Human Resources Notes

Topics: Culture, Geert Hofstede, Management Pages: 11 (2964 words) Published: March 13, 2014
CASE STUDY #2 (read for Feb 26th)


Main problem = lack of transferability of American techniques to the rest of the world (Hofstede, 1980b), mainly to European countries in this case Differences in power distance
Different levels of achievement-based incentives
Differences in work-related attitudes
Objective  focus on the management of differentiation across cultures in an international operation and to consider the issue of transferability of people management styles and techniques across cultures, using IKEA as a mediator

Swedish organizational and management culture is:
Low in power distance
High in individualism
Very high on femininity
Low in uncertainty avoidance
Six fundamental values are stressed in economic/political democracy: Equality
There is close collaboration between business, government and labour “Lagom” = ‘middle road’ + ‘reasonable’, unemotionally practical There are 3 main facets of Swedish culture:
Love of nature
Low power distance reflects the traditions of village life
A low uncertainty avoidance may reflect an outlook which is not threatened by the ambiguity of living with nature Strong practicality/rationality reflects the closeness to the farming community Individualism through self-development

Individualism is connected to a person’s own self-development and time to him/herself Work centrality is not high, unwillingness to do overtime
Five weeks holiday is the norm, absenteeism/excessive sick leave is an issue Quality of life is important
Decentralized decision making may be part of this quality which encourages interest in the job and independence Equality
Complex systems of welfare and other state mechanisms designed to provide the same service to everybody: health service, child benefits, maternity/paternity leave, pensions, and so on Taxation is high in order to support these systems

Equality between men and women is very important
Education and competence in one’s occupation is important Most employees are members of unions largely because a number of social benefits, including unemployment benefit, are administered by the trade unions, and the degree of union influence achieved through the long period of Social Democratic government and the close government-union relations Co-determination at Work = management should be a joint effort of capital and labor, between managers and union representative, both having equal rights to information From the outside, the structure and processes of Swedish organization may be seen as ambiguous by foreign managers: with… Matrix structures

Overlapping of reporting systems
Decision-making processes which seem long and diffuse
A lack of visibility of these processes, with unclear objectives and a possible perception that management is indecisive and has difficulties in establishing when a decision has actually been made


IKEA has had to deal with the problem of maintaining its unique ‘Swedishness’ as a competitive advantage, but at the same time having to adapt this to the different national cultures in which it has been working Global player = unusual in the furniture distribution industry, which often remains national in character Habitat is its main rival un the UK and France

Producers are considered as major stakeholders and together with IKEA work to reduce costs through long production runs and other means Management style is seen as informal, open and caring
Hierarchy is relatively flat, with 3 levels of responsibility at store level between store manager and ‘co-workers’ (employees or ‘associates’) At IKEA there is an egalitarian approach…
Decision making by consensus is embedded in management practice Making mistakes is learning by doing
Managers are expected to share information with employees
This organizational...
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