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Styles of execution

FINANCIAL TIMES

World business newspaper

 

 


 

Study comparing British and German approaches to man­agement has revealed the deep gulf which separates managerial behaviour in many German and British companies. The gap is so fundamental, especially among middle managers, that it can pose severe prob­lems for companies (nun the two countries which either merge or collaborate. The findings are from a study railed 'Managing in Britain and Germany' carried out by a team of German and British academics from Mannheim University and Templeton College. Oxford.

The differences are shown most clearly in the contracting attitudes of many Germans and Britons to managerial expertise and authority, according to the academics. This schism results, in turn, from the very different levels of quali­fication, and sorts of career paths, which are typical in the two countries. German managers – both top and middle - consider technical skill to be the most important aspect of their jobs, according to the study. It adds that German managers consider they earn their authority with col­leagues and subordinates from this "expert knowledge' rather than from their position in the organisational hierarchy.

In sharp contrast, British middle managers see them­selves as executives first and technicians second. As a result, German middle man­agers may find that the only people within their British partner companies who are capable of helping them solve routine problems are technical specialists who do not have management rank. Such an approach is bound to raise status problems in due course. Other practical results of these differences Include a greater tendency of British middle managers to regard the design of their depart ments as their own responsi­bility, and to reorganise them more frequently than happens in Germany. Germanmiddle managers can have 'major problems in dealing with this', the academics point out, since British middle managers also change their also more often. As a result, UK organisations often undergo 'more or less constant change'. Of the thirty British mid die managers in the study, thirteen had held their cur­rent job for less than two years, compared with only three in Germany. Many of the Britons had also moved between unrelated depart­ments or functional areas, for example from marketing to human resources- In con­trast, all but one uf the Germans had stayed in the same functional area. Twenty of them had occupied their current positions for five years or more, com­pared with only five of the Britons.

The researchers almost certainly exaggerate the strengths of the German pattern; its very stability helps to create the rigid atti­tudes which slop many German companies from adjusting to external change. But the authors of the report are correct about the drawbacks of the more unstable and less technical­ly oriented British pattern. And they are right in con­cluding that the two .coun­tries do not merely have different career systems hut also, in effect, different ways of doing business. Rea




ding

 


Vocabulary tasks

 

3. Words with similar or related meanings

l) The article mentions the 'gulf (line 5) which separates managerial behaviour in German and British companies.

a) Does the word 'gulf suggest a big or small difference?

b) Find two other words in the first two paragraphs of the article similar in meaning to 'gulf.

2) The study is mainly concerned with middle managers. What words can be used to describe

managers at levels above and below middle management One example is in the text

3) The article mentions that thirteen British managers 'had held their current job for less than two years' (line 82).

a) What word could replace 'current?

b) Think of two other words with the same meaning as 'job'. One is in the article.

4) Many of the British managers had also moved between unrelated 'departments' or 'functional areas'. Two examples are given in the text (line 89). Can you think of at least four other 'functional areas' in a typical company?

 

Collocations

 

4. Find at least three adjective-noun collocations in the text which create a negative impression (e.g. severe problems).

 

5. Match these verbs and nouns as they occur together in the text

 

a) pose change

b) carry out problems

c) solve jobs

d) undergo a position

e) change a study

f) occupy problems

 


Word search


6. Find a word or phrase from the text that has a similar meaning.

1 work closely with another company ( para 1)

c……………………………………………………………………………

2 skill of being a manager (para 2)

m...................e...................

3 sequence of jobs you take during your working life {para 2)

c...................P...................

4 structure of an organisation with its different levels (para 3)

0...................h...................

5 companies that you are working closely with (para 4)

p...................c...................

6 problems which are not complex or difficult (para 4)

r...................P...................

7 position of being a manager (para 4)

m...................r...................

 

Complete the chart.

verb adjective noun

 

manage managerial manager

 

manage management management

 

1………. knowledgeable 2..............

 

organise 3…………. 4..............

 

5............ 6………. adjustment

 

7............ 8………. collaborator

 

 

Panel discussion

1 From what you have read and heard, do you agree with the points made in the text?

2 If' you have experience of" working with managers from countries such as Japan, Sweden, USA or France, how would you describe their approach to management and organisation?

3 If you were going to collaborate with a British or German company, what could the potential problems be?

4 Write a short report giving suggestions and recommendations on ways to try to avoid or reduce these problems.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1501


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