The Machine Tool Industry: New Market Challenges and the Crisis of the Traditional German Pattern of Innovation

  • Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen


In the 1980s, the German machine tool industry’s situation looked exceedingly favorable initially — not least against the background of developments in the American industry. The quality of its products and its flexible, trained workforce meant that the branch was very efficient in coping with the varying demands of a heterogeneous market. But in the course of the first half of the 1990s, the German machine tool industry endured a crisis of similar magnitude to the U.S. in the 1980s. It was a crisis from which it is only slowly recovering. On the international stage, this has been most visible with its relinquishing to Japan of the leading position in the share of world exports. There has also been a similar fall in the number of employees — from well over 100,000 in 1990 to a good 66,000 in 1996. (In the U.S.A., machine tool employment fell from 110,000 to just over 65,000 from 1979 to 1990.)


Innovation Process Technical Personnel Innovative Capacity Innovative Capability Industrial Innovation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

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  • Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen

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