Culture affects all our lives and plays an important role in defining ones personality. However, it is not so easy to understand its concept and there are numerous ways to define culture. Generally accepted it is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. It is about the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
But since we are getting more and more global and one can hardly avoid working and communicating with other nationalities and cultures it is important to interact and function with intercultural competence.
The Indo-German Training Center (IGTC) organised a two-day intercultural training programme on 13th and 14th December 2016, for 16 employees from Sartorius Stedim India Pvt. Ltd. The main objectives of this programme was to first understand the differences in the German – Indian business values and overcome these difference by building intercultural competencies
Ms. Amrita Gandikota, Program Co-ordinator at IGTC (the training division of IGCC), conducted this interactive 2 day training programme for them. The training session also had Ms. Linda Schwarz, Intern at IGTC, making the training even more interactive. After some interesting icebreaker activities, the very first lesson they learned was, that in the world cultures, there is no superior one and it all depends on perception
Bearing this in mind, the session started with an introduction to Germany. Some of the attendees had already been to Germany before and enthusiastically shared their experiences of cultural shocks, while the others who had scheduled business trips to the country within the near future were eager to learn how to bridge the gap between the Indo-German cultural conflicts.
A wide range of topics were discussed, including a critical comparison of Indian and German work ethic and business values, communication etiquette and how to lead cross-cultural business meetings and negotiations.
On the second day the participants learned more technical aspects of email formatting, reports and CVs according to the German standards. After going out for a sumptuous lunch along with the participants, the daily life, social structures and some key do’s and don’ts in Germany were discussed in detail.
On both days, activities, quizzes and exercises awaited the participants in order to keep them involved and motivated and to reflect the topics they have learned about previously. All the participants were awarded with certificates, stating their successful completion of the intercultural training. The session closed with the participants providing their feedback.
Coming back to what was said at the beginning, culture is a big part of everyone’s life and if you work with other cultures you have to create awareness and understanding of the differences.
This intercultural training definitely achieved its objectives relating to the work, life and value differences between India and Germany and prepared the attendees for the intercultural business and social situations in the future.