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In German culture, a person is not supposed to use another person's first name. They almost always address someone with "Mr/Mrs. Last Name" at least until instructed otherwise. They may even not know that person's first name at the first meeting.
When meeting someone, Germans will give a quick and firm handshake first, even meeting a child. They refer people using titles. People usually wait for the host or hostess to introduce them into a group.
Germans particularly love to plan. This is a culture that has resulted in forward thinking and knowing what they will be doing at a specific time on a specific day. Germans believe that maintaining a clear differentiation between people, places and things is the definite way to lead a structured and ordered life. Work and personal lives are divided rigidly. They believe that there is a proper time for every activity. When the business day ends, one is expected to leave the office. If one has to remain after normal closing, it shows that he did not plan his day properly.
Germans feel pride for their homes. They are kept neat and tidy all the time, everything in its place. They insist that the home is one place where one can relax and portray his or her individualism even though they follow a culture in which most communication is rather formal. But the home may become a place for formal discussion when close friends and relatives are invited. There are many unwritten rules about the maintenance of one's home. These rules are followed religiously (Cultural Comparisons: Daily life in the USA vs. Germany. Part 4).
The British love a mix of communication styles including both understatement and direct communication. Most British are good at understatement and do not like to use effusive language. If possible, they tend to qualify their statement with words such as perhaps or it could be. Â When communicating with people they consider as equal to their class or status, the British tend to direct in a modest way. If communicating some one very closed, they tend to be more informal, although they will be reserved.
When meeting someone, the British will be on time. They always call if they will be even five minutes later than agreed. During a meeting, if everyone is at the same level, there will be multiple ideas and opinions. If there is a senior ranking person in the room, that person will lead the whole discussion. In most cases, meetings will be rather formal and always have a clear purpose, which may include an agenda. People will avoid making exaggerated claims during their presentation. The British relay on facts and numbers, but not on emotions or feelings to make a decision. After a meeting, the British like to send a letter summarizing what was decided and the next step to be taken.
For daily life, a handshake is the most common of greeting among British people. A kiss or a hug is only appropriate when a person meets his or her close friends. One kiss on the cheek is usually enough. The British are much more reserved and touch each other less than Americans. Similarly, touching someone to get attention but without saying "excuse me" is not polite.
People tend to take politeness extremely seriously. They say, "thank you" at every stage of a financial transaction, but less likely to offer a "God bless you." People hate to talk about their salaries or personal wealth. It is taboo to ask fellows or colleagues about their salaries or bank accounts.
The British respect their Royal Family. People often avoid making jokes or critical remarks about the Royal Family (Britishers' traits and characters, 2007).
III. Attitudes Toward Change. When changes have to occur, the German culture is hard to handle those complex burdens. They have to rewrite the manuals, change the procedures, alter the job descriptions, reconsider the promotions or reassess the qualifications. Generally, Germans are slow to accept and adapt to changes. Partly, the reason is that they have a strong aversion to risk (Workman 2008).
Most British are reserved and not willing to accept new things and changes. The British didn't use the decimal system on currency until 1971. They use the mile system instead of the metric system at today. When central air-conditioning was invented, the British kept using furnaces because air-conditioning was seen as bad for health. The British are conservative and not willing to change. Historically, the revolutions of the British were slower than other European countries, from state system to Royal status, and it is the conservative attitude that keeps the British nation going (Britishers' traits and characters, 2007).
IV. Religion(s) Christianity is the predominant religion in England with 71.6% of the population attached to it. Other minority religions are Muslim (2.7%), Hinduism (1%), and others (1.6%). Twenty-three percent of the population have no religious beliefs or have not specified a belief system (CIA, the World Factbook, 2001 census). According to the Tearfund's research in 2007, 66% of the population has no actual connection to any religion or church. Less than half of people in UK believe in God. Religion in England has severely declined for over 50 years.
