International trade has become part of the global business world. Through international trade, different countries are able to do business with each other. The benefits of international trade by far surpass the disadvantages. This is to say that international trade has been embraced worldwide as a day-to-day practice for successful business. Although international trade puts countries on the same platform, some countries reap much more benefits than other countries. This has led to scholars carrying out research to establish what some countries do differently for them to be successful compared to their rivals. The world is diverse, and different nations have different practices. This diversity in culture is also experienced in the business world. To be able to carry out a successful business with other countries, one ought to understand how the business partner carries out his/her business. By learning other peoples culture one is well prepared. This way a successful business deal is eminent. An example is given by the international broadcaster Deutch Welle, 2007, which provides information that the American companies have largely invested in the German economy employing over eight hundred thousand people through investing $184 billion (Blackford, 2008).
United States has a population of 300 million people, who are of different heritage and races. The country is of European descent but has also been welcoming immigrants into the country. These immigrants are from all over the world. English is the main language spoken, but the immigrants also converse in their languages within the cultural enclaves of United States. Most of Americans are Christians by religion. The country is comprised of fifty states that are all governed on a state level and the federal level. This is to say that there are laws written at both levels that. These laws are to be followed by any person willing to carry out any business in the country. This makes the country litigious , but with the assistance of specialists, any transaction is well carried out. It is to be noted that geographic location and culture of an area affect how business is carried out in the region. In the East coast of the country, people are more conservative and formal, while in the west coast, people are more relaxed and informal. The pace of doing things is incomparable to that of the east coast. United States has the largest economy in the world. In the United States, business was mainly conducted by men with women main role been to take care of the home and family responsibilities. The business was not conducted in social events with strict stipulations that people were not to go with business cards in social events. They were in turn required to submit card with only their names on them. With evolution and aggressive markets, that has changed , and business are carried out in any place.
The federal republic of Germany has a population of around eighty one million people (81 million). The country is the roughly the size of Montana. The religion in Germany is split evenly into two. The Roman Catholics are generally concentrated in the southern part of the country while the Protestants are concentrated in the Northern. The country’s economy is the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. When conducting any business transaction, the Germans usually take their time in decision-making. The decision making process is slow but well informed as they have business advisors who debate on the decision to be made. This way they ensure that any move made in business is well calculated eliminating the option of failure. Although Germans learn to speak good English at tender ages, there are great differences in the way businesses are conducted in both countries as stated in the opening paragraphs. The unification of the East German and the West German has been monumental in building of the country’s economy (Reuvid & Eversheds 2002).
In the Financial Times global 500 ranking, German companies are rarely found at the top while the American companies are always the first ones. This comes as a surprise to most people, but on scrutiny, the main reason behind it is the difference in business mentality between the two countries. Exxon Mobile and General Electrics (US companies), lead the ranking, with the first German company ranking number 41. Since Germans are ambitious, they try to copy and get role models out of the US companies. This is merely the issue; the main reason why they lag behind compared to the Americans is due to the cultural differences. Germans mentality is basically more focused on the security of the business they indulge. They have these advisors who have to scrutinize every decision made on behalf of the firm and ensure that by the company confirming the transaction it is guaranteed of returns and not failure. Germans are encompassing and taking United States companies as benchmarks that will aid them in improving how they operate (Bayerische, 2002).
In the United States, firing and hiring is acceptable in the community. Germany has lower staff fluctuation rates, as opposed to the United States. In the U.S., it is a common habit for employees to move on from one employee to another one. By the time an employee moves on and leaves his job vacant, his/her colleagues have to be accustomed to what the employee was doing in the company and continue. This was not the case in Germany, the employees movement between companies was not advocated. They advocated on the employees acquiring enough experience and serving the company until retirement. This is because the companies relied very much on loyalty of employees and strong involvement of the employee to the company. However, this has recently changed, with the companies outsourcing most of their work and even selling parts of their companies. This is evidence that Germans do not still hold the tradition of being longtime employees. However, this has not augured well with the young generation. This is because they are afraid of buying houses or starting families without job security in their country. In the US people are much willing to take risks, but it is not the case with Germans. They have not yet developed the culture of taking risks. In case one loses a job because of a mistake done, they are fired , and the society looks down upon them in Germany. This is, however, not the case in the US as this is taken as a learning experience. The Germans way of conducting business was similar to that of the second largest economy where family generations worked for a single employer. The change has been due to competition against more diverse business models from the US (Sabath, 1999).
