Cross Cultural Perspectives Essay

1799 words - 8 pages

A global organization with a multinational presence

To most of us, globalization—as a political, economic, social, and technological force—appears all but unstoppable. The ever-faster flow of information across the globe has made people aware of the tastes, preferences, and lifestyles of citizens in other countries. Through this information flow, we are all becoming—at varying speeds and at least in economic terms—global citizens. This convergence is controversial, even offensive, to some who consider globalization a threat to their identity and way of life. It is not surprising, therefore, that globalization has evoked counter forces aimed at preserving differences and deepening ...view middle of the document...

This reflects a vision of a semiglobalized world in which neither the bridges nor the barriers between countries can be ignored.

The globalization of Wal-Mart illustrates the complex realities of a more nuanced global competitive landscape (see the Wal-Mart minicase). It has been successful in markets that are culturally, administratively, geographically, and economically closest to the United States: Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. In other parts of the world, it has yet to meet its profitability targets. The point is not that Wal-Mart should not have ventured into more distant markets, but rather that such opportunities require a different competitive approach. For example, in India, which restricts foreign direct investment in retailing, Wal-Mart was forced to enter a joint venture with an Indian partner, Bharti, that operates the stores, while Wal-Mart deals with the back end of the business.

Finally, consider the history of Coca-Cola, which, in the late 1990s under chief executive officer Roberto Goizueta, fully bought into Levitt’s idea that the globalization of markets (rather than production) was imminent. Goizueta embarked on a strategy that involved focusing resources on Coke’s megabrands, an unprecedented amount of standardization, and the official dissolution of the boundaries between Coke’s U.S. and international organizations. Fifteen years later and under new leadership, Coke’s strategy looks very different and is no longer always the same in different parts of the world. In big, emerging markets such as China and India, Coke has lowered price points, reduced costs by localizing inputs and modernizing bottling operations, and upgraded logistics and distribution, especially rurally. The boundaries between the United States and international organizations have been restored, recognizing the fact that Coke faces very different challenges in America than it does in most of the rest of the world. This is because per capita consumption is an order of magnitude that is higher in the United States than elsewhere.

Cultural issue that affects this organization's interactions outside the United States

In venturing outside the United States, Wal-Mart had the option of entering Europe, Asia, or other countries in the western hemisphere. It realized that it did not have the resources—financial, organizational, and managerial—to enter all of them simultaneously and instead opted for a carefully considered, learning-based approach to market entry. During the first 5 years of its globalization (1991 to 1995), Wal-Mart concentrated heavily on establishing a presence in the Americas: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Canada. This choice was motivated by the fact that the European market was less attractive to Wal-Mart as a first point of entry. The European retail industry was already mature, which meant that a new entrant would have to take market share away from an existing player. There were well-entrenched...

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