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." Floris Maljers. there are workers' representatives on the board and there is much more government intervention. . former Executive Chairman of Volvo: "To some extent the small countries are influenced by German practices. But are there some common management philosophies and practices which form a genuine European management style? To answer this question.. but it is also useful to U. 3 Management European style Roland Calori and Bruno Dufour Executive Overview Do Europeans manage differently from the Japanese or North Americans? These authors think so. 1995Vol. . or even the other nationalities on the continent. there are supervisors' reports.." Pehr Gyllenhammar. Vice Chairman of Fiat: "At first it is hard to think of a European model of management.. business systems and cultures are still different.S.. . .... market and the U. Chairman of the Executive Committee of Solvay: "The British. which has more of an investing nature. Frankfurt or Helsinki are different realities. Chairman of Pilkington: ..? Academy of Management Executive.. are more oriented towards short-term and quick financial profits than the Germans." . the image of diversity dominates. in Sweden.. Belgium may be also 61 . former Chairman of the Board of Unilever: ". is there a European management culture? Baron Daniel lanssen.. .. In Germany.. it is just impossible to imagine the Germans with junk bonds.. market have more of a trading nature than Europe.S.. and many of them come from the USA. .. London. The U. See what you think. and Japanese managers seeking to develop their European operations. because of different business environments. You could also defend the thesis that there is an Anglo-Saxon and a continental management culture. junk bonds could never have started in Germany. is there a European management culture? And I put a big question mark behind it . Managing in Palermo..K. In My View When thinking about management in Europe. the answer to this question is of prime interest to Europeans in search of identity. there are a lot of checks and balances against management freedom of actions. They are in a sort of in-between position.... and they back up that claim after extensive interviews with fifty-two top executives from some of western Europe's major "blue chip" firms. but the way they are applied is different from one country to another. The management techniques are similar. and even in France. because the British in many respects have management habits which are more related to the Americans than those on the continent. like the Americans. Clearly.. Europe is being built.... we must first gain a better understanding of how European executives view the overall terrain:' Umberto Agnelli. in Denmark." Sir Anthony Pilkington. . 9 No...
Our analysis of the spontaneous answers from the top managers we interviewed revealed a consensus with regard to four common characteristics of management in Europe." Walter Schusser. This is not true for Japanese entrepreneurs. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Agfa Gevaert: "We consider that people are an integral part of the firm. comparing it with Japan and the U. These small countries are melting pots. and training shapes people's minds towards homogeneity.Academy of Management Executive influenced by French practices." The European Style In spite of differences across Europe. On the other hand. outsiders are tolerated and conformity is less accentuated. These two are operating in joint Anglo-Dutch ownership for.S. but if we look at Europe as a whole from outside." In European firms. even management in big firms is more personalized. They are trained according to the needs of the firm. European executives believe they share a common inclination towards the fulfillment of people. Whereas in Europe." 62 . and because they were forced to go outside looking for markets... Japanese managers may lack originality. Europe is an individualist society whereas the Japanese society is based on the collective. Fernand Braudel argued that it comes from the different agricultural systems. or Japanese counterparts. and people are considered as a resource that you can take or leave. whereas our system is based on the culture of cereals which can be achieved by individuals. Of course.. they take managers as they are.S.S. Andre Leysen. The smaller countries have been more sensitive to outside influences and they integrated these influences. This system does not respect the personality of the individual. in Europe. European firms also share some common management philosophies and practices. 1. I don't know. profit dominates everything. A Greater Orientation Towards People Compared to their U. but it is true of managers in general. The Japanese executives we interviewed seem to value the individual freedom given to European managers: Hiroshi Wakabayashi. Now you could say that the European philosophy is close to the Japanese. There is a fundamental difference between the two. in the U. fifty years. I do not think so. managers are hired and in-house training is less developed. The oriental system is based on the culture of rice which requires teams of people. This is a major difference.. but also for people. Pilkington: "The best examples of European companies are Shell and Unilever." The smaller countries have been more sensitive to outside influences . because of the small base they have for recruiting. Chief Executive of Itoshu (UK):"In Japan the managers are selected among the thousands of people who have been recruited and trained for a long time. Vice President of Human Resources of Siemens: "Of course if we only look at Europe from within there are differences between countries in the way firms are managed. On the other hand. and to some extent thanks to diversity. with their personality. and I suppose they are the nearest to what you might call a European company. As a consequence. European top managers think beyond the simplistic dichotomy diversity or unity. we work for profit. the Dutch also are influenced by British practices. because of the pressures against them. then it looks different and relatively homogeneous. more perhaps.
