Germany and India: Two vastly diverse and different cultures, yet uniquely similar in several ways. Although it may seem that the “pedantic Germans” and “unstructured Indians” do not have much in common, cooperation between the two countries can be greatly fruitful. Yes! This is possible if one were to use the synergies stemming directly from their differences!
Germans’ planning is Indians’ flexibility!
While German companies are characterized by their meticulous planning and analysis of problems – even the remotest ones, Indian companies do not consider such analyses of all possible problems a part of project planning. True to the motto: “Do not waste your time by looking for obstacles, perhaps there is none,” (Franz Kafka) Indians focus on a problem when it actually happens, and do not waste too much time agonizing about it when it has not even happened yet. The time saved is used for other activities.
German structure vs. Indian creativity!
The German approach to any issue is problem-oriented. These are the questions raised: Where does that problem come from? How could this happen? Most importantly, who is to blame? Indians, however, are more solution-oriented. The focus is on their goal and the resources available to reach the goal! Indians are almost endlessly creative in finding solutions that might have seemed misguided or even quite simply impossible for the more ‘problem-oriented’ Germans.
Business objectivity or personal business?
In Germany, it is normal to separate work and personal life. The conclusion of a business deal is usually based on objective criteria. In India, however, the relationship level is at least as important as the objective level. In India a (potential) business partner will always ask after the other’s family or discuss topics like sports or politics first, before starting to discuss business. After all, the chemistry between business partners also has to be right!
German like space – Indians prefer clear instructions!
Germans love their space and do not expect step by step instructions on the project. In Indian culture, hierarchy still plays a major role and therefore, Indian employees look forward to clear instructions from their superiors. Indian employees are usually grateful if their superiors give suggestions, track the project progress and provide clear instructions. It is obvious that conscientious project managers are the need of the hour in this case!
Having talked about most of the major differences between German and Indian culture, one cannot help but conclude that business between Indian and German companies can be promoted to each others’ mutual satisfaction. An attitude of openness, a keen awareness of cultural differences and a willingness to meet halfway not only in contract negotiations but also in cultural differences are all that are needed to build up a lucrative and mutually beneficial working relationship with each other.
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