kristin_ict_usa apri 23 2014

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  1. 1. Intercultural Training for the USA American Business and Culture: An Overview Dr. Kristin Gissberg April 23, 2014
  2. 2. 2 What is the most common mistake in American-German relations? One CEOtold me, Ive spenta lot of time in the U.S. and I speak English almost as well as I do German. In terms of philosophy, I know all about burningthe midnightoil and being lean and mean. Im not sureyou have much to teach me. What he was describing is called the trap of similarity. Its the most popular mistakein U.S.-German business relations. - Patrick Schmidt, Non-conventional Truths about American-German Business So, what are Americans all about ? Stereotypes: What is America like? What are Americanslike? What Americans think about Germans? What Germans think about Americans? Lederhosen clothing White sneakersand white socks! Beer and Wurst eating Cokeand Hamburgers Efficient and accurate working Trial and error Cold in the beginning, then friendsfor life interaction Friendly but superficial Confusing: formal(Sie) and informal(du) you communication Strange: informal, addressing everyone by their first name
  3. 3. 3 USA FACTS: Where, What, How Georgraphy: The "Contiguous United States" or touching states refers to the 48 states that do not include Alaska or Hawaii. The USA shares a northern border with Canada and a southern border with Mexico. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Culture: As an immigrant culture, most Americans have interest in, and know where their ancestors originated from. You will commonly hear people claimthat they are Swedish or German, or half Irish, have Native American (etc.) by which they mean to describe their family lineage. People tend to strongly identify with this lineage, even if their idea of what it means to be Swedish is based on narrative, cultural mythology, and indeed far from what actual Swedish culture is all about! When you tell people you are German, do expect them to reply Me too! even if they have never been to Germany.
  4. 4. 4 Facts: Population: As of April1, 2013, the United States had a total resident population of 315,773,000. Capital City: WashingtonD.C. (Washington, D.C. or The District) not to be confused withWashington State Language: There is no "official" language for the United States, although someindividualstates list English as their official language. Spanishis widely spoken. Buildings: In North Americathe ground floor is considered the first floor. Cell phones are the way to go. With the great contracts that are now being offered, fewer and fewer peoplehave fixed phones so called landlines - anymore. Currency: US Dollar 1 = 1.4$
  5. 5. 5 Lifestyle Car Culture: Americanslove their cars! Bigger for Americans often translates to safer. Americanswill often take a Sunday drive justto get out, feel the wind blow through their hair, and see the sights from the comfort of the car. Americanswill also often eat in the car, even while driving. Miscellaneous: Ice cold drinksand ice cubes or crushed ice in drinksarecommon. Drinkingfountainsareeverywhere. Drinkingtap water is very common, even in restaurants. Public restroomsrarely have attendants and are almost always free. Dogs are notallowed in restaurants. Swearing: Americansdo it a lot. Using profanity iscommonplace, despiteage, education, race, or gender, and can be used equally as a way to relax a situation and bring familiarity to it, or to aggravate it. As written recently in the New York Times (see slide) PopQuiz: MostAmericansare inclined to be overly optimistic about anything they undertakebecause: 1. they are brought up with everythinggiven to them. 2. they are continuously told at school that anyonecan become Presidentof the US. 3. the nation has had a relatively positivehistory. 4. the nation has had unlimited resourcesat its disposal.
  6. 6. 6 Nationalism: Germany vs. USA Germany: Flag and nationalism is not so importbecause of a dark spotin German history. After the Soccer World Cup 2006theGerman flag wassuddenly visible everywhere. To love Germany meansto love the history but of course history needsto be treated with a special sense because of somedark sides. Soldiers wear uniform with the German flag. Germans typically have a hard time to remember die Nationalhymne. USA: Flag and pledgingthe flag is very important This is doneeverywhereand every day in school. You can see the American flag everywhereand it seems that The Americans are really proud of it. The American flag is very popular also on clothes and accessories. Americans know their pledgeby heart. Facts: The US flag is comprised of 13 alternating red and white stripes, which representthe thirteen British colonies that declared independencefrom the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union. The 50 stars on the flag representthe 50 states of the United States of America. It is nicknamed Stars and Stripes and Old Glory The flag is often pictured with the nationalbird, the bald eagle. The Star SpangledBanner is the national anthem of the United States of America.
