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The essence of contemporary business consists in the urgent need to make decisions and develop strategies aimed at satisfying various economic interests according to global, local, and personal objectives of a company. In order to avoid potential losses and succeed in performing business operations in the international arena, an organization should take into consideration restrictions of international, regional, local, and national character. Being underestimated, cultural specificity of a country can induce financial losses and failures of an organization.
Since 1971, Starbucks has become the largest coffee company in the world. The corporation specializes in producing “more than 30 blends and single%u2010origin premium coffees”, handcrafted beverages, coffee- and tea-brewing equipment, fresh food, and a wide range of consumer products (“Starbucks Company Profile” 2). In order to make a decision whether to conduct business in Ghana and, moreover, succeed in doing it in this developing country, empowered professionals and experts of the corporation should comprehensively evaluate data obtained from reliable sources of information. Thus, research on cultural characteristics and labor conditions of Ghana should precede business activities of the Starbucks Corporation in the country. Furthermore, a decision on conducting business in Ghana should be based on evaluation of external threats and opportunities.
Recent economic reports testify to significantly decreased revenues of multinational corporations caused by misjudged cultural specificity of local consumers. Contemporary international business is facing the challenge of correlations between global and local approaches to business strategies; thus, business practitioners have to establish and develop relations with a foreign country in general and its separate regions in particular. Strategies of a company can run contrary to moral principles, convictions, views, and beliefs of local authorities and population. Cultural specificity of a country is a multifaceted phenomenon which includes cultural attitudes towards women and children, education and qualification of labor force, religious beliefs, values, and physical environment. Professionals involved in the international business have to make integrated decisions with regard to cultural differences, as well as specific political, social, demographic, religious, and criminal conditions in foreign countries.
Ghana is a state located in Sub-Saharan Africa on the Gulf of Guinea; its population amounts to 24,965,816 inhabitants with lower middle incomes (“Doing Business in Ghana” 5). Agricultural production is the largest economic segment of the country; gold and cocoa are the main industries. In addition, oil and gas are gradually developing today. The introduction of a multi-party system in Ghana promotes an increase in economic development of the country. Furthermore, the Ghanaian empowered officials are striving to increase the sales of agricultural products in international markets.
“Ghana’s population is a mosaic of ethnic diversity” due to numerous tribes dwelling in the country (Chamlee-Wright 3). Representatives of the diverse Ghanaian population speak different languages, have different levels of education, beliefs, cultures and values, and gain different incomes due to differences in their descent. Changes in the population within the last decades have occurred because of the migration of the Ghanaians. It has created a new demographic context; the rates of urban population are steadily increasing (Aryeetey & Kanbur; Chamlee-Wright; Ubink & Amanor). The Ghanaians’ behavior and communication are strongly restricted by hierarchical approach to forms of relations to others.
Attitudes to Women and Children
The Ghanaian diverse demographics are characterized by a high fertility rates; today, Ghanaian women have 4 – 5 children due to the necessity of help with work on the cacao farms (Oppong 44). Thus, the Ghanaians’ attitudes to women and children are predetermined by family and economic needs of the population, marital relationship, deeply-rooted traditions, religious beliefs, and education. Nevertheless, family planning and reproductive decision-making are improving due to the Ghanaians’ increased knowledge (Krakowiak-Redd et al.). In addition, today, Ghanaian women are involved in the “network of suppliers, wholesale traders, importers, and manufacturers” (Chamlee-Wright 17). Recent state programs have been developed to eliminate gender disparities in Ghana (Palmer 3). However, females and children are still viewed as least-evil solutions to the issues related to the labor force and employment in rural areas of Ghana.
Education level of workers in Ghana is an influential factor contributing to the development of the Ghanaian economy in general and performance of international business units in particular. In Ghana, educational attainment ranges from “‘none’ through ‘university’ and also includes vocational and technical training”; “remote areas are also more likely to have fewer resources and therefore a lower quality of schools and instruction” (Aryeetey & Kanbur 376). Education rates are significantly higher in urban areas than in rural districts. However, prosperity, growth and development of each country are inextricably linked with its educated and highly qualified professionals. Therefore, Ghanaian empowered officials are steadily implementing strategies to reduce the mismatch between the availability of waged jobs and numbers of qualified applicants (Palmer).
Values and Attitudes
According to De Mooij, although managers and marketing experts clearly understand the influence of national values on consumer behavior and utilize this knowledge in their business activities, professionals of global brands “lack in-depth knowledge of cultural values” (De Mooij 45). Thus, the Starbuck Corporation should consider attitudes and national values of the Ghanaians, while making a decision on conducting business in Ghana. Values of urban and rural populations differ. Village chiefs are still perceived by population in remote districts as most trusted persons for resolving conflicts (Ubink & Amanor 172). “Family defines social status and can determine values and behaviours. In Ghana, the individual is subordinate to the family or collective” (“Doing Business in Ghana” 1). Thus, respect for patriarchs and local authorities, high moral standards, dignity, loyalty, good reputation, dedication to family and traditions are the core values of the Ghanaians.
The particular spiritual traditions, articles of faith, ethical, cultural, political, social, economic and behavioral patterns of the Ghanaians are predetermined by their religious beliefs. Religious beliefs have a strong influence on the culture of Ghana community. Indeed, for many people around the world, religious beliefs are central to their culture and provide the moral codes by which they live. Due to the British colonization, Christianity has become the most significant religion in Ghana (“Doing Business in Ghana”); Christians comprise approximately 70% of the Ghanaians. Thus, beyond the simple performance of cult ceremonies, Christianity has become an influential driving force in the Ghanaians’ life involving economic, social, political, cultural and behavioral aspects. However, while Christianity remains the most popular religion in Ghana, adherents of Islam number roughly 15% of the population. Tribal beliefs still exist, as well. Religious diversity in Ghana does not stipulate conflicts; Ghanaians adherents of different religious confessions do not escalate social and political tensions. In Ghana, while preserving their religious identity, the adherents of different faiths peacefully coexist with each other.
Ghana possesses a vast potential for business development due to the country’s exceptional diversity of flora and fauna, climate conditions, relief peculiarities, numerous tourists’ destinations, as well as other aspects. (Oppong; “Doing Business in Ghana”; Ubink & Amanor). Specific conditions of the physical environment and diverse natural resources of the country predetermined “the dominance of the agricultural sector in the economy of Ghana” (Aryeetey & Kanbur 9). Approximately 55% of the Ghanaian workforce is involved in agricultural production. “The natural environment plays a very important role in the everyday life of Ghanaians” (Oppong 15), influencing adaptation of economic activities to the physical environment.
Labor conditions involve a wide range of issues associated with safety, fairness, official regulations, administrative rulings, managerial practices, availability of a skilled workforce, and other aspects. Therefore, the Starbucks’ professionals should precisely assess and specify appropriateness of labor conditions in Ghana.
Safety and Fairness
In accordance with the findings of research investigations conducted by the World Bank, the government of the Republic of Ghana did not change “their labor regulations in the past 4 years” (World Bank 101). Article 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana “requires work to be performed under satisfactory and healthy conditions” (Tsikata 55). However, sometimes, these requirements are violated (Tsikata; Aryeetey & Kanbur; Ubink & Amanor).
Ghanaians companies are rapidly growing today. Their organizational culture is identified by a particular organization’s values, rituals, assumptions, beliefs, and activities and can vary considerably in different companies of the same specificity. It depends on styles of management and policy conducted by a company’s Board of Directors. Historically developed traditions, religious beliefs and hierarchical regimes influence forms of activity and relations to others in Ghanaian companies. Exaggerated subordination leads to the decrease in innovative procedures and initiatives of personnel.
Safety and fairness of working in Ghana are regulated by the Labour Act (Act No. 651 of 2003), the Draft National Employment Policy, the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II), and some other official guidelines (Tsikata). However, labor laws in Ghana can be identified as inflexible (“Doing Business in Ghana”). Trade unions in Ghana do not make a significant impact on the country’s legislative system due to their insufficient development and irrelevant policies (Tsikata; Palmer).
Availability of Skilled and Unskilled Workers
In accordance with Palmer’s conclusions, reliable data on correlations between skilled and unskilled workers in Ghana are less from a quantitative perspective. “Research is needed to generate evidence of the labour market outcomes of skills training in Ghana” (Palmer 26). However, the contemporary trends of economic development stipulate growing demands for skilled employees and, consequently, promote an increase in highly qualified labor force in Ghana.
Each job requires specific knowledge, excellent skills, well developed abilities, high quality education, and particular personal characteristics. Numerous constituents comprise and influence enterprise efficiency and corporate culture, involving form of activity, form of relations, perception of the world and perception of the self, which is one of the major factors. Organizational culture is a complex phenomenon. It could and should be compared and analyzed, while taking into account peculiar features of business specificity and each separate country. Although organizational culture of Ghanaian companies can be determined as both bureaucratic and entrepreneurial, today, business units are focused on the world market of all types of services and commodities. It results in the emergence of new styles of management and new forms of organizational culture (Aryeetey & Kanbur; Ubink & Amanor).
Conclusions and Recommendations
In conclusion, in conformity with findings of the research conducted on business performance in Ghana, specific cultural characteristics of the Ghanaians and issues associated with labor conditions, such as education level of workers, patriarchal system of social relations, strict hierarchical regimes of organizations and inflexible legislative system, pose essential risks of conducting business and team feasibility in Ghana. However, taking into consideration the development-oriented trends in Ghanaian economy, business operations of the Starbucks Corporation can be profitable. Furthermore, Ghanaian low-paid workforce will minimize risks of the company’s business in Ghana. Cultural understanding is essential in terms of introducing successful business, as well as comprehensive economic and marketing analyses. Thus, the Starbucks Corporation strategies of business conducting business in Ghana should be based on pertinent research.
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