Essay Doing Business in Europe: Cultural Considerations

1373 Words Sep 30th, 2011 6 Pages
The definition of culture offered in one textbook is “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man person as a member of society.”

Potential cultural issues:

o Difference in cultural habits and norms.
Space. Space is perceived differently. Americans will feel crowded where people from more densely populated countries in Europe will be comfortable.
Time. Monochronic cultures tend to value precise scheduling and doing one thing at a time; in polychronic cultures, in contrast, promptness is valued less, and multiple tasks may be performed simultaneously. US and most European countries are monochromic.
Etiquette. Some cultures have more rigid
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Across most of Europe, business gifts should not be too personal and should be wrapped professionally. Try not to use white wrapping paper, and use a brightly color ribbon.

Social Taboos. In many European countries, asking people what they do or asking them a personal question as an opening conversational gambit is a serious mistake. Europeans are, for the most part, more formal and reserved about such matters than Americans are.
Watch out for these gesture-related mistakes:
1. The American gesture for "OK" using a circle formed by forefinger and thumb is offensive in Germany.
2. Showing your palm to someone is offensive in Greece.
3. Keeping your hands in your pockets is rude.
4. Back-slapping is out of place in northern Europe.
5. Having your hands below the table while dining in France, Germany, and Austria is rude.

o Business Culture.
Here is part of a study that compares business culture in UK, Germany, France and Italy:

In French business culture, debating skills are highly valued. The French don´t debate for the sake of debating; it forms an important part of business decisions, and as they need to foresee future challenges as much as possible, debating is used widely to more properly set expectations. Relationships are also important in the French business culture, as is a hierarchical structure of business organization that allows for more effective role functions.

German business culture values the intellectual

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