German Approach

Deductive thinking means particulars follow necessarily from general or universal premises. German processes and procedures are arrived at more deductively than inductively, based on standards and norms, which give guidance on how to do the work.

American Approach

Inductive thinking is inference of a generalized conclusion from particular instances. American processes and procedures are arrived at more inductively than deductively, based on experience, which gives guidance on how to do the work.

German View

Americans don't gain sufficient distance from the details of their work to recognize certain patterns. The basis is not there for process optimization, an analysis of what is and is not working. Abstraction is required.

American View

German processes are developed in a vacuum, are theoretical, too far removed from everyday business. Deduced from principles (standards and norms) they have a one-size-fits-all character, not taking into account the particulars of our market, of our customers.

Advice to Germans

Explain your standards and norms, and how you arrived at them, your data and methodology. Most importantly, engage in a dialogue with your American colleagues about when the processes can be adapted to the "situation on the ground." Strive to understand the impact of processes on their reality.

Advice to Americans

Don't just sit back and criticize German processes. Step into their "process laboratory." Gain distance from what you do. Get abstract.

Search out the deeper-lying principles governing how you do the work. Engage in the discussion of when to deduce from the principle, when to induce from the particular.