When you observe the political developments in Spain, it is hard to imagine a Europe beyond the current European Union. The Basque country is aiming at further autonomy, and shortly there will be a referendum about the constitution (Estatut) of Catalunya.Should we Europeans want to go beyond a union as it is at the moment? Should we prepare for a united states of Europe? I'm not to certain about it, but the discussion is interesting, not only for the politic arguments, but because of the implication for (European) business and the similarities between corporate governance and politics.
For example the discussion about organizing on a central level or delegate as much as possible to local authorities.This is a discussion that is not unique, in fact every organization with different locations (multinationals) will face the same challenge; what should we organize on a central level and what should stay decentralized.For a company, the different locations, often represented with their own label, are close to the market and should be able to manage this market in the way it best suits their needs. Every market is unique.
A method that seems successful in the Netherlands would be for the same reasons profitable in another country ? for example, Philips invented together with Douwe Egberts a innovative coffee machine: Senseo. Yet this was a big success in the Netherlands and other countries, but has not been launched in Spain for example. One of the reasons was that Spaniards are much more outgoing and drink coffee in public cafes and bars, rather than that they drink coffee at home. If this Senseo invention was rolled out equally in every country, the success would have been less and leading to a loss in countries like Spain.Different countries require different policies, and therefore any organization should take into account these differences.
Comparing a company with a state has been done by Michael Porter ?- the competitive advantage of nations, which is a book that evolved from a previous study of competitive advantage of companies and sectors.Companies and countries indeed face similar challenges in areas like infrastructure. The common infrastructure of fiscal policies, common securities aspects and technology that require a central policy. On a country level the common infrastructure is also about security (defense), laws ? human rights and things like health care that require minimum accepted levels.
But in Europe, before any of these, the union began at the finance level, with the introduction of the Euro.The euro was a product of a previous problem; the European Monetary System, that was no longer credible. And this is one of the big issues ?- credibility -- that requires a steady answer.
Is the currently institution of the European Union, credible enough, or do we need more?.© 2006 Hans Bool..Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice.
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By: Hans Bool