Cross-Cultural Management Assignment

Cross-Cultural Management at McDonald’s Assignment

Cross-Cultural Management Assignment – McDonald’s is the largest single-brand chain of restaurants globally. Since its establishment, it has offered various products such as soft drinks, cheeseburgers, hamburgers and potato chips in its menu with various additions and phasing out over time. McDonald’s has overtime spread across the world and overcome significant cultural differences between its home country, the United States and its new markets.

However, its expansion into India is likely to face more significant challenges due to the magnitude of cultural differences between the United States and India. Through the application of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the most significant differences include power distance, indulgence and individualism. The high acceptance of inequality between people, the restrained culture and collectivism of the Indian society are some of the challenges that McDonald’s is likely to face.

Further, through the application of Trompenaar’s culture dimension concept, the significant challenges include particularism and diffuse Indian culture which does not have clear boundaries on private and public places. However, the recommendations are that through adverse selection marketing, concentration on innovation, improvement of products quality, and staff satisfaction, the challenges can be overcome.

One of the largest restaurant franchises currently in the globe is McDonald’s. Having been started in California as a drinks and food stand in 1937 by Patrick McDonald, it has expanded to approximately 122 countries across the world (Grant, 2010). The McDonald’s Restaurant has mastered the art of franchising and is presently the largest restaurant chain with a single-brand and furthermore, the largest global restaurant operator. In the early years of operation, McDonald’s focused on selling hamburgers, apple pies, potato chips, coffee, cheeseburgers, and soft drinks. However, today several menu items have been phased out over time with several others brought on board.

According to Grant (2010), McDonald’s has also beaten all odds and ventures into nations with an entirely different culture with the United States which is the home country. However, there are other countries that the restaurant has yet to establish franchises. One of the countries that McDonald’s therefore ought to open the business in India. Although there is a significant difference in culture such as leadership, communication, staff handling, marketing and ethics, India has a substantial market that McDonald’s can exploit (Ferraro and Briody, 2013).

Cross-Cultural Management Findings

For McDonald’s Restaurant to take on the Indian Restaurant market, it has to overcome the challenges that are brought on board by the significant differences in culture between the home country, United States and India, the new and prospective market (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 2011). Through the application of theories and concepts of Hofstede’s dimensions of culture and the Trompenaar’s dimensions of culture, the challenges that may emerge due to differences of culture can be analysed (Deresky, 2017).

Migliore (2011) states that the most significant cultural dimensions that McDonald’s restaurant franchise is likely to face in the process of opening the business and adapting in India are the differences in power distance, individualism and indulgence (See Appendix). One of the culture dimensions with the most significant difference is power distance. It elaborates the extent to which the less commanding members of the society in organisations and institutions in a nation, such as India, agree and expect that power is unequally spread.

The power distance score for India and the United States is 77 and 40 respectively and therefore; there is a difference of 37. This implies that McDonald’s is likely to have a difficult time in marketing their products and services in India based on the fact that the inequalities of the society are endorsed by the populace as much as the leaders of India do (Sriramesh, 2013).

The other significant cultural dimension difference that McDonald’s is likely to face is Individualism (See Appendix). According to Tu, Lin and Chang (2011), individualism is higher in the United States as compared to India. Individualism is the interdependence degree society can maintain among its members. The United States and India scores are 91 and 48 respectively. There is a difference of 43 between the two countries.

The United States is an individualistic society, and most people only take care of themselves and their direct families hence it is easy for the McDonald’s restaurant to influence individual families. This is primarily because individualism means that the standards of ethics are established by individual families and not the society (Tu, Li and Chang, 2011). However, the Indian society is a highly collectivist society. Most ethics and related-decisions are made on a society level. This culture is likely to create a challenge for McDonald’s restaurant as it is easier to influence a family as opposed to an entire society.

Another Hofstede’s cultural dimension of significant difference between the United States and India is the indulgence. According to Pandey and Devasagayam (2015), indulgence is the degree to which individuals attempt to control their impulses and desires based on the manner in which they were born. The score for indulgence in the United States and India is 68 and 21 respectively as below.

Cross-Cultural Management Assignment
Cross-Cultural Management Assignment

A significant difference of 47 exists between the two countries. In the United States, children, adolescents and adults are highly indulgent hence communication and negotiation with various stakeholders is a readily achievable objective. However, Indians have a restrained culture, especially in food consumption. For instance, it will be a considerable challenge for McDonald’s to have Indians populace indulge in the consumption of beef.

This is because individuals have been brought up to respect cows as members of the family. Cows in Hindu are seen as animals that are motherly giving. All products with beef related products would mount a massive challenge in convincing Indians to be stakeholders, let alone communicating or negotiation with them.

On the other hand, the Trompenaar’s cultural dimensions that can be applied in analysing the difficulties McDonald’s may face in setting up business in India includes Universalism versus Particularism and Specific Versus Diffuse Cultures (Dickson et al. 2012). In the United States, leadership decisions are taken without situational context regard.

Therefore, McDonald’s managerial decisions are easily made in the United States as the concentration is on the legal contracts. That is universalism. However, India focuses on particularism which means that the concentration is more on personal relations. Leadership decisions are highly likely to be difficult in the making in India due to the focus on personal relations as opposed to legal contracts.

Furthermore, according to Katan (2014), the specific versus diffuse culture dimension is significant between the United States and India. Staff handling by the McDonald’s restaurant in the United States is easy as borders, distinctions, and private and public spaces are separated. For instance, the relationship between subordinates and their bosses are prohibited. Therefore, there are specific cultures in the United States that makes the staff handling easier for McDonald’s.

On the other hand, staff handling in India is most likely to be a challenge as the culture is diffuse. This means that private and public spaces do not have a clear border or distinction. More so, work relationships are allowed to extend beyond that to personal relationships. Employees and their superiors are most likely to be in each other’s life aspects beyond McDonald’s. This is most likely to make it challenging to handle staff as connections between the subordinates and bosses may lie beyond the working relationship.

Conclusion Cross-Cultural Management

McDonald’s expansion into India is most likely to face challenges due to a significant difference in culture. Cultures are very different between McDonald’s home country, the United States and India. Through the application of Hofstede’s dimensions of culture, indulgence, individualism and power distance are the most significantly different between the two countries (See Appendix). McDonald’s face the challenge of indulgence in India as Hindus are brought up believing beef should not be taken. Hence, all products related to beef are less likely to be served in India. More so, India is more of a collectivist nation than an individualistic one.

Most decisions on ethics, therefore, depend on society viewpoints. Thus, as opposed to the United States, McDonald’s is less likely to influence the people whose ethics rely on the society as opposed to an individual family. Further, power distance which elaborates on the inequality of people in the society is high in India, which makes it difficult in convincing people to Purchase McDonald’s products and services through marketing.

On the other hand, Trompenaar’s dimensions of culture which could have significant challenges on McDonald’s expanding into India includes specific versus diffuse cultures and universalism and particularism. Unlike the United States, India does not have clear borders on private and public spaces, and therefore, handling of staff would be difficult for McDonald’s as work relationships extend to personal relationships.

More so, leadership decisions would also face challenges as unlike in the United States, India focuses on personal relations as opposed to legal contracts in performing operations and making judgments. Indulgence, power distance and individualism are possible to influence over time. However, particularism and diffuse cultures would need more than just McDonald’s willingness to transform the dimensions as they border on government-based responsibilities.


For McDonald’s to overcome the challenges it is likely to face in setting up business in India; the following recommendations have to be carefully followed. According to Lian, Ferris and Brown (2012), one of the ways of reducing power distance in India by McDonald’s is ensuring that there is a reduction in errors, quality of services and products is improved, and there is a satisfaction of safety and staff members. More so, draconian and autocratic relationships should be eliminated and more premiums placed on collaboration between the employees and their supervisors. This will allow evenly distributed power and a comparatively lesser emotional distance between supervisors and employees.

For McDonald’s to excel in India, Individualism has to be promoted as opposed to collectivism. The culture of collectivism can be transformed through promoting innovation and high individual responsibility level. According to Zhang, Liang and Sun (2013), either technological or food innovation can dismantle the idea of collectivism as people are drawn towards personal needs rather than collective wants. Individualism will allow some competition degree amongst people hence decisions and ethical standards being decided individually rather than by the society. This would allow McDonald’s to penetrate the Indian market easily and to have a higher degree of influence.

Furthermore, indulgence can be heightened through constant adverse selection marketing. According to Er-li (2010), this kind of marketing allows the seller and the buyer to have information on the product which is not matching. With time, people in India may find themselves taking all kinds of products in the McDonald’s restaurant.


Deresky, H. (2017). International management: Managing across borders and cultures. (9th ed.) London. Pearson.

Dickson, M. W., Castaño, N., Magomaeva, A., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2012). Conceptualizing leadership across cultures. Journal of world business47(4), 483-492.

Er-li, C. A. O. (2010). Channel partners selection and drive based on adverse marketing [J]. Science-Technology and Management2, 019.

