The study seeks to investigate cultural diversity of Nestle in China to learn the extent that Nestle is implementing this strategy, the cultural diversity problems and issues that the company is experiencing, and the solutions and alternatives available to address these problems and issues. The study should support the importance of cultural diversity in enhancing competitive strength of business firms as well as provide best practices on integrating cultural diversity in global business operations.
Cultural diversity pertains to individual differences emanating from varying traits and experiences (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars 1998, p. 8). As such, this has a multi-faceted expression including gender, age, ethnicity, disability, and even sexual orientation. Differences influence individual perceptions, attitudes and behavior. In the business setting, diversity means the existence of different opinions on issues and suggestions on the fitting solution to these problems.
Diversity cannot be declared outright as good or bad because differences involve advantages and disadvantages to all business organizations. An encompassing advantage includes the richness and variety of knowledge, skills, experiences and other competencies that enhances the quality of output of the business firm through creative inputs and innovations. A disadvantage could be the time and monetary cost involved in settling conflicts in opinion especially when opposing sides hold equally strong positions. (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars 1998, p. 190) Diversity can become a source of business strength. International companies engaging in a multicultural market can diversify its workforce in order to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the various needs of a culturally diverse market. (Moran 2006, p. 15) Global companies such as Nestle operating in China, with a market having distinct cultural characteristics and experiences, can position the company and achieve competitive advantage by diversifying its workforce in China.
To strategize on diversification activities businesses rely on best practices derived from the organizational learning achieved by business firms applying various diversification strategies in actual business contexts. However, based on available literature, there are no studies focusing on the actual experiences of business firms with diversification in actual business settings, particularly diversity in the food and beverage industry in China. You may also be interested in BCG matrix of NESTLE
On this note, the study seeks to fill this knowledge gap by investigating in-depth the concept of cultural diversity and corporate culture as well as the manner that these apply to the management, leadership and strategies of global businesses. Then this study will apply this concept to Nestle with respect to its recognition and integration of cultural diversity in its corporate culture as well as the application of this aspect of corporate culture in its operations in China.
This was selected as the locale for the study because this market has a distinct cultural characteristic from Nestle, a Swiss based firm operating in China. The study should derive insights and best practices on the value of applying cultural diversity by global businesses. To determine the effect of cultural diversity to business operations, the study will investigate Nestle’s presence in the Chinese market, whether or not it has been successful in entering this market and what can be done to improve the diversification of its workforce to meet the culture-based specific needs and demands of this market.
To derive data, the study will survey the workforce, managers and employees, of Nestle in China to determine the extent of cultural diversity of its business unit in China. After which, the extent of diversity will be considered in the context of the business objectives of Nestle in its China operation and the extent that it has achieved these objectives by including cultural diversity as a management strategy. Problems or issues faced by Nestle in China will be identified together with the implications and recommendations.
Results of the study should contribute to existing knowledge by testing the applicability of theories on cultural diversity and corporate culture through the actual experiences of global business firms such as Nestle to derive and contribute organizational learning and best practices that could help globalizing and global business firms optimize the advantage they can derive from diversifying their workforce and cultivating a culture with high regard for the value of diversity.
Thesis Questions: ? Does Nestle have a defined corporate culture? Does Nestle include cultural diversity in its corporate culture? To what extent does Nestle regard the importance of cultural diversity in its corporate culture? What needs or objectives does corporate culture and cultural diversity address in Nestle? Has Nestle implemented cultural diversity in its operations in China? Has Nestle diversified its management in China? Has Nestle diversified its employees in China? What needs or objectives is Nestle targeting in diversifying its workforce in China? To what extent has Nestle achieved these need or objectives? What cultural diversity problems or issues has Nestle experienced in relation to its workforce in China? How did Nestle deal with these problems or issues? What learning and best practices can be derived from Nestle’s cultural diversification experience in China?
II. Conceptual Framework/Literature Review A. Conceptual Framework The study finds guidance through the framework for diversity, introduced by Hofstede (2003; 2005), as comprised of individual, cultural and more universal uniqueness expressed in the figure below.
This implies that understanding diversity in business organizations should involve a multi-tiered approach of looking at individual uniqueness, culture-specific traits and more universal traits distinguishing one group from another. The multi-level of analysis provides a holistic underlying perspective of differences among the members of the business organization. An understanding of diversity provides the organization with the tool and basis of strategies that optimize all potential benefits from diversity and solutions in addressing problems emanating from the diversity of a firm’s workforce.
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