Cultural Differences in Business between the USA and Germany from A to Z
Welcome to Intercultural Reflections, a blog touching on the various cultural differences between Germans and Americans. I spend a lot of time focusing on how these differences affect the business relationship. Sometimes, though, I highlight topics of more general interest.
While I hope you visit– and stay– for all the posts and join the conversation, I understand that time is often short, the Internet is full of information, and sometimes you just need what you need, fast. For this reason, I have catalogued all business-related posts with links for your searching convenience.
Quick Reference for Business with Americans Topics
In the „Business ABC’s“ series, I work my way through the alphabet on topics of cultural differences in business between Germans and Americans. If a business relationship with the USA (or Germany) is on your horizon and you need a quick intercultural business primer, please start with this catalogue of what I’ve covered so far:
A – At Will Employment: This post highlights the central tenant of US employment law, one that differs starkly from that of Germany, namely „At Will Employment“. Better known as „hire and fire“, this relative lack of job security in the US resonates throughout „typical American“ business behavior. more
B – From Benefits to Brainstorming: This post covers business topics ranging from USA-style job benefits to workplace bullying to corporate Boards of Directors to brainstorming. more
C – Communication: Here I have a look at the business communication style of Americans versus Germans. One of the most fundamental cultural differences, folks in the USA often perceive Germans as too unfriendly and pessimistic, while Germans tend to see Americans as superficial and even naive. more
D – Dates: This post focuses on various aspects of dates, including how we talk about the calendar week, the difference between „this“ Thursday and „next“ Thursday, how we write dates as well as which dates of the year are significant to keep in mind. Surprisingly many cultural differences emerge within this topic alone! more
E – Education: The hallmarks of our education system resonate throughout our working lives, so it makes sense that the different education systems of Germany and the USA turn out different kinds of working styles. Read more about it in this post. more
F – Formality, Focus: This post visits the topic of relative formality of the German the workplace in contrast to the perceived informality in the USA. Additionally, I zero in on that famous German focus, which makes for an intense but efficient workday. more
G – Greetings: The very first impression counts, and cultural norms for greetings can be surprisingly tricky. Get business off on the right foot by brushing up on the topic in this post. more
H – Holidays: Here you can test your knowledge on the important holiday dates in the USA as well as certain US holiday origins. more
I – Individualism: At the core of American values is individualism. It is such a fundamental value that failing to understand what it is and how it influences Americans in business (and private) will very likely de-rail a Germany-USA business relationship. Get started on the topic here. And while we’re at it, give me an “I” for intercultural training
J – Jokes: This is a hard letter! Jokes fall under the larger umbrella of communication style, specifically the ease with which Americans layer humor over their business dealings. Find out what’s behind this and how and when you, too can humor your US-counterparts. more
K – Key Differences in Management Style: Another tricky letter, but an important topic. Some key cultural differences lie behind the differing managing styles between supervisors in US and German companies. This blog attempts to explain some of those differences and to guide both Germans and Americans in navigating these differences to a positive result. more
Quick Reference from the Archives
Other business topics from the archives:
Common American Business Practices
Blog posts can only skim the surface of these differences. For a deeper look into the cultural differences between Germany and the USA and how to leverage these for a productive relationship, book an intercultural training with us today.
Check back next week…when the joke is on me.
[…] all be business with me, folks. Especially not this time of year. So, for now I will lay aside my ABC’s of Business series and dive head-first into the season of Glühwein, Plätzchen, Christmas Markets and […]