Special aspects of negotiating with German medium-sized businesses for investors from Spain


last updated on 22 February 2022 | Reading time: approx. 2 minutes

What special issues await spanish companies when they take over or acquire a stake in an owner-managed company in germany?

Different attitudes to work when employment is terminated

Spanish companies repeatedly stumble over two peculiarities. On the one hand, the attitude to work of German employees significantly differs from the practice in Spain. In particular, Spanish employees are not expected to do their job professionally also if their employment is terminated and to continue to act in the interest of the company although their employment is coming to an end. In Spain, it is normal that employees with whom the employment contract has been terminated are immediately shown the door. They are usually not expected to do anything anymore. 

In Germany, however, in most cases, employees strongly identify with the company. Even after the employment relationship is terminated, the employer can rely on their loyalty until the very last day. 

On the other hand, Spanish companies do not expect great willingness to take decisions on the part of middle- and lower-level employees. Traditional Spanish companies are structured in a way that requires working according to stringent guidelines. Decisions are taken at the highest hierarchical level. Thus, employees are only those who supply information for decision-making. This is unthinkable for German companies, in particular medium-sized businesses. Here, it is precisely important that every employee makes and supports important decisions. In this respect, the Germans possess talent for improvisation which is otherwise rather attributed to the Spaniards.

What aspects should spanish companies take into account when negotiating with german medium-sized businesses?

The rather hard-headed approach to negotiations is alien to many Spaniards. They expect that the negotiation partners will join them for lunch at about 2 p.m. during which negotiations will be continued. In Germany, however, it is not unusual to find a plate with sandwiches standing on the table – no lunch together is scheduled. This sharp separation of work from private conversations may be irritating if one is unaware of the differences. 

The hard-headed approach is also reflected in the technical preparation of the negotiation talks. Their duration and time are precisely determined in advance. Technical and detail-related questions should also be anticipated and clearly and unambiguously answered.


Spanish entrepreneurs should behave authentically, play open cards and understand that German medium-sized businesses are good in putting themselves in the negotiation partner’s shoes. The more openly and transparently issues and problems are handled the sooner solutions will be found.
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