Project Background

The Global Performance Project (GPP)

The Global Performance Project (GPP) is a project of the Chair for Organization, Human Resource Management, and Information Management based at  University of Saarland (Professor Dr. Christian Scholz), which has been researching comparatively and on an international level since 1993. The project’s crucial part is a large international poll dating from 1995 to 1997, the results of which were presented at international conferences (eg. Strategic Management Society (SMS) and Academy of Management (AOM)) and which found their way into diverse other publications as well.

The project’s objective consists of understanding behavioral patterns of successful companies in international comparison, and of creating corporate strategy according to the situation in different country- and culture-specific contexts. In this context, GPP deals with the largest-in-class enterprises’ behaviors from different countries in their environment, and doing so identifies the patterns of behavior of the most successful companies at each time. The investigation relates to the enterprise’s strategy and connects it with structure, systems, Human Resource Management, the culture and, of course, success.

The theoretical base mainly lies in the consistency approach, that itself is based on the configurational approach. According to it, there are very special patterns composed of single decisions, which are successful mainly because of their “fitting-together“ among themselves. Therefore, GPP is different from all universalistic worlds of thinking, in which there is only one good and right way.

A first questioning was effected between November 1995 and June 1997 by means of written declarations as well as interviews. Managers of the largest enterprises in a country have been questioned; the polls targeted mostly those managers, who were active in the fields of Organization and Human Resource Management. On the whole, 242 enterprises from eleven countries (including Germany, France and U.S.A.) have taken part in the poll.

Global Performance Project’s first questionnaire is divided into the fields of structure, strategy, success, culture, systems, as well as Human Resource Management. It contains more than 850 variables. Later on, the data collected by means of the questionnaire was summarized (among other means by factor analysis). In the center of analysis, corporate culture took its place as a decisive factor of success for enterprises. Evaluating aggregate variables of effectiveness and culture particularly allows tracing back of behavioral success in different countries.

A result of the project is a concept called Competitive Acceptance, that, as to the project’s protagonists Christian Scholz (University of Saarland) and Volker Stein (University of Siegen), answers the GPP’s question of research, offering two alternatives of behavior that aim at success: On the one hand,  within enterprises, it can make sense to adapt to a country’s culture. On the other hand, enterprises are given the possibility to secure their entrepreneurial success by underlining their own advantage in competition, and to act consciously “against the culture“.
The decision of where exactly an enterprise should act according to the country’s culture, and where it should act against the country’s culture, depends on which cultural orientations in which countries effectively succeed, and how each time the most successful enterprises in a country behave.

In 2012, a second round of data collection will start inside GPP. On an empirical base, it should allow the deduction of theoretical implications and practical recommendations for the examined fields of research.