“Why do our American colleagues have so many meetings? It can appear to us Germans that they don’t get any work done.”
In many cases, it’s true that Americans have more meetings than do their German counterparts. But there are many instances where the case is the other way around. It all depends on the organization.
This is a complex topic, one that cannot be addressed adequately in Q&A format. But here are a few key points:
Meetings can be broken down into two categories: decision-oriented meetings and information-oriented meetings. Americans do, in fact, have more information-oriented meetings than their German colleagues.
And the reason for this is the importance that information-flow plays in the American model of decision-making. This model requires that colleagues meet to exchange information, and to keep each other up-to-date.
This topic is covered in the Q&A entries on emails, which will give insight into the role of information-flow and, in turn, help explain the importance of meetings in the American business context.