Working Papers of the Institute of Management Berlin at the Berlin School of Economics (FHW Berlin) 30
Despite mediocre macro-economic performance of the German economy, German companies are successful players in global trade. This article explores the strategies of one of the pillars of this export success, the Hidden Champions, Our empirical analysis focuses on leading medium size companies identified by Hermann Simon in the early 1990s, and investigates their long-term progress over one decade. We show that these companies continue to prosper with family ownership combined with professional external management, strategies of market leadership in global niches and a persistent focus on operational effectiveness. Scholars and business leaders, in particular of companies based in other high-cost countries, therefore ought to consider German companies as source for lessons on how to succeed in the global economy.