Indian Mentality

India is a country whose economy has developed rapidly in the 21st century. The way people interact with each other in companies has also changed completely. While Indian companies were run in an authoritarian manner just a few decades ago, a participative management style has now taken hold, at least in northern India.

Indians are extremely attentive to each other and to foreign business partners. They also pay constant attention to how others treat each other. A brusque tone is out of place in India.

Values such as honesty, loyalty and trust are important in India even as a basic safeguard, because in India there are no health insurance funds, no pension insurance and no unemployment insurance. Indians want to avoid “losing face” at all costs.

The Hindu faith is no longer important to most Indians, even if they practice it outwardly. But the Hindu tradition still resonates today, of course. Traditional Indian caste thinking, while no longer overtly displayed, is still entrenched among Indians. Indians are driven by the desire for social recognition, less by individual freedom. For that, they have to move up. Thus, although they do not have great personal aspirations, they strive for professional success and membership in higher-ranking communities. Indians are committed to this. They show their success especially through their clothing, which is often trimmed with many gold-colored appliqués, and through their relationships. Having friends abroad raises the prestige of Indians.

Young Indians in particular do not want to do menial jobs in agriculture or factories, but will do anything to get and keep a job in an air-conditioned office. Software development has emerged in India as an activity for international corporations. More and more young Indians are studying at universities.

When communicating with superiors and customers, Indians are very cautious and sometimes appear less than confident. This is mainly due to the fact that even today, Indians are educated to be obedient in school and don?t really learn to form their own critical opinion and communicate it. India also has an age hierarchy. Younger people will generally not contradict older ones. Older people in India receive the highest respect and are naturally taken care of by younger family members. Family cohesion is important to Indians. For example, Indians take vacation from work primarily to help family members. A vacation culture like in Central Europe is largely unknown to Indians.

A language barrier hardly ever occurs in exchanges with Indians. They learn English early in school, and many Indians also communicate in English at their workplace. However, one has to get used to the often strong accent. Indians like to speak softly and are often very brief. They often communicate by gestures alone, without exchanging words. Loud voices disturb Indians. Indians avoid direct answers. Indians do not like to answer with “no” or “yes”. They are evasive and like to remain flexible. Indians also show this tendency to always keep options open in their facial expressions and gestures. Wagging the head back and forth is an expression of agreement and at the same time of a certain non-commitment. A short twitch with the head means “no”. Expressions of politeness by saying “please,” “thank you” or “excuse me” are not common in India.

Indians do not plan for the future with any perspective. This is also reflected in the way appointments are made. It is not unusual for appointments with Indians to be canceled at short notice. Indians concentrate on the “here and now?. Life is characterized by changes to which Indians adapt immediately. Spontaneity and adaptability are special traits of Indians. They are also much more relaxed than Germans. When problems arise, the most important thing for Indians is to remain calm. They do not tackle problem solutions immediately. “Chalta Hai” (“It will work out.”) is an expression of Indian philosophy of life. In India, how big a problem is does not depend on the problem, but on how one deals with the problem. Even in difficult times, life goes on quietly. The Indian phrase “no problem” aptly expresses the laid-back manner of the Indians. Dates and deadlines are hardly ever met. Germans will have to get used to this if they want to solve problems with high efficiency. They will not change the way of the Indians.

In buying processes, there is always haggling over the price, privately and in business. Corruption is widespread in India. Bribes are expected almost as a matter of course for public approvals and for awarding contracts, but the issue must be addressed delicately.

Look also to the British mentality, the Swiss mentality, the Austrian mentality, the Spanish mentality, the Dutch mentality, the Scandinavian mentality, the French mentality, the Turkish mentality, the US-American mentality, the Italian mentality, the Latin American mentality, the Chinese mentality, the Japanese mentality, the Russian mentality, and the Arab mentality.


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