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one assumption that can be made and is supported by a large number of
researchers is that one size does not fit all and knowledge based on this is
the best way of tackling the challenges of cross-cultures. In order for the
organizations to internationalize successfully, it is recommended that more
than research method is used for reliable results and tested for validity
before generalizing to other cultures. Research should be conducted widely
considering all aspects of different cultures including employee background.
However, the research carried out must have participant consent and should be
conducted ethically causing no harm to the participants. It is also recommended
that business should not solely focus on just differences in values but also
consider similarities; perhaps this may decrease the likelihood of cross
cultural challenges occurring. However, this will be something that can be
achieved over a long period of time.
It is advised that all research is conducted ethically.
However, all social research involves ethical issues as it requires data
collection from people about themselves. Qualitative research mainly deals with
more emotional and sensitive factors in peoples’ lives. Therefore, results must
stay confidential and perhaps anonymous. All information collected must be kept
in a secure place and consent should be given by participants before further
research is carried out. Questions
should be designed in a way that requires culturally sensitive information such
as sex and religion. For honest and realistic results, questionnaires should be
anonymous, so participants provide a truthful insight. Any harm to research participants
must be avoided. Reason for research being carried out must be clearly
specified. Results should have face validity as it refers to the ‘obviousness’
of a test or research (Nevo, 1985).
Culture ethics awareness and Conclusion.
Analysis by metaphor is also recommended. This refers to a word or phrase in relation to an
object or action that it does not literally signify in order to imply a
resemblance'(Oswick et al 2002:296). For example, Bureaucratic Culture (MACHINE, CAGE) which places emphasis on rules,
policies, decision making and procedures. Clan
Culture (ANTS, BRAIN) this is based around a working family, tradition,
self-management and social influence. Entrepreneurial
Culture (LIONS) referring to creativity, aggressively looking for opportunities
and innovation. Finally, Market Culture (ORGANISM) focuses on increased profits and market
share, being financially stable and cohesiveness. Researchers can sort cultures
and findings into these categories. Metaphors can aid organizations when
considering the nature of a phenomenon. By looking for similar traits
between different cultures ‘they reify and act as ideological distortions’ and
‘they can obscure and lead the generation of scientific knowledge’ (Oswick et
three- Analysis by metaphor.
In order to validate differences in values within societal
organisations, the GLOBE Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness
research programme may be considered. Using the work of Hofstede and Kluckhon
and Strodtbeck, GLOBE developed nine dimensions. The dimensions are used to
examine the values construct at organizational and societal levels. Cultural
groups should therefore be identified on the basis of similarities and
differences between individuals, irrespective of their nationality or physical
location (Venail and Midgley, 2015). It
is best advised to concentrate on the culture of the specific subgroups of
interest, rather than ascribing the same national culture dimensions to
It is recommended that future research may include various
research methods. Comparison through studies will allow the companies to
establish a wide range of qualitative knowledge about different cultures. Structured/unstructured
interviews can be used to gather information on cultural backgrounds of
employees fast and effectively. Unlike questionnaires, during interviews
answers can be picked upon and questions can be clarified. Case studies may
also be used to as a basis for further research for example, the historical and
ethnographic approach of Phillipe D’Iribarne. He developed a very different
approach based on the study of organizations in different countries, which
enabled him to show cultural logics at work in greater detail. For example,
Starbucks used market surveys, customer questionnaires and interviews to
identify whether their business would be successful in a different culture.
Therefore, proving the advantages of using various research methods.
two- Considering numerous research methods and tools/programmes.
If the workplace adopts the theories without cultural
customizations it may not result in success. The organizations need to be aware
of employees’ cultural background. Within a multicultural organization,
cultural similarities and differences should be considered. Research should be
done widely so it is realistic when generalised to other cultures, however, it
can be highly time consuming and expensive to conduct research. The findings
from the research should be incorporated in the intervention of
internationalisation to allow a successful process. Future research should consider
similarities across the differing cultures and nations. Most cross-cultural
studies have developed studies based around the oppositions in value and
culture. However, by identifying the similarities those differences can be made
clearer along with cultural traits. For example, a study by Stevens (2013)
found that workplace values in the UK are not significantly different in
comparison to Canada. Furthermore, McDonald’s has successfully conducted
research before internationalising regarding preferences of different cultures
such as providing halal options in regions with a high population of Muslim
Theorists must consider all cultures and countries when
generalising their findings to gain reliable results. Majority of cultures are
dynamic and are evolving. Culture is best understood at a subnational level.
Therefore, to minimise the likelihood of cross cultural challenges occurring,
organisations are recommended to use the method ethnography. It is used to
describe cultures and understanding the way of life through the participants perspective.
