Business Culture in Germany

Germans value punctuality as a central part of their culture. It is one of several traits that reflects the standards and values to do good business in Germany. Whether you are starting to work in Germany or coming over for a business trip, there are some important cultural aspects you should know about how German Business is or should be done.

Communication Style

Germans value codetermination. In meetings or projects participative communication is respected, so feel encouraged to voice your opinion and share it with your colleagues. Your manager or leader will appreciate your input. However, always think about the right time and place.

Also put attention to the fact that conversation is also direct and frank meaning it is very straight to the point. The most relevant information is brought up and unnecessary parts are usually left out.

At last, one more detail to note is that Germans will also be honest with their communication even if the truth hurts the other party. That does not necessarily make them rude or have bad intention, rather they want to give you an objective opinion that will help you to reflect.

Working Ethic

Like in many other western countries, people in Germany strongly believe in themselves and share a sense of individualism. People value their achievements, independence and privacy.

This reflects a strong sense of duty that values hard work, but also a separation of private and business life. People will not share a lot about their private life or ask questions they deem inappropriate, i.e. your family, finances or private problems.

Otherwise, managers can be expected to be decisive and assertive in their decisions, showing the value of their work. In short, being self-responsible and proactive in your work is a highly valued characteristic.

Attention to Detail / Following Rules

There is also a strong ‚do it by the book‘ approach to a lot of work. A clear set of rules, regulations and procedures exist that should be followed through. But are Germans really that strict?

In short, yes. Written structures and processes are respected. The bureaucratic system has a clear systematic overview of every decision that needs to be made. This is to eliminate uncertainty; Germans think things through and plan each aspect in detail.

Are they all the same?

These features give a short overview which practices are common in Germany.

However, it is important to note that these can only serve as a little guide, they should not be considered as exact rules. Germany`s Business Culture is very diverse and can vary depending on the region, industry, company and every individual. After all, we are all a little bit different, aren’t we?

Aykut, Timon Balabaner and Walter Feichtner
Karrierecoach München