International and Intercultural Communication

648 words | 3 page(s)

Germany and the United States have several similarities in relation to Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions. The first similarity is with regard to individualism, in which the United States has a particularly high score on individualism due to its premise of justice and liberty for all. The U.S. culture emphasizes equality of rights across every aspect of American government and society, while America also has a loosely-knitted society where each individual is expected to care for self and their families (Samaha et al., 2014). Further, Americans are not expected to rely on the authorities for personal support. Germany is a similarly individualist nation with a strong focus on self-actualization, whereas individual are expected to show a sense of personal responsibility and duty.

The second similarity between the U.S. and Germany is related to masculinity, where both national cultures are driven by success, achievement, and competition. The U.S., for example, has a national culture that encourages everyone to become the best they can be in play, work, and school with the winner taking all. As such, Americans will talk about their achievements and successes freely (Samaha et al., 2014). Similarly, German national culture emphasizes performance with children separated into various forms of schools at an early age. Further, Germans draw self-esteem from their jobs and derive status from material achievements.

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However, there are also several differences between national cultures in Germany and the United States. One main difference is that of long-term orientation of national culture, in which the United States has a short-term orientation, particularly with regard to business performance measures where profit and loss statements are provided quarterly (Samaha et al., 2014). Moreover, American workers strive to achieve quick results and successes in the workplace. Germany, on the other hand, emphasizes on the importance of time, context, and situation in the workplace and also in schoolwork.

German national culture also emphasizes perseverance, thrift, and saving in order to achieve results. Secondly, German and American national cultures differ in terms of indulgence and restrain. American national culture emphasizes on indulgence, focusing on working hard and playing even harder where Americans have a lower score in attempting to control their impulses and desires. Indeed, although the United States is a prudish society that has focused on the war against drugs, the U.S. still has higher rates of drug addiction than majority of developed nations (Samaha et al., 2014). On the other hand, Germany’s national culture has a high restrained score with a tendency to pessimism and cynicism. Unlike the U.S., German culture does not emphasize leisure time for workers and strive to control desire gratification while social norms restrain German actions.

For Germans doing business in the United States, it is important to focus on the high level of individuality in the national culture and the belief that anyone can be successful and financial prosperous through hard work. This idea, which is more developed in the U.S. than in Germany, contributes to the country’s strong work ethic and a merit-based system that further leads to frequent overtime and long working hours (Beugelsdijk et al., 2017). Germans working in the U.S. should also be aware of the high level of informality in the country, which is informed by the high level of indulgence and short-term orientation.

In this case, Americans rarely use business titles and tend to use first names among business partners, where casual communication styles are an expression of egalitarianism. In turn, Americans doing business in Germany should be aware of German pragmatism and restrained culture where Germans are more likely to guard their private information and lives, while also emphasizing on the importance of job titles both in written and oral communication (Beugelsdijk et al., 2017). Moreover, Germans do not welcome sudden alterations in business contracts or transactions even in cases where such changes may significantly improve the outcome due to their long-term orientation.

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