GERMANY
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES



 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FAMILY
In Germany the family unit is very important and typically holds a greater value than jobs hold.  Job mobility is low in Germany.  This is due to both the small size of the country and the importance of the family unit. 
EDUCATION
The educational system in Germany is very diverse and is typically distinguished between general and vocational schools.  In general, compulsory schools consist of nine years of full-time schooling followed by either part-time or full-time school up to the age of 18.  Students are taught basic knowledge along with various study methods.  Additional specialized education such as vocational training is available after high school. 
ECONOMY
Germany's economy is the third strongest in the world behind the United States and Japan.  However, it has had a continuous problem with lack of funds for social security and with high unemployment rates.  To put even a greater strain on Germany the integration of East and West Germany has proven to be quite costly. 
POLITICS
The political system of Germany is a federal republic.  Germany is politically stable and was united under one constitution on October 3, 1990.  This constitution, known as Basic Law, has represented West Germany since May 23, 1949. 
RELIGION
Primarily German religions consist of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism with a very small portion consisting of Muslims.  Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Basic Law.  The churches are supported through the tax system.  When filling out taxes, a German citizen lists his religious denomination and the government allocates a certain percentage of the taxes to the church.
HEALTH
In Germany, the primary responsibility of the health care systems lies with the government.  In this way most people are able to receive adequate care despite social or economic class.
RECREATION
Recreational time in Germany is spent with the future in mind.
VALUE DIMENSIONS
Power Distance:
The power distance of Germans is low.  Despite its hierarchical structure, German society does not favor a large power distance.  German people expect to be a part of the decision rather than merely following orders.
Uncertainty Avoidance:
Germany's uncertainty avoidance is medium to high.  A medium to high uncertainty avoidance infers that the German society favors stability and looks to avoid risks. 
Individualism:
West Germany is a more individualistic society than that of East Germany which is more of a collectivist society.  However, in the last decade East Germany's culture is gravitating towards that of West Germany. 
Masculinity:
Germany is a masculine society with assertive and materialistic tendencies.  The probability of relationships being a top priority of a German worker is low.

 

Dr. Schroeder answered the question of what are some expectations within the German culture by stating the following:

“Germans tend to be perfectionists. The prevailing expectation is that everything is required to be working and perfect ‘…from day one’. In the U.S., you can get away with ninety percent. Firms will find that out of a staff of ten in Germany, it will need three technical people rather than the two it might need in the U.S. (or other places)."

“It matters not that one pays only a dollar (at a ‘Dollar Store’) for an eyelash curler that doesn’t curl eyelashes, the customer expects it to work. An ‘all sales final’ is not the answer.”
 

Dr. Schroeder answered the question of whether or not German individuals where open-minded by stating the following:

“It is not often that I hear a German being described as  ‘open-minded’. Once pried open, however, the German mind (be it that of a businessman or consumer) is not difficult to deal with.”
 
 

Sources
CIA - World Factbook - Germany
Deresky, Helen. International Management: Managing Across Borders.Third Edition.Prentice Hall.2000. p114.
Interview with Dr. Kirsten Daniel of Loyola University, New Orleans
Interview with Dr. Ronald Schroeder of the Loyola University Small Business Development Center
Scarborough, Jack. The Origins of Cultural Differences and Their Impact on Management.Quorum Books 2001. p215.
www.destatis.de
www.germany-info.org