.Calori and Dufour The attention given to the individual leads to a greater emphasis on informal coordination. Jacopo Vittorelli. Hans L. but no longer. our group has much fewer written rules. and." Caring for people relates to particular attitudes towards employment. . you have to discuss the possibility with the State. European firms take extensive precautions.S. with the trade unions. I would close my factory. The American managers coming to Europe have the impression that the system is chaotic.. American managers coming to Europe have the impression that the system is chaotic. Faced with that situation today." People orientation may be rooted in the humanistic tradition of Europe.-P . in Spain or in Germany.' That was also the attitude taken by French companies 30 years ago. First we define functions according to the needs of the company. in Europe. in France. as far as continental Europe is concerned it may be sustained by the "Social Market Economy"concept. former Deputy Chairman of Pirelli: "Ifyou have to close a plant in Italy.. let us say Daimler Benz. we do not stick to the schemas... combining profit and social responsibility. IG Metall. Thyssen. the local communities. Before firing people. Managing Partner of the Bosch Group: "We do adapt functions to the individuals and it is the right way to do it. 'I have a factory that is doing nothing. but we always adapt the definition of functions and tasks to the skills of the people. the Presidents of the BDI [the German Association of Industries]." Roland Berra. between different levels of management. everybody feels entitled to intervene . etc." 2. intelligent way possible. between management and workers. sanctions are often dissimulated. Chairman and CEO of Lafarge-Coppee: "I know that in Spain a few years ago there were companies that took the attitude. It is sometimes a cultural shock for the managers we transfer between continents. even management in big firms is more personalized. we always try to avoid shedding blood as we say here. but I have 150 men there. If I thought there would only be a 'black hole' for six months. the heads of the most important labour unions: DGB. we take great care of people. However I would try to do it in the most humane. A Higher Level of Internal Negotiation European managers spend a lot of time negotiating inside the firm. with trade 63 . and in Japan." Bertrand Collomb. Hoechst. Deputy General Director for Strategic Planning of T6l6fonica de Espana: "Europeanculture has always been more humanistic . so I won't close it.. I would not close the plant. Schusser: "Forimportant issues. the Chancellor invites to a meeting the heads of the most important firms. Even the Church!" Jose-Alberto Blanco Losada. Head of Corporate Executive Resources of Hoffmann-La Roche: "In comparison with our competitors in the U. Siemens. The Europeans going to the States find written responses and procedures on practically any issue. Merkle. For instance. etc . BASF. They manage by concertation. they manage by round table.. the Presidents of the BDA [the body of employers].
