5 biggest cultural differences between German and Nigerians

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Every country and every culture has its own specific characteristics, which can differ greatly from one another in international comparison. While Germany, for example, is characterized by the Prussian virtues of punctuality, order and diligence, in other countries polite manners and respect for one another’s faces play a much greater role. These cultural peculiarities should always be taken into account when visiting a country – it definitely does not matter whether you are a tourist, journalist or businessman. So if you as a company want to establish your business activities in another country, this project stands and falls with the understanding, acceptance and implementation of the cultural customs of that country. Only by taking cultural peculiarities into account is it possible to establish a long-term, profitable and friendly relationship with local partners.

Especially for Germans, the trip to Nigeria and the attempt to initiate business can be subject to unexpected difficulties. The cultural differences are very great and the German virtues play a very minor role in Nigeria – much more importance is attached to showing a certain flexibility, not taking everything too seriously and not missing a certain sense of humor.

With the support of our local partner Sunday we have summarized the following 5 biggest differences between the German and Nigerian business culture:

1. Being punctual is not such a big deal

While especially German are famous for being super punctual worldwide, punctuality is not as strongly anchored in Nigeria. Rather, several things are done at the same time and postponements of deadlines are frequent.

2. Family first!

While German take work very seriously and are mostly trying to meet family and business needs at the same time, Nigerian clearly prioritize family matters over business. This is a result of conservative and cultural norms of the Nigerian society.

3. High flexibility instead of long term project planning

If unforeseen events occur, creativity and a talent for improvisation will be applied instead of having an elaborated project and risk management in place. While Germans like long term planning, they will need to get used to being more flexible and spontaneous when working together with Nigerians.

4. Not taking everything so seriously is of big advantage

Nigerian are very polite and courteous, but don’t take everything so seriously. Putting a bit of ease and humour into a business meeting can help to break the ice fast.

5. Face-saving is of strong importance

While giving open feedback in German countries is established more and more, Nigerian avoid being too direct. Face-saving is the top priority in Nigeria, so open criticism and direct rejection is considered inappropriate.

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A big thank you to our local partner Sunday for supporting us with this and so many more valuable contents during the whole #countryoftheseason series!

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