In Germany, business communication is more formal when compared to the US. They prefer been referred to as ‘Herr’ or Frau then followed by the surnames. Exploring in the US for these investors might prove difficult. This is because the Americans are used to using the first names in addressing their clients. This might be considered offensive by the Germans. A German with a Ph. D will prefer to be referred to as Herr Doktor instead of just Herr. Referring to them as ‘you’ is also offensive. They believe it should only be used when referring to children. When conducting some business with them, businessmen are advised to be less familiar (Bayerische, 2002).
After the conclusion of a deal, they expect to end the deal with a strong handshake and always maintaining direct eye contact. They refer to lack of eye contact as a sign of unreliability and dishonesty among the partners. Even when communicating, one is advised to always maintain eye contact with the Germans. Americans mostly want to lighten the mood when conducting a business meeting. This would confuse and offend the Germans. This is not to say they do not appreciate the humor because they do but under certain situations. Being serious when a situation needs it is mandatory , and thus they refer to humor in a business environment as inappropriate and misplaced. In America, employees are used to been appreciated when they do a job well. This is, however, not the case to the German counterparts. When a job is well done they are most likely not to say anything but when it is not done well they scrutinize and speak up. For an American in the German environment, this can be very confusing, as they are used to a more positive environment (Sabath, 1999).
Appearance in America is not as conservative as in Germany. In Germany, business dressing is very conservative. This is evidenced by businessmen wearing dark suits, with solid conservative ties and white shirts. Women also are to dress conservatively in white blouses and dark suits. A habit like chewing of gums is considered rude in German business setting. Some employees also dictate the color of socks to be worn, with most of them specifying white socks. In all major states, in the United States, a business suit and a tie are appropriate. Dark colored suits in classic colors of the navy and grey. When attending important meetings, a white dress or shirt or a less formal light blue shirt would be conservative. Women should wear a dress or suit with jacket. For women wearing the conservative colors will make her seem confident. In rural areas, informal wardrobe requirements are advised. For women business dress are allowed. Being formal can work for men in rural areas and in major cities. Casual clothing (Khaki and jeans) are to be worn in work related dinner (Bayerische, 2002).
Business conversations in the United States could also take place during meals , but this happens rarely. Mostly, social conversations take place during meal times. Business meetings usually take place during lunchtime, breakfast, or dinner, which depends on schedules and a necessity. However, a dinner generally is considered a social meal even when it is for business purpose. This is where people get to build rapport. Giving of gifts is usually discouraged , and a letter/ note of appreciation is mostly recommended. Giving of gifts appears to be bribing. Meal invitation is also unacceptable. In queues, one is advised to wait at the end of the line and wait for ones turn. Chewing and use of toothpick in public is also not encouraged. In most public and private areas, smoking is not allowed. Laws have also been passed in some areas to prohibit smoking.
