The German business world is ‘monochronic’ by contrast with the ‘polychronic’ societies of Italy, Spain, France, the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the whole of southern and Eastern Europe and the entire Asian and Arab regions.
This poses a number of challenges:
- Differing ideas of time, priorities and project/quality management
- The use of English as a common working language (i.e. a foreign language for both parties)
- Differing communication cultures: What has actually been said or agreed? How can we learn to read between the lines?
- Polychronic networks of relationships, bureaucracies, hierarchies and notions of honour: How can we establish and maintain crucial relationships?
- How can we ensure effective and successful collaboration – and avoid misunderstandings from the very outset?