Cross-Cultural Conflicts in the Corning-Vitro Joint Venture
Corning Inc. is a US company that has a record of some 40 successful global joint ventures over the course of 73 years. Their success rate in joint ventures is over 80 percent which is well above the 50 percent average for successful foreign and national alliances. Through their years of success and experience, their formula for determining whether to partner with another organization boiled down to two factors. First, will the partnership give Corning access to “markets that it cannot penetrate quickly enough to obtain a competitive advantage” and second, “will the partnership allow Corning to bring its technology to the market”. These two factors were met when Corning considered a joint venture with Vitro, a glass manufacturing plant found in Monterey, Mexico. Vitro, like Corning, was also successful in global joint ventures and would give Corning access to the Mexican market while enjoying the complement of Vitro’s products to Corning’s consumers. “The similarities in history, philosophy, culture, goals, and objectives of both companies would lead to the logical conclusion that this alliance should be an instant success”. Corning’s strategic predisposition in dealing with the new joint venture with Vitro was ethnocentric; they allowed the values and interests of their own culture to steer the strategic decisions for Vitro. In making their marketing decisions, Corning wanted a “more quick-action oriented and aggressive sales approach” that they found successful in the fast-paced, highly competitive environment of the United States. This clashed with Vitro’s less aggressive and more deliberate and slow moving sales strategy developed through their experience in dealing with a historically “highly controlled Mexican economy”. Unfortunately, due to some major cultural differences that were not successfully identified, planned for, or dealt with, the partnership between...
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