The researcher from the organization must participate in peoples’ daily lives
for a long period of time, observing and collecting relevant data. This will
allow the organizations to draw attention to numerous aspects of cultural
functioning and identify cultural logics at work in the organizations
(Barbichon, 1989). An example of an ethnography is fieldworkers transferring
into office based work, “…living in the
culture studied helps the fieldworker gradually learn the intricacies of the
group, such as ‘how people … reinforce their own cultural practices to maintain
the integrity of their system” (Fetterman 1989:27).
one-considering all cultures and countries using ethnography.
As globalization increases, companies face more cross-cultural
challenges. As highlighted in part one of this report, there are several
challenges posed by differences in values. To achieve a successful process of
internationalisation, research must be carried out based on the organization’s
own cultural values and not dependent on research conducted in other cultures. However,
these issues can be overcome with various different methods and theories to
make internationalization smooth
To conclude, there are several challenges when dealing with
differences in values. Research by Hofstede provides an important context for
understanding cross cultural management. His dimensions allow organizations
such as coca cola to gain an insight of implications for individual and group
expectations in relation to differences in values. For example, cultures where
employees expect individual excellence or group reward solely depends on the
cultural perception of individualism versus collectivism. Hofstede’s findings
are highly unlikely to be affected by the differences in culture (Smith, 2015).
By applying Hofstede’s model, organizations can quantify the different
dimensions of a culture to gain a clearer understanding. However, only one
organization was utilized in his study making generalisations to other cultures
unreliable. Trompenaar supported Hofstede’s work by conducted a very similar
study. Like Hofstede, Trompenaar highlighted the possible cross-cultural
problems organizations can face during internationalization. Although, differences
in values have been specified and what problems they may pose, it is essential
to consider all cultures. Many cultures are always evolving, to generalise this
can be difficult.
Trompenaar’s work has been disapproved by many. A correlation between findings
at the individual, organizational and country wide level was not found by
Trompenaar. Broeways and Price (2011) contrast the work of Trompenaar with
Hofstede as they both have worked between the same methodological paradigm.
However, Trompenaar’s work is deemed as more representative (Koen, 2005). The
difference therefore is that Trompenaar’s study focuses on a person’s culture,
showing exactly the choice and way, the actions are planned, while Hofstede
tries to investigate cultural layers and allowed managers to make their own
forecast of people’s behaviours
can be used as example that may pose as a challenge. Trompenaar’s research
discovered that some of his national participants were not comfortable with
expressing distress at work as it is considered a strong emotion. This proves
high unreliable and cannot be accurately generalized to other cultures. The
Japanese sample was at 74% whereas India 51%. However, this could pose as a
dilemma for managers who are dealing with national employees because some
employees may show signs of aggression whereas others may not. For example,
India falls into the emotional category as feelings are expressed very openly
(Broaways and Price 2011). They usually openly express problems with one
another and have the tendency to mostly be surrounded with family. Finland on
the other hand is considered as a neutral culture where clear objectives are
prioritized as logic overrules emotions. Emotions are controlled and not often
Trompenaar’s study concentrates on values and relationships. He conducted a survey
of 15,000 managers, from 28 countries over a decade, His data is drawn from
quantitative questionnaires. This allowed Trompenaar to develop Bipolar
cultural dimensions. This includes Universalism and Particularism, Individualism
and Communitarianism, Neutral and Emotional/Affective, Specific and Diffuse, Achievement and Ascription and Outer-directed—Inner-directed. Trompenaar and Hampden-Turner (1997 &
2004) state that their study can help managers identify the core assumptions of
culture. However, it can be argued that quantitative data is not as informative
Hofstede’s tendency to oversimplify complex social phenomena can
be criticised. Lu (2012) explains that this approach does not consider ethnicity
or multiculturalism. This may affect Coca Cola because language and
communication will act as a barrier if the point above is not incorporated;
preventing the exchange of ideas and thoughts in the workplace. This study is
also out-dated as cultures are dynamic, therefore, are evolving all the time.
Nevertheless, Hofstede’s study was only based within one firm
(IBM) and generalised to a wide range of cultures. If Hofstede was consistent
in his research, he would gather that each individual within each country
shares the same national culture (McSweeney, 2002). He assumes the population
of the national cultures are homogenous. However, most countries are a
heterogeneous with a selection of cultures. This is further supported by DiMaggio
(1997), his research has found that culture is fragmented across groups and
national lines; often overlapping across national boundaries. Clegg et al
(2011) also questioned the validity of the methodology used. Anthropologist Malcolm
Chapman (1997) claims that the use of questionnaires on defining cultures is
rejected by many anthropologists.
