Practical case study : differences between French and German management styles
Managers have to perform many roles in an organization and how they handle various situations will depend on their style of management.
This video shows a practical case study : 2 teams have to build a sugar tower in 15 minutes : the highest wins.
Goal of the experiment is to find out the working differences in both countries and the different management styles in each team.
Let's start with the French team. It is interesting to notice that every team member spontaneously starts building his own tower, while the manager is supervising the situation.
For the French, feeling the situation is more important than caring about technical details.
In France, hierarchy is very important, therefore the French manager is clearly the leader. He dispatches the work and gives the main directions.
In this scene, we notice the role of humour : the manager knows to be very strict, but he is also able to make the atmosphere less tense.
Here, we can see what can be considered as a typical sign for French intelligence : the manager does fair comments and gives useful advices, then he lets the others work.
Another caracteristic of the French manager is his charisma : he motivates the team through rhetorical speeches, because he has a goal ahead and he is determined to win.
The emotional link with the project is very strong.
But he is also selfish and bossy. This is commonly called autocratic management : the manager makes all decisions unilaterally and everyone has to obey, because he knows better.
Here, the French manager is mocking the German team. This is a weakness of the French manager, you might say. Too much selfconfidence make him proclaim 'he won' as soon as he feels superior to the opponent.
The French manager doesn't fear risks and improvisation : the solution is not only useful, it is original, creative, there must always be a little spice.
Let's go on with the German team.
First, it is striking that right from the outset, the approach is very different.
Before starting building anything, the team debates on how the tower should be built : for the German Manager, priority is to find a concept.
He is in charge of the planning, which is of paramount importance, because the German manager always wants as less risk as possible. Therefore, every single detail has to be precisely considered.
Now that they have the plan, the construction itself can begin. The precise planning enables the German to be very efficient and confident : they cannot easily be disconcerted.
Even if in comparison to the French, there is not such a strict bareer between the boss on the one hand, and the subordinates on the other hand, the German manager remains the most competent team member ; he is THE expert.
Whereas the French Manager uses an autocratic style, the German uses a permissive one. He gives his subordinates a certain degree of autonomy in completing their work and also permits them to take part in decision making.
Indeed, the German not only work together, they also take decisions together. There is a real team spirit, fostered by the German manager, who listens carefully to every team member.
Every decision is discussed within the team. This permanent discussing would surely drive a French manager crazy.
It enables any team member to give his point of view, but it also makes the whole decision process very slow, so it can be both considered as a strength or a weakness.
The two management styles have both their strengths and weaknesses.
The strength of the German manager is his commitment to achieving a goal that has been planned in advance, and if no unexpected interference comes, he will get there.
The strength of the French manager is to achieve many impossible things with his enthusiasm and emotional identification with the project.
In spite of the geographical closeness of the two countries, the management styles appear to be very different. This stresses the importance of taking in account cultural backgrounds when managing multicultural teams.
Video by DI-Productions for BigDjCorp, inspired by 'Passe-Partout'
Copyright (C) 2012