On the other hand, Germans are strongly individualistic. They are thorough in their thought process and examine every aspect of the project in detail, which might take a lot of time. However after all scrutiny is completed, the details to finalize the deal move quickly. Germans are not fans to any surprises and thus any changes in the final transactions are not welcome. They do not need to be complimented after a job and thus are contented in anything satisfactory. In business, punctuality is a necessity, and they advocate for clients to arrive on time even in business and social appointments. Being late for an appointment is insulting to any German executive. In meetings, the clients are advised to shake hands at the beginning and at the end of the meeting. A bow and nod may also be appreciated as a way of making a good impression. Failure to respond would be a bad start. While responding look directly in the client’s eyes and maintain eye contact. When been introduced to a woman, one is to wait to see if she extends her hand. In a business meeting, age takes precedence. The eldest enters first. They also want some personal space when conversing much more space than the Americans. However in crowded places they adjust and cope with limited personal space. Even when they have worked together for long, Germans always shake hands like they have met for the first time. Frequently they refer to each other as Herr even when they have been familiar with each other for quite some time. Drinking in Bavaria is something very common, but been drunk in public is unacceptable. Thus, one is advised to know and learn the limits they ought to drink before getting drunk. In restaurants, initiating conversations other than a question about the availability of chairs would seem odd to Germans (Sabath, 1999). They also prefer to follow up on deals with many phone calls and faxes. However, conclusion of the deal does not happen over the phone but face to face. It is also not advisable for a client to call an executive in his house. This is because they guard their private life. However, on permission one can call. When addressing them ensure that the correct titles are used especially in a letter.
In United States, a handshake will last for 3-5 seconds whereby one is advised to maintain a good eye contact. In case you are greeting many people, always maintain eye contact with the person you are greeting as one proceeds ahead. Eye contact shows that one is sincerely interested and a sign of confidence (Campbell, 1997). When it comes to good friends, they can always hug, but it is a formality in major cities in America. Introductions should include the appropriate title of the client or executive. Business cards when conducting business can be exchanged at the beginning of a deal or at the end after completion of the deal. A smile is considered as a sign of friendliness and in rural areas greeting without a handshake are accepted. Before one starts smoking, it is appropriate and in order to as for permissions. This is because of health concerns of the person.
Through the essay, it is evident that Germans are not fans of personal relationships before deals can be done. They are usually interested in academic credentials and the amount of time that the person they are dealing with has been in the business. They always show great deference to the people in authority, thus by seeing them converse with their superior one is aware of the level that the client or the executive has rated you. They also do not have an open door policy and always work with their doors closed. This way one is always advised to knock and wait to be allowed to enter. They also put great emphasis on protocol. Before meeting the person you are to meet, it is advisable that one follows the protocol established. This way they appreciate the respect one has by welcoming them warmly. They are brilliant business men who are always suspicious of promises that seem so good to be true. They are also not good in sugarcoating and are quick enough to point out any mistake with absolute bluntness(Campbell, 1997).
In a business meeting, etiquette appointments for meetings are to be made early in advance. Duration of 1 to 2 weeks is advisable and appropriate. When addressing letters address them to the top most people in the functional department, one is not to forget the proper business title. When writing to schedule a business meeting with the executive one is advised to use the German national language, which is German. After scheduling the meeting ensure, that on the day of meeting one is on time. When plans do not go as planned it is in order to phone the office immediately informing them about the lateness. Cancelling of business meeting is, however, not acceptable and could move on to jeopardize the business deal planned. The first meetings are used to get acquainted to each other and is the basis of determining whether the person they are dealing with is trustworthy. They are always strict to the agendas of the meeting not to leave the starting and ending times of the meetings. An American conducting business with the Germans is advised to hire an interpreter. This would help him in understanding the executive/client well in case he decides to switch to English. Men are to enter into a meeting before women, when they are age-mates. It is also always advisable to treat the meeting with respect and the formality it deserves. The country is well regulated and extremely bureaucratic. When presenting any papers, ensure that they are well printed in both German and English. Upon signing of any contract, the insist it to be adhered to as provided. One is also advised to avoid confrontational behavior when dealing with Germans (Kenna & Lacy, 2004).
In conclusion, it does not come by surprise that Germany has the leading economy in the whole of Europe. This is because they have worked to get there with strict discipline and determination. Embracing their business tactics would also be beneficial to most countries as they would without any doubt move forward.
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