Global Expansion and Cultural Issues

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PART TWO COUNTRY DIFFERENCES

One of the interesting aspects of Hindu culture is the reverence for the cow, which Hindus see as a gift of the gods to the human race. The sacred status of the cow created some unique problems for McDonald's when it entered India in the 1990s, since devout Hindus do not eat beef (and many are also vegetarians). The accompanying Management Focus looks at how McDonald's dealt with that challenge. Economic Implications of Hinduism Max Weber, who is famous for expounding on the Protestant work ethic: also argued that the ascetic principles embedded in Hinduism do not encourage the kind of to Weber, entrepreneurial activity in pursuit of wealth creation that we find in ~rotestantism.~~~ccording traditional Hindu values emphasize that individuals should not be judged by their material achievements, but by their spiritual achievements. Hindus perceive the pursuit of material well-being as making the attainment of nirvana more difficult. Given the emphasis on an ascetic lTfeftyle, Weber thought that . devout Hindus would be less likely to engage in entrepreneurial activity than devout Protestants. Mahatma Gandhi, the famous Indian nationalist and spiritual leader, was certainly the embodiment ofHindu asceticism. It has been argued that the values of Hindu asceticism and self-reliance that Gandhi advocated had a negative impact on the economic development of postindependence ~ n d i aBut ~ . ~ one must be careful not to read too much into Weber's arguments. Modem India is a very dynamic entrepreneurial society and millions of hardworking entrepreneurs form the economic backbone of India's rapidly growing economy. Historically, Hinduism also supported India's caste system. The concept of mobility between castes within an individual's lifetime makes no sense to traditional Hindus. Hindus see mobility between castes as something that is achieved through spiritual progression and reincarnation. An individual can be reborn into a higher caste in his next Iife if he achieves spiritual development in this life. In so far as the caste system limits individuals' opportunities to adopt positions of responsibility and influence in society, the economic consequences of this religious belief are somewhat negative. For example, within a business organization, the most able individuals may find their route to the higher levels of the organization blocked simply because they come from a lower caste. By the same token, individuals may get promoted im to higher positions within a f r as much because of their caste background as because of their ability. However, the caste system has been abolished in India and its influence is now fading.

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Buddhism
Buddhism was founded in India in the sixth century BC by Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who renounced his wealth to pursue an ascetic lifestyle and spiritual perfection. Siddhartha achieved nirvana but decided to remain on earth to teach his followers how they too could achieve this state of spiritual enlightenment. Siddhartha became known as the Buddha (which means "the awakened one"). Today Buddhism has 350 million followers, most of whom are found in Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan. According to Buddhism, suffering originates in people's desires for pleasure. Cessation

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Management Focus
In many ways, McDonald's Corporation has written are strictly segregated into vegetarian and the book on global expansion. Every day, on...
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