1. Non-elected government officials. Administrative policy-making group. 2. Specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, hierarchy of authority. 3.A system of administration marked by officialism, red-tape and proliferation. From French bureaucratie: bureau desk and –cratie a kind of government. (MerriamWebster)

Elastic Clause

The Americans tendency to treat rules more as guidelines even extends to their Constitution. In Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution there is a clause which is known colloquially as the Elastic Clause.

This clause gives Congress the ability to add, remove, or change laws as its members see fit. This can include in the judicial system – if a person breaks a law, the court can decide to ignore it and grant the accused clemency, or if a person doesn’t break a law and is taken to court, the court can decide that he/she is guilty anyway.

Knowledge Society

Because Germany has few natural resources, its economy has had to produce high quality, high technology products and services.

In politics, economics and the media the Germans stress time and again the importance of maintaining a knowledge society, of education as its key resource. Germany‘s high standard of living, its high level of social welfare services, can only be financed if it can continue to develop and market high margin goods and services. The Germans stress, therefore, the need to produce generations of scientists and engineers.

There is consensus across the country on this point. Every chancellor, state governor, head of a major German company stresses time and again how critical it is to stay on the cutting edge of science, engineering, technology. Germany sees itself as the land of ideas, recognizes that its future depends on it producing breakthrough ideas.


Even if an American loses a conflict within a company, after having escalated it once or twice, if he/she strongly believes to be in the right, it is not uncommon for that American to seek an even higher authority – the public at large. When that happens, the person who exposes the conflict is called a “whistleblower.”

Edward Snowden was working for the NSA when he publicly accused them of spying. Snowden said that the reason why he decided to make his accusations public was that he “can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

In 2014, former State Department official John Tye wrote an editorial in The Washington Post in which he discussed his concerns about his department.

Thomas Drake was an executive in the NSA (National Security Agency) when he began to disagree with the agency’s policies. After several attempts to address his concerns internally, Drake decided to make his complaints public and turned to reporter Siobhan Gorman in 2006.

Chain of Command

Chain of command: A series of executive positions in order of authority. First known use 1898.

Americans favor clear lines of authority, also called chain of command. This is indicated in their organizational structures – more vertical than matrix – and in the titles given to those in the various management positions. American management, for example, does not look favorably upon team members who develop close relations with higher levels within the chain of command.

The chain of command in the U.S. Department of State is: Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office Director, Deputy Office Director, Desk Officer. Government bureaucracies like titles.

The chain of command in an American corporation can include: executive board (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.), senior vice president, vice president, managing director, deputy managing director, director, senior manager, manager, supervisor, specialist, technician, associate. American corporations like titles, too.

“Uncharted territory”

At a press conference held together with Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted as having stated “the internet is uncharted territory for us all”, when asked about the internet surveillance program Prism.

While this statement was received with particular amusement in the web, it also demonstrates a certain German reservation in the face of innovation. One might even call this a resistance towards profound change when it comes to the internet.

That the German federal government is not acting to expand their communication of political content over web platforms is also apparent in their Facebook presence – their profile has only existed since late February, 2015. According to senior communications adviser Seibert: “We did not take [this step] too soon, but we did take it.”

Situation Room

The so-called situation room – a complex of rooms of several thousand square feet and located in the basement of the White House – is where the President, selected members of the cabinet and the national security teams meet during a crisis or when secure communications are essential. They make up the President‘s inner circle of security advisors.

NASA has a similar kind of „war room“ in which it manages and monitors all space flights. Access have experts in altitude control, dynamics, power, propulsion. In the lead are the flight controllers.

„The War Room“, a 1993 documentary by D.A. Pennebacker, told the story of the inner circle of then presidential candidate Bill Clinton‘s election team. Although the film crew shot less than forty hours of material over a roughly three month period, it succeeded in giving viewers an authentic inside view of how a presidential candidate‘s inner circle works.

Kitchen Cabinet

American management teams are made up of members of unequal rank. Depending on the nature of the work some disciplines might be more important for overall success than others: such as product development or manufacturing or sales/marketing moreso than accounting/finance, human resources or health/safety. And within product development, design engineering might be more important than testing.

Some team members may have more power and influence due to their experience or record of producing excellent results. Then there are others in the management team who enjoy a high level of influence based on their personal relationship with the team lead, a relationship perhaps built up over years of close collaboration.

The term kitchen cabinet refers to those team members who have a special relationship with the team lead. The kitchen cabinet might also include people from other parts of the organization, such as a senior-level mentor to the team lead.

Kitchen Cabinet was a term used by political opponents of President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) to describe the unofficial advisers he consulted parallel to his cabinet. It was said that Jackson would meet formally with his cabinet to discuss important issues of state, then meet informally afterwards with selected, trusted advisors in the kitchen of the White House to discuss more openly and critically those same issues.

The Switch Operator

Dr. Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta is the head of Berlin’s public transportation authority, and is considered one of Germany’s top managers. Named Manager of the Year in 2012, she is known for her democratic and employee-focused leadership style.

Nikutta characterizes herself as consistent, consequent and cooperative: “Employees are my colleagues. I seen them as people. That is no contradiction to an ambitious leadership style which sets clear goals. Involvement of all key people, on all levels, is critical, in order to make clear and fast decisions, whose results are followed closely.”

Nikutta’s management approach is not only effective, but moreso very popular among today’s German workers. Especially the younger generations prefer a boss who is more of a partner and who communicates transparently.

Successful leadership leads to motivation and results. The head of Berlin’s public transportation authority is a model for successful, consensus-oriented management.

Bürgermeister and more

Governors in the German states are called Ministerpräsident or Minister President or Premier. They are president of those ministers, who run the various departments of a state. The state parliaments have the same structure as the Bundestag, Germany‘s national parliament.

The minister president is a colleague among the members of the state parliament‘s largest elected faction and is elected by his or her colleagues to form a government, typically a coalition of two parties.

The minister presidents, like the chancellor, manage and coordinate the work of the ministers, who, however, lead their departments independently. The minister president is a primus inter pares, a first among equals.

Like the ministers at the federal level, the ministers at the state level are powerful political figures from the regions of the state. Each is capable, and in most cases willing, to become minister president. The acting minister president, therefore, has to balance out carefully the interests of these power brokers.

Germans mayors are called Bürgermeister. Again, like the chancellor and the minister presidents, the Bürgermeisters are selected by their colleagues in the largest elected party in their city councils. They form a city government, typically a coalition of two parties.

And like the chancellor and the minister presidents, the mayor is a primus inter pares, managing powerful local politians who head up the city‘s most important departments.