Global Pressure, National System
How German Corporate Governance Is Changing
Will the pressures of financial and product market globalization force European firms to switch from a stakeholder-based model of corporate governance to a shareholder-based, Anglo-Saxon system? While many scholars of globalization have long assumed convergence toward the shareholder model, little empirical research on the firm level on this assumed dynamic exists.
In Global Pressure, National System, which makes a strong case against convergence, Alexander Börsch focuses on the impact of globalization and regulatory changes on German corporate governance, which is widely seen as the prototype of a stakeholder system. Börsch presents the results of his in-depth research on three German firms that are to varying degrees exposed to financial and product market pressures: Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, and Bosch. Despite the pressures from financial markets and global competition, he finds that none of these firms have extensively restructured along Anglo-Saxon lines.
Investigating the main dimensions of restructuring—financial, organizational, and portfolio restructuring—as well as internationalization strategies, Börsch finds that adaptation of selected features of shareholder-based governance is quite possible. However, because the prevailing product market strategies of German firms are solidly based on the stakeholder model, change will be limited to those elements that do not destroy the firms' competitive advantage. Hence, although these firms may alter some of their business practices in response to pressures from the global marketplace, their core institutions remain stable.