They defend their interest but they can understand better the difficulties of the company and the collective interest. dialogue and information. the representatives of the shareholders meet and prepare decisions. firms. ." Historically. The decisions coming from the top are criticized. but its influence has faded away. Not all of them 64 . They circulate information from the top down and from the bottom up. to negotiate. has a casting vote. to convince far more than their U. in Great Britain it may come from the sense of guilt which the ruling classes felt after the war. always named among the representatives of the shareholders. the principle of negotiation is common to all these countries." . the representatives of the workers meet and prepare decisions. they In U. top management has power but they have to consult. As a consequence. authority is questioned. but the principle of negotiation is common to all these countries. quicker than in Europe. have developed particular skills in negotiation. and cynics argue that it was done to limit the development of German industry. and the President checks if there is an agreement or not.Academy of Management Executive unions. Gyllenhammar: "It is not so much the dialogue with the union leaders. The combined influences made dialogue between management and the workers a natural component of decision making. top-down. the boss has power but uses it in a delicate way. After the second world war. In France and in Italy. Leysen: "The Aufsichtsrat ('Conseil de Surveillance' or 'Supervisory Board') is composed of 50% workers' representatives and 50% representatives of the shareholders. the principle of negotiation has been enlarged. the Allies forced the Germans to introduce a system of co-determination in the board of directors in the steel industry. and several northern European countries adopted similar systems. In many European companies and countries. and Japanese counterparts. decision making follows a consensual process. This is important.K. The workers have internal structures and are very well informed about the company. in order to avoid or to manage labor conflicts which take a lot of management time. decision making seems to be in the hands of the boss. in Scandinavia it is based on the naturally egalitarian view of the society. European managers were forced to negotiate because of the strength of the labor unions. On both sides people work hard. while others such as the U. there is harmony in the Council. parity would be disastrous. In Europe. everyone agrees. there is more confrontation. did not.S. but when decisions are made at the top. Before the Council meets. it is a dialogue with particular people representing the employees. . and between headquarters and subsidiaries.S. Berra: "There is a need for independence. Most of the time. However. Decisions cannot be blocked because the President. co-determination has proved to be efficient. This system stimulated communication and dialogue. In Japan. and the values of the companies are the values of the top management team. People start to involve themselves only after a lot of discussion. to discuss. The context of "class struggle" may have played a role in the past. but negotiations have taken place before. Some ideas come from the shop floor. Some managers mentioned that the system of co-determination was established in order to put an end to the "Fuhrer" principle in German cartels. in Germany more consensus and social engineering.
Willem H. European firms accept the risk of intercultural management. Philips. The European educational system may also contribute to the need for dialogue and negotiation in order to convince people and obtain their involvement. Corporate Director of Management Training and Education of Philips: "European business leaders are better equipped to deal with cultural diversity. I have worked a lot with Finnish managers. I invited employees to sit on our board and we were the first major company in Sweden to do so. It was a combination of bargaining and of a need for information to get involved. For instance. it takes more time to get things done in Europe than in America or Japan. They respect and appreciate international diversity. geographical diversity. . We did this in 1971because I believed that the employees should be part of the decision making. and have developed a particular skill in managing it. I don't think that that would necessarily hold for the Japanese. It is remarkable how Finnish managers adapt to the European market. Guitink. Shell. What we have done with those companies is to make sure that we operate them as companies specifically fitting the rules and the culture of the country in which they live. They are employees of the company. We have 65 ." On average." . we have been very careful that the board's structure reflects both the legal requirements. 3. at the top and at the bottom and all the way through.Calori and Dufour are union leaders. As a result. . Historically they have worked across boundaries for decades. Let us take an example. That was my invitation. for the simple reason that their home market is too small. it takes more time to get things done in Europe than in America or Japan. not a law." Ernest Van Mourik Broekman. in Holland. and most recently in Germany. in Spain. than most American managers. Greater Skill at Managing International Diversity European managers have an ability to recognize diversity. Brian Goldthorp. and develop a sense of individual responsibility. Director of Personnel of Trafalgar House Engineering Division: "We have gone through quite a number of acquisitions since 1980. they respect the host country." Andre Breukels. the culture of the countries in which they operate and what we consider to be good business practice there. I always had the feeling then that it was a very real wish to be properly informed on what really was going on and what the objectives of the company were and how employees could play a role in achieving these objectives. Look at the Dutch. when I used to be responsible for dealing with the staff council. Austria and Sweden. Schools maintain the tradition of dialectics and debate to come up with rational answers. We bought some major operating companies in France.J. it was an interesting combination of a group of people who were all committed to the health of the company but who were also representing their particular interest groups. you know Unilever. the law came afterwards in the mid-1970s. Coordinator of Human Resources and Organization of Shell: "When I think of my time in Holland. Personnel Director of Hewlett Packard American Division: "I think European managers have a high degree of adaptability and flexibility. they are less imperialistic than the Americans and the Japanese who may still have a tendency to export their models.
