While US and Japanese management styles have attracted a good deal of attention, notice should also be taken of management styles in other successful countries such as Germany, a nation often touted as Europe’s “economic giant” based on its impressive manufacturing output and a per capita export trading volume. This month's report explains that German managers concentrate intensely on product quality and product service and that the main elements of German management culture, as well as the preferred styles of German managers, all evolve around the desire to design and manufacture high quality products and provide customers with extraordinary responsiveness and dedication. German firms tend to draw on engineers and technicians for fill management positions and these persons necessarily bring a strong background in manufacturing, design and service to their managerial duties. In addition, German managers tend to remain with one firm throughout their careers, which means that those managers build an intense loyalty to their firm and make decisions based on what will be best for the long-term prospects of the firm.
When evaluating a potential direct investment in a foreign market, a company must evaluate a complex set of key factors before making its decision. For example, one of the main reasons that US companies invest in foreign operations is to realize cost savings for production, transportation or administrative activities; however, a particular project should be carefully analyzed in advance to see whether the projected cost savings is realistic. The election to launch a new foreign branch or subsidiary may also be driven by sales goals and objectives such as the need to follow a key domestic customer, diversify, build a new customer base or respond to competitive pressures. Finally, direct foreign investment may be required in order to avoid or minimize the impact of trade restrictions in foreign countries or a company may be drawn to invest in a particular foreign market by incentives offered by local governments. This month's report explores each of these reasons for considering direct foreign activities and also analyzes the impact of financial, political and economic conditions in the target market.