Every week a business school professor, an expert in his or her field, defines a key term on FT Lexicon, our online economics, business and finance glossary.
Our professor this week
David Walters is honorary professor of logistics and supply chain management at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney. He has held posts at the universities of Western Sydney (Sydney Graduate School of Management, where he was professor of value chain management), Macquarie University, where he was professor of marketing and head of business studies department, Oxford university, where he was a fellow in marketing at Templeton College and Cranfield School of Management, where he was a senior lecturer in marketing logistics.
He earned his BA at the University of Alberta, an MSc at Bradford University School of Management and a PhD from Cranfield School of Management.
He currently teaches and researches global value chain management and value chain costing. His research interests are focused upon manufacturing and distribution networks and their application to global value chains. A particular interest is the micro-multinational business model and its application to the development of Australian manufacturing. He has published a number of textbooks in business and marketing subjects, the most recent, Managing in the Value Chain Network was published in 2012. He has also published more than 30 articles in professional journals.
Prof Walters has teaching experience across a wide range of continents including North America, The Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. In addition to his wide teaching experience, he has acted as a consultant for a number of international companies.
Prof Walters has chosen to define Mittelstand.
Why Prof Walters thinks it is important to understand Mittelstand
“The ’Mittelstand model’ is becoming significant in the current business environment within which global value chain networks are competing with each other,” says Prof Walters. He points out that recent data from EU countries indicate that specialist SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in global B2B (business to business) markets are leading the recovery in those countries experiencing an upturn.
“Specialist expertise and a strategy of targeting niche markets has been, and continues to be, successful in both difficult and less complex economic circumstances,” Prof Walters says. He thinks both German and Japanese models show a planned approach to management succession, strong employee loyalty and an ability to fund a portion of their activities from internally generated funds. “These characteristics have clearly contributed to their success,” says Prof Walters.
To find out more about Mittelstand, click on the linked terms.