Important differences between German and US business culture

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2021 | International Business Contracts |

The differences between German and US business cultures can lead to serious misunderstandings when you are conducting international business. New York and US culture as a whole can take Germans by surprise just as their own culture can give you the wrong impression.

Problem-solving approach

Germans focus more on analyzing the problem than Americans, which can give Americans the impression Germans are being negative. Americans prefer to focus on brainstorming solutions to a problem. From the German perspective, they come off as being too positive and unrealistic. However, when both sides have an understanding of the other’s culture, international business can go smoother. Each side should adapt a little to the other’s natural style to find a middle ground.

Praise

Giving out praise isn’t as common in German culture as it is in US business culture. Americans can begin feeling worried that they’re not doing a good job if they don’t receive compliments. Even praise like “good job” is enough to make an American feel reassured. Germans could try to say these phrases more often when doing business with Americans, especially when they talk to someone of lower status in the organization. Americans must also remind themselves that it’s not within German culture to give a lot of praise so that they don’t feel unappreciated. Germans are the type who let you know if something is going wrong rather than keep it to themselves.

Positions of power

An interesting difference between American and German cultures is Americans are more direct and abrupt with colleagues who are at a lower level within the organization. This is an aspect that surprises Germans, especially because Americans tend to take on a positive and friendly approach in business and socialization. Some Germans may misunderstand this change in behavior as a personal attack. However, it is normal in American business culture.

When one is unaware of cultural differences, it can have a negative effect on their business dealings. Keep these important differences in mind when you’re interacting with people from Germany or the US. It will help avoid unnecessary conflict and negative personal feelings.