Contrast of Business Customs and Etiquette Between the U.S. and the Netherlands

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The varying lifestyles between The Netherlands and the United States provide a unique juxtapose in regards to business customs and etiquette. The Dutch are a very modern and egalitarian society, who practices modesty, tolerance, independence and self-reliance on a daily basis. Their values align with those of a working-class society, such as education, hard work and ambition. As a people, they loathe ostentatious behavior, and see spending money as a necessity or a vice, rather than a pleasure. The Dutch do, however, value their cultural heritage, history of art within the country, and their ability to remain a powerful international entity. The United States, on the other hand, is a more frivolous society in comparison, but certain aspects of the business world are still very formal. America consists of a diverse population, which is oftentimes why it is referred to as a “melting pot” of cultures. Due to this, America tends to be a welcoming society as a whole, with informal and friendly attitudes. In the U.S., the phrase “time is money” is applicable in many different business settings; a person’s ability to be on time reflects responsibility and reliability in their personality. Individualism is another important characteristic of Americans; people tend to be very proud of their individual accomplishments, initiative and success. Through these varying cultural dimensions, America and The Netherlands provide an interesting contrast in relation to their respective business customs and etiquette.[1]

The first dimension of differentiation is meeting and greeting in a business setting. In The Netherlands, it is customary to shake hands with everyone present, including children, upon arrival and upon leaving. When being introduced, it is important to identify yourself, as the Dutch consider it rude not to do so. Instead of “hello,” the Dutch will simply give their last name; this applies when answering the phone as well. If you are too far away from...
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