People in Germany follow the classic power tool pattern in their use of influence techniques.  They use logical persuading (5.86) significantly more often than socializing (5.49) and then stating, consulting, and appealing to friendship.  What is noteworthy about their influence profile is the relatively high frequency of socializing, and it is their second-highest rated technique in terms of effectiveness.

Contrary to the stereotype, Germans use legitimizing (or appealing to authority) significantly less frequently than the global norm.  In fact, of the 45 countries in our research study, Germany was 34thin the frequency of legitimizing (the U.S. was ranked first).

However, Germany was significantly lower in the frequency of avoiding and significantly higher in threatening.  What this suggests is that Germans are averse to avoiding situations in which they should act or take a stand and are more willing to disagree and confront situations in a way that may be perceived as threatening.  Because of this forthrightness, they are also rated lower than the global norm on the effectiveness of modeling.

In German culture, attraction and history with the influencee are rated significantly lower than the global norm, while reputation and network are rated significantly higher.  These findings suggest that one’s likability or personality and the extent of existing relationships are less important in influencing others than one’s reputation in the organization and network of personal and professional contacts. 

Germans also rank higher than the norm on knowledge as a power source.

To influence effectively in this culture, you need to build a strong network and a sound reputation.  You also need to be perceived as knowledgeable or credible.  Socializing can be helpful in building stronger connections with people, but ultimately the quality of your reasoning will be most important.  Finally, be willing to confront issues or problems directly.  You may lose credibility if you don’t.


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