Engaging in international business is usually tricky and requires prior strategic planning so as to ensure that the business investment doesn’t flop. The organizations intending to invest in foreign market ought to put into considerations factors such as attitudes, values, beliefs, customs and cultures which vary from region to region, country to country and they apparently play a major role in the success of a business (Ni & Alonb 2010). In this case, the main issue lies behind the planning to enlarge a fast-food hamburger franchise internationally to countries such as China, Mexico, Israel, and United Arab Emirates. Since these countries have unique attitudes, values, beliefs, customs and cultures differently from that of the U.S., this would impact the fast-food business adversely.
The fact that the four countries have basically diverse cultures, customs, beliefs, values and attitudes which are absolutely different than those of the U.S. would negatively affect the fast-food hamburger franchise as it takes time to get accustomed to such foreign societal aspects. Moreover, countries such as UAE which are mainly Islamic oriented have strict religious beliefs against consumptions of some foodstuffs such as pork. They consider it as being unclean meat while other religions such as Buddhism found in China frown at the sight of beef as they too refer it as being unclean meat. Also the consumption of pork is prohibited by the Judaism religion in Israel and therefore such religious practices would hinder the growth of the fast-food franchise in those countries.
On the other hand, Mexico has numerous cultural factors which might add to the high utilization of American snack food and such factors include: the overall increase in economic earnings, changing trends with regards to the working mothers as well as the Mexican’s average population age. The average age in Mexico is below 30 years as reported by the Canadian Market indicator report of 2011 and therefore targeting of the youthful consumers would be health for fast-food business. Also, more mothers are entering the workforce and therefore have less moment to prepare traditional meals. Shrinking of family sizes plus the increment of family earnings as more mothers take up employment has made families have better sum of dispensable income (Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2011).
Social behaviors usually differ significantly from one country or society to another. And bearing in mind that are consequently many diverse societal particulars and norms involved inside intercontinental fast-food business, it is extremely significance to become skilled at these concerns prior to committing to global expansion. Issues which involve social behavior with respect to customers and/or employees which must be considered prior to undertaking the fast-food intercontinental expansion project consist of ethical standards, social manners and etiquette, values, work attitudes and ethics, religious influence, as well as mind-sets towards women (Ni & Alonb 2010).
Seemingly, simply using individual perceptions to examine social behaviors may lead to stereotyping along with other misconceptions. Similarly, employing the aspect of attribution whereby people associate behavior with tendency, intentions, circumstances and causes so as to explain why people behave themselves in the way they do may as well attest to be challenging. This is owing to the fact or rather tendency of persons to employ their personal experiences obtained from their own culture to clarify abnormal behaviors amongst people in other civilizations (Kelley 1971).
Nevertheless, so as to shun cultural and social fallacies there are quite a few forms of training which the fast-food franchise could put into practice. One form of training is called attribution training which essentially entails making persons conscious of their individual cultural background plus how such personal backgrounds contrasts with the cultural setting of the foreign locality they may perhaps visit or rather work at (Liu, Gallois & Volcic 2011).
An additional type of training which can be helpful in evading fallacies and issues related to dealing with overseas backgrounds is coaching. Apparently, the key form of coaching ought to be that of representing a higher compassion to all practices or customs and even modes of expression or language that might be exercised in another locality or even country. Also, employees can be supplied specific cases of what they should suppose to come across such as foreign beliefs, practices and customs (Liu, Gallois & Volcic 2011).
Moreover, a further essential part which ought to be conferred with the staff who will be working in foreign nation is the moral principles of the company. Behaviors and actions that are considered ethical in a number of cultures are really not reasoned to be moral in the U.S… A good example of such issues is the usage of backdoor connections and bribery. Outwardly, this manner of doing business is ordinary in many countries such as Mexico and China while contrastingly UAE and Israel are celebrated for their soaring standard of values and ethics when it comes to business relations. (Gangone, 2010).
One of the dimensions of culture as classified by Fons Trompenaars is that of individualism versus collectivism. This dimension in essence centers on if person’s values and rights is inferior or dominant to those of found in the whole collective society. In addition, Individualistic societies mostly value the person and consider in having accountability for individual’s own actions and destinies while collective civilizations value cooperation, collaboration, conformity to the group/community as well as common interests (Liu, Gallois & Volcic 2011).
