Germany: the label of quality
Germany has the largest economy in Europe – with a 22% share of the Eurozone GDP and access to 454 million consumers. Productivity has risen by more than 30% in the past 5 years and it is the world’s second largest exporter. The “Made in Germany” label is a seal of quality recognised around the world. With a highly sophisticated infrastructure; motorways, railways and a state-of-the-art telecommunications network the delivery of goods and IT services are offered quickly and dependably.
Germany has a proven track record and currently over 22,000 foreign companies operate in the country employing in excess of 2.1 million staff, generating trillions of Euros in turnover. It is also the most innovative nation in Europe – with more than 20% of European patents held by Germans.
The emphasis on conformity combined with a fear of the unknown makes Germans very apprehensive about risk. Security is guaranteed through risk analysis. This is achieved through careful deliberation and scrutiny based upon factual evidence as opposed to intuition or ‘gut-feeling’. Written documentation is seen as the safest and most objective medium for analysis. A painstaking review of details ensures all relevant information has been taken into consideration.
Germans value their privacy. Mentally there is a divide between public and private life and as a result, they wear a protective shell when doing business. Since intimacy is not freely given, this may be interpreted as coldness. However, this is not the case. After a period of time walls and barriers eventually fall allowing for more intimate relationships to develop.
Communication styles in Germany may be perceived as direct, short and to the point. Formality dictates that emotions and unnecessary content do not have a place in business conversations. Punctuality and planning are essential as time is highly respected. A common misconception is that the German sense of professionalism and strict protocol when doing business leaves no room for humour. Yet Germans, just as much as anyone else, like to laugh and as long as it is appropriate, tasteful and in context then humour is acceptable.
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