Culture and Business

Topics: Culture, Sociology, Ethics Pages: 28 (7519 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Differences in Culture
Chapter Outline

OPENING CASE: McDonald’s in India

INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS CULTURE?

Values and Norms
Culture, Society, and the Nation-State
The Determinants of Culture

SOCIAL STRUCTURE

Individuals and Groups
Social Stratification
Country Focus: Breaking India’s Caste System

RELIGIOUS AND ETHICAL SYSTEMS

Christianity
Islam
Country Focus: Islamic Capitalism in Turkey
Hinduism
Buddhism
Confucianism
Management Focus: DMG-Shanghai

LANGUAGE

Spoken Language
Unspoken Language

EDUCATION

CULTURE AND THE WORKPLACE

CULTURAL CHANGE

FOCUS ON MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS

Cross-Cultural Literacy
Culture and Competitive Advantage

SUMMARY

CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

CLOSING CASE: Wal-Mart’s Foreign Expansion

Learning Objectives

1. Know what is meant by the culture of a society.

2. Identify the forces that lead to differences in social culture.

4. Identify the business and economic implications of differences in culture.

5. Understand how differences in social culture influence values in the workplace.

6. Develop an appreciation for the economic and business implications of cultural change.

Chapter Summary

This chapter begins by introducing the concept of culture. The determinants of culture are identified, which include religion, political philosophy, economic philosophy, education, language, and social structure. The first half of the chapter focuses on the influence of social structure, religion, language, and education on culture. The section on religion explains the economic implications of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. In addition, Geert Hofstede’s model of how a society’s culture impacts the values found in the workplace is presented. According to Hofstede, cultures vary along the lines of power distance, individualism versus collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity versus femininity. The concept of ethnocentric behavior is introduced. Finally, the author reiterates the point that the value systems and norms of a country influence the costs of doing business in that country.

Opening Case: McDonald’s In India

Summary

The opening case explores the unique challenges faced by McDonald’s in India. The cow is considered sacred in India’s Hindu culture prompting McDonald’s to alter its menu to offer mutton and chicken alternatives to its traditional beef burgers. McDonald’s now has over 130 restaurants in India and many more are planned. However, the company was recently the target of negative reports when it was discovered that its French fries were cooked in oil that contained beef extract. Discussion of the case can revolve around the following questions:

Suggested Discussion Questions

QUESTION 1: How did McDonald’s change its product line to meet the needs of the Indian market? Does the Indian version of McDonald’s still maintain the company’s identity?

ANSWER 1: In response to the needs of the Indian market, McDonald’s changed its menu to include mutton and chicken products rather than the beef based products that are featured in its regular menu. Most students will probably suggest that even with the changes, the company remained true to its identity because it used names similar to traditional names to describe the new products, and built its restaurants following the traditional American style.

QUESTION 2: Did McDonald’s handle the revelation that its French fries contained beef extract well? What would you have done differently?

ANSWER 2: The lawsuit against McDonald’s over the presence of beef extract in its French fries caught the company off-guard. McDonald’s quickly acknowledged its mistake, and settled the lawsuit. The company also made a public apology and vowed to be more accurate in its food labeling in the future. However, many...
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