Germany Travel > Culture > German Business Culture

German Business Culture — Thriving Force In Europe

The German business culture has driven Europe's largest population and largest economy, making it the third latest in the world.

Its nationalized business culture is defined by key values that govern it.

To start, the German business culture is defined according to living and working rules that abide by a rigorous structure with little flexibility.

In the workplace, there is a strong focus on facts and tasks — where objective facts are needed in decision making instead of personal networking and planning to achieve milestones and following the schedule are ahead of developing personal relationships.

German Business Culture
German Business Culture

The German business culture is largely an individualistic one where employees care about their own status ahead of business decisions, although Germans recognize the need for adhering to communal interests as well. In the workplace, punctuality is extremely important. Coming to work ten minutes late is seen as disrespectful and requires telling someone in advance.

Appointments are strong and decision making is an arduous process.

There is also a strong hierarchy with German corporations with clearly outlined responsibilities assigned to employees and departments. Like most countries, professional status depends on achievement and titles.

By the way, in the boardroom, the highest authority comes into the room first.

Personal relationships in the German business culture are also harder to forge. Germans are seen as private people and this applies to personal lives and work lives where talking about personal matters are considered a no-no during business dealings.

German Business Culture
German Business Culture

When it comes to actual interpersonal business practices, last names are usually spoken — even with employees that have known each other for a few years.

Firm handshakes are suggested upon meeting and leaving and business cards are OK to hand out.

Another important part of German business culture is gift giving etiquette. You'll be surprised to learn that many of the gifts offered without problems in your country are not applicable to Germans during some situations.

For example, carnations may be a hit in your country's national Valentines Day but an offense in Germany, as they symbolize mourning. In addition, giving red roses to a fellow employee is a romantic gesture that might not be taken lightly.

Providing a bottle of German wine is largely considered cheap. Imported wine from Italy and France is a stronger gesture.

Remember to bring chocolate or flowers – they are considered socially acceptable in Germany. But ensure to buy chocolate in Germany (or in one of the other two German speaking countries: Switzerland and Austria).

All in all, the German business culture is very much like the one's we are familiar with, with a few exceptions.


Special Tip!There are two business related articles available that I've published the other day. One is about Business Transactions in Germany – How to Triple Your Success. The other one covers 10 Points You Have to Consider Before You do Business to Business in Germany. Enjoy!


All the best,

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Germany Travel > Culture > German Business Culture