Mexico and UAE are termed as having collectivist societies as they have lasting commitment towards the member or rather “group” like that of an extended family or even extended relationships. China also has a collective and tradition form of society. On the other hand, Israel has a blend of both collectivistic and individualistic cultures as it has strong conviction in the principle of self-actualization while families majorly focus on parent-children bond than members of the extended families.
Culture shock is described as the occurrence a person experiences after relocating to a foreign culture which is completely different from their own (Liu, Gallois & Volcic 2011). For instance, once the managers move into China, UAE and Israel, they would expect to get cultural shock due to the completely different cultural practices such as business practices, working attitudes, overcrowding, time scheduling, food, currency and language found in such nations. Mexico is known for having extreme unethical business practices as compared to the U.S.
For the managers to alleviate stress, they ought to accept that all nations have different rhythms and habits and therefore they should put their own judgments aside so as to appreciate the country’s foreign cultures. For instance, Chinese food culture has overly spicy cuisines and the managers have to be accommodative and get used to such foods. Also, remember the difference in Language and don’t expect everyone you encounter to be well conversant with English.
United Arab Emirates has a completely different culture (Islamic culture) when compared to that of U.S. and therefore the managers need to have cross-cultural training prior to their departure. They also should cope with the country’s cultural practices such as having a modest behavior and dress code, obtaining a license incase one wants to purchase or consume alcohol.
Mexico is a Spanish speaking country and for the managers to ease cultural shock, they ought to lay back and enjoy the sociable civility of the Mexican culture and drop the perception of always being judgmental. The Mexicans work in a laid-back and lazy pace and one has to be accommodative so as to deal with them. So as to get accustomed to the Spanish language, the managers would take short language courses.
Israel is basically a Jewish state even though it has a considerate Muslim, Christian and Arab population. And so as to counter cultural shock, the managers should learn about the Israeli customs take note of the security issue in the country. There are security officers and metal scanners everywhere and having prior knowledge of the situation would minimize cultural shock. Also, they should get accustomed to the dressing code where business outfit is regularly informal.
When setting up fast-food businesses in the conferred countries, the issue of employing the services of expeditors, decisions has to be made before the efforts of expansion begin. This would ensure that the practice is legal. Even though the practice of expedition is common in various countries, it is deemed unlawful in the U.S. A firm code of conduct or ethics has to be implemented as well as administered all over the fast-food company so as to avoid this sort of behavior in business. I would not approve any paid transaction requested by an expeditor even if it was all right in the foreign country since contributing in any illegal or unscrupulous activities simply encourages opportunities for further of such kind of business behavior and may perhaps lead to managerial instability or even legal consequences (Code of Business Conduct. (n.d.)).
Expeditors are involved in some ethical issues such as company compliance regulations, certain areas concerning labor regulations and laws, shareholder protection, fraud, whistle-blowing, fabrication of documents, internal auditing, extortion, unethical or illegal accounting practices as well as bribery (Code of Business Conduct. (n.d.)). Therefore, before the inclusion of expeditors in the business expansion process, one should be aware of the consequences of the adopting such practice, the legality of the practice in the respective country along with the expeditors’ history of practice. Before the use or rather incorporation of expeditors into the fast-food international business project, the respective legal authorities should be conducted so as to provide an overview of the practice as well as other shareholders such as the investors since they have a large say about the business model. In general, each company needs to choose what it observes as being morally responsible plus introduce those beliefs all over the organization.
Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. (2011). Demographic consumer trends the eating habits of young consumers in Mexico… Ottawa: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Code of Business Conduct. (n.d.). Expeditors International. Retrieved January 8, 2014, from http://www.investor.expeditors.com/CBC.asp
Gangone, A. (2010). Ethical issues in international business. The USV Annals of Economics and Public Administration,, 10`(3), Special Number
Kelley, H. H. (1971). Attribution in social interaction. New York: General Learning Press.
Liu, S., Gallois, C., & Volcic, Z. (2011). Introducing intercultural communication: global cultures and contexts. London: SAGE.
Ni, L., & Alonb, I. (2010). U.S.-Based Fast-Food Restaurants: Factors Influencing the International Expansion of Franchise Systems. Journal of Marketing Channels, 17(4), 339-359.