The main religions in Germany are Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, two strands of Christianity. They together comprise 68% of the German population, each with 34%. Roman Catholicism is the principal religion in the southern and western German states, while Protestantism is predominant in the northeastern and central regions. Germany also has a minority population of Muslims who form the 3.7% of the population. 28.3% of the population is unaffiliated or believe in other religions (CIA 2001). In recent years, the number of people belong to religions is declining.
V. Rituals and Rites England has developed some of the world's most well known rituals and rites throughout its storied history. Â Â From the British Monarchy to the daily tea drinking, even those who have never been to England perceive their rituals and traditions in a very stereotypical manner. Â Like other nations, English culture has gone through multiple transformations.
The English Monarchy is a constant presence in the daily life and traditions of the English people. Â The press scrutinizes their every move, and they are very active in promoting public causes. Â Â While the royal family no longer has any real governing power, through their rituals, the royal family plays an important role in the life of the English people. Â Within the Royal Family, there are many rituals and traditions still observed to this day, and the public reveres the way these traditions have been a constant presence for hundreds of years (bbc.com). Another daily ritual observed by most of the English population is drinking tea. Â Although drinking tea is a very stereotypically English activity, it actually wasn't introduced to the British people until the 17th century and didn't become popular until even later. Â Like many English traditions, dinking tea became popular throughout the country when the royal family and the aristocratic class made it a ritual of theirs. Â As tea became popular, people began to have certain rituals based on tea consumption. Â Two of these rituals were tea gardens and tea dances. Â These were basically parties that ended with tea being served. Â Like most other rituals in England, the way a person takes their tea is a matter of social class. Â Tea popular amongst the entire population, but especially the working class is referred to as Builders Tea. Â Builder's tea is strong black tea served with lots of milk and sugar. Â Those who add cream to their tea are not looked upon in a favorable manner. Â The most important tea related tradition is Afternoon Tea. Â Â Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford is given credit for starting this ritual in the 19th century. Â The Duchess wanted a meal to hold her over from a very early lunch to a late dinner (BritainExpress.com). Afternoon tea is usually taken from twelve to two and is commonly accompanied by small sandwiches, cake, or scones (Historic-UK.com). The upper social classes have historically been the ones who practiced afternoon tea. Â In some parts of England, tea has come to replace the term supper, and taking a break during work is often referred to as taking tea.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Many of the more outdated rituals began to fade in 60's due to a large youth movement. Â Â The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, supported the cultural and political changes that occurred in the 60's. Â He was influential in abolishing many of the fussy and outdated laws and traditions of the past. Â Laws dealing with hanging, abortion, and gay rights were overturned. Â This cultural shift along with the large scale and diverse immigration caused many of the rituals and traditions of the past to become slightly more diluted (everyculture.com).
The world's biggest beer festival-Oktoberfest, is held annually in Munich, Germany. The celebration of Oktoberfest originated in 1810. It is first started not as a festival but a public celebration for the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Theressa of Bavaria. The celebration was held annually from then on, and it has grown larger and more elaborate. Every year it attracts over 6 million people from all around the world during 16 days. People consume 1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausage, and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens, making this festival the most profitable events of the city. Nowadays, Oktoberfest is not only celebrated in Germany but also worldwide (Octoberfest-History 2010).
In Germany the season of Carnival is referred to as Karneval or Fastnacht or Fasching depending on the region. Carnival is a Catholic festival in Germany. It is the period before the Lent begins. People take it as the last opportunity to drink, eat and frolic to their hearts content. Until Easter things will be going to some extremes.
St. Martin is celebrated on the 11th of November. This event is to memorize a knight named St. Martin in Roman times who charitably cut his cloak into two with his sword and shared it with a beggar who was about to freeze to death. At nightfall on November 10th, little kids walk around the town, carrying beets-made lanterns with a face carved in. The kids parade through town singing traditional songs, sometimes accompanied by a St. Martin on a horse.
VI. Values, Ethics and Taboos. English people are very much proud of their cultures. They are deeply attached to their traditions, and want to keep their uniqueness. The English are famous for politeness, self-discipline and especially for the sense of humor.
