Managing Across Culture

Topics: Alcatel-Lucent, Patricia Russo, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 12 (4091 words) Published: April 23, 2010

000579613; 000573398; 000573202; 000583118;000527971
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Case Study Analysis of Alcatel-Lucent
Meenak*shi Mukherjee* 000579613
Carlos Andres Serna 000583118
Quasirat Hasnat 000573202
Sangeet Premkumar 000573398
Imran Shahzad 000527971
Executive Summary
This paper examines a case study sprouting mergers of two firms Alcatel and Lucent technologies. This paper provides an insight into the French and American cultures taking into consideration the parent company cultural imbroglio. Alcatel, an American company, was previously owned by the technological giant, the AT&T group. However in the year 1996, the company parted ways from the group of AT &T and merged with the French company, Alcatel. Alcatel, headquartered in France, provides hardware-software services to the telecommunications sector involving service providers and enterprises. On the 1st December, 2006, Alcatel- Lucent merged to explore greater productivity by utilizing jointly owned resources, products and services. Cross-cultural barriers hindered Alcatel-Lucent’s strategic advantageover its competitors. In this paper, the Alcatel- Lucent merger will be critically analysed with help reference frameworks and cultural tools such as Hofstede’s dimensions, Trompenaar’s theories on culture and related articles from newspapers. In the recent years, companies have been adopting the strategy to expand their markets globally with different strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, licensing etc. However, companies trying to achieve synergetic benefits often fail in their process of expansion due to the cultural problems revolving between the host and home countries. Introduction

Alcatel-Lucent, headquartered in Paris, France, is the Telecom giant with over 77,000 employees in its payroll a with annual revenue generated as reported in the financial report standing at a staggering 16.98 billion Euros. The merger of parent companies Alcatel and Lucent was anticipated to be the ‘shining star’ of mergers and was aptly phrased as a merger of equals (Sutherland, 2006). This paper discusses the importance of cultural differences and indicates the problems that can be create when different cultural interaction occurs between different strata’s of organizations. Short Brief about different cultures

Culture can be considered to be a vast word having no unified idea that can summarize the true essence of it. Some scholars and researchers define Culture as a part of our environmental conditioning, usually distributed among members of similar nations, regions and areas (_Sørensen_, 1984). This case study is used to communicate the study of cross culture and its related problems. In regards to job environment, the French Culture believes in providing security for the members of the society. The Culture is competitive yet assertive but however is risk averse and consumes too much time to take decisions to deal with a situation. On the contrary, the American Culture is easy going and flexible. Americans believe in quick decision making with a “win-lose” approach and as a result accept uncertainties in a positive manner. In a recent article, Holstein (2007) stated, that the two parent companies addressed the issue of crisis taking measures differently. In times of crisis, the Americans believe in reducing costs through scaling down job opportunities whereas the French have a supportive approach towards their employees with the government acting as the back bone to resolve such issues making the process of decision slow but unaffected by the crisis piling on the company with additional operational costs. The inclination of the American Culture is towards achieving short term goals such as profit...

References: French, R. (2007),“Cross Cultural management in work organizations,” Kerry Press LTD, London.
Hofstede, G (2001) “Cultures and organizations: software of mind” McGraw Hill, New York
Gubbins,E.(2007), “ UBS: Alcatel faces mobility decline, culture clash” telephony online: Penton media online press [Online] Available at : (Accessed on :23rd Nov 2009).
Holstein,W.J.(2007), “Lucent-Alcatel: Why Cross-Cultural Mergers Are So Tough”New York Times [Online] available at: http:// (Accessed on 10th nov.2009).
Ruitenberg,R. (2008),” Alcatel-Lucent 's Russo, Tchuruk to Quit; Loss Widens” Bloomberg[Online] Available at: (Accessed on, 20th November 2009).
Sørensen,O.J. (1984) “ Marketing Systems and Economic Development. An Institutional-Structural Approach” page 41.
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