Case Study: “You Americans Work Too Hard”
The closing case examines the differences in work ethic between a German department store employee and an American department store employee.
Andreas Drauschke and Angie Clark hold positions at similar levels in department stores, and receive similar pay. However, Drauschke, who works in Germany, works far fewer hours than Clark, who works in the U.S.
In fact, Drauschke works just 37 hours a week and receives six weeks’ vacation each year, while Clark works at least 44 hours a week and takes off only a week at a time. Clark notes that Germans see leisure time as being more important than work time.
The difference between the German work style and the American work style extends into other areas. For example, turnover at the German store is all but nonexistent, while at the American store it is 40 percent a year. In addition, German employees receive extensive training, while workers at the American store receive minimal instruction.
Many employees at the American store also have a second job; however, Drauschke values his free time, and works no longer than absolutely necessary. His viewpoint is shared by other Germans, who fiercely protested the recent mandate that department stores would stay open one evening each week. Germany also prohibits working second jobs during vacation time.