British vs. American Business Culture

The United States and Britain may speak the same language, but that doesn’t mean that these two superpowers are vastly alike, especially when it comes to business culture.

Considering that British cities such as London and American metropolises like New York rank as some of the top ten places in the world for business, undoubtedly many British and Americans alike are turning their eyes to the other side of the pond in hopes of capitalizing on thriving business prospects. But before you set sail for that opposite shore, be sure to check out these 4 differences between British and American business culture:

Chatting it up in the UK vs. USA

Small talk is a vital part of doing business in the U.S., but a lot of British might see it as a superfluous portion of the business process. Due to their more reserved nature, people from the U.K. are known to not warm up to outsiders and not be as chatty as Americans generally are. So for those traveling to the United States on business, be prepared for a lot of getting-to-know-you talk while those headed to the U.K. shouldn’t be surprised if meetings tend to be more straight to the point.

Happy Birthday USA

Selling yourself in the UK vs. USA

It’s easy to see that the United States is a country which thrives on producing its fair amount of entrepreneurs and game-changers. Which is why a lot of Americans are raised to believe that selling themselves is a must. After all, if you don’t talk yourself up, who will? However, in the UK, talking up your skills and accomplishments is usually a big no-no. While having the ability to sell yourself is a must in American corporate culture, in Britain just keep is short and sweet: don’t embellish, stick to the point, and state the facts.


After work in the UK vs. USA

What you do after work is an important part of business culture around the world and these two countries tend to draw the line at distinctly different points when it comes to merging the job with the personal life. In the U.S., people are less likely to spend time with colleagues after work, mostly due to the slew of activities Americans love to keep themselves busy with. Whether at a softball game or volunteering at a local shelter, Americans seem to love to spread themselves thin. In the U.K., on the other hand, grabbing a pint with Jim and Rhonda from HR is a frequent way to pass the time after clocking out; hence many British tend to have closer relationships with co-workers than most Americans.


Defining success in the UK vs. USA

The American culture tends to define success in the business world in a distinct way from the British. In the USA, being a success in the corporate world is outlined by how much money you make. The more you make, the more successful you are. In Britain, although money is important, what position you hold in the company is even more important. American may take money over position, but a Brit views a high position and a book full of contacts to fall back on as the ultimate definition of success. Sure, money makes the world go round, but apparently not as much in certain business cultures as in others!

There may be vast differences between how these two nations approach business, but one thing they do have in common is their high-demand for multi-lingual employees as bilinguals are ruling the job market not only in the UK and the US, but all around the globe. So before making a break into the corporate world of the USA or Britain, sign up for some excellent language lessons and get a head start on your competition. Then brush up on your skills with a free online language placement test and you’ll be more than prepared for any challenge you meet on the other side of the pond!

Comments on British vs. American Business Culture