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Fact Scan #4: Germans Hate Uncertainty

It is known that Germans assure good quality and always strive for perfection. Certainly, this is also expected from the people they do business with. In terms of working affairs and their customer behavior Germans can be very specific compared to other European countries.

What does it mean when pointing out their particularities? Geert Hofstede has created a model of six dimensions (The 6-D Model) describing the national culture of various countries comparing preferences. One of them is “uncertainty avoidance”, in which Germany scores a 65 out of 100 points, 12 points more than the Netherlands. In this regard, Germans score on the high end of “uncertainty avoidance”.

The devil is in the details

Germany put focus on a systematic overview, which involves a proper thought and planning process. When creating contacts or outline projects, it is a typical characteristic for Germans to write out every little detail in order to insure the planning is thought through and can be carried out successfully. This consists of precise numbers and reliable sources.

The devil is in the details, and thus should be put into consideration when closing a deal with a German. Once a contract is made, it is expected to be obeyed by both parties in the most professional manner. This includes following the time schedule and sticking to the order that has been agreed on. Many Germans consider work as incomplete when it has not been executed properly.

There are many rules and guidelines

To ensure the most efficient process, rules and guidelines will be discussed and determined beforehand. “Ordnung muss sein”, as a German would say, indicates that directions are needed in order to perform well and with the best outcome. Since they like to avoid uncertainty, these regulations provide the desired security.

Germans read the small letters

Ever wondered who takes the time to read the fine print on packages or agreements? What many people consider as unnecessary and time consuming is essential and taken very seriously in Germany. This also makes it indispensable to talk over arrangements and their consequences in case of non-compliance, beforehand.

What’s important when doing business in Germany:

  • Thorough planning – before closing a deal with a German business partner it is essential to determine, when, where and how the product or service will be delivered. Once a contract is concluded, changes are regarded as unprofessional and the compliance with the regulations of the contract are mandatory.
  • Pay attention to the detail – as mentioned before, Germans want to avoid any kind of uncertainty, therefore every little detail and behaviour in case of unexpected events and circumstances should be made clear in advance and be mentioned in the agreement.
  • Quality before quantity – In Germany it is crucial to provide excellent quality, where time plays a less significant role, as long as the end product is flawless and satisfactory at the end. An outstanding performance at the workplace is expected at any time.
  • Time commitments are binding -Time is money, and Germans take this saying literally. It is a matter of respect to abide by agreed dates and times. Foreigners might think Germans have planned out every minute of their life.Though in favour, Germans have the best time management systems, with thorough pre-analysis in order to ensure the most efficient outcome. 

If everything has been followed according to the rules, the Germans will show their appreciation and a beneficial relationship can be established.