The geographical location of Germany is at the center of Europe. Essentially, it is the most important economy in the continent with respect to the large economic system and the political system. Its economy is not only the largest in Europe but also takes the fifth position in the world’s largest (McGregor, 2014). The country is only second to the United States in the number of people that migrate to Germany (Boeing, 2013). Further, the country has an accumulated size of 357,022 square kilometers that includes both land and water. Germany is known to be very densely populated after Russia. However, despite the large population, the life expectancy of Germany is estimated to up to 80 years of age (Fulbrook, 2015).
In the early days, the original tribes of Germans had occupied the Western part of the continent after which most migrated to central of Europe. The Germans were rivals with the Roman Empire and the Romans called then Germany (Confino, 2006). After the world war two, there was a separation of the country into East and West parts of Germany. In the early 1990s, the two parts were united again into one country. Germany is rated as very well developed, very productive and the standards of living are significantly high.
The capital city of Germany is Berlin with its government being described as a Federal Republic since the gain of Independence. The members of parliament of the federal system are responsible for electing the president for a five-year term. In addition, the country has a legal system that is civil. To become a German citizen, one must have a parent who is a citizen or attain citizenship through naturalization which is only possible after staying in the country for at least 8 years.
Germany has been perceived to be the leading driver of Europe’s economy and a great influence in the global economy. It is a chief exporter of vehicles, chemicals, machinery and also household equipment. The largest segment of the country’s labor force is very highly skilled and productivity levels are equally high. With very highly advanced technology, other industrial products include; steel, iron, cement, coal, textiles and food and beverages (Lord, 2008). Some of the agricultural products are wheat, barley, milk products and poultry. Boeing, (2013) asserts $3.842 trillion to be the estimated country’s GDP for 2012. Essentially the country’s unemployment rate is minimally low.
Figure 1: GDP of Germany (Source: Author, 2016)
Germany is the largest economy in Europe and accounts for the largest share of trade. It has maintained the first position in terms of exports all over the world for five years since 2003. In Europe, it has the largest balance of trade meaning that it is a net exporter. In 2011, it was in the third position in both exports and imports all over the world. The country’s main currency (the Euro) performs better than the US dollar and has done so over the last five years. Currently, 1 Euro is equivalent to 1.13 US dollars, a decline from last year’s 1.2 US dollars. In 2014, one euro retailed at 1.38 US dollars which was an improvement from the former year where it retailed at 3.1 US dollars. In 2012, however, 1 Euro exchanged at 1.3 US dollars. Overall, the currency of Germany has maintained a stronger exchange rate to that of the US dollar.
Figure 2: Germany Euro against the US dollar (Source: Author, 2016)
A country’s culture is shaped by a combination of its unique attitudes and values. The uniqueness of these traditions and culture varies across different nations as well as the ethnic groups of the nations (Bernstein, 2004). In German, these values include punctuality, industriousness, privacy and punctuality. In particular, Germans embrace time management with increased emphasis (Boeing, 2013). It is not surprising therefore that the respect of schedules, agenda and calendars is associated with Germans.
Germans live everyday knowing that every activity to be done has its specific time and place. They strive to be precise and perfect in every life aspect. To achieve these, they plan carefully in business and day to day lives. Most working and living aspects are structures with procedures and rules to let people know what is expected of them and allow them to carefully plan their time. Business success is also attributed to strict abiding to the rules governing a particular business (Gangl, 2003). Business changes are always planned because Germans do not accept surprises. At work, they are very serious and never give compliments or make humor. This attitude is regarded as unfriendly by some people but it results to success in business (Boeing, 2013).
In Germany, the states are primarily responsible for the provision of education with the federal government playing a minimal role. This is similar in the United States. Nursery school is optional for all children after which school attendance becomes mandatory for all (Homer, 2007). However, each state has its unique policies thus making the system of education not uniform across the country. In secondary education, there are five types of school with each designed to prepare certain aspects of the children. To enroll in a university, students must have passed the final exam, Abitur, after grade twelve of their secondary study.