With them it was control not only in terms of costs and expenditure and salary development and the like.A. some foreign operations become competence centers for the whole group.. but one has to adapt to local markets and local political contexts. In our company. the U. Our tradition may be decentralized. On the other hand. Of course. the oil industry is not purely global (in the sense of standardized products and services). and they don't care much about creating one. but also in terms of marketing. Dutch management. companies try to reproduce their corporate culture by authority of the top management and by procedures. . Now I do not mean to say that all the jobs would be occupied by French nationals. reciprocal learning and the minimum of coherence with the corporate culture. Some American companies were heavily criticized in the 1970s because they exported their U. and this characteristic of European management should be viewed as common but not universal. Schusser: "There are a lot of Japanese companies in Germany which do not have any works council.. we always felt and behaved in line with and integrated with national customs. policies abroad." differences among the U. The corporate culture should be strong enough but also allow variants. In general. I would say that the Americans followed a much more centralized approach. but we would have a strong. we want to be in France as a French firm. the attitude of American firms may in Brazil as a Brazilian firm. and I think that it is true for most European firms." The European tendency to adapt to foreign management practices and markets leads to more decentralization of foreign operations. but also reflected in the way that particular markets were and are being approached. This is typical of some European firms involved in the R & D centers in the U.S. have changed a bit in this direction during the last ten years. In Holland. They used much more of a centralized approach towards their European subsidiaries.S.. and Europe are diminishing . Decentralization does not mean that corporate culture is weak. in pharmaceutical industry-having Japan. Van Mourik Broekman: "We have always tended to give the local operating companies a high degree of autonomy. product positioning. strategies for lubricants. 66 . it has a world scope. retailing strategies. However. And that autonomy was not only reflected in the formal levels of financial decisions. Decentralization may lead to the acceptance of multi-localization of strategic functions like research and development. the Japanese have a tendency to reproduce Japanese management. more than domination of the headquarters over the units. complementing the home base R & D. In this respect. Japan. In other words.... they also try to reproduce their corporate culture. . there are exceptions.K. So if we have a company in France. we would require that the top management has a strong French top team. .S." European companies have a tendency to put nationals at the head of foreign subsidiaries and a small number of non-locals for international flavor. distinctive requirement for French management.S. etc. in the U. Such strategies lead to a form of partnership between the headquarters and the units...Academy of Management Executive been very keen to see that the top management of the company reflects the nationality of the country in which they operate. For instance. when taking part in foreign countries where we are established.
such as the short-term profit orientation of the U. the international rotation of managers. So we may have drowned into the heart of diversity. you have one. some of the managers in our study argued that the Europeans are good at integrating. During the last few years. Managers Capable of Managing Between Extremes Management philosophies and practices in the United States and Japan are often characterized as two extremes on several dimensions. structures and practices in Europe. On the hand." Robert Horton. the Americans and the are much better focused than we are. former Chairman and CEO of British Petroleum: "Excessive differentiation and decentralization in the past has been a terrible mistake. The key factor in personal development is to give people the opportunity to confront different social and cultural environments: and this also works as part of integration." When they aim at integrating across borders. Now it has been a hell of a fight and you know Paris did not like it. I mean. the savings are enormous. the European territory may be particularly favorable to personal development by confrontation with different environments.. Instead of having twelve research centers. The first is to homogenize the corporate culture at the European level. Guitink: diversity. CEO of Petrofina: "The integration through people has a double objective. we go towards more integration. to work in a different environment and to enrich their personality. The second is to develop people in giving them the opportunity to learn. and Japanese multinationals tending towards decentralization of their international operations. and Europe are diminishing. but the operations for continental Europe are now run from Brussels." Jean-Louis Beffa. 67 . and Vienna did not like it. Differentiation is preserving some social and cultural specificities of the subsidiaries. I run the corporation worldwide from London. But of course. Integration through people takes several forms: the ability to speak several languages. That is. We have one office and we run the whole of Europe from there. European firms try to do it through people more than through structures and procedures. Chairman and CEO of Saint Gobain: "Nowadays. and I have to tell you London did not like it either. You can see that from the evolution of our organization. international training programs where the corporate culture is spread and strengthened. on top of the shared values and the common identity. in some businesses we recently changed the organization from the simple coordination of four countries.Calori and Dufour It seems that the differences among the U.S. the business dimension has become more important than the geographic dimension in our organization. Given the relative diversity of management philosophies. with the long-term growth orientation of the Japanese. Frangois Cornelis. We now run our European division from Brussels. you just have one. For instance. This trend could mean European ability to manage international diversity is a strength. with the U." 4. Japanese ourselves more that the other not as "My view is that the Europeans are better equipped to deal with but this may also lead to weakness. Instead of having twelve head offices. and reciprocal learning.S. Japan. to an organization with a European sales director for the business.S. and Hamburg did not like it.
