Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations

By Donald W. Hendon; Rebecca Angeles Hendon et al. | Go to book overview

12
Country Study: Germany

WHAT THE GERMANS ARE LIKE

Germany has been considered an exemplary country, not only for having spectacularly overcome the ravages of World War II, but also for quickly rising as one of the more advanced countries in the world. A number of factors account for this: An initial boost was given by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Aid and the Marshall Plan. A high rate of reinvestment of profits followed the initial infusions brought by both aid monies. Later, Chancellor Erhard transformed the West German economy into a socialist market economy, which released the country from the tight economic controls of the Hitler regime. In addition to judicious management, hard work, and ingenuity, the West German economy at that time was not hampered by government regulations, rationing, price and wage controls, and debt. Also, business owners, managers, and the labor sector were all eager to cooperate to reconstruct the economy--so much so that they postponed demands they would have otherwise made of each other. The reunification of Germany in 1989 was another milestone in German history.

The "Americanization" of Germans quickly followed prosperity and transformed them into heavy-spending consumers. At first, they purchased household goods, appliances, cars, and so forth, to replace worn-out models. But with the sharp increase in disposable income, their appetite for new and better things became an insatiable drive for acquisitions. Aggressive advertising constantly prods German consumers to fill up their shopping trolleys, have dinner in fast-food outlets, listen to rock music, and wear the latest in designer blue jeans.

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