German language is the most spoken in the country. A large fraction of the people prefers German to be their initial language. Even in the European Union, German is used as an official working language. Turkish, Kurdish, Russian and Danish are some of the other languages spoken by a minimal number of people. In addition, most of the Germans learn foreign languages and a large percentage speaks more than one language (Boeing, 2013). The country religious sector is dominated by Christians. More than half of the German people identify themselves as Christians both Catholics and protestants (Scribner & Roper, 2001). Muslims come in as the second most popular religion followed by Hindus and Buddhists (Boeing, 2013).
Figure 3: Religion composition (Source: Author, 2016)
The importance of German culture is signified by the many holidays and celebrations that mark of their traditions. Among these are Christmas and Easter which are celebrations for Christians. There is only one national holiday held on 3rd October every year to celebrate the union of both West and East parts of Germany to form a united nation (Boeing, 2013).
Oktoberfest is a tradition celebrated by German people which has been there for years. It is also referred to as a beer bash. Many people across the world travel to German for this festival. It runs for 16 days from mid-September to October on the first Sunday. This began in early 18th century on the wedding of Princess Therese and his fiancé Prince Ludwig (Boeing, 2013). Many liters of beer are consumed and also roast chicken and pork sausages.
Boeing, (2013) points out the individualistic nature of the country with most people being socially and economically independent. The families major on building strong relationships with their children rather than the extended family. At work, the employees embrace responsibility and do their duties to the letter. There is effective communication among employers thus ascertaining that business rules are perfectly understood. They also embrace honesty. Individualism has been given a score of 67 which is relatively higher than that of United States (Boeing, 2013).
Germany performs better in power distance at a score of 35 (Boeing, 2013). The results show that the rate of inequality among the most influential and less influential people is on the lower side. The citizens have a better chance of freely communicating and sharing ideas. In addition, the country does not exercise excessive control in its leadership unlike in the United States where the score is 40.
Adhering to the etiquettes of any business is an important factor to the success of any business in Germany. In fact, outsiders should e ready to conform to the different values, cultures and customs prior to establishment of business in the country (Reuveni, 2006). Flexibility is the key since every country has different styles of business and different means if building working relationships.
Time management is considered an important factor in the success of any business. The people consider lateness to an appointment as highly offensive (Boeing, 2013). However, it is courteous to notify the partner of one’s lateness through a call prior to the scheduled time of meeting.
During business transactions giving of gifts is not appreciated in Germany. It is important to concentrate on doing business and less of rituals of giving gifts. Sometimes the gifts acceptable in business are equipment such as pens for office use only (Boeing, 2013). Moreover, the appearance of business partners is important and the dressing codes must be adhered to. In addition, success in a business is dependent on a person’s competency in the concerned field. In addition, one must be willing to work extra hard in meeting the set business standards as Germans are generally perfectionists (Boeing, 2013).
Bernstein, E. (2004). Culture and customs of Germany. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Greenwood Press.
Boeing, M. (2013). Analysis of cultural differences and their effects on marketing products in the United States of America and Germany. Hamburg: Anchor Academic Pub.
Confino, A. (2006). Germany as a culture of remembrance: Promises and limits of writing history. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Fulbrook, M. (2015). A history of Germany, 1918-2014: The divided nation.
Gangl, M. (2003). Unemployment Dynamics in the United States and West Germany: Economic Restructuring, Institutions and Labor Market Processes. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag HD.
Hörner, W. (2007). The Education systems of Europe. Dordrecht: Springer.
Lord, R. A. (2008). CultureShock! Germany: A survival guide to customs and etiquette. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Ptd Ltd.
MacGregor, N. (2014). Germany.
Reuveni, G. (2006). Reading Germany: Literature and consumer culture in Germany before 1933 / Gideon Reuveni ; translated by Ruth Morris. New York: Berghahn Books.
Scribner, R. W., & Roper, L. (2001). Religion and culture in Germany (1400-1800). Leiden: Brill.
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