. This attitude is partly related to the loyalty to a branch of activity. long term." The time orientation of firms and managers can be estimated considering the time scales allotted to strategic decision making and investments and the stability in relationships between suppliers and clients. and the Japanese models of management. long-term orientation in Germany and in France. This common European characteristic emerges in three dimensions of management: the relationships between the individual and the firm. less wedded to their company. so that people feel that there is a common interest building up between the objectives of the company and their personal aims. They see themselves as assets. long term-and orientation-short and collectivism in the workplace.S. You can hire and fire. they have a much more individualistic view of their career. and the Japanese models of management. and the United States. Pilkington: "The Americans are far less loyal. it is half-way between the U. they don't rehearse. Justus Mische. Van Mourik Broekman: "In the first place. rather than using it just as a stepping stone towards something else. have a philosophy between the Japanese. short term. Member of the Board in charge of Personnel of Hoechst: "Europe." This characteristic may be true on average but the dispersion of practices should also be noticed: more short termism in the U.Academy of Management Executive The result of such confrontation may be a more balanced management style between these extreme management models.S. The relationship between the individual and the firm appears in the loyalty to the company and in the relative importance of in-house training. "at Siemens the managers know something about electronics. Linked to loyalty to the company. time the balance between individualism term vs. well as we all know. it is the absolute opposite. And on the whole. great company loyalty. they jog for life. If there is a European style of management. In Japan. at least the big international firms in Europe. which are fully marketable. management changes very easily. the relative importance of in-house training or "apprentissage" in the firm discriminates among the three systems. if you like. and bring people to training programmes and job development programmes until they can be considered to be full professionals in their particular disciplines. And Europe is somewhere in between. If there is a European style of management. Chief executives move with no problem between competitive companies. people feel that a full career in our company is worthwhile. The general characteristic is that a strong identification with the company is being pursued. We recruit extensively in Europe at universities. In-depth professional excellence is extremely important in our industry. and the British on the other hand with higher staff turnover. 68 . the attitudes in Europe are spread between the Germans on one hand. our company recruits and develops with the purpose of a full career. it is half-way between the U.K." However. perhaps more pragmatic. with lower staff turnover." "everyone to his trade" or "shoemaker stick to your tools" (as the Germans say).
