Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Cultural Differences: Effect on Teamwork

Former Member
0 Kudos

As a first time 'blogger', would be curious to hear people's experiences with cultural differences. See the newly posted 'blog' on German-American Cooperation for more background.

<a href="/people/melissa.lamson/blog/2006/07/24/german-american-cooperation-unexpected-cultural-differences Cooperation: Unexpected Cultural Differences</a>

Best wishes,

Melissa Lamson

Accepted Solutions (0)

Answers (2)

Answers (2)

Former Member
0 Kudos

Hi Melissa - from my experience I can fully and totally agree on your blog. Very good writing!

The thing is everybody (I can think of) believes that the US and Europe/Germany are very much the same. Everybody does ask "well, how do I have to behave in India, China...." - but nobody would think to ask these questions for the US.

One remark to what you wrote - regarding formality in conversations. Germans use the second person PLURAL form to address formaly (Sie [see]) which is distinct from the second person SINGULAR (Du [do]). English use - well - historically the second person PLURAL as well ("thou" used to be SINGULAR) but nowadays there is no difference to the SINGULAR form. This together with the firstname and the fact that "Du" and "You" sound more similar than "Sie" and "You" leads to the fact that many Germans believe that Americans are so unformal (which is not exactly the fact as you pointed out).

The problem for a German - as I see it - is when he is in a situation where he is together with several other Germans of "higher rank". So - you're not supposed to call your boss' boss by his firstname - but your American peer keeps calling him like that. That can get though. And even if you agree to do this "in the US" - what happens when you get back...

From my experience the "problem" <sic> that you pointed out even does exist within Europe - for me it seems that the Germans really do like to argue, and e.g. Dutch just too easily agree.

The effect could be - and that's what I did experience - that a German, who himself might not really be sure, but "offers" a solution to an issue - will not get a "counter-offer" and starts to dominate the team - thereby loosing the valuefull input from the other teammembers.



Active Contributor
0 Kudos

I know that Melissa didn't initially pose this as a question, but I have made it one because I wanted to "recognize" the two well thought out answers to her request for comments.

I also wanted to mention the topic of High Context vs Low Context cultures and how that effects Business Communication. My understanding of a low context culture is one in which things are expected to be explicitly spelled out as contrasted to a high context culture where there is much assumption of shared views and communication is indirect.

A Business Process Expert must be an accomplished communicator and facilitator of knowledge transfer, an interpreter between IT and Business. Add to that additonal cultural challenges and the job becomes a really interesting one

Found a nice link that discusses this low/high context as well as other considerations one would take into account when thinking how cultural differences effect teamwork.

This should be very interesting to any BPX working in a global environment, which probably means most BPXs.

The page was simply called:

<a href="">Differences in Culture</a>

I wonder how others see cultural differences impacting the job of a BPX and the entire concept of change management.



Former Member
0 Kudos


That was a good blog. There are so many experiences difficult to put in a discussion thread or a blog since there are so many aspects and events to that. I've worked with American, Indian, British, German and Japanese customers in my career. Its been interesting to see how each one treats and reacts to the same situation. Take change management for example. Change is inevitable, but the way every culture or person for that matter reacts to that is interesting to see. Ex. Some Americans would be loud or be straight forward in what they think and opinonated in how it should be, but still accepted it and even suggested changes to make it work better. Japanese and some Indians would accept that keeping their thoughts or reservations/suggestions/opinions to themselves or amongst themselves. Germans would think over it as you pointed out in your blog, maybe a bit resistant as well until they are satisfied it'll work. The British ,interestingly did't take it as I expected. In my experiences I found most of them quite open to the idea and came along for the ride to see how it worked, giving their opinions along the way.

Well, this is a very interesting conversation. Looking forward for some more blogs and discussions on the same.