LEIZ-Director Prof Josef Wieland.
When the closure of a Siemens production plant in Görlitz, Thuringia, was announced despite the company being highly profitable, that decision was widely criticized. Among the most outspoken critics was the chairman of the Social Democratic Party in Germany (SPD), Martin Schulz, who labelled it ‘anti-social’ and ‘irresponsible’. Siemens chairman Joe Kaeser responded in an open letter defending the decision and pointing out that ensuring the company’s sustained profitability was a prerequisite for securing jobs for workers.
In the latest issue of Germany’s most influential weekly, DIE ZEIT (49/2017, p. 25), the director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin, Josef Wieland comments on this debate. ’Moral is put to the test’, Wieland says. Martin Schulz is defending the consensus of the social market economy ‘in a somewhat abrasive manner’. This consensus implies that the rich, e.g. Siemens, have to share their wealth with the less well-off. This is just as comprehensible as Joe Kaeser’s argument aiming at the company’s long-term stability. Without a debate on valid common values, this dissent ‘cannot be resolved’.