Abstract: Management Development in Germany's Big Business

Christian Reuber


One of the divisions in modern European businesses barely affected by any business fashion until 1945 was the human resource department. In comparison to the development of management research and consulting in US business, there was hardly any attempt to look after a systematization and professionalization of management development in European businesses until the early 1950s. The strong US influence on the economic development of Western Europe after 1945 then led to a deep change in human resources management of many big companies. Aside from new methods and instruments for dealing with the entire workforce, the question arose how to increase the number of well-educated and practical-trained junior executives. Within thirty years especially big enterprises in Western Europe had introduced specific departments and programs to provide a company-wide pool of potential future executives. The aim of the presentation is on the one hand to show how this process was realized and on the other hand to answer the question, what are the most important criteria and patterns of management recruitment in big business? The results of the analysis are based on two case studies, Bayer AG, Leverkusen, and Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg.