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Running head: Business Etiquete in Germany

Business Etiquete in Germany

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Business Etiquete in Germany


The Federal Republic of Germany has a population of eighty-one million people and is approximately the volume of Montana.  Germany’s religions are divided evenly among Roman Catholics, who are concentrated in the southern part of the country, as well as Protestants, who are originated in the northern region. Germany's economy ranks as the biggest in Europe, and the 3rd leading in the world, following the U.S. and Japan.

In Germany, the decision-making process is much slower than in the United States, furthermore this can be worrying to U.S. executives. Be prepared for the process to take much longer, as there is often a hidden group of advisors as well as decision makers that must support of any deal that is to take place.

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Business Etiquete in Germany

Doing business overseas brings people face to face with dissimilar cultures and practices. Prior to roaming to another country it is the norm not to consider factors for example differences in meeting etiquette, negotiation styles as well as business protocol. On the other hand, it is exactly these areas one should be addressing before doing business overseas if the success of the trip is to be given a better possibility.

A lack of cross cultural understanding leads those doing business overseas to form stereotypes. Common terms used to explain Germany comprise humorless, insistent, and remote, in addition to stubborn as well as obsessed with details.
There are elements of truth contained by each, yet all originate from our own cultural programming. Such as, in the UK it is good enough to swap jokes and have casual chats at work. When a Britain is doing business in Germany it is as a result probable that they will interpret the strict formality as dull and humorless. Conversely, a German doing business in the UK may understand working practices in the UK as amateur and unproductive.

This paper to doing business in Germany is proposed to highlight a number of significant key areas that one may come across in Germany. (Smyser, 1993)


Germans are often troubled with indecision, ambiguity and unquantifiable risk. This has become apparent in both social as well as business spheres. Generally, Germans lean towards conservatism with conformism.

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When doing business in Germany it is probable to perceive a serious emphasis on careful planning, consideration, consultation and agreement. This has developed an approval for detail, facts as well as statistics. Organization is a means of negating indecision and prevention risk. (Coleman, 2005)

Aversion to Risk

The emphasis on conventionality combined with a fear of the unidentified makes Germans very apprehensive regarding risk. Security is certain through risk analysis.

     This is achieved during careful consideration and scrutiny based upon factual evidence as opposed to perception or 'gut-feeling'. Written documentation is seen as the safest and most objective means for analysis. A thorough evaluation of details ensures all applicable information has been taken into concern.


  About 99% of the population speaks German. On the other hand, there are a number of different dialects in the variety of regions.
Germans love to converse on the telephone. Although significant business decisions are not made over the phone, expect several follow up calls or faxes.

Germans guard their personal life, so do not phone a German administrative at home without permission.

Doing Business - Meeting & Greeting

Firm, short handshakes are the norm when doing business in Germany. When some people are being introduced take turns to welcome each other rather than reaching over someone else's hands.  Keep away from shaking hands with one hand in your pocket. (Behrend, 1995)

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When doing business in Germany, keep in mind that punctuality is a severe issue. Business people work hard along with are under loads of pressure. Germans naturally plan their time very carefully. It is considered bad manners to be late or early as it shows disregard for peoples' time. (Behrend, 1995)

Negotiating tactics

Germans plan forward. As a result, ensure you book meetings as a minimum two-three weeks in advance. This is furthermore appropriate if you wish to have long telephone conversations. Meetings are generally held between 10-2 p.m. as well as 2-5 p.m. Avoid Friday afternoons, the holiday months of July, August and December moreover any local festivals.

Meetings are useful, official as well as generally stick to a set agenda counting start and finish times. The phrase 'let's get down to business' is absolutely suitable for German business meetings as small talk and association building is not priorities.

When entering a room the most senior of you must enter first. The most senior German counterpart is supposed to be greeted at first before any others present. Wait to be told where to sit. Treat the complete process with great procedure.

The Germans will examine proposals comprehensively. Ensure the information you give is in written format and presented methodically. Logical conclusions based on empirical evidence will only in general carry any weight. Remember choices will not be made on your sales technique or charm however on concrete facts that reveal a sound chance with smallest risk. (Behrend, 1995)

Acceptable public behavior

When Germans meet they shake hands. They are incredibly formal and like to be addressed by their last name or by their titles: e.g.: Herr Schneider.