  7. 7. 7 The nationalanthem is traditionally played at the beginningof public sportsevents and orchestral concerts in the United States, as well as other publicgatherings. It was in the newsBeyoncperformed apre-recorded version at PresidentObamas second Inauguration. The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federalflag and the republicof the United States of America. Government Germany: Democracy Germany usesa mixtureof proportionaland majority systemsin order to ensurethat the proportion of parliamentary seats a party receives is exactly the same as the proportion of votersfavoring that party (if that proportion isbigger than 5%)while also allowing for local representation. The German system gives more power to the parties, since they can decidewhich candidatesto place on the list from which the parliamentarianswill later be drawn. USA: RepresentativeDemocracy The US uses the majority system throughout, meaningthat voters get to decide between several candidates, and a candidate needs morethan 50% of the votes in order to win There are many political parties, butthe TWO primary onesinclude: the Democratic Party and the RepublicanParty
  8. 8. 8 Money, its a crime Economy Germany: Socialist (more or less) The social market economy (German: SozialeMarktwirtschaft) The German mixed economicmodelrelies on privateenterprises and the government., regulation to establish fair competition, maintaininga balance between a high rate of economic growth, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, good workingconditions, social welfare, and publicservices, by usingstate intervention USA: Capitalist The individualperformancedrivestheeconomy. Money rulesthe world! Rags to riches belief, anyonecan become successful! Minimalgovernmentinterference. Penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and on rare occasions, a oneor two dollar piece. Quarters are notEuros! Basically, weuse coins, or pocket change, just for very small things. Unlessyou are purchasing something from a vendingmachine, or a store with a cash register forget the change! This is particularly truein restaurants, cabs, and any situation where youreexpected to tip. Dont nickel and dime me! Penniesare just annoying, and usually collectover the yearsin some forgotten jar, or collect in a childs piggy bank Dos and Donts for USA Tipping Culture: Do tip at least 20 percentin a restaurant to your server. Do tip at least a dollar or two per drink at the bar (if sitting at the bar, tip moreand youllmost likely receive a buy-back on your third drink, if you tip well, are nice, and uncomplicated.
  9. 9. 9 Do tip your taxi driver 10-15 percent. Do expect to give holiday bonusesat Christmas to doormen, nannies, babysitters, or anyonewho helps to makeyour life just that much easier. Basic Core Values Americans it is very importantto have freedom and feel free. A very ex. the right to bear arms (to have a gun)mentioned in the constitution. Optimism and belief in a better tomorrow Germans Security How to get things done, American style In general, all aspects of interpersonalinteraction tend to be casual and informal. This is particularly trueof the West (Washington, Oregon, California)where the modusoperandiinvolvestakingones time (no NewYork minute here!), everyday kindness, and arelaxed mentality. In Business: The generalapproach to everyday liferemainsthe same, but translates into the workplace.
  10. 10. 10 Yet, businessculture is individualistic, aggressive, highly competitive, and at the same time, friendly and personable. Pull yourselfup by the bootstraps or bootstrapping is the common and expected American ethos which means find a way to do it yourself and get the job done. Yes we can PopQuiz: Which iconic American image is replicated here? The emphasisis on Progress; and themain question is how are we going to make this better? This cashes outinto a business climate that is: dynamic active and aggressive(opposed to more passivemodelin Germany) with an aim for win-win, but in the end it is survivalof the fittest Win-win/dog-eat-dog
  11. 11. 11 Cultural differences in the World of Business The followingadviceis given to Americans preparingto work with Germans (from InterculturalCommunication in Organizations): Interacting effectively with Germans 1. Be prepared. In business, the Germans will be informed and will expect that you are, too. 2. Engage in only minimal small talk. 3. Be informed about, and use, appropriate titles. 4. Avoid emotional appeals. Emphasize facts and figures. Germans respect quantitative reports. 5. Observe hierarchicalseating and order of sp