American Culture

Business Culture

Meetings

  • Tardiness reflects badly in a professional setting, so make sure to arrive on time or slightly early. If you’re chairing the meeting, it is more important to begin punctually.
  • Meetings are usually quite casual as Americans appreciate cultivating a friendly atmosphere to facilitate openness in business relations. Expect them to introduce humour to the conversation as well as they like to seem approachable (depending on the situation).
  • The purpose of American meetings is generally not socialisation. Therefore, if a meeting is conducted over a luncheon or dinner, expect conversation about business to begin almost immediately or as soon as everyone has ordered their food. Americans often start negotiations by stating their position from the very beginning. Therefore, if one does not reveal their stance as openly, others may be perplexed.
  • Expect them to “cut to the chase” very quickly and be hasty to reach decisions.
  • They may think aloud during meetings, imagine ideas on the spot and say them without intending to seriously propose them.Anyone present at a meeting is usually welcome to give their opinion regardless of age or business hierarchies.
  • Disagreement can be shown quite bluntly, but do not be offended by this. When ideas are negated, it does not necessarily reflect poorly on the person who proposed them. Use discernment to voice your concerns and ask about possibilities in conversation, but do not be careless in revealing your own weaknesses.
  • If you are playing a tough game, they may seek to intimidate you by talking a lot and pointing out their strengths. They can be skilled at boasting and persuading others.
  • Silence in meetings can be unsettling to them and make them feel uncomfortable.If you are trying to sell something to them, you can use a hard sell.
  • Bargaining is done by negotiating a give-and-take scenario.
  • Americans can be very persistent; even if they feel deadlocked, they will likely continue to pursue their end further.Expect them to seek a verbal agreement sealed with a handshake at the end of the meeting, such as, “Have we got a deal?”. However, keep in mind that nothing is finalised until it is on paper. This is simply their way of checking for confirmation of the meeting’s final agreements.Don’t be rushed by their desire to quickly come to an agreement. Meet questions such as “Have we got a deal?” with “Maybe” if you need more time or persuasion.Business cards are usually only exchanged if there is a need for contact information following a discussion or meeting.


Relationships

Though much can be achieved through personal networks in the States, Americans generally do not approach business relationships with the hopes of developing friendships out of them, but rather aim to generate money out of them. Therefore, not much time is allowed for familiarisation with new business partners. They tend to find socialisation periods to be time wasting and thus turn conversations towards negotiation much faster than do people in other cultures. Americans want connections when doing business but not necessarily friends. Therefore, it’s best that you aim to establish your reputation or brand with them first and foremost.


This can be confusing to people as Americans usually come across as very friendly and personable people in business. While they are often very warm and welcoming, pleasantries are not usually exchanged in this setting for the purpose of building personal relationships. Rather, they often seek to cultivate an environment that makes business partners feel comfortable enough to trust them and share their position. Be aware of how much you open up in this informal atmosphere and how it can expose you.


Considerations

  • American business culture is primarily money oriented.
  • Americans are often very individualistic and motivated by their careers.
  • They can be powerful, open and persuasive communicators.
  • Americans do not generally feel strong commitments or obligations to age or business hierarchies. They are likely to overlook factors like company loyalty for technical competence in employees. For example, American companies are fond of hiring ‘wizz-kids’ that have a specialised knowledge but less workplace experience.
  • Americans tend to work longer and harder than other Westerners, though not always by choice. The average American gets far fewer holidays and less rest than Australians, and there is almost a social pressure within workplaces not to take sick leave. Executives often closely monitor absenteeism and productivity of employees.
  • Americans are opportunistic in business and can be more inclined to take a risk if it has big payoffs.
  • Address disputes with someone directly and privately. Talk about the problem only in the specific context that it has occurred to avoid making it seem like a criticism of their character.
  • The optimistic outlook of Americans can sometimes make it seem as though they are ignoring genuine problems or setting goals too ambitiously.
  • Some Americans can be quite culturally unaware and therefore assume that the American way is the right way. If this is the case, remember that you may know more about them than they do about you.
  • Always read the fine print. Americans may be informal and trusting, but their deals are usually underpinned by tight legal control. Risk management is heavy and litigious, and contracts are often laden with clauses that can pin liability on you. Understand any documents front to back as American companies commonly rely on lawsuits to settle disputes.
  • It can be hard for foreign companies to penetrate the American market for multiple reasons. For example, the scale needed to tackle such a large country can be difficult to attain. Things tend to also be judged by American standards and domestic reference points.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2016), the United States ranks 16th out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 75 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat clean from corruption.
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The United States
  • Population
    323,995,528
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Language
    English (79%)
    Spanish (13%)
    Other Indo-European languages (3.7%)
    Asian and Pacific Island languages (3.4%)
    Other (1%)
    [2015 est.]
    Note: Data represent the language spoken at home.
  • Religion
    Protestant Christianity (46.5%)
    Catholic Christianity (20.8%)
    No Religion (22.8%)
    Mormon (1.6%)
    Judaism (1.9%)
    Christianity [ndf] (1.7%)
    Other (4.7%)
    [2014 est.]
  • Ethnicity
    White (72.4%)
    Black or African American (12.6%)
    Asian (4.8%)
    Native American or Alaskan Native (0.9%)
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.2%)
    Latino or Hispanic (16.3%)
    [2010 est.]
    Note: The category of "Hispanic or Latino" is considered by the U.S. Census Bureau to be separate from racial categories as people of this origin may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.).
  • Cultural Dimensions
    40
    91
    62
    46
    26
    68
  • Australians with American Ancestry
    66,556 [Census, 2016]
Americans in Australia
  • Population
    86,125
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in the United States.
  • Median Age
    38 [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (48.9%)
    Female (51.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    No Religion (40.0%)
    Catholic Christianity (17.0%)
    Anglican Christianity (5.6%)
    Christianity [not defined] (5.6%)
    Baptist Christianity (4.2%)
    Other Religion (21.6%)
    Not Stated (5.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    American (18.3%)
    English (16.9%)
    Irish (10.9%)
    German (9.9%)
    Other Ancestry (44.0%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    English (90.0%)
    Spanish (1.7%)
    Mandarin (0.9%)
    Arabic (0.5%)
    Other (6.3%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 94.0% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (34.9%)
    Victoria (22.9%)
    Queensland (19.8%)
    Western Australia (10.8%)
    Other (11.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (56.2%)
    2007 - 2011 (16.8%)
    2012 - 2016 (23.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/139/us.svg Flag Country United States of America