Best practice

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The term best practice , and success method , successful model or formula for success called, comes from the Anglo-American Business Administration and referred proven, optimal or best methods, practices or procedures within the company. The term is now used more generally for the successful method or best possible method, for example in political contexts.

Meaning of the term

When a company follows a best practice , it uses e.g. For example, proven and cost-effective procedures, technical systems and business processes follow model companies that are known at least in key areas of work and thus turn it into a model company for third parties.

Best practice means that a certain procedure is generally recognized as the most sensible alternative - one could also speak of a de facto standard . This expression is used particularly frequently in relation to computer programs and their implementation as well as for network protocols and their specification .

A best practice is merely a non-binding recommendation on how to proceed in a particular case. It is therefore more flexible than a standard: If requirements or conditions change, a different approach can be more promising. If the requirements change permanently, the assessment should be revised.

Violence prevention

In the field of criminologically oriented prevention of violence, bullying and other crimes, as well as in primary, universal or general prevention, the above-mentioned is becoming more and more common in Germany through recent European attempts to evaluate and standardize known projects and programs. Terminology used. For example, the EUCPN (European Crime Prevention Network) asks at intervals about suitable practices in its member states to be labeled. This is also (deliberately) misunderstood locally; For example, more and more program operators come up with self-certification best practice , while more modest ones approve good practice as soon as a process evaluation is available.

Matching German translation

The term best practice is translated into German with an optimal business process , best method , best practice , best approach or best procedure . The translation success method goes beyond the comparative evaluation and claims a special suitability for a certain goal.

Modal restriction

The validity of a best practice can be modally constrained. So z. B. individual RFCs classified as best current practice - in contrast to official standards or international norms . The term is also used in areas other than business administration or computer technology.

Orientation is best

It is possible to determine the best course of action achieved after benchmarking , when several comparable companies have exchanged views in order to find the best in this group. With the orientation towards "Best Practice", the weaker companies want to measure, evaluate and, if necessary, improve their own services, products, projects, methods and systems with the practical yardstick of others.

The prerequisite for success is to completely transfer the process structure from the best practice company. Half-hearted changes fail because of this. Anyone who prides themselves as a "best practice company" wants to point out their exemplary working method and quality that has been ascertained externally.

On the term good practice

In order to avoid an immediate restructuring of their company, managers may be satisfied with good practice . This means the implementation of selective measures that significantly improve the company's success, at least in some areas, and combine moderate renovation with the renunciation of striving for top performance at all costs.

On the term worst practice

In contrast to best practice, there are examples that have to be described as worst practice because they were inefficient and unproductive and, in the worst case, led to the failure of a task. This expresses an a posteriori perspective, i.e. that is, identifiable errors have been made.

An advantage of worst practice is that clear errors can be recognized and potentially avoided as a result. Learning from mistakes can in turn lead to best practice . A dynamic of failure and success becomes evident. However, worst practice is not communicated nearly as publicly as best practice / good practice . The reasons for this can be varied. Instead of deterrence, the result could be demotivation. Another psychological explanation would be the negative image of failure that should be avoided.


The criticism of best practice sees it as an expression of the US-American, neoclassical ideal of deregulated markets and unrestricted entrepreneurial prerogatives . It refuses to enforce such homogeneous entrepreneurial action globally - also in Europe and Japan.

In the corporate environment, best-practice processes can never be state-of-the-art at the same time , because by definition they rely on the tried and tested from the past.

Parallel phenomena

Not only in the field of business administration have specific best practices in the sense of proven success processes and methods developed. For example, the Code of Corporate Governance applies in the field of corporate governance and the concept of good governance (since 1992, World Bank) in the field of governance .

Individual evidence

  1. Duden entry
  2. ^ Translation in , requested on February 4, 2009
  3. Werner Abelshauser: Kulturkampf. The German way into the new economy and the American challenge . Pages 8, 22, 141, 181. Berlin 2003. ISBN 3-931659-51-8

Web links

Wiktionary: Best Practice  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations