Germans have managed to maintain their reputation for high-quality work even under the pinch of shorter working time – because of their tradition of thoroughness. When Germans work, they usually work hard. But thoroughness takes time – even for a people so well-schooled in it. Many foreigners get dismayed by how long this thoroughness can take here.
There are exceptions to every rule, but it would be a fair statement to say that the Germans are risk averse. If you come from a “just do it” business culture, you may become frustrated by this propensity to weigh up at all sides of an issue before making a final decision. This frustration can also come up within your own company when you’re involved in a project where you feel that enough information has been gathered to reach a decision and press ahead with the next phase.
The upside of this delayed process is that when a decision gets taken, much of the next stage of the transaction (working out the details) will have already been handled.
Working or doing business in Germany entails a good deal more than just shifting your daily schedule forward an hour or two and making extra efforts to keep your nose to the grindstone. There is a certain specific character to German business and whether you enjoy your work here and are successful at it may depend on your adapting to this culture.