Academic Master


a Comparison between France and German business environment

France Germany
  • French people dress conventionally and wear well-tailored suits.
  • Germany is conservative in their dressing.
  • French are conscious of their clothes and appearance.
  • Businessmen and women observe dark colors and plain white shirts.
  • In the French business environment, practice dark colors and avoid bright colors.
  • Chewing gum while talking to someone is considered rude.
France Germany
  • French people are casual in punctuality.
  • Punctuality is an essential part of a business meeting for Germans.
  • French handshake is short, followed by eye contact.
  • Germans’ handshake is like he has met you for the first time.
  • Most of their gifts are books or music records, as they believe them to be moderate.
  • Germans don’t like surprises.
France Germany
  • If you do not speak French, it is found offensive.
  • Germans are offended by the lack of a German dialect.
  • The interruption in conversation is reasonable, as they found it to be entertaining.
  • Business professionals find it weird when you call them during non-business hours.
  • The French appreciate the art of conversation.
  • Germans love it when you call them by their full name.
Business Meetings
France Germany
  • Meetings are organized on time.
  • Proposed appointments are set for business meetings.
  • Business meetings can be done over video conference, if necessary.
  • Intranet sources are also used in video making.
  • Business meetings are done only during business hours.
  • Casual business times are fine for a German meeting.

In order for US consultant executives to be successful in the French and German environment, they need to analyze their behaviors, dress, and communication styles. Moreover, business meetings have certain ethical codes that vary across cultures. These should also be considered important.

In terms of appearance, US consultants should remember that the French culture is very rich in traditions, and they care about their heritage. So, they also dress the same way. They wear old-fashioned suits, where three buttons tailored clothes were used, and now also they wear the same way. Appearance is the first impression upon an individual and can be judged by it. So, the executives can follow the tradition of French people in making interactions professional. Germans are more conservative in their dress. They are also sensitive in their clothing and judge a person mostly because of their dress.

France is very casual in their punctuality. It is normal for French personnel to arrive late on any occasion. It can be business or personal. It is not of great importance to come late to any event. So, if a US executive is there for a meeting and the French guy is late, don’t get offended because it is the way it is. At the same time, Germans are the total opposite of it. They find it a disgrace if a person comes late to a meeting. Cultural differences can be judged by this behavior. In two different countries, US executives need to behave differently. Another aspect is when physical interaction. French prefer a short and brief handshake while meeting a person, while Germans will meet you like you are meeting them after a long time or for the first time. Their handshake is warm. These behaviors are different and can be managed accordingly.

Regarding communication, French and Germans are offended if a person does not know their native language. US consulting company needs to send such personnel who know how to speak French and German dialects. Otherwise, this will display a bad reflection of the culture of the US. This will affect the harmony of the two cultures. French people also like a counter conversation, i.e., it is normal if you are speaking to a French guy, and he cuts you and starts their own say. No need to get offended. Meanwhile, Germans, if you call them by their full name. Calling them by their first name or last name only is thought not to be professional.

Business etiquette also includes calling a German guy only during business hours, while a French guy can be called upon at any time. Unlike the US, Germany has different communications standards. Germans don’t like you to get into their private hours, while the French don’t have any issue with it.

When approaching a business meeting, the executives must set appointments in France and Germany. In both countries, this is the ethic of setting meetings. Pre-planned meetings are in order, not the casual time or on-time meetings. This is observed in both business cultures. Both of the countries use electronic mediums for overseas meeting concerns. This practice also needs to be observed by the US executives, where there is no need to travel to the country for a meeting. The meeting can be done over the video source.

These aspects of business etiquette can help in making assumptions and achieving successful results. They can also help US executives prepare for the business ethics challenges they are going to face. Keeping these factors in mind can help them overcome situations and produce good results.



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