The image of "the English gentleman" is deeply planted in people's minds. Being polite is highly valued in England. One should never talk loudly in public. It is very good manners to say "please", "thank you" and "sorry." Otherwise, it is considered rude. English people like to standing in line and wait patiently for their turn. Jumping in line is considered extremely impolite (Culture Crossing 2010).
The English tend to be more indirect than overly direct. They are reserved in manners. You have to pay attention to tone of voice and facial expression, because they might indicate what is really being conveyed.
British people place considerable value on punctuality. People make great efforts to arrive on time. It is often considered impolite to arrive even a few minutes late.
Privacy is highly regarded in England. Intimate questions on women's age and men's wage are taboos. It is impolite to stare at anyone in public. Kisses and gestures such as backslapping and hugging are only done among friends and relatives (Barrow 2009).
A great character of English people is their unique sense of humor. They are able to laugh at themselves, and take it as a great quality to value.
The Germans share a common culture that units them, across continents and in many lands. Germans are known for independence, responsibility and strong work ethic.
The Germans value their personal space in general. They usually keep an arm's length when having conversation. Unless talking with their family or close friends, Germans seen touching as an invasion of their personal space. When interacting with people, a formal tone is used unless they know the person well. Germans are comparatively reserved, not so easy to be friend at first, but sincere and loyal for the most part when you get to know them (Culture Crossing 2010).
The Germans are well known for their high productivity and work ethics. They strongly believe that a clear order is needed to prevent chaos. Things should be well planned and carried out accordingly. All promises should be kept to keep things in order. The order-breaker will receive severe punishment. Germans are less flexible in this sense. The Germans are in favor of making things clear and accurate. They tend to ask questions until all details are settled, so that no misunderstanding will take place. They separate private and working life clearly. Even the way they treating people are dramatically different between friends and strangers. Punctuality is an essential value in German culture. Germans always arrive on time for appointment in order to keep things in order. The Germans devote to their job. They believe that whether they do their work well, or they don't work at all. They put their heart to perform the best possible outcome, which is not only self-satisfying, but also benefit others (WiseCurve.com).
VII. Family Life. English society places a high value on marriage. Â Historically, people in England would not marry outside their social class. Â This was especially true within the royal family, where it was not uncommon to marry inside the family. However, even today marriages outside a person's own classes are not very common. Â Marriage across ethnic lines also does not happen frequently either. (everyculture.com) Â In 1997 approximately half the population over 16 years old was married. Â In 1998 73% of the population lived in a family headed by a couple Â (telegraph.co.uk).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It continues to be the social norm for men to be the primary breadwinner and woman to manage the household. Â It is prominent belief within the English culture that women are more responsible than men when it comes to caring for children. Â A form of English welfare originating in 1945, called Child Benefit, is distributed directly to the mother instead of the father reflects this belief (thecommentfactory.com).
Family norms and English Society as a whole have changed dramatically since WWII. Â There has been a huge population growth. Â This growth is due to an increase in immigration, mostly from Eastern Europe and South Asia. Â This immigration has led to a more individualistic cultureÂ (telegraph.com).
Another transformation England has gone through has to do with family lifestyle. Â Like the US, divorce rates have skyrocketed. Â Single parent households have increased from four percent to eleven percent since 1971. Â It is much more socially accepted to have children and not get married or get divorced than it was thirty years agoÂ (everyculture.com).
Like most European cultures, the father is the head of the household in Germany. Â Germans typically don't have a large family. Â A typical family has only two children.
While Germany traditionally has been made up of married couples made of men and woman, like England and many other countries, the marriage rate has been declining. Â In the late 20th century, 35% of all marriages ended in divorce. However, even though households consisting of unmarried couples have been increasing, they still make up only 5% of the population (everyculture.com). However, 40% of couples living together between the ages of eighteen to thirty five are unmarried (library.thinkquest.com). All in all though, the rising divorce rate, and acceptance of alternative forms of partnerships have led to broader definition when defining the family concept.
