American management’s lack of knowledge about, or even interest in, how foreign managers think reduces the number of options available to us. This, in turn, not only weakens American firms in international competition, but even in dealing adaptively with the future as it arrives within our own society.
In the United States, truly novel ideas about management usually come from the fringes of management, or from new or small companies headed by innovative, small-firm entrepreneurs. Yet the company headed by Reinhard Mohn is a $14-billion multinational, with 57,000 employees. Founded in 1835 as a small-town printer of religious books and hymnals, it is today one of the world’s biggest private media conglomerates.
It is the scale and success of Bertelsmann, rebuilt by Mr. Mohn virtually from scratch since World War II, that commends attention to his words.
If American managers are to succeed in the global economy, they will need to broaden their range of reading, starting, perhaps, right here. — Alvin Toffler, From The Introduction