Discuss the Following Questions
- Have you ever experienced a situation when a business partner behaved or communicated in an unusual or strange way? What did you think? How did you feel?
- Think of one nationality or group of people you’ve had a lot of business contact with. What advice could you give someone who hasn’t worked with this culture?
- How do you need to adapt your behaviour when working with people from different cultures?
- How helpful do you find the following distinction between stereotypes and generalisations?
- Paint everyone with the same brush
- Can be offensive
- Are often used for comic effect
- Offer useful guidelines as a point of reference
- Respect that we are all individuals
- Can give us a first insight into other cultures
Now complete the questionnaire below. Which of these statements about working with Germans is an unhelpful stereotype and which is a useful generalisation? Or are they a bit of both?
(Based on a activity in Frendo & Hsu: 2010)
Here are the statements again for you to view once you have submitted the questionnaire:
- Germans never smile during business. For them, business is a serious matter.
- When you meet a German always shake hands, even if you know them.
- Most Germans enjoy drinking beer. You need to learn to like it too.
- Public transport in Germany is very reliable.
- Germans are very proud of their productivity and quality standards. You should praise them when possible.
- Germans are very punctual. Never be late for an appointment or a meeting.
- Germans enjoy organization. Sudden changes of plan are to be avoided.
- Germans don’t like drinking tap water.