The area of Germany that makes up former East Germany has had a disproportionate amount of children being born to unmarried couples compared to West Germany. Â This could be do to less economic opportunity in East Germany. Â Â Another possible cause of this phenomenon could be that in the former East Germany had policies that provided men and woman with full employment, as well as certain policies to accommodate pregnant women and women with young children. Â The absence of such policies has made it difficult for families to adjust. Â It led to a tendency to think of children as separate from the concept of marriageÂ (everyculture.com).
VIII. Women in Society. Women's roles in British society have changed dramatically since World War II. Directly following the war, very few women worked, and were generally excluded from most occupations. By the 1970's, however, women have played a much larger role in business, particularly in the labor and service markets. It is estimated that 70% of women in England work today (45% of which is part-time), the national workforce is comprised of nearly 50% females, and over 50% females in those age groups above 50 years old (Smith, 2006, p. 15).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Unfortunately, women in England still face inequality in several parts of the business world. British women have an average wage that is lower than most all of major European nations, and they only make approximately Â¾ of the average male wage (Smith, 2006, p. 16). They also have a tendency to work clerical jobs, and it is very rare to find these women filling senior positions. This tendency is visible in every sector of British business, from education and administration to politics and corporate business (Smith, 2006, p.16).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â While more British women fill top positions today than in the past, an inequality still exists, and this discrepancy likely stems from political viewpoints. England's two political parties, Liberalists and Structuralists, have similar yet distinct ideologies concerning the role of women in society. Liberalists believe that women should choose family over their careers, and Structuralists believe that a woman's physical attributes lend themselves to caregivers rather than breadwinners (Smith, 2006, p. 18).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â There has been an unfortunate backlash against the increasing role of women in Britain by those who now believe that men are being discriminated against in business. Several television and radio programs have argued that men are being treated unfairly in Britain, with these arguments ranging from subjects such as maternity leave to breast cancer (Smith, 2006, p. 19).
Women in Germany have gradually gained equal rights throughout the 20th century. In 1919, they were given the right to vote, and assumed many jobs during the course of World War II. It is important to note that up until 1990, Germany was divided between East and West, with both regions differing significantly in the treatment of women (Gordeeva, 1998).
In West Germany, women were declared equal to men in 1949, with official code amending this law in 1957. Despite a shortage of men during World War II, marriage became society's ideal, and only in the East did most women work. Immigrants were substituted to work for women in the West, and it was not for several decades that these women demanded employment. Protests in the late 1960's and early 1970's led to women gaining equal rights in marriage in 1977, whereby women could work or file for divorce without permission (Gordeeva, 1998). These changes have continued on into the present day, where women's roles continue to increase in all business sectors.
In East Germany, women continued to work through the war, as their society was based on a communistic work model. Marriage equality was achieved in 1950, much earlier than in the West, and issues of abortion and child welfare were also much more liberal in the East (Gordeeva, 1998). The emancipation of women in this region is most likely due to the large amount of men fleeing to the West region of Germany over the course of most of the 20th century.
Women in the West achieved equal admission standards in education much later than those in the East, with their dates being 1989 and 1975, respectively. According to Tatyana Gardeeva, two factors were believed to be responsible for the discrepancy between eastern and western rates of attendance at institutes of higher learning: "West German women had a stronger orientation toward traditional familial relations; and they had dimmer prospects for admission to particular academic departments and for professional employment after graduation (1998)."
Although women in Germany have achieved significant gains, inequality still persists today, especially with respect to wages, which are only 2/3 that of men on average. Women also do not typically hold senior level positions, but rather work low-level administrative jobs, due to the patriarchal model of German society (Gardeeva, 1998).
The unification of Germany in 1990 hurt the Eastern region the most. According to Gardeeva, some reports indicated that two-thirds of working women in the new nation were unemployed, and many more were turned into part-time workers as a result of privatization, downsizing of firms, and elimination of support services such as day-care and after-school centers. To improve their prospects for employment, some women in eastern Germany reportedly were resorting to sterilization, one of the factors contributing to the steep decline in births (1998).
