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Managing Across Cultures Report

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Updated: Feb 7th, 2019

The South Korean Culture

The South Korean culture is deeply rooted in a wide range of theologies that shapes the lifestyles of the people. In the South Korean meeting etiquette, greetings adhere to stringent rules of protocol. South Koreans usually shake hands with foreigners after bowing, since this practice brings together both divergent cultures. An individual of lower status bows to his or her senior; however, the individual of higher status kicks off the handshake after saying “pleased to meet you.”

In a social gathering, an expatriate should wait to be introduced and say good-bye as well as bow to every person individually before departing from the meeting. Business cards are treated with a lot of carefulness and are often exchanged after the first meeting in a highly ritualized manner. One side of the business card should be in the Korean language, placed neatly in a business card portfolio, and should never be written in the other person’s presence.

The business dress code is conservative and both men and women should avoid putting on ostentatious accessories. Gifts in the Korean culture are appreciated and should be nicely presented in royal colours, which denote happiness.

Gifts are not opened when received and should be given in multiples of seven, since it is considered a lucky number; as opposed to four. When a guest is invited for a meal to a South Korean’s home, he or she should wait to be given a place to sit, wait for the oldest person to start the eating process, use chopsticks accordingly, and observe table manners during the eating process.

South Koreans like to engage in transactions with individuals they know well; therefore, relationships are built informally. One should maintain direct communication and avoid criticizing others. Punctuality in meetings is indicative of the respect accorded to the other person. One should maintain protocol in meetings and send notifications of the meeting as early as possible.

German culture

The German culture is very much different from the South Korean culture. Its rich culture started long before the emergence of Germany as a state. In the country’s meeting etiquette, greetings are done formally. One should use titles appropriately when addressing another person, give a fast, firm handshake, wait to be introduced, and greet every person when entering a room.

Gifts, especially chocolates or flowers, are appreciated by the Germans, and are usually opened when received. However, one is to avoid giving red roses, carnations, or lilies as gifts. The Germans observe continental table manners; the fork and the knife are used properly. A guest should not start eating until given the go-ahead and he or she should observe the proper use of the fork and knife. A guest usually returns a toast only after being initiated by the host.

As opposed to the South Koreans, Germans do not require a close association before engaging in transactions. They take note of a person’s academic credentials and experience in the particular industry. Germans are usually direct to the point of bluntness, respect people in authority, communicate formally, follow established protocol, and value written documentation to back up evidence. In Germany, notifications for meetings are sent early enough and punctuality is imperative.

Meetings follow strict bureaucratic rules and one is obliged to maintain eye contact when speaking. One should consider hiring an interpreter if conflicts may arise due to misunderstandings. The most senior person usually enters a room first. The top management of an organization usually makes the final unchangeable decisions. The Germans prefer understated, formal and conservative business dresses; for example, men prefer wearing dark colored conservative dresses. The dressing is kept simple but neat.

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"Managing Across Cultures." IvyPanda, 7 Feb. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/managing-across-cultures/.

1. IvyPanda. "Managing Across Cultures." February 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/managing-across-cultures/.


IvyPanda. "Managing Across Cultures." February 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/managing-across-cultures/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Managing Across Cultures." February 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/managing-across-cultures/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Managing Across Cultures'. 7 February.

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