" . Maucher. I think the long-term evolution shows that the gaps are narrowing.' We can learn to modify our individualism." European companies also seem to balance individualism and the collective. and the Latin could be reconciled. there will be an osmosis between systems-the French won't change. Such characteristics are valued by top managers and they seem to fit with the European context. Luxembourg. in particular the management of human resources. companies are pushed to short-term profits by tougher competition and by their shareholders who control top management. in the sense that I have the support of some powerful and stable shareholders." Leysen: "There will be some harmonization. there is a relatively high loyalty of the shareholders which explains the balanced position. we try to involve people. the shareholders are "insiders" and the strategies of firms contribute to the long-term power of "Japan Inc. on this dimension.K. but they will adapt good practices from their neighbours. On the other hand northern Europe. Chairman of the Board and CEO of Nestle: "This is the concept of 'Employee Involvement' and 'Management Commitment. From our perspective. and the lack of integration in order to balance the tendency to differentiate. In Europe. Managing between extremes may be the result of reciprocal learning among European companies. laws and educational systems are embedded. . They have agreed on our long-term strategy. in particular Germany. the Germans won't change. actually they supported us when the price went down." U. learning from the best practice in Europe and worldwide still remains the main challenge for the future. slowly. Beffa: "Of course I take care of the price per share.Calori and Dufour The Japanese are growth oriented. The orientation towards people and internal negotiation result from the common history and culture in which economic and social policies. yet they have not proved to be the most successful worldwide. are close to the U. second that the media are less controlled by national governments. is less clear." 69 . Janssen: "The three models. sometimes at the expense of short-term profitability. Anyway there will remain some specificities. Helmut 0. What's Ahead? The four ingredients described up to this point are consistent with each other. The difference between Europe and the U. In Europe. There are two conditions for this homogenization to take place: first that the unification of the European market is achieved. to find a balance between private life and commitment to the firm. the Anglo-Saxon. The sense of the collective will never be as strong as in Japan. learning from the best practice in Europe and worldwide still remains the main challenge for the future. Some weaknesses mentioned earlier have to be corrected before one can talk of a European model: individualism which may impede teamwork. Belgium. there it is natural.S. the German. Managing international diversity and managing between extremes result from the diversity of the European context.S. but not only that. The Japanese clearly have a strong collective orientation. The small countries-The best illustrate the Netherlands..S. and Switzerland-which concept of European management have demonstrated such an ability to learn. combines individualism and team spirit. countries and cultures. Southern Europe and the U.
" Kageo Nakano. European top managers believe that they still have to learn or re-invent from the best practices worldwide. Philippe De Woot. The European Round Table of Industrialists is composed of Chairmen and Chief Executives of major European companies who serve in a personal capacity in what can be truly described as an 70 industrialists' think tank. You still have differences because you don't change a culture. Confronted with a 10% rate of unemployment.. They are the best in achieving three year plans! Integrate the British pragmatism and preserve our French skills in designing projects." Breukels: "OurEuropean division brought something to our operations and divisions in Japan and in the U." John D. you will see it more and more. between the best management practices and mediocre management practices. 1 Our study was initiated in 1992by the working group on education of the European Round Table and the French-based Lyon Graduate School of Business. Chairman of Societe G6nerale de Belgique: "In the Netherlands. which originated from 14 European countries and from the U. in the long term. differences are gradually narrowing down ." The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the European Round Table of Industrialists.. in Belgium. People can decide when they start. See Volkswagen-that is new for Germany. but see the Germans. Confronted with deep rooted individualism or excessive segmentation.. Essentially. and Japanese extremes may slowly converge towards more balanced structures and practices." As a result the U. European firms should re-invent people involvement and multifunctional cross-border integration to catch up with the Japanese.. reciprocal learning worldwide may well blur geographically-based models.S.A. the adaptation of strategies to particular regions . we asked them to tell us in what ways.. Fifty-two top executives. The firms.S. Jean-Paul Valla and Pr. European management styles differed from those of Japan or the U. simple things sometimes. you have had foreigners at the top of firms since the twelfth century. you don't change the whole system in ten years. This was experimented in Stuttgart in the early 1960s and this was transplanted across the world and now today one of the company's values is variable working hours. Endnotes . Director Corporate Human Resources of Philips: "Because of the global nature of the multinational business and . Their objective is to help the Commission of the European Community construct industrial strategies that will strengthen Europe's economy. in line with the European tendency to manage between extremes. and Vice Presidents (25)in 41 international and multinational companies established in Europe were interviewed for up to 2 hours.. Well. . and the contribution of Pr. Managing Director of N7T Europe: "In Japan we must learn the positive aspects of European firms such as the respect of the personality of the individuals.." Viscount Etienne Davignon. Europe should learn entrepreneurship from the U. As Robert Horton puts it: "The real difference will be between the best companies (wherever they come from).S. including presidents and CEOs (27). for instance variable working hours. their ability in implementing solutions.. maybe also a bit of individualism.S. of key issues in general. if any. Management in the world and in Europe will be homogeneous at its best.Academy of Management Executive Beffa: "We should integrate the German preoccupation for ecology. and Japan. Finally. now they have foreigners in some top management teams. de Leeuw.S.
