We recommend to take notice of a study published 2016 (available only in German language) by the trade union orientated German Otto Brenner Foundation focusing on regional, sectoral, company and work place level productivity practices. The paper refers to the meaning(s) and implementation of productivity enhancing potentials using the example of the metal and electrical industries in the Eastern part of Germany.
A major argument of the authors is that productivity is supposed to be an objective and academically precise measure based on clear-cut indicators. As a matter of fact this seeming impartiality often obscures the protection of special interests of different interest groups. In addition, a lot of problems emerges from measurement ambiguities.
Finally, the paper concludes that the structural differences between western and eastern regions are the main reason for the indurated west-east productivity differences. If one considers the sectoral composition, the size of firms, the functional divisions, the business operating areas and the regional clusters the assertion of an East German labour productivity lag turns out to be untenable.