Ferraro, G. P., & Briody, E. K. (2013). The cultural dimension of global business. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Grant, E. (2010). Might makes mcright: McDonald’s corporation’s trademark strategy. J. Contemp. Legal Issues19, 227.

Katan, D. (2014). Translating cultures: An introduction for translators, interpreters and mediators. Routledge.

Lian, H., Ferris, D. L., & Brown, D. J. (2012). Does power distance exacerbate or mitigate the effects of abusive supervision? It depends on the outcome. Journal of Applied Psychology97(1), 107.

Migliore, L. A. (2011). The relation between big five personality traits and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions: Samples from the USA and India. Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal18(1), 38-54.

Pandey, S., & Devasagayam, R. (2015). The effect of deals and moods on compulsive buying in young adults: A comparison of an indulgence culture and a restraint culture. Journal of Customer Behaviour14(3), 257-270.

Sriramesh, K. (2013). Power distance and public relations: An ethnographic study of Southern Indian organisations. In International Public Relations (pp. 181-200). Routledge.

Trompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (2011). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business. Nicholas Brealey International.

Tu, Y. T., Lin, S. Y., & Chang, Y. Y. (2011). A cross-cultural management comparison by individualism/collectivism among Brazil, Russia, India and China. International Business Research4(2), 175.

Zhang, X., Liang, X., & Sun, H. (2013). Individualism-collectivism, private benefits of control, and earnings management: A cross-culture comparison. Journal of business ethics114(4), 655-664.

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Hofstede and Trompenaars

How Do Different Cultures Affect Consumer Behaviour and Organisational Structure: An Inquiry Using Hofstede and Trompenaars Models

This study will analyse the effect of different cultural practices on consumer behaviour belonging to different cultures. Utilizing Hofstede’s cultural framework and Trompenaars dimensions of cultural framework, this study will exhibit the cultural differences create differential impacts on organizations and structural changes associated with them. Furthermore, theoretical frameworks constructed by other behaviourists as well as psycho-sociologists will be discussed in brief to determine the stimulant triggering consumers to consumer goods. How far cultural orientations are effectively managing consumer behaviour and how much these orientations are making organisations to adapt to specific set of practices in local context will be studies Moreover, this study will argue that cultural differences affect not only the behaviour of consumer but lead the managers to change their decision making style and to make strategic decisions on the basis of consumers’ choice.

Culture: What It Holds for Consumers

Culture consists of collective elements and practices which provide a conduit for perception, judgment, calculation, correspondence, and action amongst those who share a historical period, a language, and a geographic location according to Arnolds and Thompson (2005). Culture is a prevailing power in regulating human behaviour and shaping their values in the formation of their collective actions. According to the authors, the culture is comprised of a commonly-accepted set of behaviour models that are transported and well-preserved by the members of a specific society through different means. Cultural values touch almost every facet of human life according to Mourali et al., (2005). The cultural value scheme includes cultural fundamentals that the people of a particular region have in common with the group to which they belong as observed by Luna and Gupta (2001). From the start of an individual’s actuality, the personal experiences the profits and restrictions of a particular culture, and those profits and limitations may become a leading stimulus upon consumers’ purchasing choices.

Hofstede’s Model of Cultural Dimensions: Analysis of Consumer Behaviour and Organisational Ethos

Hofstede’s (1984) study entitled as ‘Culture’s Consequences’ investigates into the field of studying multinational companies and international organizations. Hofstede collected and analysed data collected from different countries to formulate concrete theoretical framework for the analysis of culture on various aspects of organisation. Through that data analysis, he concluded that “organizations are culturally-bounded” implying that structure and functions of organisation are deeply affected by the culture in which it functions. Hofstede used the analysis to create different “dimensions of culture”, the consumer behaviour and organizational styles have been discussed below.


This cultural dimension developed by Hofstede expounds that the kind of relationship an individual has with him or herself and with others in every culture. In societies where idea of individualism is of paramount importance, most of the individuals are expected to take attention and upkeep of themselves and their immediate family. In this kind of culture the consumer behaviour is self-dependent, which implies that societal values are of less significance for their consuming habits. In these cultures the management style revolves around the self-efficiency which is driven by motives of promotions and development. However, in collectivistic-oriented societies which are, by and large traditional societies, focus has been on societal good and community’s welfare as observed by Yeniurt and Townsend (2003). In these cultures, consumers’ behaviour is largely dependent on societal approval for the consumption of goods and services being offered by various companies. Moreover, the organizational styles are deep rooted into efficiency, but they also take into consideration the cultural values. In these cultures, individuals are merely regarded as the members of groups who are expected to look after them in give-and-take for allegiance to organisation. Furthermore, Yeniurt and Townsend (2003) are of the view that in collectivistic culture, there has been greater chances of innovation as these cultures are better equipped to trap organizational energies.

