The contemporary business world inculcates several cultural issues that affect the operation of a multinational business firms. Multinational firms such as Coca-Cola face some of the worst cultural dilemma in the course of carrying out its business activities in various nations across the world. The Coca-Cola Company is the biggest selling soft drink firm with a strong presence in the world market since 1886. Its vast presence in various parts of the world puts it in at a position of experiencing social issues.
An Overview of a Cultural Issue facing Coca-Cola Company
Culture plays a vital role in the consumer behavior. The major cultural issue facing the multinational company is language diversity that is present in other non-English speaking countries (Carter, 2009). Language disparity manifests itself when the company advertises across borders. The advertisers decide whether to use a foreign language or not. Financial issues and image-related reasons drive the company into using foreign languages in their advertisements. The advertising costs are lower when using foreign languages, and the communication of the message in the advert is also effective. However, achieving effectiveness comes at an extra cost, as the existing English-language adverts cannot apply in every scenario. The company has to keep changing its adverts especially in the non-English speaking nations to suit their audiences, and this causes financial issues to the firm.
Analysis of the Ethical and Social Responsibility Issues of Coca-Cola
The management of multinational organisations is quite sensitive to the issues of corporate social responsibility and the expected ethical conduct in business (Blanding, 2010). It is due to the pressures exerted to them by the media, governmental corporations, legal concerns, interest groups, and the public. Differentiating between the corporation’s concerns and a socially responsible behaviour is very hard. Additionally, differentiating between the conflicting expectations of the firm’s ethical behavior across different countries is also tricky. Interdependence caused by the global business dimension compels the management of various multinational firms to take a keen and positive stance on key issues such as the ecological protection in the globe, the economic development in the foreign nations and the ethical behavior and corporate social responsibility.
For the Coca-Cola Company, there are key issues of social responsibility that they continue to respond to in a special manner depending on the nature of the host country. The company has consistently reacted to issues such as the consumer concerns, employees’ welfare and safety, the environment, and poverty and inequality in the world. The organisation perceives the social responsibilities at a given ethical angle. Usually, the management of Coca-Cola views certain responsibilities with the notion of utilitarianism. Here, the company views that a social responsibility with the approach of executing the activity that will cause lesser harm to the people concerned. In this case, the management's perception is that the action becomes good when it fulfills the expectations of a majority of individuals. Precisely, the company considers an action as good if it maximizes the overall good.
The management of the Coca-Cola Company also exhibits a rights perspective of the issue arising from their multinational nature (Harvey & Allard, 2009). In the rights view, the company questions itself about the alternative that best serves the rights of the people. Coca-Cola being a company founded on the virtues of America heavily considers the issue of the rights of the people. Therefore, it wishes to undertake an activity that uphold and honors the rights of individuals. The company transfers the rights perspective in considering some of the key issues to prioritize in the foreign markets.
Additionally, the company also holds another ethical perspective of doing business in the foreign lands. As a global entity, Coca-Cola tends to apply the justice view. Here, the stakeholders in the company question whether the plan or the issue that they would like to respond to is consistent with the commitment and values of the host community. In such cases, if a given actions goes against the norms of the foreign host communities, the idea will be dropped followed by expression of preference to the plan that is in harmony with the existing norms of the respective society (Hays, 2014).
Comparison of Perspectives across Cultures involved in the Organization
The organization is a typical multinational company that serves its customers widely across borders. Due to the diverse nature of the customers it serves, then cultural frameworks and expectations within every locality dictate that they act differently in the process of exercising their corporate responsibility and when conforming to the ethical requirements. The perspective of the ethical issues varies depending on the cultural orientation. For instance, in India the customers of the company believe in quality and value. In India, people like high-quality products at cheap prices. Hence, in undertaking all the activities of the company the administration tends to maximize on quality of the services and the brands of various beverages. On the contrary, the customers in countries in Europe tend to associate high prices with prestige and high quality. People in such set-up cherish specialty and may wish to go for the expensive brands to stand out against the common multitudes.
There is also a variation in the perspective of environmental conservation as part of corporate social responsibility. The company tends to stress much on its environmental practices in the developed and industrialized nations. It is because the environmental policies are so strict, and the governments press charges on the slightest instance of environmental offence (Harvey & Allard, 2009). On the contrary, the subsidiaries of Coca-Cola based in developing nations perceive the issues of environmental conservation lightly because the environmental laws are not so tight. The perception of the environmental responsibility in Africa is quite vague and rests on a weak premise as opposed to a strong positive perception with which the company holds environmental issue in the developed states.
The rights perception of the ethical issues also varies in enforcement depending on the culture. In the western world, individuals know their respective rights and would wish to enjoy. They would not wish to see any multinational firm violate their rights. Unlike the western states and European nations, African countries do no not care about most of the human rights unless it borders on their lives. Therefore, as long as the company peacefully carries out their activities, the society sees no harm or weakness caused by the firms. The phenomenon is different from the European scenario where societal rights and individual rights shape the ethical activities of Coca-Cola (Harvey & Allard, 2009).
The solution to the ethical problem stretches out to the docket of many stakeholders including the shareholders of the firm, the management of the company, the activists groups, environmentalists, and other stakeholders. The management of the Coca-Cola firm must ensure that they understand the implication of their actions in every societal circumstance. First, when managing the subsidiary firms, the management must go beyond addressing the general issues of social responsibility concerning the environment in the host countries (Harvey & Allard, 2009). In respect to this, they must consider the implications of using every technology and every method of production. After identification, the company must address all the aspects of appropriately.
Coca-Cola can solve the ethical issue through the introduction of measures that negate or reduce the negative impacts of the activities of production. In this course, it must consider developing new methods of disposing of and recycling their packages. They must also consider expanding the usage of their byproducts. Lastly, the company should look for alternative raw materials for use in production.
In conclusion, the issues of corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior exhibited by a multinational firm are very sensitive in shaping its growth. For Coca-Cola Company, corporate social responsibility regarding environmental conservation jeopardizes its progress in certain countries where it operates some of its subsidiaries. However, with the introduction of new measures that suits all the stakeholders, they can hedge against the effect of the obstacles that lay on their paths.
Blanding, M. (2010). The Coke machine: The dirty truth behind the world's favorite soft drink. New York: Avery.
Carter, S. (2009). The new language of marketing 2.0: How to use ANGELS to energize your market. Upper Saddle River, NJ: IBM Press/Pearson.
Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. J. (2009). Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Hays, C. L. (2014). The real thing: Truth and power at the Coca-Cola Company. New York: Random House.