Culture in Germany
The basic characteristics of German business culture are a monochrome attitude toward the use of time; for example, a desire to complete one action chain before embarking on another; a strong belief that Germans are honest, straightforward negotiators; and a tendency to be blunt and disagree openly rather than going for politeness or diplomacy. German companies are traditional, slow-moving entities, encumbered by manuals, systems and hierarchical paths regarded by many Europeans and Americans as overly rigid and outmoded. Hierarchy is mandatory, often resulting in exaggerated deference for one's immediate superior and CEO.
The German boss is an extremely private person, normally sitting isolated in a large office behind a closed door. American and Scandinavian senior executives prefer an open door policy and like to wander round the corridors and chat with colleagues. This horizontal communication contrasts with the German vertical system, where instructions are passed down to immediate inferiors only and kept rigidly within one's own department. In many countries there exists interdepartmental rivalry, but when dealing with the Germans you should remember that they can be especially touchy in this area. Always try to find the right person for each message. Tread on a German executive's toes and he or she will remember it for a long time.…
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