Culture is defined as a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living. The fundamental building blocks of culture are values and norms. Values here stand for the abstract ideas on what a group considers to be desirable, good and right while values on the other hand are the social rules and guidelines that prescribe acceptable behavior in particular situations. The six determinants of culture include social structure, economic philosophy, political philosophy, religion, language and education (Chary 36).
Indian culture would greatly suppress the expansion of the McDonald’s in the country. For instance, the Hindu Holy Scriptures preserves the cow as a sacred creature while pork is prohibited by the Muslim culture. McDonald’s as one of the world big traders of beef products; it would hardly trade in India. The prevailing religious convictions prompted the McDonald’s to alter its menu to offer mutton and chicken alternatives. The cultural food dilemma is instigated mainly by religion and had profound limitations for the company to engage in trading its traditional beef burgers. Since the company had to modify its menus to comply with the many different customs, it is therefore notable that religion and ethical systems had imposed a major challenge. In addition, being one of the ancient civilizations of the world, India is a melting pot of diverse races, languages and cultures (Chary 36).
The primary impacts of the differences in culture on McDonald’s business include slow market penetration and low returns. However, later strategies for adjustment complied with local cultural tastes and preferences therefore stimulating demand for the company’s food products. As a result, the company gained a strong foothold in the food industry in India.
The company would have avoided negative publicity following the disclosure that it had used beef extract in its frying oil. A detailed ingredient list of its diets would have eliminated any off-guard attacks. Alternatively, the company would have submitted their oil for laboratory tests prior to any attacks and be certified as beef-extract-free food products provider. This would play a great deal to instill customers’ confidence.
To a large extend, the Indian religious dilemma was putting McDonald’s out of business. Immediate business interventions were required in order to gain a competitive edge in a foreign market. With the only chicken and mutton, McDonald’s provided “Maharaja Mac” made from mutton and the “McAloo Tikki Burger” which is made from chicken. The company had to boycott its traditional beef burgers and comply with the local customs. Although the company food products had undergone modification, its identity was still safeguarded. It is evident that Indian customers preferred McDonald’s food products for reasons such as “good American experience, consistent quality and cleanness.” It’s true that product modification can impact on a company’s identity and any competitive advantages gained from the market. In this case, McDonald’s had not undergone extreme product modification. It had therefore not ruined its identity. Indeed, it had two meat alternatives to substitute beef usage.
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Ethnocentrism is defined as ones belief that their ethnic or cultural group is superior or centrally important and than all other groups and other cultures are measured in relation to their own. Cross-cultural literacy is essential to conduct business in the international market. By complying with a society’s values and norms, a company gains a competitive edge in a country’s local market. McDonald’s is well known for its high degree of respect to local cultures. For instance, it developed a menu specifically for India with vegetarian selections to suit Indian tastes and culture. Indeed, India is the only country in the world where McDonald’s does not offer any beef or pork products. This implies the companies respect for diverse cultures of the world. In order to eliminate ethnocentric behavior, international business perpetrators should champion for cross-cultural literacy and for different nations. This saves time and capital while fostering international business growth.
Culture plays a critical role in the competitiveness of a country. In fact, the norms and values adopted by a society influence the country’s competitiveness in the international scene. In addition, it impacts the attractiveness of a country, the potential costs of investment and investment decisions.
In conclusion, cross-cultural literacy is paramount in conducting business particularly in various societies of the world. The mastery of the key values and norms of a society can incredibly foster successful growth of an international business venture to great heights.
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