chapter  10
28 Pages

Reluctant Americanization?

The reaction of Henkel to the influences and competition from the United States
BySusanne Hilger

With regard to the ‘Americanization’ of the West German economy after the Second World War, it is interesting to find out about the effects of the changing competitive situation for the corporate policy of Henkel, which, for a long time, appeared to be a ‘typical German enterprise’ with regard to competitive behaviour and appearance. Since it predominantly concerned Anglo-American competitors, it is necessary to examine the ‘American influences’ on Henkel between the 1950s and the early 1970s.3

Americanization on a microeconomic level means ‘the adoption of values, types of behavior, [. . .] ways of procedure, norms and institutions which were [. . .] widespread’ in US American business management.4 It can be communicated, e.g. by institutionalized contacts such as conferences and workshops, business trips, contracts with US American consultancies and the adoption of the competitors’ strategies.5