For the more chauvinistic European executive the very question could be impertinent. For the unthinking global imperialist it can be equally dismissed. As far as most of us are concerned this question presents an important challenge at the end of a decade which has seen growing support for the gospel of shareholder value, ever closer European integration, and the rise and rise of an Internet economy which seemingly respects no barriers.
In this section you can read the widely differing conclusions of eight experts – two businessmen, four academics, a consultant and a journalist – invited by EBF to give their views.
There is the writer and commentator Will Hutton, for example, who claims America’s economic “miracle” has been greatly exaggerated and that Europe’s hour will come soon.
There is Andrew Campbell, whose writings on corporate strategy have forced many business people to re-think their position on diversification and who, by contrast with Hutton, champions the newly “enlightened” Anglo-Saxon model.
Next comes Bob Bischof, a successful Anglo-German entrepreneur, whose short essay will surely shake the complacency of Little Englanders, followed by a joint contribution from the distinguished French academics Jean-Paul LarÃ§on and Bernard Ramamantsoa praising European diversity.
Vic Luck, Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting Practice in Europe, Middle East and Africa, draws on his wide experience of working with businesses in many different countries; while in a more philosophical contribution Philippe de Woot, author of an agenda setting book on this topic, urges mangers to consider the shared values of European society.
Finally Klaus Esser, chairman of Dusseldorf based Mannesmann, concludes with some positive but carefully chosen words about shareholder value.
Editor’s Note: this was the first issue of EBF (an excellent magazine) and thus is several years old. Nevertheless, the discussion is of long-lasting relevance and significant interest.