International sourcing can represent a significant amount of an organization's costs, particularly for manufacturing concerns. Recent studies suggest that international supply management may be relatively more important to German companies than it currently is to their U.S. counterparts, and indicate that a cross-national study may lead to important insights as to why this difference might exist. For example, cultural differences between the United States and Germany may lead to different management approaches (Hofstede 1984; Schwartz 1994). Practitioners can often learn valuable lessons by examining these differences and comparing the activities of managers in their country with those of another. Thus, the objective of this study is to compare the international supply management systems of U.S. organizations with those of their German counterparts, and examine the factors that drive and help to shape an organization's international supply management system.
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