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Germans and Czechs

Better Understanding – Better Busines 

Germans and Czech are two neighbours, two important neighbours, two business partners, two different countries.
There are various myths, legends, false impressions or a simple lack of knowledge around the comparison of the two nations.

This article may help you get better understanding and thus provide you with crucial advantage in business, make your life easier, your cooperation more efficient, faster.

History – governments – state administration – education – society.

If you really want to better understand the differences between the German and Czech businesses, managers and employees you must consider these areas and a short excursion into history and geography is therefore essential and very useful.

The roots go about 1 000 years back to so called Holy Roman Empire, later called Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Bavaria and western Germany were in the heart of Europe in comparison with geographical isolation of the Czech region. Germans used to be typically the ones who represented higher culture, know-how and progress. There were several periods of a kind of convergence – under Charles IV, the emperor of Holy Roman Empire (now 700 years ago) who was based in Prague or during the time around the year 1500, a period of general growth in Europe. However, this growth was based on very different foundations: more progressive city based system in Germany against aristocracy based system in Hapsburg’s empire. That was reflected in development of the market economy and capitalism in the West – with large banks and strong capital and with strong support from governments enabling large and innovative companies to prosper and thrive.

Habsburgs financially drained the Czech region. Their administration did not motive and did not support the development of proper, modern education. The impact is visible till today. On top of it, Germany united in the middle of the 19th century while Habsburgs’ empire was more and more split, due to its multi- national character. First the Hungarians split and after the World War I, many small countries were created. Additionally, the totalitarian regime after the WW II hindered the society – the public life and Germans are thus now more self-confident, more active citizens.

Business Impact

We can certainly see that these aspects have played a crucial role (in various forms) for hundreds of years. The geographical position, the size, the unity, availability of the capital. However, how does this reflect to businesses and business people in particular? There is no secret that Germans are demanding customers as well as managers. They focus on details, they are very careful which represents the well-known German perfectionism, they learn well from others and they can put their ideas into practice, they are well- organized, hard-working. The years of close Czech-German cooperation particularly in the automotive business of course result in the fact that the differences, mainly on the managerial level are less and less visible. Still, Czechs can be sometimes fairly inventive and flexible, not panicking when things do not go according to the detailed, fixed plan.

On the other hand, Czech employees might be more quiet, less ambitious, they tend not to “get out of the row” and to accept the things the way they are. Job mobility is also not that common in Czechia. Sometimes Czech may leave the thing to the last moment. To accept a negative feedback or to stick to hierarchy is for some Czechs a challenge. Certain characteristics such German punctuality or Czech laziness however seem to become more a myth. Mainly young people, exposed to very similar experience, living in the same virtual, internet world and the like do not show noticeable differences.

To summarize: it is obvious that at least a basic knowledge of the historical, geographical and social background helps to better understand the characteristics and the differences between the two neighbours in order to foster the business cooperation.

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