English (British) Management Style

S

Steve MacDonald

#1
The Economist recently published an article (W/E 10-5-02 I believe) in which it briefly detailed some statistics comparing the productivity in divisions of British companies run by American managers, versus those run by British managers.

American management style consisantly produced significant gains in overall productivity compared with their British counterparts. It went on to list some thoughts on this (Which I will have to add later--I left the thing home.) :bonk:

Can anyone shed light on this, for good or bad?

(For those unfamilair The Economist has been a product of Mother England Since the mid 1800's and one of the best sources of news about America IMHO, without the American "Slant.")
 
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C

Craig H.

#2
Having worked for a British company in GA, USA, I think I may be able to. Brits, please don't take this too badly...

What I noticed is indeed anecdotal, but there seemed to be a definate class consciousness amoung the British managers. In the US, I believe that we like to think that it is indeed possible to excell, even someone coming from the "lower classes". The British seem to not believe this. The U.S. style strives to get the best from each of its employees, and is a somewhat looser style, where the British seem to be much more regimented.

That said, I have worked for some American jerks at one time or another.

I would be interested in the methodology of the study, and also seeing if my experience has been shared by others.
 
S

Steve MacDonald

#3
Found the Article

The McKinsey study indicates that British-based companies with foreign owners average 60% higher productivity, and in American companies nearly 90% more productive.

Economist, Oct-12-18 2002

The study blames a Lack of interesnt in Lean Manufacturing, poor performance management, and that they are terrible at managing talent.

But can it really be that big a difference? That seems huge.

Steve.
 
C

Carl Exter

#4
Perhaps it has something to do with Americans frequently being "workaholics" whereas the British/Europeans actually take time to have a life? Or is that off track?
 
C

Craig H.

#5
Carl:

That very likely plays a role. Europeans, in general, I think take more/longer vacations. Wasn't it the French who were talking about shortening an already short work week?

Speaking of which, have a fantastic weekend!
 
S

Steve MacDonald

#6
Nothings off track here, just turning slightly down another path.

I think you are right about the French work week, although they might want to take a look at that. Their newest aircraft carrier 'Charles de Gaulle, had a propeller fall off during a proving cruise. I don't know who built it, but too much time away, and I feel pretty disconnected from my work.
:bonk:

While I like the idea of having more time off, at least until I actually have it, I can't imagine a 35 hour work week. (A curse on me if ever there was one.)

I do believe, however, that G Britain works the full measure--proably so the propellers don't fall off their Aircraft carriers.
:biglaugh:

-Steve
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Steve MacDonald said:

I think you are right about the French work week, although they might want to take a look at that.
-Steve
I seriously considered not posting on this subject, lest I be considered just another arrogant American filled with bias against everyone else in the world. However, since looking at some of the other posts, I decided to give it a go.

I have worked pretty closely with some folks from France, the UK, Finland, Sweden, Israel, Italy, and Korea -- often in their country. In some cases, I can't say I have enough data to form an opinion, but regarding the French and Brits it seemed to me like my peers in those countries in general worked fewer hours per week, had less "urgency" toward getting things done, and certainly took more and longer vacations than me and my peers in the US. One benefit is it seemed like they were always less stressed by work and life in general.

Some of the benefits aside from vacation time I heard about in France and Korea were wildly liberal relative to the US such as unemployment benefits and sick time policies. Maybe these things contribute to the productivity issue, huh? Admittedly, I have limited data and this is my opinion only -- I can't back it up with independent studies or facts.
 
M

M Greenaway

#8
Mike

Its not the hours you put in, its what you put in the hours.

Work smarter, not harder !
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#9
M Greenaway said:

Mike

Its not the hours you put in, its what you put in the hours.

Work smarter, not harder !
Of course you have to work smart, but let's not oversimplify things too much just by pulling out pithy quotes. That's too easy.

In one example I remember, there was a French company with a clone in the US -- actually the French outfit had slightly newer, more modern equipment. They were producing the same product using the same processes and technology (info. fully shared, cross training, etc.) in each location but the French outfit could not produce as many units per "man hour" worked and overall profitability was significantly lower. Eventually, after a few years, the French outfit was closed as it was too costly -- even when considering added shipping from the states. And, the customers complained that they were treated poorly by the French. Just one piece of anecdotal evidence...I'm sure well controlled studies with large populations can give a better snapshot of what is going on. I'd like to see the article referenced earlier.
 
C

Carl Exter

#10
M Greenaway said:

Mike

Its not the hours you put in, its what you put in the hours.

Work smarter, not harder !
Sometimes it is the hours you put in, regardless of how intelligently you use them. Many times a profession requires a person be there physically. But maybe that's not as relevant. Never mind...
 
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