Doing Business Ion Germany


Like many other northern Europeans, Germans tend to take a deal-focused, low-context and monochronic approach to doing business. North Americans and Australians find Germans relatively formal, southern Europeans often describe them as reserved and most Asians consider them very direct.
Of course there are important north/south and east/west differences in German business customs, not to mention significant individual variations. Keeping this in mind, the following profile describes the important general tendencies in business behavior you are likely to encounter whether your meeting takes place in Hamburg or Munich, Leipzig or Cologne.
Language of Business
Many German managers are ...

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a powerful role in the German business world. Since it is always useful to have a referral you may want to ask your international bank to arrange an introduction. However, in contrast with more relationship-focused business cultures such as Japan, Korea, Brazil or Saudi Arabia, making direct contact is also a viable option in Germany.

Send a letter in good business German along with basic information about your company and the purpose of the meeting. Request an appointment with two to three weeks' advance notice. If you are making a 'cold' approach it would be appropriate to address correspondence to the department concerned rather than to a specific individual. Once you have been introduced or have a referral you may address your letter to the appropriate person.

If you do not speak the language, offer to bring along someone to interpret. Your counterpart will usually respond that this will not be necessary but it is polite to make the offer.

Avoid asking for a meeting ...

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meeting will rarely if ever be interrupted by phone calls or unscheduled visitors.

Formality, Hierarchy and Status

German society retains a certain level of social formality which is reflected in business protocol. Formal behavior is a way to show appropriate respect to people with high rank, professional titles and higher academic qualifications, especially in southern Germany. This can be very important since more German managers have Ph.D's than anywhere else in the world. About 40% of the board members of the 100 largest corporations have a doctor's degree.

Address Dr. Wilhelm Schmidt as "Dr. Schmidt" or "Herr Doktor." His female colleague with a Ph.D would be "Frau ...

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Added: 4/22/2006 10:56:48 AM
Category: Miscellaneous
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2029
Pages: 8

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