Germany: Hofstede Analysis Germany- Hofstede Analysis Germany is known for its majestic scenery and terrain. There is incredible chocolate, beer and of course, the unique architecture. All these things may be appealing to a firm, but an expanding company may discover complexities expanding into Germany, because “[w]hen you step into a foreign culture, suddenly things seem different. You don’t know what to do or say. ” ( Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions). If your organization is planning to conduct business with [Germany], potential success depends upon a good understanding of [German] culture” (Doing Business in Switzerland, 1). This quote is a good advice for entering into any country. Germany is a good candidate for multinational firms to expand into because many similarities of culture to the competitive and strong economy; however, management should understand the culture in order to be successful. As companies expand, various barriers have to be overcome or understood; culture happens to be one challenge or barrier.
Geert Hofsted said, “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster. ” Hofstede’s five primary dimensions facilitate an understanding of different cultures and how they compare. The following are Hofstede’s 5 dimensions and their definitions: “(1) Power Distance (PD) refers to the degree of inequality that exists – and is accepted – among people with and without power. (2) Individualism (IDV) refers to the strength of the ties people have to others within the community. 3) Masculinity (MAS) refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles. (4) Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) relates to the degree of anxiety society members feel when in uncertain or unknown situations. (5) Long-Term Orientation (LTO) refers to how much society values long-standing – as opposed to short term – traditions and values” (Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions). The long-term/ short-term ranking is 22-24 which indicates the Germans “value equality, high creativity, individualism, treating others as they ant to be treated, and self- actualiz[e]” (Geert Hofstede). Advice for doing business with the Germans, which is similar to Professor Petit’s advice; expect to live by the same standards and rule you create. When the Germany is compared to the United States there is a difference of 4-5 in the long-term orientation. Other dimension rankings compared to the United States are very closely related; however, other rankings are exponentially different. The closest related, according to the rankings is the long/short-term orientation. According to individual scores,
Although there are many differences in the cultures of Germany and the United States, they are also very similar in many ways. An interesting analysis is looking at the scores rather than the ranks. I feel the scores give more insight to how closely related or how drastically different the two countries are. For example, the rankings for individualism have a difference of 14 while the scores have a difference of 24. Therefore, the ranking is useful to show but the score shows exactly how different they are in that area. This is an important area for Americans to be aware of while doing business.
Germany is a great place for multinational companies to expand into, if and only if the German culture is understood by those doing business there. Those that need to have the best understanding are the managers, which will be dealing directly with the Germany. Even if there are managers in the firm which won’t be dealing directly with Germany, it is still a good idea for them to understand the Germans, thereby creating more synergy among all managers and employees. On mindtools. com it says, “When you step into a foreign culture, suddenly things seem different.
You don’t know what to do or say. Using Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions as a starting point, you can evaluate your approach, your decisions, and actions based on a general sense of how the society might think and react to you” (Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions). For example, the preferred German management style is authoritarian, especially regarding major decisions. “Individuals don’t make decisions but can make strong recommendations” (Global Road Warriors). As an expatriate it is good to understand and expect that you should “go to the top for answers. ”
The Mother Protection Law provides, which Americans find hard to believe, a 36 week leave of absence for mothers. Since the Germans take 5-6 weeks of vacation every year it can be difficult to get needed answers especially when a vital employee is unreachable. When a company first enters Germany, it should be aware that “Social Security and health care is equally split up between the employee and employer” (commercial service). The culture isn’t so much different from America that an open-minded manager would need cultural training; however, the manager should be well aware of the hierarchy system.
There are small minority groups but over 90 percent of the population is German. The small groups consist of Turks (2. 4%), Italians (0. 7%), Greeks (0. 4%), and Poles (0. 4%) (Nations). Although German is the official language spoken there is an influence of the Italian and Turkish languages due to small minority groups. In the former East Germany many people also speak Russian. Half of Germans speak English compared to only 3 percent that speak French. The literacy rate is 99 percent of the total population (Country reports).
The education and the literacy rate are more than adequate for a multinational firm to be able to find employees with proper skills and education. There is a claim that German graduates aren’t as well prepared or educated because Germany spends far less than other countries per student. For example, the United States spends $24,370 per student while Germany spends $10,474 per student. Although more students enroll in higher education in and more graduate in Germany; they lack graduates in areas of science and engineering (spending).
Germany is the 5th largest economy in the world and the 1st largest in the European Union. According to the CIA World Fact book the GDP (PPP) in 2008 was $34,400 (Indexmundi). The economy in 2009 is expected to shrink because Germany has a large export surplus. Many German exports include luxury products such as cars and technology which tend to decline in a recession. Religion doesn’t play a major part in Germany. Although there are various sects of religion the attendance is considerably low; “Christianity is the predominant religion, with 67 percent of the population. 8. 5 percent are atheist or agnostic and the remaining 3. 5 percent pertain to other religious groups. In the east only 5 percent of people attend church once a week and in the west 14 percent attend once a week” (Global Road Warrior). A common and basic tenet that all the Christian churches agree on is the Bible is the word of God. A larger majority of the Christian faiths believe that Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Ghost are one personage. Due to low attendance and religion isn’t a major importance and it doesn’t impact their lives to a large degree.
Even though the religion isn’t a key factor in Germans lives the corruption is relatively low or at least hidden extremely well. According to Transparency International corruption has a small impact on the sectors and industries. “Giving gifts in private aren’t a good idea because they it be thought of as a bribe” (Global Road Warrior). When Germans smile they prefer to not show their teeth because they feel it’s rude. There is so much to learn about German culture and it’s difficult to remember all the little things, such as the teeth.
The most important thing about learning any culture is to be open-minded and willing to learn. Another thing to remember is to be prepared by doing the necessary research to understand the culture in which you will visit. References: Country Reports: http://www. countryreports. org/people/literacyrate. aspx? countryname=&count ryid=91 Doing Business in Switzerland: 2007, http://www. communicaid. com/access/pdf/library/culture/doing-business-in/Doing%20Business%20in%20Switzerland. pdf Global Road Warrior: http://www. globalroadwarrior. om/ContentInfo. asp? nid=13. 04&cid=56&next_nid=13. 05&ctry=Germany&parent=Business%20Culture Hofstede, Geert: Cultural Dimensions, 1967; http://www. geert-hofstede. com/ Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions: http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newLDR_66. htm Indexmundi: http://www. indexmundi. com/g/r. aspx? c=gm&v=67 Nations, Encyclopedia: http://www. nationsencyclopedia. com/Europe/Germany-ETHNIC-GROUPS. html Spending: German Spending Below Other Nations: OECD, http://www. dw-world. de/dw/article/0,,3633837,00. html