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The Mittelstand - Germany's group of thousands of privately-owned and often world-beating companies - is often used as an example of the benefits of long-term business thinking.

This short video about a business that will be familiar to many students - Sennheiser- is a great example of the kind of businesses that make up the Mittelstand.

Lots of evidence in the video about the common characteristics of Mittelstand companies that adopt a very different approach to a "short-termist" strategy that is more focused on short-term financial performance.

  • Mittelstand companies are said to typically exhibit:
  • Family ownership or family-like corporate culture
  • Generational continuity
  • Long-term investment focus & focus on R&D
  • Fierce independence
  • Investment into the workforce
  • Flexibility in how they respond to a changing external environment
  • Lean organisational hierarchies
  • Focus on innovation and customer service
  • Take corporate social responsibility seriously

Which of these characteristics can students pick up just from the video?

Rise of the Mittelstand: How Sennheiser Kept it in the Family (Source: Germany Trade & Investment)

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