Mini-Assignment #1 – Case: Mccain Foods Limited

If you were in charge of the Asian operations for McCain, how would you recommend the company overcome the challenges in the Chinese market? Being a foreigner in any market is a challenge, if I were in charge of the Asian operations for McCain I would first gain an understanding of what appeals to the Chinese market. This way I will be able to produce a product that will not only satisfy the Chinese consumers but also not offend them.

For example, in regards to packaging, the Chinese market are very attracted to the colour red as it conveys good luck and good fortune while our company should avoid the colour white as it represents death and mourning. It is simple details like these that the Chinese market would become more comfortable and willing to accept western food. Additionally, prices of the McCain products may be seen as overpriced compared to local Chinese products.

A different approach being in charge of the Asian operations would be to adjust the prices of our products, perhaps set them at a price lower than the standard in order to appeal to the Chinese consumers who are not familiar with McCain. Lowering the price will allow consumers to give McCain foods an opportunity to show western foods can be accepted. Once McCain foods have become more familiarized with the Chinese community our company would be able to raise prices as we have already established an appealing brand with consumers.

Another effective decision to overcome the challenges in the Chinese market would be to improve advertising of McCain products. Advertising campaigns including celebrities endorsing products have proved numerous times they improve sales and overall awareness of the brand. The reason for this is because especially in the Chinese market, when consumers see celebrities they look up to become associated with a product, it gravitates their interest towards that certain brand or product. 2. Drawing from Hofstede’s work on global cultures, what challenges might Canadian managers at McCain face when interacting with their Chinese business colleagues?

Hofstede’s work on global cultures includes power distance, individualism-collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity-femininity. The challenges in regards to power distance include that Canadians may treat subordinates more fairly and equally unlike Chinese managers who believe in formal authority and knowing your place of rank within the company/business. The challenges with power distance Canadian managers may face will initially be establishing a relationship with Chinese business colleagues.

They may find that the Chinese are less willing to exchange information and communicate with one another as Canadians follow a more democratic view versus the Chinese following an autocratic view. Secondly Canadians may face challenges with individualism-collectivism as their scores differ vastly. The mindset of the two cultures clash as Canadians have an un-biased take when it comes to hiring and promotions; solely looking at performance and the potential of that person while the Chinese take on a more biased view giving higher priority towards people managers have a connection with such as family members.

The main challenges would be compromising on how to promote and hire employees with such different views. Essentially Chinese business colleagues have an approach of comparing results with other companies whereas Canadians look at a broader picture, viewing productivity/efficiency success. The challenge both cultures will have to face is compromising management styles to please employees as well as contribute towards the company’s success.

Bibliography

  1. China – Geert Hofstede. 2 Feb. 2013 <http://geert-hofstede. com/china. html>

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