A Clue in Business Practice

Business practice can often indicate the culture of a society. What and who is valued. There is no better example of the relation between culture and business practice than that of Germany. After World War II, the U.S attempted to influence business practices while they occupied the nation. Yet the German practice of co-determination and the accompanying respect for workers emerged over attempts to apply foreign practices such as Taylorism. However business practice hinges on the funding method.

German businesses were focused on sustainability and market share which partly necessitated a welcoming work environment. However this was made possible by their financing options. ‘Patient capital’ which resulted from the close working relation between business and banks supported business practices aimed at long-term success. In comparison the current business model that many large firms embrace in U.S/UK is not conducive to this type of environment. Shareholder value pervades businesses and ensures business practice maximises revenue and minimises cost. Long-term planning often comes as the cost however as shareholder value often results in asset stripping and poor working environments. Furthermore, by maximising profits business can attract more finance which deepens the need to keep profits high. The relation between business and external financing partners are mutually destructive under this model.

Culture is not impossible to change but it is difficult. If there is any hope of tackling the ridiculous levels of inequality and poverty in the U.S, UK and Ireland then business practice provides plenty of clues where to start.

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