„Only he who knows himself and his counterpart well can achieve one thousand successful encounters.“
Title: Doing Business with Germans – Their Perception, Our Perception
Author: Sylvia Schroll-Machl
Capacity: 221 pages, Paperback
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
German Title: Die Deutschen – Wir Deutschen – Fremdwahrnehmung und Selbstsicht im Berufsleben
Text on the Back
This book sheds light on the two sides of German busines partnerships in intercultural settings. On the one hand it deals with people working with Germans from their home country as well as with expatriates who have come to live and work in Germany. On the other hand it portrays Germans who have business relations all over the world negotiating with people in business meetings or via telecommunications.
For people from abroad working in Germany it is vital to find out what the German mentality is like in order to orientate themselves and assess situations better. For Germans it is helpful to understand how their non-German partners perceive them. This again will allow them to see themselves as they are seen by others.
First of all I have to say that I am German. I read this book for an intercultural course during my studies. After reading it I had the feeling that being German is the greatest punishment one can get on this planet. On the other hand as a German you know that you are like the Germans described in the book. But let me start at the beginning.
The book started with an introduction of what information about Germans are in the book and why there should be a book about German behaviour. After that there is a chapter of culture standards. Question like what culture standards are generated are answered here. The main part of the book is about the German culture standards. Each standard has a description, recommendations of how to deal with that, pros and cons of each culture standard and a historical background.
During the description of each standard there were lots of example situations to emphasize the point just made. Especially in the beginning I felt so sorry for the non-Germans in these examples because I could see what went wrong but at the same time I knew I wouldn’t react differently if I was that German person. To the end of the book it got a lot easier to look neutrally at those situations.
Still I never really lost the feeling that being German is seen as a bad thing. Therefore I enjoyed reading the pros and cons of the culture standards. It made me feel better of my nationality. The pros were really positive and were able to show the good sites.
I loved reading the recommendations of how to deal with the standards. I think putting them into action really improves one’s intercultural competences.
I can recommend reading this book to everyone who likes to know why Germans act the way they do. With reading this book I think everyone can understand our actions better because our motives behind it get explained.
On the other hand I can recommend this book to all Germans to understand why so many non-Germans think about us in such a bad way.
I like reading the book even though I got a little depressed after reading it. I still would do it again and I also think I will remember some of the recommendations when I am confronted with intercultural situations.
I grant 5 out of 5 points.