Deviation from prozess goal

In 2011 PwC presented the results of its study Zukunftsthema Prozessmanagement – literally Future Topic Process Management, which surveyed its current state in German companies.

95% of executive management in Germany agreed that business process management was either important or very important to their success. Process management has become a critical function at the corporate level.

At the same time only 5% of those surveyed said that their process management was well developed. 46% of the companies did not have a clear plan on how to react to process deviation. Only 12% claimed to have an established mechanism for handling deviation from the most critical internal business processes. 

While the study documents how much room for improvement there is in the area of process management governance, it was equally clear how flexibly German companies react to process deviation. Which, in turn, contradicts the cliché that Germans have a process for everything and always stick to the process.

Business Majors

Business has long been a cornerstone of American culture. The American Dream is typically associated with the ability to start with almost nothing, and through the virtues of business, to rise to great wealth and social stature.

Although the U.S. is no longer the country with the largest rate of social mobility in the world Americans still hold business savvy and an ability to rise in social stature in high prestige.

The most popular major for American university students is business, with approximately 22% of graduates. Science and engineering are the least popular majors, with approximately 5% of American students choosing engineering, and only 1.4% choosing physical sciences.

As a result of this business prestige, in every American engineer you’ll find a businessperson – someone who’s always looking to get the best for less, and will never consider quality without also considering the cost necessary to achieve it.

TÜV

TÜV Technischer Überwachungsverein. The Institute for Technical Testing has locations across Germany (and in many countries), applies vigorous testing procedures to products of all kinds. A TÜV certificate is a sign of the highest quality.

Stiftung Warentest. The Foundation for Product Testing, similar to Consumer Reports in the U.S., is an independent, neutral organization which tests critically over 200 products each year. Its standards are among the highest internationally, including all requirements defined by law. The media covers many of the test results.

The quality of a product is its most important characteristic. The testing results produced by TÜV and Stiftung Warentest are considered by Germans to be 100% reliable. Each have been taken to court many times for the critical scores they have given products. Neither organization has lost a court case.

New car shoppers

In 2013 J.D. Power and Associates conducted a study to determine what factors influence Americans when purchasing vehicles. According to the report, the primary reason why shoppers avoid hybrids and electric vehicles is cost/price. Furthermore, gas mileage is the most influential factor in the decision process, and has been since a rise in gas prices in 2008.

One of the less important factors that Americans consider is reliability, with only 17% of new vehicle shoppers avoiding models with poor reputations for reliability. In fact, Americans put more importance on things like design and appearance than on reliability, with 33% of new vehicle shoppers avoiding models based on their exterior design.

Used cars

According to DEKRA’s 2014 report German automobiles scored very highly in terms of reliability, ranking first in six of nine categories.

The overall winner was the Mercedes E-Class, followed by the Audi Q5 and the Audi A5. Car of the Year was the Mercedes B-Class. As reported by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger on February 19, 2014.

Reliability is in Germany one of the essential characteristics of any product, and at the same time a key element of the German brand.

Shake up Harmony

Wall Street Journal, February 2014. “The High Cost of Avoiding Conflict at Work.” Joann S. Lublin

David Dotlich, a leadership and succession coach, has identified eagerness to please as one of the top reasons that executives fail.

Keen to innovate faster, employers increasingly choose bosses astute at dealing with conflict rather than ducking it, says Judith Glaser, an executive coach and author of the new book, Conversational Intelligence.

It’s not that firms want contentious leaders, but those who retreat from confrontation tend to postpone hard decisions and allow problems to fester, according to Ms. Glaser.

And with more businesses relying on teamwork, top managers’ conflict-resolution skills are in greater demand, adds Theodore Dysart, a vice chairman of Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a major executive-recruitment firm.

Southwest Airlines Co. leaders wanted to shake up what they viewed as a culture of artificial harmony among staffers. The company now promotes middle managers to executive positions partly based on their ability to spark conflict among staffers.

Court Case Duration

Court cases in German can last between 4 and 24 months, some as long as 36 months. A recent law allows the parties in a court case to demand that the court system speed up its proceedings.

German companies promise their employees that internal conflicts will be moderated and resolved within two months. If no resolution is found, the conflict parties have the right to escalate their case to the next level of management.

Land of Lawyers

According to a recent survey, approximately 64% of American parents want their children to grow up to be lawyers. As a result, from a young age American children are taught to admire people who are skilled at presenting cases and winning arguments.

So much so that lawyer is the 14th most common answer that American children give to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Lawyers defend their clients, especially in hearings

Popup surveys

A Call Center sends an email to a customer they just served, asking for quick feedback on that service. Websites have popups which give users a chance to respond immediately to what they like and don‘t like. Social networking sites like Facebook have their little thumbs up and down symbols on every page.

Political parties, as well as companies, are constantly asking voters, or consumers, what they like, don‘t like, how they feel, what‘s good bad, up down, right wrong, left right. Marketing in America is too a large degree understood as finding out what people want.

Americans selling something – products, services, political messages – want to know as much as they can about their target groups. Target. It‘s a sign of American customer-orientation. Or, from the perspective of other cultures, customer overorientation.

It is also a sign for the very strong inclination of Americans to quantify human behavior, to use statistics and measurements in order to understand it. Finally, it is a sign of how much Americans value, or take seriously, unreflected impressions and opinions given just after someone has experienced a product, service or an interaction.

Women’s Clothing Sizes

Modern standard sizes for women’s clothing first began in the 1940s in the U.S. However, women preferred smaller sizes, so over the course of the next several decades, the fashion industry began downsizing its sizes, so that a 16 in the 1940s was a 12 in the 1960s and a 6 in recent times.

Thanks to this downsizing there is also a large discrepancy between American and European sizes – an American size 10 is equivalent to a British 14.

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