Smooth Operator: The Chair as the Drive Belt of the German Governance System



This chapter describes the distinctive context for the work of a chair in Germany, which has a two-tier board system and, for large companies, mandatory employee representation on the supervisory board. Board leaders deal with these and other challenges by being very diligent with regard to the law and corporate governance guidelines, focusing the board’s work on a limited number of issues, maintaining order and discipline in the board room, and making specific efforts to reach out to employees’ representatives on the board.


  1. Bresser, R. K. and Thiele, R. V. (2008). Ehemalige Vorstandsvorsitzende als Aufsichtsratschefs: Evidenz zu ihrer Effektivität im Falle des erzwungenen Führungswechsels. Journal of Business Economics, 78(2), pp. 175–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brendel, M., Schwetzler, B. and Strenger, C. (2017). Ownership Structure, Firm Value and Government Intervention: The Case of the German Tax Reduction Act. Available from: [Accessed 3 December 2018].
  3. Delamaide, D. (2018). German Economy Faces Shortages as Growth Tests Limits. Handelsblatt Global. Available from: [Accessed 3 December 2018].
  4. Deutschlandfunk (2018). Erstmals seit der Wiedervereinigung Unter 5 Prozent Arbeitslose. Available from: [Accessed 30 October 2018].
  5. Du Plessis, J., Grossfeld, B., Luttermann, C., Saenger, I., Sandrock, O. and Casper, M. (2017). German Corporate Governance in International and European Context. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fiss, P.C. (2006). Social Influence Effects and Managerial Compensation Evidence from Germany. Strategic Management Journal, 27, pp. 1013–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Franks, J.R. and Mayer, C.P. (2001). The Ownership and Control of German Corporations. Review of Financial Studies, 14, pp. 943–977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kreijger, G. (2018). Why German Corporate Governance is So Different. Handelsblatt Global. Available from: [Accessed 30 October 2018].
  9. Logsdon, J. M. and Van Buren, H. J., III (2008). Justice and Large Corporations: What Do Activist Shareholders Want? Business & Society, 47(4), pp. 523–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Meyer, E. (2014). The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business. New York: PublicAffairs.Google Scholar
  11. Maier, A. (2018). Der Schmitt im Leben. manager magazin, 9/2018. 37–41.Google Scholar
  12. PricewaterhouseCoopers (2018). Doing Business in Germany. Available from: [Accessed 6 November 2018].
  13. Regierungskommission (2017). German Corporate Governance Code. Available from: [Accessed 30 October 2018].
  14. Schilling, F. (2009). Altvorstände sind die besten Aufsichtsräte. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Available from: [Accessed 3 December 2018].
  15. Schilling, F. (2001). Mitbestimmung und Corporate Governance. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Available from: [Accessed 3 December 2018].
  16. Spencer Stuart (2017). UK Board Index 2017. Available from: [Accessed 10 May 2018].
  17. The German Federal Statistical Office (2018). Bevölkerung in Deutschland: 82,8 Millionen zum Jahresende 2017. Available from: [Accessed 6 November 2018].
  18. The World Bank (2018a). World Development Indicators. GDP per capita, in international dollars. Available from: [Accessed 13 August 2018].
  19. The World Bank (2018b). World Development Indicators. GDP Ranking. Available from: [Accessed 10 May 2018].
  20. Tüngler, G. (2000). The Anglo-American Board of Directors and the German Supervisory Board – Marionettes in a Puppet Theatre of Corporate Governance or Efficient Controlling Devices. Bond Law Review, 12, pp. 230–271.Google Scholar
  21. UNDP (2018). Human Development Indices and Indicators. 2018 Statistical Update. Available from: [Accessed 28 September 2018].

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Independent Executive Coach and Coaching SupervisorLondonUK

Personalised recommendations