cultural knowledge

social competence

language capabilities


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Win Sympathies - Earn Success


Whoever aspires to be successful in India needs to aquire new knowledge and skills. Business people who are familiar with the cultural background of their partners make friends more easily, meet success faster. Employees who understand their environment and adapt their behaviour accordingly are more at ease and work more efficiently.


Rainer Hörig

Brief aus Asien, Weltspiegel, Deutsche Welle, Bonn 2005

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Non-verbal Communication

Between Europeans and Indians most misunderstandings are experienced in the sphere of body language. Even well-intended efforts may create confusion, for instance if both sides eagerly demonstrate their adaption to foreign greeting etiquette. While Europeans would like to fold their hands in front of their chest and utter a shy "Namaste" their Indian friends would jovially call out "Hello" and shake your hands. The world turned upside down.


The folding of hands in front of the chest and a slight bow is considered a formal, respectful greeting. In everyday life one leisurely raises a hand to touch one's forehead. The Indian way of swinging the head centered around the nose is an expression of appreciation and agreement. By turning around the head energetically from left to right Indians express disapproval and disagreement.


Rainer Hörig

Verhalten in Indien, Deutsche Stiftung für internationale Entwicklung (inwent), Bad Honnef, 1995

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Knigge for India

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à propos: conception of time. German business people hardly have time to waste and would like to see negotiations reach a succuessful conclusion quite quickly. But their Indian partners appreciate personal contacts and conversations as a kind of "confidence building measures". In India the way to business leads through personal interaction. More time and effort is required hear for smalltalk and cocktail parties.

à propos: working culture. German managers are used to delegate responsibilities and expect their employees to think independently. But Indian workers hardly ever look beyond their own sphere of work and shy away from taking decisions on their own. For most of them it is sufficient to obey orders and finish their task. That is because traditionally the caste system allots a precisely defined job to every individual.

à propos: precision. Most Germans aspire to carry out their work thoroughly and as well as possible. For most Indians precision does not play a vital role, as long as it works. "Chalta hai – it works" is an often-heard idiom here. Under there circumstances flexibilty is more important than perfection. Rigid insistance on precision and punctuality is mostly regarded as excessive and rigorous, even inhuman. India's culture definately recognises people as imperfect. Even the gods fall prey to "human weakness".


Rainer Hörig

Interkulturelle Kompetenz beflügelt den Geschäftserfolg, Mumbai, July 2006

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© COPYRIGHT Rainer Hörig 2006