Customs and traditions are the things that make each person, family, town or country different from one another. They can be the everyday unnoticeable kind, or they can be the extravagant ones that happen on special occasions. This section is about the cultures of Italy and Germany.
Italy, like all countries, has its good and bad. Italy is a grand and larger-than-life society whose citizens love pageantry and spectacle, emphasize a range of voices in everyday life, externalize emotions and feels and feel a commitment to the town and region of the country in which they were born. To the Italians, family and friendship are of prime importance.
They try to avoid risk and uncertainty in everyday life, preserving friends over strangers and familiar over new or strange situations as their behavior in the piazza and externalization would confirm. Italians tend to be more polychromic than monochromic; performing many activities simultaneously.
In the Italian community, the influence of the group is felt in the business environment. During business meetings, people will externalize their feelings and opinions about a subject. They will listen to everyone’s ideas and freely give their own opinions. In this way, their business meetings tend to be productive due to the openness displayed by everyone. However, the decisions coming out of a meeting are frequently made by one or two dominant or domineering people.
The Italians tend to be aggressive and materialistic individuals due to their bias towards spectacle and externalization. They tend to cluster within those countries that are more accepting of individualism and aggressive, materialistic behavior, all of which reflect their externalized bias.
On the other hand, Germans do not have a very strong concept of management as the Americans do. In Germany, it is not the manager who is the cultural hero but rather the engineer. The concept of heterogeneity never existed here. At the present, elements of the medieval guild system have survived and are still evident. For example, a very effective apprenticeship system exists both on the shop floor and in the office, which alternates practical work and the classroom courses. The worker receives a certificate at the end of the apprenticeship which is then recognized throughout the country.
There are about two-thirds of the German worker population holds such a certificate and a corresponding occupational pride. And surprisingly, quite a few German company presidents have worked their way up from the ranks through an apprenticeship. The highly-skilled and responsible German workers do not necessarily need a manager to motivate them. They expect their boss to assign their tasks and to be expert in resolving technical problems. Germans have the highest rate of personnel in productive roles and the lowest both in leadership and staff roles.
In the Italian economy, there is an inherent inequity in the amount of power. When this is happening in a particular society, obviously there is inequitable distribution of wealth, jobs and opportunities. In fact, poverty is still evident in some areas at the present. Although the Italian industry has become increasingly successful, its success is not shared equally by everyone.
This is because northern companies believe there is a difference in the northern and southern work ethic; they are hesitant to put up branches in the south. The large and rapid influx of workers from the south to the north has left behind people who aren’t willing to give up their customs (resistance to change) and traditions that have been followed since early European civilization. Obviously, there seems to have a resistance to change that has been embedded in the minds of the people. In this case, there will be slower progress since little cooperation is expected from the people. When there is little cooperation, there is slower growth and eventually slower chances of succeeding.
Although there is openness when discussing business matters, in the Italian community, the presence of monopoly is still evident. Complete democracy is not in the hands of the people when it comes to business matters. Here, the suggestions of most of the people aren’t recognized anymore since some domineering people dominate in the decision- making, The purpose of an open communication is defeated and ideas are subject to a few if not one individual. This kind of relationship hampers growth and is not open to propositions conducive to attaining success.
This will limit the country’s chance to compete in the global market and meet international demands. Italy has been less successful in terms of developing world class multinational corporations. Instead, the country’s main economic strength has been its large base of small and medium size companies. These companies typically manufacture products that are technologically moderately advanced and therefore increasingly face crushing competition from China and other emerging Asian economies. Meanwhile, a base of corporations able to compete in markets for advanced goods and services is underdeveloped or lacking entirely.
The German style of competition is thorough but not ruinous. They generally seek market share rather than market domination. German companies despise price competition. Instead, they engage in a competition on the basis of excellence in their products and services. In short, they are quality-centered individuals putting profit as the lesser priority. They compete on a price basis only when it is necessary. The German manager concentrates intensely on two objectives: product quality and product service. His wants his company to be the best and he wants it to have the best products.
The manager and his entire team are strongly product oriented, confident that a good product will sell itself. But the manager also places a high premium on customer satisfaction, and Germans are ready to style a product to suit a customer’s wishes. The German style of management is collegial, consensual, product and quality-oriented, export-conscious, and loyal to one company and committed to its long-term prospects. The German system could stifle change but not as innovative, aggressive or results-oriented as the United States management style. This system cautiously acknowledges that both employees and employers are vitally interested and concerned about the well-being of the company. It would seem that the benefits of economic success have been shared out and that the standard of living is very high.
The German economy does not just help the wealthy but also care for the workers and others who might not prove able to cope with the strenuous competitive demands of a market economy. In short, it is a socialist economy. In addition, these traits have put the Germans to a different level of niche in the world of business where rapid competition and globalization gradually occurs and still have a stand-out performance. In fact, the Germans have a superior fashion in business as compared to the US, thus, proves that their management function is effective and conducive towards success and prosperity.
The German economy is both conservative and dynamic. It is conservative in the sense that it draws on the part of the German tradition that envisages some state role in the economy and a cautious attitude toward investment and risk-taking. It is dynamic in the sense that it is directed toward growth–even if that growth may be slow and steady rather than spectacular. It tries to combine the virtues of a market system with the virtues of a social welfare system.
In my opinion, it is the German culture that is most similar to the US. Overall, significant cultural influences came from Europe, especially from the German, English and Irish cultures and later from Italian, Greek cultures. Because of the several immigrants that have come to the US, this has become a melting pot of several cultures. However, as compared to Italian practices, some German cultures were retained in the country. Particularly in business, although the both the US and Germany do not go along together with the concept of management, their goals and principles in business go along. Both countries are particular in the quality of products and services they produce.
They both are focused on creating a healthy environment in business between leaders and employees and maintaining good relationships. Both are not dictatorial in their management approach and continuously strive for excellence, competence and stability. Both possess an inherent strong sense of individualism, always confident that they acquire the right knowledge and power to lead the business world. Both desire for constant innovation, not recessive to the modern changes and culturally adaptive. Both are risk-takers which are marks of a community that is moving towards globalization and becoming a true business tycoon.