Observing culture: Differences in U.S.-American and German team meeting behaviors

Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, Joseph A. Allen, Annika L. Meinecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Although previous research has theorized about team interaction differences between the German and U.S. cultures, actual behavioral observations of such differences are sparse. This study explores team meetings as a context for examining intercultural differences. We analyzed a total of 5,188 meeting behaviors in German and U.S. student teams. All teams discussed the same task to consensus. Results from behavioral process analyses showed that German teams focused significantly more on problem analysis, whereas U.S. teams focused more on solution production. Moreover, U.S. teams showed significantly more positive socioemotional meeting behavior than German teams. Finally, German teams showed significantly more counteractive behavior such as complaining than U.S. teams. We discuss theoretical and pragmatic implications for understanding these observable differences and for improving interaction in intercultural teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-271
Number of pages20
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • communication
  • culture
  • interaction analysis
  • meetings
  • teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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