Case Study of a Cross-Cultural Organization

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Organizational Behavior Final:
Clayton J. Ollarvia
collariva@gmail.com
Organizational Behavior
October 4, 2012
Looking into Nestle S.A and its disconnect with
Cross-cultural communication and decisions

Nestle SA is a Swiss Company engaged in the nutrition, health and wellness sectors. It is the holding company of the Nestle Group, which comprises subsidiaries, associated companies and joint ventures throughout the world. It has such business units as Food and Beverage, Nestle Waters and Nestle Nutrition. It is also active in the pharmaceutical sector. It divides its products into Powdered and liquid beverages, Water, Milk products and Ice cream, Nutrition, Prepared dishes and cooking aids, Confectionery, PetCare and Pharmaceutical products. The Nestlé Group is managed by geographies (Zones Europe, Americas and Asia/Oceania/Africa) for most of the food and beverage business, with the exceptions of Nestlé Waters, Nestlé Nutrition, Nestlé Purina Petcare, Nespresso, Nestlé Professional and Nestlé Health Science which are managed on a global basis - these we call the Globally Managed Businesses. We also have joint ventures such as Cereal Partners Worldwide and Beverage Partners Worldwide. In regards to the operations elsewhere, Nestlé USA caters to cravings on this side-of-the-Atlantic, from a child's sweet tooth to a grown-up's caffeine fix. The company is a major subsidiary of Swiss food giant Nestlé S.A. Nestlé USA produces hundreds of well-known food brands, including frozen pizza (Tombstone, DiGiorno), chocolate and candies (Baby Ruth, Goobers), beverages (Nestea, Taster's Choice, Nesquick), juices (Juicy Juice), canned milk (Carnation), ice cream (Edy's, Häagan-Dazs), baking goods (Nestlé Toll House, Libby's), and prepared meals (Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine). (http://www.hoovers.com/company/Nestl%E9_USA_Inc/cysfyi-1.html

Specifically where I see Nestle could benefit from understanding some of the Organizational Behavior practices is in the realm of (cross-cultural) decision making and in Personality Traits. Nestle needs to recognize how to make decisions based upon more than just sales goals. A common definition of decision-making is the process of choosing a course of action for dealing with a problem or an opportunity. Schermerhorn, John R. (11/2011). Organizational Behavior, 12th Edition [1] (VitalSource Bookshelf), Retrieved from http://online.vitalsource.com/books/9781118426319/id/L9-1-1

One of the biggest problems with Nestle is that it is indeed a global company. A majority of the Presidents and Vice-Presidents and senior staff all reside in Switzerland and travel inconsistently to other countries and regions. This traveling issue makes it hard for management to be able to effectively know how to 1. Communicate with others in other countries and 2. Understand the differences in cultural mores from country to country. Moreover things that affect the economy in the Eastern countries does not effect the west. However, more than likely they expect things to work in similar if not the same ways from culture to culture and economy to economy.

What this problem lends itself to is a lack of cross cultural management and ability to understand the proper ways to address other cultures. Although those of the Swiss culture tend to be very manner-able and well liked, often times we would find them somewhat unrelenting and slightly rude on conference calls and communications. A large faction of what I saw was miscues from managers not being able to communicate across different ethnic and cultural lines. This was even more evident with regional managers having to disseminate information to retail operations across the border and into other geographies.

After going through all of our upcoming TCO’s I would like to investigate how given an understanding of the communication process and given specific incidents of cross-cultural communication problems, I plan to develop a strategy for improving organizational...
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