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4.2 Deutsche Arbeitskultur

Communication

Communication is an essential part of interaction, so this dimension necessarily overlaps with the other dimensions which all involve communication. There are significant differences, however, in how directly or indirectly members of different cultures express themselves. This is particularly noticeable in how people give instructions and convey criticism.

In cultures with a preference for direct communication, people are expected to take a clear position and openly express their opinion, even if it involves criticism or confrontation. On the other hand, other cultures avoid directly expressing opinions.

Germany is one of the so-called “low-context” cultures. All details are transmitted explicitly. This means that Germans tend to pay more attention to the literal meaning of words than to the context surrounding them. Messages are transmitted more by words than nonverbal signals. If in doubt, a German will ask a follow-up question in order to get all of the information, even if this could perhaps have been deduced implicitly.