneer within the EU in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in making alternative fuel sources viable.
As a result, Germany has become the world leader in wind energy. Pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in Eastern Germany, along with hazardous waste disposal remain environmental problems for Germany.
Inthe government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years. Germany leads Europe by having the greatest solar and wind electricity generating capacity on the continent.
Punctuality Germans are most comfortable when they can organise and compartmentalise their world into controllable units. Time, therefore, is managed carefully, and calendars, schedules and agendas must be respected. Trains arrive and leave on time to the minute, projects are carefully scheduled, and organisation charts are meticulously detailed.
Do not turn up late for an appointment or when meeting people. Germans are extremely punctual, and even a few minutes delay can offend.
If you are going to be even slightly late, call ahead and explain your situation. Be five to 10 minutes early for important appointments. Gift giving Gift giving among business associates is not common in Germany. There has recently been a move towards concentrating much more on the actual business at hand, and less on formalities and rituals like gift giving when travelling on business.
However, for more social occasions, gift giving is relatively customary. The following issues are important to note when considering giving a gift: A visitor thinking of giving a gift should choose one that is small and of good quality, but not overly expensive.
Flowers should be given in uneven numbers and unwrapped unless wrapped in cellophane. Avoid presenting 13 of any kind of flower or red roses.When doing business in Germany, it is essential that you appreciate that business etiquette is of great importance to your German counterpart. Germany is a nation that is strongly individualistic, and demands the utmost respect at all times, therefore the highest of standards are expected.
The following section will provide you with information on both verbal and non-verbal communication issues in Germany.
It focuses on the initial stage of contact as an important factor examined together with the application of communication skills in business practice in Germany. Business Culture in Germany >> German Business Communication Styles. Germans put truth and directness before diplomacy, believing that the fact is the important issue and that personal emotions should not deflect the truth from being spoken.
Are you aware of business communication in Germany?
Learn about face-to-face communication practices such as use of personal titles, language matters to help you business relationship. Learn more about German business and social culture.
Intercultural, language and communication skills courses to succeed in Germany. Learn about business etiquette in Germany by understanding their values on punctuality, business dress code, gift giving, bribery and corruption .