Uncertainty Avoidance

According to Hofstede (1991), this dimension mainly deals with the necessity to formulate rules and regulation for prescribed and proscribed behaviour of people against their sense of uncertainty. Hofstede observes that countries marked with political stability and strong sense of cultural identity score low on this dimension as they feel usually secure. However, countries like those of Latin America score high on this dimension because people (consumers) feel insecure about political climate which adversely affect their collective psyche. In these states, organisations usually rely on ad hoc practices as they could change or wind up their business owing to uncertain prevailing conditions. Consumers in these states are quite inactive as they do not indulge into buying spree out of trust problems.

Power Distance

This dimension unravels the costs of discrimination found in the authority and power relations within a specific society according to Hofstede (1991). It adversely affects the hierarchy and reliance relationships in the outline of family and organisations. For example in patriarchal societies, power within a family rests on the male. His decisions will be regarded as the most influential with regard to what is to be bought. Applying similar analogy at organisational level, in such societies the organisational structure is predicated on gender relations which value more to male workers.


Hofstede (1991) through this dimension points the in masculine cultures the dominant values are success and achievement. The implication of this dimension at organisational level incorporates that in masculine societies organisations prefer to focus on success and achievement and its structural style is male-dominated which propels the values of competition, progress and organisational efficiency. However, contrary to this finding, the feminine cultures put a great of emphasis on the concern for others. In this situation, organisation mainly focuses on social responsibility which forms the part and parcel of their organisational ethos. At consumer level, it would certainly imply that countries which have concerns for other will pay less heed to consumer values; whereas culture which puts lot of significance to success and achievements in terms of their financial strength and professional success, these states (or cultures) will put more emphasis on consumption values.

Long-Term Orientation

This dimension in Hofstede Model envisages the bringing forth attributes which are oriented towards futuristic prospects by long term awards (Hofstede, 1991). Hofstede in his later studies proposed that long-term versus short term dichotomy is more useful for his theoretical construct. The societies having long-term collective vision usually rely on deferred gratification patterns. Their main thrust is on saving for the future; therefore consumer behaviour in those societies is usually tilted towards lower levels of consumptions. According to Hofstede (1991), this pattern is usually found in emerging economies like China and India. At organisational level, there is an increasing tendency towards competition in these cultures which focus on long-termism.

Hofstede Trompenaars
Hofstede Trompenaars

Trompenaars’ Dimensions of Culture Framework

The main dimensions of culture framework defined by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner and summarized by Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003) are predicated on four cultural typologies which are as follow:

The Incubator Culture

According to Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003), this culture resembles like a leaderless and shudderless team. It implies that prevalence of informal relations and low level of centralisation at organisational level. In this culture, the role and responsibilities are not well defined and there can be serious infringes on the overall organisation’s motivations.

The Guided Missile Culture

This cultural typology is mainly task oriented with high level of centralisation and low level of authority (Trompenaars and Woolliams, 2003). The authors are of the view that ‘… rational culture is, in its ideal type, task and project oriented. ‘Getting the job done’ with ‘the right man in the right place’ are favourite expressions. Organisational relationships are very results oriented.’ It shows that Guided Missile cultures have strict sense of responsibility. In these cultures, the managerial style is based on problem solving solutions and managers are in full charge of authority. In these types of organisational culture, the level of adaptability is very high, therefore these organisations are best suited to work in multi-cultural framework.

Family Culture

Family culture is an inverse form of the Guided Missile culture—marked by high degree of authority consolidation and low level of formalisation according to Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003). The employees of organisations marked with such kind of cultural ethos revolve around the core of authority. But like family, there are little rules and therefore there is less room for bureaucratic style. All which matters most is the will of the authority, which is a rule unto itself. In these organisations, managers have little or no say. They remain at the mercy of top slots. There remains a permanent contest amongst organisation’s members to remain as close to authority as possible.

The Eiffel Tower Culture

According to Trompennars and Woolliams (2003), the Eiffel Tower Culture is marked with strict centralisation and high level of formalisation. This culture is highly oriented towards role fulfilment which makes employees of an organisation largely adhere to the organisation’s main motives and business slogans. The whole organisation and its energies are directed towards pre-defined sets of goals and ambitions.

