chapter  2
24 Pages

‘Importing’ American ideas to West Germany, 1940s to 1970s

From associations to private consultancies
ByMatthias Kipping

In terms of management ideas and practices the United States acted as a kind of ‘reference society’ for the capitalist world during most of the twentieth century.1 Much of the recent research on this phenomenon, often referred to as ‘Americanisation’, has focused on the period shortly after the Second World War, when the US government made considerable efforts to spread the ‘gospel of productivity’ and to convert Western European (and East Asian) countries to the American creed of mass production, competitive markets and a sharing of productivity gains with workers. Driven partly by the availability of archival material, a significant part of this research has concentrated on the political dimension, examining, on the one hand, the motives of the US efforts and highlighting, on the other hand, the actual pressures exercised by the Americans in countries which they occupied after the war.2