German Approach

Germans avoid an open hearing at almost all costs. The airing of grievances - argument vs. counter-argument, in front of the next level of management - only increases tension, making a resolution more difficult. Instead, the conflict resolver interviews each party separately.

American Approach

Americans expect a fair hearing. The process of justice begins when the conflicting parties, in the presence of each other, make their case before the judge. Self-defense is only possible, when one knows what one is accused of.

German View

An American hearing is seen as unprofessional, antagonistic and counterproductive. It pits colleague against colleague, in competition with each other, in an open forum. It adds "oil to the fire."

American View

The absence of a hearing is viewed by Americans as a loss of the fundamental right to self-defense. The German approach of separate hearings is considered ineffective, secretive, fundamentally unjust.

Advice to Germans

If you have an American boss and are in conflict with an American colleague be prepared for your hearing. It will come sooner than you think.

If you lead Americans and a conflict has been escalated to you, they'll expect you to hold some kind of a hearing. Do it quickly.

Advice to Americans

If you lead Germans, and a conflict is finally brought to your level, do not hold a hearing. Talk to the conflicting parties separately. Prevent any kind of direct dueling among the conflicting parties in your presence.

If you have a German manager, you will most likely not get an American-style "day in court." The "judge" will speak with you individually. You won't know the case made by your colleague, with whom you are in conflict.