Address vs. Escalate

Americans and Germans have very different expectations about how to manage interpersonal conflicts when they arise, which can lead to huge misunderstandings. As part of an ongoing series of articles, an American consultant living in Germany offers some advice. This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on December 1, 2018. See all articles here. When Germans and American collaborate, there […]

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Process vs. Relationship

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today on October 27, 2018. See all articles here. Germans believe that processes — how the work is done — is the key to success. Americans, however, favor relationships, or how to gain and retain customers. By tradition, Germany is more a culture of artisans (Handwerkerkultur) than of traders (Händlerkultur). The Germans have […]

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Consult vs. Serve

A big source of misunderstanding between Americans and Germans, rarely made explicit, is about whether business should inherently be customer-centric, supplier-centric, or somehow balanced, as our fourth column in this series explains. This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today on July 9, 2018. See all articles here. A big source of misunderstanding between Americans and Germans, rarely made explicit, […]

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Big Talk vs. Small Talk

Germans and Americans have different conversational styles. And that often causes trouble, says John Otto Magee in his third article in a series. This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on May 31, 2018. See all articles here. When Germans and Americans make conversation, things often go wrong. And, as in the other types of miscommunication I’ve described in my […]

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Systematize vs. Break Down

Germans and Americans make decisions in totally different ways, which often leads to clashes. In his second piece in a series, John Otto Magee, an American living in Germany who advises companies in cross-cultural management, explains the dilemma. This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on April 20, 2018. See all articles here. Germans think systematically. They formulate their understanding […]

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Directness vs. Euphemisms

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today February 24, 2018. See all articles here. Americans and Germans do a lot of business together – and often have unnecessary misunderstandings, causing a lot of grief and mistrust. An American consultant who has lived in Germany for 25 years offers some help. The United States and Germany are among the most […]

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