Bloom. Telefonica. This is more the case in continental Europe than in the United Kingdom.). it differs slightly by country. Profilo.T. Amorim. This skill is a positive and necessary accommodation to the various cultures and countries that make up the European continent. British Petroleum. I have always believed that one of the true strengths of America is that its people 71 . Organization Studies and Long Range Planning. Bruno Dufour is Director General of the Groupe Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Lyon. Royal Dutch Shell. Siemens.He has published articles in Strategic Management Journal. a stronger and genuine orientation toward people will indeed create a competitive advantage for those who possess it. de Woot (eds. Lyonnaise des Eaux-Dumez. Calori and P. Nokia. Saint-Gobain. Higher skill levels in negotiation. R. He has coordinated the European Round Table-Groupe ESC Lyon study on which this article is based.S. Trafalgar House. As business becomes increasingly focused on knowledge work and the value of intellectual capital. Petrofina. 1994). The resulting slower pace of decision making can be a real frustration for U. 1991). Furthermore.Calori and Dufour included: Agfa Gevaert. Beyond Diversity (London:Prentice Hall. Philips. Solvay. Itoh Europe. N. Greater people orientation. A European Management Model. and he is a member of the editorial board of the BritishJournal of Management and of Organization Studies. Yet. Hoffmann-LaRoche.T. Pirelli. Managing Change (Sage. Lafarge Coppee. He is the co-author of several books. Unilever and Volvo. de Woot. Fiat.and A European Management Model. He is a fellow of the Creative Education Foundation (USA). He has written several articles on the evolution of higher management education. He is also Managing Director (and co-founder)of Francital-Ixeco (a textile group). Austrian Industries. managers accustomed to a faster pace that is both more authoritative and less inclusive. I would like to comment on each of the four sets of common characteristics from this experience. In addition. Europe. Beyond Diversity (Prentice Hall. Hewlett Packard Europe. McDowell. 1994). Furukawa Europe. Euromanagement: A New Style for the Global Market (London:Kogan Page.and a member of the board of several academic councils. Calori and P. Hoechst. 1994). the importance of shared values in organizational success requires an ability to foster a more inclusive approach to managing as a way of generating commitment to organizational goals. Soci6t6 G6n6rale de Belgique. including The Business of Europe. I think it will come more naturally to businesses in European countries than to those in the United States or Japan. Nestle. Pilkington. Coca Cola (International division). Robert Bosch. Mitsui. About the Authors Roland Calori is professor of business policy at the Groupe Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Lyon and a business consultant in strategic management. BSN. Titan Cement. Two books give more extensive presentations of the results of the study: H. skills in negotiating and reconciling differences will become even more critical to stability and prosperity. Fuji Bank. European managers have greater skills in managing international diversity. Ford of Europe. NEC. Schneider. as self-determination becomes a stronger and more pervasive reality throughout the world. McDonalds. and R. Mothercare. Coopers & Lybrand My experience working in an international professional services firm supports the authors' contention that there is an emerging European management style. Executive Commentary Robert N. Texaco. including the EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) and the AACSB(American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business) International Affairs Committee.