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In case the person is a director of a corporation you may address him as Herr Direktor or if the director is a woman use Frau Direktor.
People are furthermore addressed by their academic titles Herr Doktor or Frau Doktor. Most Germans would consent that calling business colleagues each other by the first name denotes a need of class and admiration. For this reason you may work ten years with a German and he will still call you by your surname. In case you talk German constantly use the respectful form Sie and never Du.

In the workplace

Do not anticipate Germans to give any compliments even if your work is outstanding. A job well done does not call for praise. It is your responsibility to deliver good work. Good work is much appreciated without words.

There is a strong hierarchy within German companies. Communication generally takes place upright rather than horizontally as in most Northern European countries. Throughout meetings there will be a hierarchical order of talking.

When Germans speak they may plainly disagree with you. They will support their opinion on the other hand with weighty arguments.
Contrasting their neighbors the Dutch and the Belgians it is not constantly easy to interrelate with Germans. They are reserved and keep a distance at work and socially. Severe conversations regarding almost any topic are much more appreciated then shallow chit-chat or little talk.

Business dress and appearance

International Business Dress and Appearance Business dress in Germany is very conventional. International Business Dress and Appearance Businessmen wear dark suits; solid, conservative ties, as well as white shirts. International Business Dress and Appearance Women furthermore dress conservatively, in dark suits and white blouses.

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International Business Dress and Appearance Chewing gum whereas talking to someone is considered rude.

International Business Dress and Appearance don’t are amazed if rarely you see a fashion statement with white socks being worn with a dark suit. (Coleman, 2005)

Acceptable public behavior

Germans are strongly distinctive. The German thought process is very thorough, with each feature of a project being examined in great detail. This procedure is often times very time-intensive. On the other hand, once the planning is over, a project will move very rapidly and deadlines are expected to be honored.

Germans do not like surprises. Unexpected changes in business transactions, though they may get better the result, are annoying. German citizens do not need or expect to be complimented. In Germany, it is assumed that everything is acceptable except the person hears or else. When being introduced to a woman, stay to see if she extends her hand. Business is viewed as being very severe, and Germans do not understand humor in a business situation.

In business meetings, age takes priority over youth. If you are in a group setting, the eldest person enters first. Germans keep a better individual space around them, approximately six inches more space than North Americans do. On the other hand, it is not strange that when in line at a accumulate cash register, Germans will crowd up extremely close to the person in front of them.

People that have worked mutually for many years still shake hands every morning as if it were the 1st time they met. (Coleman, 2005)

Using titles

 Titles are very vital to Germans. Do your best to converse to people by their full, proper title, no matter how strangely long that title may seem to foreigners. This is furthermore true when addressing a letter.

Germans are capable to drink large quantities of beer in one evening; however public drunkenness is not acceptable. It is best to know your limits, particularly in Bavaria where two liters of beer is a normal evening. Pace yourself as well as eat plenty of food.
Naturally, you do not wait to be seated in German restaurants; furthermore it is not unusual to share a table with strangers. On the other hand, most Germans will think it odd if you try to start a conversation with them outside just establishing that the chairs are obtainable.

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Linda Jane Coleman and Britta Pierson (2005), “Doing Business in Germany,” Salem State College Undergraduate Research Symposium. Presentation and Proceedings

Kolko, Gabriel. (2005) "American Business and Germany, 1930-1941," The Western Political Quarterly, Volume XV, 1962.
     Linda Jane Coleman and Meribeth Le Bean (2005), “The European Union,” Salem State College Undergraduate Research Symposium. Presentation and Proceedings

Behrend, Hanna, editor. (1995) German Unification: The Destruction of an Economy. London and East Haven, CT: Pluto Press
Economist Intelligence Unit. (2001) Country Profile: Germany. London: Economist Intelligence Unit

myser, W. R. (1993) The German Economy: Colossus at the Crossroads. New York: St. Martin's Press


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