The undisputed facts about outsourcing, Part 6: Europeans love money, but hate change

The one thing that has always baffled me about the European Union, is how they try and unite a hodge-podge of countries which despise each other, when all they really want to do is carry on doing things their way and never take orders from anyone.  

They clearly have three goals within the EU:

1. To make pots of money from that expensive Euro (what a great excuse to raise the price of a coffee from 50 cents to $10);

2. To have a powerless European governance system and keep things exactly as they have always been at the local level;

3. To beat the Americans at golf  every two years (even though the Irish don’t need any continental help in that regard).

And when you look at the individual outsourcing intentions of continental Europeans versus the other regions, from our new study that we just conducted with the Outsourcing Unit at the London School of Economics, exactly the same philosophy seems to apply:

 

So what’s really driving outsourcing decision-making across the world?

United States: Let’s save some money, but also use this as an opportunity to globalize operations, transform processes and gain access to compliance standards and business process acumen that we – let’s face it – simply don’t have.  Let’s take a realistic view of what we can get from the experience: use it as an opportunity to manage our ropy processes more effectively, but let’s not go overboard with the “forcing change” stuff, or having any fancy new technology thrown at us – as there’s never such a thing as a free lunch, folks.

Britain: Please can we shed the costs and change the bloody processes – but our existing bunch are going to be smart enough to figure it out – and we certainly don’t need to be told what to do – especially by our former colonies.  We used to run the world, you know…

Continental Europe: Ah… mes amis!  Let’s rip out ze costs, but for ‘eaven’s sake, don’t make any changes to our mother-ship.  By all means, sack all the expensive foreign staff in the vorldvide offices and sheeft ze vork to India or Les Philippines, but – we repeat – don’t CHANGE anything!

Asia: You mean we can offload all our terrible back office stuff and have you lot run it for us cheaper and better? Take it now – ALL of it!

So there you have it: HfS sums up world politics and culture in a single chart and blog post.

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14 Comments

  1. Steve Butterworth
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Fantastic! How to be realistic and politically incorrect disguised by humour :)

    Steve

  2. Posted July 19, 2011 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    On a serious note… it isn’t just simply about money and although it would appear to be benefits without effort the real objective is to sustain business using whatever support outlet that is available. I feel that cost containment, at least on the Asian front, will suffer a trimming to a point where deliver will be jeopardized. Most of which is driven by buyers trying to trim cost to sustain their business enterprises (maybe as a matter of procurement policy). Suppliers have to be willing to stay the line on cost reductions that place them at risk for the same of cash flow.

  3. John
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago.

    Question: What’s the difference between Heaven and Hell in Europe?

    Answer:

    In Heaven, the cooks are French, the police are British, the engineers are Germans, the lovers are all Italians, and the Swiss are in charge of the place.

    In Hell, the police are German, the engineers are French, the cooks are British, the lovers are Swiss and the Italians are in charge of everything.

  4. Paul Smith
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    That was hilarious, but also very informative – best post of the year, Phil!

  5. Andrew Wagoner
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    This is frighteningly close to life. Great post.

  6. Fred Dempster
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    LOL – Great picture! On the US drivers, the reality of transformation is not ever nearly the picture going in, though some succeed, it is still a slow cumbersome effort to improve.

  7. gaurav
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Phil,

    So true – everyone wants to save the money, but doesn’t really want to change to do it. Good to see this attitude is changing (somewhat) in the US and Asia/Pac

    Gaurav

  8. james Wheeler
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Brilliant analysis! So true about the Europeans – they are ruthless at shedding costs everywhere outside of their own country. Plus – they NEVER want to try anything different.

    James Wheeler

  9. Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    On a serious note – not surprising at all and right to the point your post. Just check the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) of the Hofstede study for the different countries and your points are confirmed with a 30 Year old study…
    http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_united_states.shtml

  10. Glenn Gruber
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Phil,

    I shared this post with a few colleagues across the pond and not only did they take great offense to the post, the disagreed with the conclusions based upon their own experiences. Would you be open to a chat?

    Best regards,

    Glenn

  11. Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Glenn – I would be delighted to talk to them.

    Being a Brit living in America, I would be more than willing to have an open discussion about how Brits and Continental Europeans view and behave when it comes to outsourcing :)

    PF

  12. Kieran Dempsey
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Glenn,

    If anyone is offended by this they either:

    a) have no sense of humor,
    b) know it’s true and don’t like data proving it, or
    c) both of the above!

    Kieran.

  13. Kevin Coolidge
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe for one minute anyone would be offended by this blog. Europeans maybe many things, but most have the ability to have a good laugh at themselves.

    Glenn – I suggest you examine your colleagues’ sense of humor more closely!

    Kevin Coolidge

  14. Posted December 27, 2011 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    MAGNIFIQUE!!! :-)

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  4. By The defining outsourcing moments of 2011 on December 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

    [...] managed to upset some Europeans with this one. Ah… mes amis!  Let’s rip out ze costs, but for ‘eaven’s sake, don’t make any changes [...]

  5. [...] [ The undisputed facts about outsourcing, Part 6: Europeans love money, but hate change |  JULY 18TH, 2011 | http://www.horsesforsources.com ] Ah… mes amis!  Let’s rip out ze costs, but for ‘eaven’s sake, don’t make any changes to our mother-ship.  By all means, sack all the expensive foreign staff in the vorldvide offices and sheeft ze vork to India or Les Philippines, but – we repeat – don’t CHANGE anything! [...]

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