German business culture tips
Keep in mind most of this is copy and pasted and has not been reworded and extracted yet.
Background of German business culture
In Germany, much greater attention has been paid to academic, technical education and its value to business in general. Therefore, companies tend to be run by technical experts rather than lawyers and accountants and this is reflected in the high regard in which engineers are held by other Germans.
Diligence and competence are characteristics which are held in high esteem by colleagues and are seen as the key indicators of performance. Appraisal systems based on the softer competencies as favoured by many U.K. and U.S. firms are ...view middle of the document...
Although disagreement with a superior will rarely be seen in public this does not mean that Germans are 'Yes' men. Subordinates tend to respect the technical abilities of their superiors and this will impact on their willingness to implement instructions. (The interesting corollary of this is that when less technically proficient non-Germans are asked to manage a team of Germans, the non-German can sometimes be seen as lacking the key prerequisite for developing the team's respect.)
Responsibility is expected to be delegated by the manager to the member of the team who is technically competent to carry out a particular task. The team member then expects to be left to perform the task without undue interference or supervision. Thus instructions need to be clear, precise and above all unambiguous.
People from cultures where managers are expected to develop a closer, more intimate ambience can see the German manager-subordinate relationship as distant and cold. The higher up the organisation people rise the more a sense of the 'dignity of the position' becomes apparent. Socialising tends to be at peer group level rather than up and down a hierarchy.
Teamwork in Germany could probably be best described as a group of individuals working to a specific leader towards a recognisable goal. Within the team, each member has a set, well-defined role which is adhered to. Lines tend not to be crossed as this could promote confusion. Team members are respected for their technical ability and functional knowledge and are allowed to peform their tasks without too much supervision (which can be seen as unnecessary intrusion.)
Cross-departmental teams can often prove very difficult to manage, as people are asked to make decisions in a vacuum which might adversely affect their area of the hierarchy. Thus decisions made at cross-departmental project group level are often revisited after group members have reported back to their superiors.
German 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. This directness can be interpreted by certain cultures (U.K, Japan, Korea etc.) as rudeness. It should be noted, however, that direct speaking is seen in Germany as a sign of respect and a fundamental in the search for the correct answer to a particular problem.
This directness in communication style also manifests itself in a lack of self-deprecation and coded language. A charge of arrogance is sometimes levelled at German businessmen and, although there is great pride taken in German achievements, this perceived arrogance is more a misinterpretation of direct speech. Germans will give a factual rendition of their own capabilities, which is not the same as arrogance. You can generally take a German at his word on these matters whereas certain other cultures will be far more vague in their use of language.