MVC Consulting is among the oldest professional services and management consulting companies located in Chicago, US. Founded in 1981, the privately held company now wants to expand its operations internationally. MVC Consulting is considering venturing into the German market. The research paper aims at developing an analysis of Germany as a potential market for the services offered by MVC Consulting.
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The paper will provide a history of Germany, its location and size, political system, economic system, traditions, language, values and ethics, and business practices, among others. Following the analysis, a recommendation shall be provided on whether MVC Consulting should consider investing in Germany.
Germany is located between Poland and France near the North Sea. The Western European country shares its borders with Czech Republic to the east, the Baltic Sea and Denmark to the north, France to the Southwest, and Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg to the northwest (Beevor, 2003).
The Germanic tribes date as far back as the Pre-Roman Iron Age and Nordic Bronze Age. Starting from the 1st century BC, these tribes are believed to have moved from north Germany and southern Scandinavia and expanded to the east, west, and south. From these locations, they encountered the Baltic, Iranian, Slavic, and Celtic tribes in Eastern Europe (Claster 1982, p. 35).
By AD 100, some Germanic tribes were already occupying the region along the Danube and Rhine. The Alamanni, Chatti, Saxons, and Thuringii, are some of the large Germanic tribes that emerged in the 3rd century. Around 260, Rome started to decline, Germanic tribes started occupying lands hitherto occupied by the Romans.
By 395 AD, they had managed to advance further south-east. At the same time, a number of the large Germanic tribes had started replacing the smaller tribes in modern day Germany (Bowman, Garnsey & Cameron, 2005, p. 442).
The Franks occupied the Austrasia, while the Slavs and Saxons ruled Northern Germany. Between 1138 and 1254, during the reign of the Hohenstaufen emperors, the German princes asserted their influence eastwards and southwards, and occupied the Slavs territories. In 1315 and from 1348 to 50, the Greta Famine and the Black Death respectively led to a drastic reduction in population of Germany.
Between 1618 and 1648, German lands were devastated by religious conflicts, further reducing the population. The German Confederation was founded in 1814, after Napoleon I of France had been defeated. In 1862, a major conflict emerged between King William I of Prussia and the liberal parliament on military reforms.
Consequently, Otto von Bismarck was appointed by the King as the new Prime Minister. The assassination of the crown prince to Austria on June 28, 1914 triggered the First World War. Some of the territories acquired by Germany prior to World War II include Czechoslovakia and Austria (Beevor 2003).
In 1945, Germany surrendered when it was defeated in the Second World War, prompting the partitioning of the remaining German territory. Thus Germany was divided into West Germany and East Germany. This arrangement lasted until 1990, when Germany reunified, after the Berlin wall was brought down.
The size of Germany is estimated at 357, 021 sq. km.
Germany is characterized by a representative democracy. The country also enjoys both a parliamentary and federal system of government (Claster, 1982). A federal convention elects the president. The federal convention is made up of state delegates and the parliament (Bundestag).
The president of parliament is ranked second after the president, in line with the order of precedence in Germany. He is charged with the responsibility of supervising the daily parliamentary sessions. The Chancellor comes in third. The president of the parliament appoints the Chancellor once he has been elected by Parliament. The role of the Chancellor is to exercise executive powers of the government.
Germany has embraced a social market economy. It is made up of a large capital stock and a highly qualified workforce. The level of corruption is also very low (World Bank, 2009). German has a very high level of innovation (CIA, 2010). Germany is the world’s largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. In Europe, Germany’s economy is the largest (Boston Consulting Group, 2009).
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Much of the country’s GDP is contributed by its service sector, estimated at 71%. Industries come second, at 28%, with agriculture only contributing a partly 0.9% of the GDP. In 2010, Germany had a 7.5% unemployment rate.
German is the country’s predominant and official language (European Commission, 2006). The European Union has also recognized German as one of the 23 official languages.
Further, the German language has been recognized by the European Commission as a working language within the EU, and there are only three such languages. The predominant immigrant languages in Germany are Kurdish, Turkish, the Balkan languages, Polish, and Russian.
When meeting or leaving someone, shaking hands is a common practice. The older person or woman often offers their hand first. Calling acquaintances by their first name is unwelcome, unless you have been invited to do so. Germans do not normally tip waiters at a restaurant. However, they have a habit of rounding off the charges they have incurred.
