As the US tries to drag itself out of the economic malaise triggered by the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, it finds itself at defining moment in its history.
How can the country maintain its pre-eminence politically in the face of growing pressure from China and India? How can it leverage its intellectual capital so that it continues to be the entrepreneurial world hub and centre of innovation and excellence? US-business ideas and approaches are being scrutinised as never before – is the country ready for the challenge of what many see as the Asian century?
For a century or more the US has led the way in banking and finance, high-tech, computing and pharmaceuticals. US business methodologies have led growth and innovation in a way rarely seen in the history of the world and an understanding of how things work in the States is essential for anybody who works internationally.
More than any other industrialised country, the United States has adopted what could be labelled a scientific approach to business. Every aspect of commercial life is studied and analysed and this scientific approach is both respected and acted upon. Far more resource is available in the US for the study of the methodology of business than in any other country and most new management theory and doctrines have their origins in the States.
In the States everything is quantified and assessed. All processes, even down to such issues as HR and Training are analysed in a detailed manner and the results of this analysis carry weight with decision makers.
This scientific approach – the constant search for better, more effective methods – has led to a business environment typified by the presence of change as a constant factor. The most common response to a changing environment is realignment of the organisation and this, in turn, has produced a work force in a state of constant flux. People leave, are fired or made redundant and then reappear in another organisation. This sense of employee mobility should not, however, be equated with a lack of loyalty to the employer for whom you are currently working. Whilst working for the company you put everything into the job and are totally committed.