Role of Culture in Germany

Essay 2005 10 Pages

Economics - International Economic Relations


Table of content

1 Introduction

2 Role of trust
2.1 General overview
2.2 Germany - A medium trust country

3 Conclusion

4 Literature consulted

1 Introduction

A person who trusts no one can't be trusted.

-Jerome Blattner-

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), Faust-

Trust is playing an important role in every culture, country, household, relationship and even for a single person itself. If a person cannot trust itself how anybody else can trust this person or how can she/ he trust anybody else? There are different levels of trust which influence a society in different ways.

However, as people in different cultures have different values the concept of trust varies from country to country. That means there are low trust and on the other hand high trust countries. This paper will give a general overview of the concept of trust which includes the linkages between culture, values and trust. Furthermore, the concept of trust will be shown on the example of Germany which can be seen as a medium trust country. There will be a critical evaluation of the role of trust in the economic development of Germany, mainly Eastern Germany.

2 Role of trust

2.1 General overview

Basically, as every country has a unique historical background the culture was influenced differently which leads to a variety in cultures in the world. Some countries can be summarised into clusters because cultural values are similar. As shown in Figure 2.1 there are two dimensions of values: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators (WVS, 2005).

The Protestant European countries, for example, have a high score at self expression values as well as at the secular-rational values. That means these countries have declined the belief in the church. Instead they are spending more time on their own “thinking about the meaning and purpose of life” (Koen, 2005:46). In contrast African countries have more traditional and survival values which means that they are very religious and God plays a very important role in life.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org

Figure 2.1: The Inglehart Values Map

Hill (2005:115) states as countries get richer, there seems to be a shift from traditional to secular values and from survival to well-being values. However, these changes take place over a longer period of time but can also lead to a change of the level of trust in a country. As trust is “depending on the norms and rule order” (Stråth, 1996:21) the understanding of the concept of trust can be differ from country to country.

Basically, in every society is a micro-and macro level of trust which means there is trust between individuals and trust that is seen more as an abstract relationship. At the micro-level trust can be seen between people or small groups. Depending on the culture people can trust each other after meeting the first time or the other way around that it takes some time to trust anybody. However, it also depends on the people but everyone is influenced by their culture so that similarities can be seen between humans with the same cultural background.

On the other hand, the macro-level involves more abstract relationship, where trust is related to the functioning of bureaucratic systems (Koen, 2005:33). If a country has a high level of trust then “the country functions well and the country has built substantial social capital.” (Koen, 2005) That means in countries with high trust the economy is working good and doing business should be easier than in a low trust country. In the case of Columbia, for example, trust is very low which leads to high bribery. This leads to higher contact, contract as well as control costs in this country. On the other hand Sweden, Denmark as well as Norway are countries of high trust with leads to the assumption that there is less or even zero bribery.



ISBN (eBook)
File size
570 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
Gotland University – Baltic Sea Management Academy
Role Culture Germany Comparative International Management



Title: Role of Culture in Germany