Growing up I my father stressed the importance of etiquette no matter what atmosphere you find yourself in. He would explain that you never know who’s watching or what opportunities you could gain by following simple steps. With that being said the lessons I learned about common courtesies helped translate to adulthood. While in Adulthood business practices become more common thus introducing common courtesy while operating a certain type of business or transaction. I believe common business practices and courtesies are vital to setting up someone for success.
While I was in high school when I was introduced to a German teacher who taught us common German business practices. He was brief with his explanation of punctuality as well as gift-giving procedures. He had been a research analyst for logistics company for a short period of time before traveling to the states to become a teacher of German. I befriended him as an acquaintance and minor mentor. He ended up helping me with college recommendation letters and references which I thank him for that. I was able to learn more about these practices through brief readings in our text as well as an article I found online.
Through a brief search I was able to find a website by the name of (Passport to Trade 2.0: A Bridge To Success) with an article titles Business Culture in Germany. This article elaborated on structure, gift-giving, corporate responsibility, dress code, and punctuality. Starting out it stressed the “..low-degree of flexibility and spontaneity in attitudes and values.” The integration of personal life into work live is looked down upon. Being on time is a must and is considered a great insult if not properly communicated.
Gift giving is a notion throughout many cultures including Germany. Gifts should fall under the category of small, good quality, and not expensive. This includes common items such as pens or liquor. Social settings warrant a more fitting gift like flowers, chocolates, or wine. These gifts often have relations to area in the country in which they occur. Lastly the host is to open the gift while in the presence of the presenter. These are specific but very well represented throughout German Culture.
As in other culture dress codes are common knowledge amongst participants in business. In Germany nothing out of the ordinary is expected when business dress includes dark-colored conservative suits that are accompanied by ties and white shirts. The colors are the main focal point in avoiding light blue or flamboyant colors that we might see here in the States when conducting business.
Lastly German government and local authorities provide easy avenues for business colleagues to take if fowl play is suspected. Whistle-blowing is encouraged to maintain the disciplined and honored workplace. In Chapter 14 of our book Germany is represented within the EU as well as excerpts including The first woman chancellor, Angela Merkel, making significant strides while in office to restructure their educational system.(p. 468) The German language is prevalent in business as its practiced across nations outside of Germany. It is one of the main spoken languages in Austria and Switzerland. Our text dives further with a statement that “…Austria will fine and expel immigrants who fail to attend mandated classes in the German language..”(p.470.)
Learning more about how other countries practice business is vital to helping your own system. Lesson can be learned by observing as well as engulfing yourself in others shoes. I’ve always know Germans were “strict” but this is a good representation of why they operate the way they do. Through this lesson I’ve gained a different perspective of my German teacher who participated in these traditions.
Moran, R.T., Abramson, N. R. & Moran, S.V. (2014). Managing cultural differences. (9th ed.). Abingdon: Routledge.
“Business Etiquette.” Business Culture, Passport to Trade 2.0, 22 Oct. 2019,