Regional Cultures, Managerial Behavior, and Entrepreneurship: An International Perspective

By Joseph W. Weiss | Go to book overview

Those Europeans who dream of creating a Switzerland must not forget that Switzerland's most important accomplishment historically is its ability to shape several national components into one united people, as the U.S. has done. This is the lesson that ought to be learned from Switzerland.

Switzerland, as a country, and with it Swiss business, has undoubtedly been successful in the past but how about the future?

A survey of the Swiss economy published by the London Economist concludes that: "if the Swiss want to maintain their high living standards and keep inflation and unemployment low, they will have to break into an unaccustomed jog just to stand still in a world accelerating economic change."15

Indeed, many Swiss do feel a certain unease, and some even talk and write about a threatening decline. One undeniable fact comes to mind. During the longest part of its existence and during the time the country achieved its current prosperity and reputation, Europe was the center of what was regarded as the developed world, and Switzerland was at the center of that center. Now other regions of the world have taken on new importance, and Europe is not what it used to be. The Swiss may not like it, but they cannot change these developments. Being citizens of a small and basically poor country, they will have all the more need to try and remain at the forefront of their various fields of endeavor. The example of the watch industry--although only a small part of the economy--has shown them that successes and reputations that have taken decades or even centuries to build can collapse almost overnight. Continued attention to the competitiveness of their companies and to how Swiss societal management might have to be changed to cope with the developments of our times, coupled with a good dose of modesty and humility, will help the country to continue on its successful path.


NOTES
1.
See chapters 2 and 3 in this volume.
2.
Georges-Andre Chevallaz, La Suisse est-elle gouvernable? ( Lausanne: Editions de l'Aire, 1984).
3.
Peter Stadler, "The Zurich Mentality and Swiss Identity," Swissair Gazette, no. 7 ( 1986): 13-15.
4.
W. H. Luetkens, "The Swiss Character: Different But Not Dull," The Financial Times ( London), April 28, 1987.
5.
The New Yorker articles were also published in book form: Jonh McPhee, La Place de la Concorde Suisse ( New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983).
6.
George Mikes, Switzerland for Beginners ( London: Andre Deutsch, 1973).
7.
Ernst A. Brugger, "Politique Regionale Suisse: Pourquoi? Comment? Qui?," Bulletin de documentation economique, no. 4 ( November 1986): 2.
8.
David S. Landes, Revolution in Time ( Cambridge, Mass. and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983), p. 93.

-116-

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