My personal experience is consistent with what is reported in the article.S. from other parts of the world could produce different types of management behavior. they seem less likely to adopt the attitude that if it wasn't invented here.Academy of Management Executive represent the diversity of the world. In fact. As I observe the new generation of my partners in Europe. European managers are described as having a greater orientation toward people than their American or Japanese counterparts. McDowell is Managing Directorof Human Resources and a Principal with Coopers & Lybrandin New YorkCity. of strategy. risk-taking behavior will not only be tolerated but encouraged and accepted. For a number of years.S. He is also a member of the AMEExecutive Advisory Panel. it can't be that good. one might expect that most of the differences are due to the more profound social and cultural differences outlined by the authors. The authors also discuss differences in decision-making practices that result in higher levels of intemal negotiation in European firms. To some extent. For example. this may be due to recent downsizing initiatives at Xerox and other companies. many have already succeeded in appreciating and creating advantage from the different perspectives they bring in solving business problems of their multinational clients. Eric J. Though it is certainly not universal. The result has been a better balance in their management of people. it's difficult to generate a belief on the part of the "surviving" employees that their organizations are concerned about the well-being of people or that non-conforming. Those companies that learn to value and respect that diversity will truly enjoy an advantage in the global economy. virtually all of their training and development has had a multicultural focus. even eagerness on the part of my European counterparts to look outside themselves for best practices. Though all of the barriers and historical preconceptions have not disappeared. Robert N. I believe we are seeing a fundamental shift in many U. they have clearly been diminished as a result. Vanetti. The characterization of decision making in American firms as primarily top down and heavily influenced by senior management is accurate from a historical or traditional perspective. However. firms toward a more empowering work environment that is characterized by greater employee involvement and bottom-up decision making at the point of customer contact. and of financial results. I suspect that the best European companies have learned this approach through a willingness to adopt the best practices of other countries and cultures. it's easy to support the probability that simple geographic or linguistic boundaries that separate the U. This shift is being fueled by the belief that an employee supporting a given customer knows how to satisfy that customer's requirements 72 . Managers capable of managing between extremes. I have experienced a real interest. For the most part. However. I do think this is a characteristic of European management style. Xerox Calori and Dufour's premise of the existence of a general European management style which is different from the one generally practiced in North America or Japan is a plausible one.
any one individual will be viewed as more similar to others than different. There is much truth to this belief. it is also intriguing to consider the alternative notion that these cross-cultural differences are not as great as we like to believe they are. including a common purpose of achieving our business objectives while satisfying shareholders. Forpermission to reproduce this article. many of today's companies focus on differentiating themselves from their competition to ensure they deliver value-added products and services to customers. The same notion can be applied to organizations. we would encounter such difficulty differentiating ourselves from other organizations in order to achieve the advantage we seek. and that clock speed is a critical enabler of competitive advantage. For example. if prevailing management styles do differ around the globe. They search for ways to stand out from the competition in the customer's eye. values or attitudes of one person that are readily distinguishable from those of another person. contact: Academy of Management. Box 3020. the ability to capitalize on this variability could be important for the long-term success of firms with international operations.. in the context of the general population these differences are less apparent. In other words. Vanetti.D. It seems paradoxical that if we truly are as unique as we prefer to believe. Maybe the irony here is that in our struggle to be different.O. Ph. has been with Xerox Corporation for six years and is currently Manager of Human Resources. and establish and maintain a position as the customer's vendor of choice." Eric J. He is a member of AME's Executive Advisory Panel. compared to the entire population. However. "It's a small world after all. Such a belief positively influences our feelings of self-worth and enhances our overall psychological well-being. Is it possible that capitalizing on these similarities through cooperative. it's a natural human tendency. After all. However. Companies strive to be different from one another. we fail to capitalize on the strengths inherent in our similarities. to want to believe that we bring something to the party that is different and more valuable than those around us may bring. some might argue. As suggested by the authors. especially when viewed at an individual level of analysis in terms of the specific characteristics. Briarcliff Manor. NY 10510-8020 73 . partnering behavior might yield greater results than obtained by our constant striving for individualism? As the song goes. P.Calori and Dufour better than anyone else.
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