Consumer Behaviour: A Melting Pot for Cultural Effects

The study of the dealings and consumption involve the procedure when people choose, buy, utilize, or dispose of products, services, designs, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires is known as consumer behaviour according to Solomon et al, (2001). From the definition above, consumer behaviour can be viewed as a course that encompasses the issues that affect the consumer before, during and after a purchase. But cultural values operate at each level in imperceptible way. Culture is more than an environmental or collective influence. People were imagined within a culture. Culture is in the heads of people while consuming things which influences their behaviour. To comprehend culture’s effects on consumer behaviour, culture must be incorporated in different aspects of consumer behaviour theory. Preferably, different theories of consumer behaviour are proposed within cultures by studying people’s behaviour within each nation.

Cultural Differences and Consumer Behaviour

At psychological level, the mental approach and general mindset of a consumer which he has begotten towards a product for making rational choices is known as the consumer decision-making style. However, it is well understood by Bennet and Kassarjian (1972) long before the initialization of systematic study that consumer decision-making style hinges upon an unvarying configuration of operative and cognitive responses to their needs and societal approval of these decisions. Moreover, the culture has also been proven to have a greater impact on individual attitudes and values according to Hofstede and Hofstede (2005). Hofstede and Hofstede (2005) pioneered the study of culture and its impact on various aspects of management and business related management practice. The Hofstede Model, which has been elaborated in the following paragraphs has been regarded a mould to study the impact of culture on management practices as well on the consumer-oriented decisions regarding consumption.

Furthermore, Sproles and Kendall (1986) devised three different ways to approach consumer decision making process, which includes consumer typology approach, psychographic approach which is also known as lifestyle approach and, lastly, consumer characteristic approach. The authors elaborated the consumer typology approach categorises customers according to the retail investment and the types of consumers which usually get into particular type of consumption pattern. The consumer psychographic approach hinges upon the overall lifestyle of the consumer. For example, a consumer with middle class lifestyle will tend to emulate the life style of the elite within his or her specific income. In the same, vein consumer characteristic approach depends on the detailed study of different traits and characteristics of consumers, which involves the study what consumer is looking after. Moreover, characteristic approach also underlines the cognitive positioning of consumer towards buying the specific product through their motives as observed by Westbrook and Black (1985). The authors are of the view that pre-defined mental constructs are important stimulants of general human behaviour which, in turn, also affects consumers’ behaviour as they are of the view ‘hypothetical and unobservable psychological constructs postulated to explain both the energized and directive aspects of human behaviour.


The study shows that culture has deep effects on the consumer behaviour as well as organisations’ structure which, in turns, affect organisations’ efficiency. The prevalent mode of cultural values best describes what kind of consumer behaviour and what kind of organisational goals have been embedded into them. Moreover, the study further suggests that an organisation with flexible rules with an adaptive style of operations is best suited in today’s world of multi-cultural workplace when the role of employees especially managers is also becoming complex in the face of global assignments.


Arnould, E. J. and Thompson, C. J. (2005), Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research, Journal of Consumer Research, 31:4, 868–882

Bennett, P. D., and Kassarjian, H. H., (1972), Consumer Behavior, Chicago: US, Prentice-Hall

Hofstede, G., and Hofstede, G.J., (2005), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. 2nd Edition, US, McGraw-Hill

Hofstede, G., (1984), Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, New York: US, Sage Publications

Luna, D. and Gupta, S.F., (2001), An Integrative Framework for Cross-Cultural Consumer Behaviour, International Marketing Review, 18:1, 45 – 69

Mourali, M., Laroche, M., and Pons, F., (2005), Individualistic Orientation and Consumer Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence, Journal of Services Marketing, 19, 164-173

Solomon, M. R., Polegato, R and Zaichkowsky, J.G., (2001), Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, and Being, Toronto: Canada, Pearson Education Canada

Sproles, G.B. and Kendall, E.L., (1986), A Methodology for Profiling Consumers’ Decision-Making Styles, Journal of Consumer Affairs, 20:2, 267-279

Trompenaars, F. and Woolliams, P., (2003), A New Framework for Managing Change Across Cultures, Journal of Change Management, 3:4, 361–375

Westbrook, R.A. and Black, W.C., (1985), A Motivation-Based Shopper Typology, Journal of Retailing, 61, 78-103

Wong, N. Y., and Ahuvia, A. C., (1998), Personal Taste and Family Face: Luxury Consumption in Confucian and Western Societies, Psychology and Marketing, 15, 423-444

Yeniyurt, S., and Townsend, J.D., (2003), Does Culture Explain Acceptance of New Products in a Country?: An Empirical Investigation, International Marketing Review, 20:4, 377-396

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