German companies’ shortcomings highlighted

In Germany, the large listed companies, the DAX 40 companies, have supervisory boards, which differ from the French or Anglo-Saxon boards of directors. These supervisory boards appoint a management board. This is a so-called “dualist” system. Employees and union representatives sit on them, and these boards do not have the power to make strategic decisions. According to a survey by the HR consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates, the foreign members of these supervisory boards are really not satisfied, reports Handelsblatt.

On the one hand, the strong international integration of the German economy contrasts with the low number of foreigners – less than 30%, and around 26% if we exclude the Swiss and Austrians, compared to 36% in France and 38% in the United Kingdom – on supervisory boards. On the other hand, “Current foreign representatives are often frustrated” by German business culture: according to them, the supervisory bodies in Germany are “too big, too bureaucratic”, there is not “no open culture of debate” And “Without German, you are left behind”. One of them even says: “If I had known what I was getting into, I would have politely declined.”

The magazine The Mirror protests against these attacks : “Did they not know what they were getting into? Did they not understand that there are no universal structures in the world, but rather different approaches, determined by culture and developed by history?”

As for the dominance of German, the magazine sees it as a common phenomenon. All over the world, employees who share a mother tongue express themselves in that language and switch to English for broader communications.

The weekly newspaper criticises the attacks on the German dualist system “naive”, all the more so since “These rules are set in stone and have served the German economy well for decades,” in particular by enabling a culture of collaboration with elected officials and unions at the governance level. He concedes, however, that“There is an undisputed need for improvement – ​​and one that has been known for a long time” and “Efforts could be made, in particular, to improve English proficiency on German supervisory boards and to better integrate foreign colleagues”.

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