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Informal Cooperation in the US and Germany: Cooperative Managerial Capitalism vs. Competitive Managerial Capitalism in Interfirm Information Trading


  • Henrik Sattler
  • Stephan Schrader
  • Christian Lüthje


Several empirical studies have shown that apparently competing companies cooperate extensively through an informal exchange of valuable information. Since international inter-firm relations have become elementary in many markets, the informal information exchange across national borders gains significance. Cross-cultural discrepancies in information-trading patterns may impede the emergence of stable and intensive informal relations between companies of different countries. So far, however, the question of whether information trading patterns are similar across nations has remained widely unexplored. Therefore this research compares the informal exchange of technical information among 438 managers in US and German steel companies. We assumed that a greater inclination to cooperate predominates in German firms (Cooperative managerial capitalism) in comparison to their American counterparts (Competitive managerial capitalism). Nevertheless, the findings indicate a more complex situation: Managers of German companies are found to interact more frequently than US managers with colleagues in other companies. However, in contradiction to the generally accepted assertion, the information exchanged among German firms proves to be of less importance to the recipient company than in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrik Sattler & Stephan Schrader & Christian Lüthje, 1999. "Informal Cooperation in the US and Germany: Cooperative Managerial Capitalism vs. Competitive Managerial Capitalism in Interfirm Information Trading," Working Paper Series A 1999-14, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:jen:jenabe:1999-14

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