The Distinct Features of Hidden Champions in Germany: A Dynamic Capabilities View

28 Pages Posted: 2 May 2019

See all articles by Christian Rammer

Christian Rammer

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Industrial Economics and International Management Research

Alfred Spielkamp

University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Hidden Champions (HCs) are firms unknown to the wider public, but global leaders in the niche markets they serve. This paper looks at distinctive features of these firms, focusing on their dynamic capabilities. Employing a unique data base on German firms, we identify a representative sample of German HCs. Based on a matching technique, we examine differences to other firms in terms of the firms' processes, position, and path. We find that HCs' competitive strategy rests on technology leadership and customisation. HCs are more open in their knowledge management, but without compromising control over the new product development process. HCs do not invest more into innovation, but achieve higher innovation success. The higher efficiency can be linked to their superior technological capabilities and to higher investment in human capital and HR management practices that mobilise the creative potential of their employees.

Keywords: Hidden Champions, Germany, Competitive Strategy, Knowledge Management, Innovation, Dynamic Firm Capabilities

JEL Classification: L21, L25, M10, M21, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Rammer, Christian and Spielkamp, Alfred, The Distinct Features of Hidden Champions in Germany: A Dynamic Capabilities View (2019). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 19-012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3381500 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3381500

Christian Rammer (Contact Author)

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Industrial Economics and International Management Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1 D-68161 Mannheim
Germany

Alfred Spielkamp

University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen ( email )

Neidenburgerstrasse 43
D-45877 Gelsenkirchen
Germany
02 09 / 95 96 - 634 (Phone)
02 09 / 95 96 - 684 (Fax)

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