For example, if one has incurred a restaurant charge of 7.3 Euros, they will round it of to 8 Euros. A 16 % VAT is always added on any purchase that you make while in Germany. Upon leaving Germany, tourists are usually refunded the money that they incurred in the form of VAT. Speaking to a German with your hands in the pocket is seen as a rude gesture.
Values and ethics
Germans have strong Christian values, mainly influenced by Western European culture. The Germans upholds the pursuit of happiness, life, and liberty. In Germany, contracts are important, and individual rights are upheld. Order is also a very vital goal of the society. Personal achievements and execution of power are also primary motivations of Germans (Tian, 2004, p. 33).
Characteristics of the Culture
Major popular and intellectual currents including secular and religious events in Europe have helped to shape culture in Germany. Cultural institutions are often headed by the federated states with more than 25,000 libraries and 240 subsidized theaters spread across Germany, a lot of people enjoy these cultural opportunities every year (Wasser, 2006).
The country has also managed to promote disability rights, in addition to creating high standards of gender equality. Moreover, Germany is socially and morally tolerant towards lesbians and gays. The country has also altered its attitudes towards immigrants with the government allowing controlled migration into the country on the basis of one’s qualification standards.
In any business transaction that involves Germans, it is important to ensure that you value punctuality. For example, you should ensure that you arrive for business meetings on the stipulated time. To be late for even 5 or 10 minutes, and more so among the subordinates, is often frowned upon.
Such an action may also jeopardize your business relations in future (Lynn, n. d.). However, in case your lateness cannot be avoided, the most ideal thing to do is to ensure that you call your business associates ahead of time and inform them that you will be ruing late.
Germans values honesty very much and with a good explanation, you will be in good terms with them. With regard to conversational themes, the distinction between personal and social time is very clear in Germany. As such, one should not anticipate an evening out with your German host every evening.
Germans often assume that just as they have personal matters to attend to, so do you. One is also advised against delving into such topics as the Holocaust and World War II. In addition, avoid such personal questions as salaries and remunerations. Tips for leading in this country
If at all MVC Consulting hopes to succeed in its quest to enter into the German market, it must value efficiency and hard work in all its operations. These two traits are valued highly by Germans. In addition, the company also needs to ensure that it offers quality services.
Organizations in Germany are characterized by well-ordered and tight structures and as such, MVC Consulting needs to align its structure in such a way that every employee is fully aware of his/her functions.
The management also needs to ensure that it makes decision after precise and thorough analysis of the information at hand. Furthermore, the company should also anticipate minimizing risks because in the German economy, security is a lifeline.
The company should also ensure that it strictly adherers to time schedules in order to win the confidence of its customers and business associates. If for example the company promises to deliver a given service at a specific time, then it needs to honor the pledge. In the German culture, formality is often seen as a vital sign of respect and as such, MVC Consulting should ensure that it adopts this practice as well.
Taking one’s business serious is a widely entrenched value in the German culture and German managers are often built upon this foundation. If at all MVC Consulting hopes to cordial business links with other companies in Germany, there is the need to accord recognition to its business partners.
Moreover, the company may be forced to modify some of its business behaviors to suit the business environment in Germany. This is because there is a stark difference in the business environment of the United States and Germany.
Germany offers an ideal business environment for MVC Consulting to invest in. Germany is the largest economy in Europe. In addition, the country’s political and economic environment favors the conduction of business. Germany does not also discriminate against foreign investment. If at all MVC Consulting hopes to succeed in the German market, it needs to embrace the business culture of the Germans.
As such, the company has to value efficiency and hard work because these are the two traits that drives German’s economic engine. In addition, the company must be ready to honor the pledge of customers and business associate in terms of delivery services in a timely manner.
Beevor, A. (2003). Berlin: The downfall 1945. London: Penguin Books.
Boston Consulting Group. (2009). The innovation imperative in manufacturing: how the united states can restore its edge. Retrieved from Boston Consulting Group. Web.
Bowman, A. K., Garnsey, P., & Cameron, A. (2005). The crisis of empire, A.D. 193–337. Cambridge, Mass: Cambridge University Press. CIA. (2010). World Factbook. Web.
Claster, J. N. (1982). Medieval Experience: 300–1400. New York: New York University Press.
Lynn, E. Business Culture. Web.
Tian, Q. (2004). A transcultural study of ethical perceptions and judgements between Chinese. and. German Businessmen. Munish: Martin Meidenbauer
Wasser, J. (2006). Spatzle Westerns. Web.
World Bank. (2009). The World Bank: World Development Indicators database. Web.