VIII. Treatment of Minorities/Attitudes About Diversity. Until the 1950's, England was nearly all Caucasian. The Commonwealth Immigration of this decade brought a mixture of many races to the nation, and racism was readily accepted up until the 1970's. It was in 1976 that the British government attempted to legislate against discrimination, particularly with concern to employment and housing. In 2003, England recognized the EU protective standard with regards to racial discrimination (Smith, 2006, 11).
England is considered one of the most optimistic countries in Europe, when it comes to attitudes about diversity. Â Â The English population as a whole believes that increasing diversity leads to the strengthening of the country. Â However, the English population does not look upon the immigration of refugees and unskilled workers favorably.
Research done in England, shows that even minority groups are tolerant of other minority groups. (mighealth.net) About 10% of the English population is considered part of an ethnic minority. Â As in most metropolitan cities across the globe, the major cities of England are melting pots of diversity. Â While most ethnic minorities originated from the Caribbean and Asia, recently there has been a shift and most immigration has come from Eastern Europe and the Middle East (emmainteractive.com).
When it comes to religious diversity, English society is not so accepting. Â Given the current political climate, the majority of English people have a somewhat negative attitudes towards the Muslim faith. Â One study found that over half of England would be opposed to a Mosque being constructed in their neighborhood (telegraph.co.uk, 2010).
British citizenship is a highly contentious issue. Liberals believe that skin color should have no bearing on one's ability to become a citizen of England, while Conservatives believe that if immigrants are to become citizens, they must integrate their cultural customs to align with those of British customs. Multiculturalists believe in a middle ground between these competing viewpoints, where immigrants should be allowed to integrate cultures at their own will upon becoming a British citizen (Smith, 2006, 13).
Germany's population includes 7.3 million foreigners, including 2 million Turks and many refugees from the developing world. Many Turks came to Germany as guest workers during the economic boom from the mid-1950s to the end of 1973. Since 1970, about 3.2 million foreigners have become German citizens. With the introduction of a new citizenship law in 2000, many children of foreign parents became eligible for German citizenship for the first time. Between 1988 and 1993, more than 1.4 million refugees, many from the former Soviet Union, sought asylum in Germany, but only 57,000 were granted their wish. Although the right to asylum remains intact for legitimate victims of political persecution, restrictions on the countries of origin and entry introduced in 1993 have steadily reduced the number of those seeking asylum to a 20-year low of 50,500 in 2003 (Gordeeva, 2005).
A new immigration law that took effect on January 1, 2005, promotes a more open immigration policy, particularly for highly skilled workers. The law also extends the right to asylum to the victims of genital mutilation and sexual abuse and political persecution by non-European Union groups. In 2005 Germany's net migration rate was estimated to be 2.18 migrants per 1,000 people, placing Germany forty-second in the world in inbound migration, the same level experienced by the United Kingdom (Gordeeva, 2005).
As most people know, Germany has a checkered past regarding their outlook on diversity. Â During WWII, the German people, led by a fascist government, initiated a systematic genocide of the Jewish people along with many other minority groups. Â However, since that time Germany has made great strides in repairing relationships with those ethnic and religious groups. Â Germany now has a thriving Jewish population, and its major cities are inhabited with many diverse groups.
Large scale immigration to Germany began to take place in the 1950's, after WWII. Â The way Germany classifies immigrants, or people with any immigrant background whatsoever has been the source of controversy in years past. Â Any person living in Germany that has parent of immigrant background is considered a person of "immigrant background." Many Germans find this disrespectful because even though they have integrated themselves into German society and are German citizens, they feel this label has a negative connotation.
IX. Communication Patterns. Repeated or regular devices, methods, practices and customs regarding the portrayal of information from one individual, or group, to another within a culture.
