What might a corporate culture look like in Germany? Is it friendly, authoritarian, unified, individualistic, group oriented? How does Germany view business ethics? Is bribery illegal or just a cost of doing business? Are the businesses in Germany socially responsible or more self-serving and profit driven?
What might a corporate culture look like in Germany? Is it friendly, authoritarian, unified, individualistic, group oriented?
German corporate culture is trust-oriented. Workplace relationships are functions of the task that is to be performed. Standards, rules, agreements, and written contracts are highly relied on at the operations level. The chain of command operates through these sets of rules. This results in a lack of flexibility and employee determination. The control is rule-oriented and the level of uncertainty avoidance is very high. There is a great deal of focus in punctuality in the corporate culture. Corporate meetings, and get together are always done on fixed schedules of time with the start and end time being fixed rigidly. Germans are keen to separate their public and private lives. They distinctly vary their behavior with other people depending on the sphere of their life (private or business) in which they have contact with an individual as well as the closeness of the relationship (business partner or friend). Direct, open, and clear communication are the parts of German corporate culture. The content of the communication can thus appear to be rude and be threatening at occasions. The dimensions of the National Culture (which must be having effects on corporate culture) of Germany compared to the USA is shown below (data from geert-hofstede.com)-
How does Germany view business ethics? Is bribery illegal or just a cost of doing business?
As described earlier, German corporate culture is heavily dependent on the rule-based and task-based management principles. There exists low reliance on relationship-oriented focus. Under this situation, it is difficult to develop an unethical culture in an organization. A rule-based and duty-based chain of command ensures that people work ethically. In fact, the German employees love to work under ethical and certain atmosphere. Having said that, we cannot conclude that unethical practices such as bribery are not present there. Bribery and other unethical or illegal practices can sometimes be institutionalized in a corporate culture and can be practiced as a cost of doing business. Recent cases involving Siemens and Vox Wagen can be cited in evidence.
Are the businesses in Germany socially responsible or more self-serving and profit driven?
The German organizations are mostly profit-driven. There is a clear-cut separation between the nonprofit and for-the-profit institution though both are managed professionally. A for-the-profit corporation is primarily focused on shareholders’ wealth maximization rather than social welfares. That said, German firms are extremely focused on following rules and regulations and as a result, there happens to be very less decline in the environmental resources. So, primarily, it the rule that makes the organizations to take care of the society and environment.