Hot Topics: Cross-Culture Communication in Western World. Business Culture Similarities and Differences

Differences in Western European business culture

However, even though these countries are located quite close to each other and have a number of commonalities, it is also important to note that their business cultures have some differences. For example, when addressing someone formally in a work setting, location should be born in mind to avoid offence. In Austria, France, Germany and Luxembourg it is common to use the complete title of a person together with his last name to address him or her. However, in Belgium and the Netherlands this is not the case – rather, the title is not necessary, only the name.

Most of the individuals in these countries could speak English as their business language as well as German. However, in France, an effort to speak French is appreciated since it is considered to be a major part of the national culture.
The use of student placement schemes is popular in Germany, France (here it is considered essential), Netherlands and Austria but it is not so popular in Belgium.
Another example of differences can be found in the use of social media networks for business purposes. While LinkedIn is one of the primary professional social networks in Luxemburg and the Netherlands, Germanys’ most used business network is called Xing and in France it is Viadeo. Link to the full article HERE


1. Spending time with a guy without it officially being called a “date”
French men and women can spend some casual time together without any precise and complex rules. If you appreciate each other’s company, you can go for a walk, to the movies, to the museum, try tree climbing or wine tasting, whatever.
So I need to admit that, for me, the complex American “dating” system is a bit of a drag. I still can’t get used to just how rigid it feels. For a French girl, “first date,” “second date,” “third date” and so on, just doesn’t make a lot of sense. I guess we need to keep it simple and natural, and just see how it goes from there.

2. Sweating
Gross, I know, but true. In the USA, the air conditioning is on all the time, everywhere. You get out of your air-conditioned house into your air-conditioned car and then into the air-conditioned mall. And temperatures are usually extremely cold. In France, not all public places are air conditioned, and when they are, it is usually to maintain temperatures that are comfortable yet warm, not just slightly above freezing.
There seems to be a huge gap between what is considered an acceptable room temperature in France and in the USA. At my workplace, this results in a constant war over the air-conditioning remote control.
If you ever see people dressed in their ski outfits during a Texan summer, you’ll know they’re probably a bunch of French expats heading to the movies.

3. Using my feet for something other than pressing a gas pedal
After seven years in Texas, I have almost forgotten what “walking” even means. In France, I used to walk for miles every day, and it was my primary mode of transportation in the city. This has probably been the hardest habit to lose in the USA.
 Here, if you do not have a car, it’s almost like you don’t even exist. And if you sometimes decide to leave your car in the parking lot and use your feet instead, people even pull over to ask you if you need assistance. They would never imagine that walking can be a deliberate choice.

4. Complaining all the time
  Yes, French people complain all the time. We seem to love râler and it is almost a way of life. You don’t even realize it until you leave France and cross the Atlantic. Then, you discover the Americans. And at first, you wonder if you ended up directly in Disney World — it’s the first time that you’ve seen so many happy, shiny people in one place. And so much positivity just can’t be real.
But yes, it is! And this is probably my favorite new habit: switching from negative to positive thinking, and believing that anything is possible. Link to the full article HERE



1. A Swede doesn’t tell someone to “take a hike”… he tells someone to “throw themselves in the wall.” (Släng dig i väggen)

2. A Swede doesn’t “beat around the bush”… he “walks like the cat around hot porridge.” (Gå som katten kring het gröt)

3. A Swede doesn’t tell you to “chill”… he asks you to “tag down.” (Tagga ned)

4. A Swede doesn’t say ”no worries” if everything is alright… he tells you there is “no cow on the ice.” (Ingen ko på isen)

5. Alternatively he tells you there is “no danger on the roof.” (Ingen fara på taket)

6. A Swede is not ”wasted”… he is “round under his feet.” (Rund under fötterna)
Link to the full article HERE



1. Idle chit chat
During my first days of work in Germany, I made sure to be super friendly to all of my coworkers. Whenever anyone passed me in the hallway, I would grin maniacally, wave, and yelp, “Hi! How’s your day going?” The responses ranged from bemused looks to a total lack of reply. Confused but not discouraged, I continued trying to work my charms on my new friends.
One morning, I passed Roger, the department’s statistician. I laser-beamed him with my eyes and yelled out my usual “How are you?!” He paused for a moment, staring at me bewilderedly and scratching his fluffy, mad-professor hairdo.
“Do you really want to know?” he asked, one eyebrow raised.
“Uh, yes,” I stammered, unsure of what to make of this.
Twenty minutes later, he was still going strong on a breathless diatribe about how the students’ inferior grasp of basic stats and unbearably messy datasets were contributing to his ever-increasing workload.
Eventually sensing my discomfort, Roger paused and gave me a blank look. “Well you asked,” he muttered, rolling his eyes before continuing down the hall to his office.

2. Thin skin
Germans don’t like small talk, and they don’t like bullshit. Idle comments and feel-good messages have no place here. German flirting is particularly brutal; “Your big nose looks good on your face” is about the best compliment you can expect to get in Germany.

3. Fear of nudity
Especially in the former East, Freikörperkultur, or free body culture, is an important part of German identity. Decades of oppression led to a particular appreciation for the experience of freedom and nudity without a direct relationship to sexuality.
This can sometimes be difficult for Americans to buy, particularly when your coworkers casually invite you to the office’s nude sauna or suggest a naked swim in a nearby lake. Adjusting to this culture without getting weird took some grit, finesse, and more than a few awkward encounters.
Link to the full article HERE