The final dimension focuses on uncertainty avoidance in certain
cultures. Hofstede et al. (2010) concluded that individuals are reluctant to
change and prefer being active at all times in the workplace, and more reinforcement
in uncertainty-avoiding environments. This may pose as a threat for new
products like Coca Cola. This is because cultures with a preference of less
change will be more hesitant to buying the products, therefore, resulting in a
profitable loss in the company. However, with enough, well placed advertisement
this can be overcome. With this knowledge, the company can anticipate cross
cultural challenges that can develop from different attitudes to taking risks
Certain societies are characterised as being competitive and
assertive (masculine) and others are concerned with quality of life and
relationships (feminine). Using his initial studies at IMB, Hofstede states that
in masculine values such as high performance and exercise of power are used to
characterise cultures, as are feminine values. Thus, attitudes towards working
may be diverse across different cultures. In addition, people from masculine
cultures are more attentive to the competitive environment, whereas feminine
cultural traits refer to more peaceful and caring factors (Higgins, 1997).
However, Hofstede himself claimed that this dimension was a ‘taboo’;
interpretation of this attribute might have been derived from a particular time
and place. He claims that’s India scores a 56 in this dimension which implies
that people have the tendency to dwell upon success and power, meaning they buy
products that are validated by material gains. A further example is found in
the research of Australian and South Asian regions, Niles (1995) discovered that
students from Australia (masculine) identified competition whereas caring about
a family’s expectations and relationships, significantly motivated the South
Asian students (feminine).
Furthermore, issues of individualism and collectivism may
arise as a means of cross cultural differences. Individualistic countries value
getting the job done themselves whereas, collectivistic countries value team
effort and do not seek individualistic rewards. For example, the United Kingdom
is more individualistic in comparison to India. India is highly concerned with
family, organization, tradition and conformity. This could pose as a challenge
during the process of internationalisation for Coca Cola as some form of
personal sacrifice may be necessary for the sake of common good as collective
achievement is the focus. Also, employees of multicultural background will have
different values, some may seek individual recognition where as others will
look for team reward. This is a challenge Coca Cola could face as they would
have to make a central decision on where individualistic or collectivist goals need
to be set within different cultures.
Non-Confucian countries such as Brazil and India have a high
score on the dimension of time orientation. India has a preference for a long-term
pragmatic culture which highly orientates around religion and philosophy. They
like to honour traditions whilst viewing societal changes to modernise their
way of living. On the other hand, short term orientation focuses prioritising
the present or past in comparison to the future. Tradition, current social
hierarchy and social obligations are valued as a source of immediate
gratification This highlights a big difference in values as Coca Cola would
have to abide by the religious sentiments and present/past values of people if
it wants to develop as a brand. This may be difficult to take into account as
Coca Cola would have to research specific values and beliefs as they will vary
in different places.
Despite Coca cola’s “think global, act local” campaign,
Hofstede’s Dimensions of cultures state the possible challenges faced by the
company during internationalisation. Hofstede et al. (2010) stated that, in a
power distance environment, unequal power is the result of the hierarchical system. The first dimension
looks at India’s high power distance and Coca Cola. The rich and powerful tend to buy things that
signify this. People buy Coca cola not for the purpose of the drink but as a
status symbol. This may be a struggle for Coca Cola during internationalisation
as they will have to consider values people add to products in different
countries. Although, D’Iribarne (1997)
followed Hofstede’s methodology but found different results, proving
According to Hofstede (2001), a key assumption is that
culture can be measured objectively using numerical cultural scores. Such
scores can be used to measure values. Hofstede et al (2010) conducted research
based on statistical analysis of questionnaires (117,000) gathered in 1967 and
1973 from employees of IMB in 40 different countries. Hofstede stresses that
“culture was the only one source of difference between people” (2001). National
culture is identified as a way of thinking and acting in a country. (Marquardt
et al., 2004). This may explain the challenges Coca Cola will face with cross
cultural working during internationalisation. This is because nations contain
strong attainment of laws, values, language and furthermore. Hofstede conducted
extensive studies into national cultural differences within IMB. The statistical
methods used, allowed Hofstede to validate the four dimensions and later
develop a fifth dimension.
Hall (1976) used high and low context communication as a
basis for understanding cultural differences. High context referring to groups
where people have close connections over long periods of time. Places like
brazil and the middle east are a prime example of high context cultures.
Whereas low context learning is having connection over a specific duration; it is
usually rule orientated, for example, Large US airports. For example, interactions
between high and low context individuals can lead to several problems. The
Japanese can find Westerners to be dulled and Westerners have found Japanese to
be secretive. High context cultures are highly focused on indirect methods of
communication. Low context nations find it difficult to endure diversity. However,
this has been criticised as it heavily relies on other studies to show the consequences
of a high or low index.
Culture is best described by Hofstede (2001) as a collective
function that distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.
Although, culture does not identify the exact behaviour of people, it does
portray the expectations and anticipated behaviours within a social context.
This report will analyse the challenges within cross cultural working during
the process of internationalisation in relation to Coca Cola.
PART ONE- Critical
review of topic chosen