Workshop on Wednesday, 10th June 2015: A cross-comparison of work culture and communication, with Sweden and Germany as a case example

This workshop is a joint project of the Nordic Languages faculty and the Leadership, Project Management and Personal Awareness Skills division of ZESS, with support from the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce of the Swedish Institute, and is geared towards all persons interested in intercultural communication. Registration is possible through StudIP. Queries can be directed to supervisor, Dr. Marianne Broermann, E-mail, Tel. 0551 39-5485.

The workshop shall take place at ZESS, Goßlerstraße 10, 37073 Göttingen, Room UE 2 (1st Storey).
The talk shall be held at the SUB, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 1, 37073 Göttingen, Großer Seminarraum (1st Storey).

The overarching theme of the workshop is communication. Communication on an intercultural basis has become a natural part of the modern working world. This has made it increasingly necessary to be aware of how intercultural communication functions, what it encompasses, the kinds of problems it may throw up and the solutions required to solve them. By using the communication between Sweden and Germany as a case example, this workshop aims to expound upon these issues and equip participants with the necessary skills for successful intercultural communication, as embodied by ZESS: self-awareness skills, social skills, practical skills and language skills.

Workshop participants can expect to:

  • Learn about the significance of intercultural communication in the career field

  • Explore the significance of international communication on creative processes, projects and leadership

  • Gain insight into communication between German and Swedish parties

  • Learn about leadership, project management and creativity, as well as the swedish language and culture


Communication shall be analysed through three angles:

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Project Management

  • Leadership Style

Over the course of three sessions (each session is 90 minutes long), ZESS teaching staff (Torsten Nieland, Alexander Moritz and Benjamin Zilles) shall give a brief outline of the topics they shall be speaking about during the workshop and use both theory and case examples to provide a comprehensive overview. Each session shall be spearheaded by the following questions: which style of communication is prevalent here? What are the factors that contribute to communication?

Ninni Löwgren Tischer from the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce shall also be present during the workshop and shall contribute to the discussion by sharing her views on the intercultural differences between Germany and Sweden. To end off the workshop, Löwgren Tischer shall deliver a closing speech, during which she shall recapitulate the main points and thus conclude the workshop. Subsequently, the floor shall be opened for discussion.

12.00-12.30 Opening Speech and Introduction
12.30-14.00 Creativity and Innovation (Torsten Nieland)
14.15-15.45 Project Management (Alexander Moritz)
15.45-16.15 fikapaus (Swedish) / Kaffeepause (German) [engl. Coffee break]
16.15-17.45 Leadership Style (Benjamin Zilles)
18.30-20.00 Speech and Compendium (Ninni Löwgren Tischer), followed by a discussion round

Ninni Löwgren Tischer holds a Master of International Business and comes from a Swedish-German family. Growing up bilingual in Southern Germany to a Swedish mother and German father led to her familiarity with the cultural hallmarks of both countries. Since 2000, Ninni Löwgren Tischer has been working with companies such as Sweden Agency, the city of Göteborg (engl. Gothenburg), Automotive Sweden and the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce to facilitate and foster trade and finance between Germany and Sweden. In 2007, she was promoted to director of market entry and business development at the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce. In the course of her work, she and her team have been able to pro-actively and competently assist a large number of Swedish and German firms in their desire to comprehend and break into the other party's market. In addition to this, she also regularly gives intercultural coaching sessions to German and Swedish firms. Be it public authorities or trade unions, Löwgren Tischer gives workshops, seminars and personal training to managers and teaches at higher-level institutions. In 2013, she published a book, The Swedish-German Business Director, through FAZ Publishing House.

Part One: 12.30 - 2 pm

The workplace as a stomping ground for ideas

Innovation is long well-known to be the key to long-lasting success, and is the case even more so in today's global, ever-changing market. This is embodied by the concept, Innovation and Growth, which involves churning out original ideas that stand out from prevailing ideas on the market. While some companies have special brainstorming divisions, others employ external, big-ticket think-tanks and ideas agencies. An ideal scenario would see the company employees themselves coming forward with their own unique ideas.

All humans are creative. Brain research has pointed towards the fact that our mere thought process is a vehicle for new ideas. What is it, thus, that stands in the way of innovative employees? This question shall set the tone for the first part of the workshop, with an exposition on how they arise in our brains and what kind of environment is required to enable their development into groundbreaking innovations. Participants shall also learn about the risks associated with creativity and learn how to think on a corporal basis in order to transform the workplace into an idea-rich environment.

Torsten Nieland is supervisor of the personal and self-awareness skills division at ZESS and gives seminars on creative techniques, intercultural communication and leadership and internal communication, among others. He is experienced in project organisation and management, as well as in working in international teams.

Part Two: 2.15 - 3.45 pm

From idea to reality - projects fail to materialise despite good project management.

Communication is an essential component in project work. We are often unable to communicate effectively - and this is precisely where the problem lies. Teamwork can give rise to unique communication problems that thus require unique solutions. What exactly are the challenges particular to project work? And what falls under the definition of a project? How does the succesful interplay of project management and communication enable the realisation of ideas?

Alexander Moritz has a diploma in social sciences and is trained in elocution (DGSS). He is supervisor and teacher in communication skills and project management. His experience in intercultural work and projects stems from his overseas stays in England, French and Morocco.

Part 3: 4.15 - 5.45 pm

Coaching by executives - from manager to pedagogue?!
Coaching as a sign of an evolving leadership culture.

Over the decades, coaching has established itself as an effective tool to aid personal development. While it is neither possible nor of use to acquire extensive coaching skills on a practical level, coaching training has nevertheless been able to introduce new standards in innovative leadership cultures.

Apart from imparting established solution-oriented and systemic tools, the talk raises awareness of the basic character of coaching and the ways in which one is able to integrate it in everyday leadership culture, such as through hands-on learning in a supportive environment that permits mistakes, setting goals that cater to the individual needs of the respective employees, and advancing from achievement-based goals to goals focused on personal growth.

In line with the interactive nature of the workshop, participants are encouraged to leave their comfort zones behind and venture into unfamiliar territory - how far do you dare to go?

Dipl. Ped. Benjamin Zilles is supervisor of the leadership skills division at ZESS Göttingen, NLP-Master and systemic consultant.