In a general sense, English people are beer drinkers who like to meet and socialise at pubs regardless of the hour. Pubs, simply, are a way of life.
Culture Crossing, a US-based organization shares information regarding other countries and what you can expect if visiting, provides user-generated content that opens a door to what kind of communicators the English tend to be: polite, respectful ("[e]xpect a lot of 'please' and 'thank you' and 'sorry'") and indirect as noted earlier in the discussion regarding values, ethics and taboos. Being too forthright may produce some unexpected looks and gestures while visiting this country. Perhaps this less than direct nature of English people is the reason for such a high penetration of Internet users in the country. People who are more indirect may prefer the nuances of Internet communication to face-to-face confrontation.
In 2010, Ofcom reports that 73 per cent of the population of England was online. Â It further reports that "nine out of ten people in England" use mobile phones while also showing in a figure that if consumers in England were forced to cut back spending they would be least likely to cut back on communication devices (television, mobile phones, telephones, broadband). The high level of Internet use in countries such as England is greatly changing the frequency and way people interact. The frequency may have increased due to more rapid ability to connect, but the quality of that communication may be on the decline as more and more users spend increasing numbers of hours on the Internet and social networks each day. Overall, England is a technologically advanced nation in terms of communication (CIA 2010).
Germans, like the English, are beer drinkers and enjoy socialising at bars. Germans however are more direct and abruptly truthful. Not big on small-talk, Germans are big on trust and respect. Small talk is not the way of the land as the case is in England. Germans are very detail oriented in their communications with one another and usually let others "know how it is."
Nearly 80% of Germany is connected to the Internet based on statistics from Miniwatts Marketing Group who runs InternetWorldStats.com. This is a very high percent compared to the rest of the world. In comparison, Germany and England are both technologically advanced in terms of communication. In fact, Germany has one of the most advanced telecommunication systems in the world (CIA 2010). According to another source, Germans love to talk on the telephone, but be careful who you call at home: Germans value their private life being private (Cyborlink 2010). An interesting thing one might not realize about Germans is that they "do not need or expect to be complimented" assuming that "everything is satisfactory" unless otherwise noted (Cyborlink 2010).
William Parks in an article on HowToGermany.com discusses how important the linguistics of communication is to German businesspeople. A business partner he encountered found much anguish in ensuring that his use of English was performed to perfection as it can be sensed as shame in the German culture not being able to communicate effectively (Parks 2010).
X. Motivational Dynamics. What motivates people within a culture to work, perform and be happy.
The British workforce is motivated by perceived self-worth and value to their company (TrainingReference 2004). Â The global recruitment company Manpower reports that "30 per cent are motivated by career advancement," and another third of the people are motivated by achievement (TrainingReference 2004). The remaining percents of motivation among the people were financial reward (20%) and socialisation (< 10%) (TrainingReference 2004, ManPower Research). TrainingReference goes on to quote Manpower's COO saying "...employees like to feel they are listened to and that managers recognise the hard work they do." Ambition has much to do with motivational dynamics in Britain: much different than the American dream of wealth.
According to a McKinsey Quarterly report cited by Frank Smith on the website Contentinople, the results of a user generated study showed that a high percentage of Germans want to be viewed as important, want to matter to those around them and simply want to be a part of things (Smith 2010). Germans tend to think long-term and have a loyalty to their employer (Schmidt 1999). An interesting article in the American Express OPEN forum points out that Germans tend to view "results as the biggest indicator of results" which translates to less talk, more work (Stansberry 2010). This makes Germans very efficient. Germans are motivated by getting tasks completed in an efficient manner producing quality results. Though Germans do not typically seek compliments, they are motivated by increased benefits and "symbolic rewards" (Schmidt 1999).
It is the hope and intent of the authors that you found this paper fascinating, resourceful and useful to your exploration of the observational behavior qualities of Germany and England. Despite many differences, these countries share a wealth of culture and history, and you as a reader should hopefully be able to recognize these differences moving forward.
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