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McDonald’s Cultural Issues in India Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 12th, 2020

Introduction

This paper is about cross-cultural perspectives at Mcdonald’s. It looks at how businesses can be affected by cultural differences across the globe. The paper is based on the idea that people from different countries have different cultural orientations and preferences, which necessitate the need for multinational corporations to integrate cultural factors into their business strategy. The importance of doing so is that it makes organizational business to succeed due to the alignment of business strategy to individual cultures for various countries. Failure to do so may spell doom for multinational corporations because for a business to succeed, it does not only need to be friendly to the customers but also respect their cultural values. Some of the issues which are discussed include Mcdonald’s historical background, the cultural and ethical issues at the organization’s operations, and the social responsibility issues in different regions where the organization has operations.

Mcdonald’s Background and History

The name of the organization is derived from one of its co-founders Mr. Maurice Mcdonald, who, together with his brother Richard started it in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant in California, United States. In the late 1940s, the duo used production line principles to change the organization from a barbecue restaurant to a hamburger stand. Eventually, they were joined by a prominent businessman Ray Kroc in 1955 who worked as their agent. Ray Kroc later bought the company and initiated its global expansion.

Currently, Mcdonald’s is one of the leading chains of restaurants dealing with hamburger fast foods across the globe with operations in over 100 countries and serving over 60 million customers on a daily basis. In its 35,000 outlets across the globe, it deals with various food items such as soft drinks, hamburgers, chicken, desserts, fruit salads, smoothies, milkshakes, fish, and breakfast items. The outlets are operated directly by the organization or by franchise agents.

Cultural Issue

India – McDonald’s where there’s no beef in the burgers

One of the countries where the organization has operations in India, which has a strong adherence to cultural beliefs and religious taboos and traditions. In India, one of the things which are highly influenced by culture is food. The reason is that Hindus do not eat beef since they consider cows as sacred, and for this reason, the majority of them are vegetarians. In the hotel industry, the problem with this taboo is that beef forms a key ingredient in making hamburgers the world over. However, the organization has managed to overcome this challenge by making hamburgers made of veggies instead of beef but retained the other qualities such as customer service, color scheme, and the junk appeal (Schumpeter, 2011).

Ethical Responsibility Issues

Ethical perspectives at McDonald’s

Full disclosure of food ingredients

One of the ethical perspectives at Mcdonald’s is in regard to the food ingredients. The organization has embraced the practice of full disclosure of ingredients in its food items. It does this by putting labels on all food items which it sells to customers. The idea is to enable the customers to be fully aware of what really is contained in the food which they eat. Such a practice is very critical because it not only enables the customers to have confidence in the organization but also gives the organization a competitive edge over its competitors. In some countries, some companies are known to give false information about their products while others do not give any details at all. Such a practice may expose consumers to dangerous effects of the products such as allergies or other ailments.

Dietary considerations

The other ethical perspective is dietary considerations. As mentioned earlier, people from different cultures have different preferences. In some cultures, people may prefer diets with low fat or sugar, while in others, they may prefer diets with sugar and fat as key to the ingredients. This concern has been considered by Mcdonald’s in its Indian outlets by ensuring that the majority of the food items are beef free (Libranza, 2014).

Comparison of Ethical Perspectives at McDonald’s across Cultures

India

The ethical perspectives in India are different from those in North America and Asia. While in India, the focus is on beef, the case is different in North America, where there are very few Hindus.

North America

In North America, the organization has focused on other ethical considerations such as remuneration of workers, proper working environment, and issues to do with fighting corruption.

Asia

In Asia, the major ethical perspective at Mcdonald’s is the provision of quality services with dignity. The aim of this perspective is to increase customer satisfaction. It relates directly to Mcdonald’s vision of being a world leader in fast foods through improved customer satisfaction. It relates to the organization’s overall objective in that improved customer satisfaction enables the organization to improve its financial base (Ruggiero, 2011).

Social Responsibility Issues

Social perspectives at McDonald’s

One of the social responsibility issues of the organization is the initiation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs at the community level. These programs include things like foundations for sponsoring the less fortunate it the society to attain education, the establishment of healthcare initiatives, and environmental conservation. The CSR initiatives relate to the organization’s mission of making people live better lives because a portion of the revenue collected is used to establish programs that enable the less fortunate in society to improve their living standards. It relates to the vision in that the corporate social responsibility initiatives are provided to all those who are marginalized, thus having a direct impact at the individual level. It relates to its overall strategy in that the provision of such CSR services and programs leads to increased customer satisfaction, which leads to an increase in customer base and more sales (Brannigan, 2005).

Comparison of Social Perspectives at McDonald’s across Cultures

India

In India, Mcdonald’s social perspectives are based on building rapport and trust with the local customers through the provision of products that respect their religion and traditions.

North America

In North America, the social perspectives are on conservation of the environment through various programs.

Asia

In Asia, the social perspectives are on poverty alleviation, which is done through the initiation of various programs that help the poor get out of poverty (Trevino & Nelson, 2010).

Conclusion

Mcdonald’s is a global leader in hamburger fast foods with operations in various parts of the world. Its sensitivity to cultural beliefs and orientations has enabled it to succeed where many organizations have failed. The integration of countries’ cultures into its business strategy has enabled it to venture into new markets and realize good results. In India, for example, its sales hamburgers made of veggies instead of beef because a huge population of Indians does not eat beef. McDonald’s also engages itself in socially responsible programs such as poverty alleviation, economic empowerment, and environmental consecration, depending on the areas of priority in the different regions of the globe where it has operations.

References

Brannigan, M. C. (2005). Ethics across cultures: an introductory text with readings. London: McGraw-Hill.

Libranza, A.K. (2014). Analysis of the case of a McDonald’s in India. Web.

Ruggiero, V.R. (2011). Thinking critically about ethical issues. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill.

Schumpeter, (2011). . Web.

Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2010). Managing business ethics. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "McDonald’s Cultural Issues in India." June 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mcdonalds-cultural-issues-in-india/.

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