AM905001 Capabilities for Managers
Assignment 1 – Cross Cultural Management
Study block 3 2021
Date issued June 23, 2021
Due date 8 November 2021 Time Before 11:59 PM
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1000049807 Xiaomeng He
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The Role of Culture in Successful Decision Making: Applying Mana and Other Manifestations of Māori Culture
The purpose of this report is to critically analyse the role of culture in successful decision making in Woolworths New Zealand. It focuses in particular the role of mana and other manifestations of Māori culture. The report contains a description of the organization, an analysis of the cultural environment where Woolworths operates in, the role of Māori beliefs and cultural practices and how they affect decision-making, the practices employed in decision-making, and a summary of the findings.
Description of Organization and Its Products
Woolworths New Zealand has been in operations in New Zealand for more than 80 years. Founded in 1949 by Albert Gubay, the organisation owns and operates more than 180 supermarkets as the nation’s largest employer in the private sector (Kasanagottu & Bhattacharya, 2018). According to the official company website Woolworthsnz (2021), the company employs more than 18500 people in the company’s distribution centers, processing plants, support offices, and in the general stores. Woolworthsnz (2021) highlights that Woolworths New Zealand is one of the largest grocery companies in New Zealand with a reported revenue of NZ$6.2 billion in 2018. It is headquarted in Auckland and operates under different subsidiaries including Countdown, SuperValue, FreshChoice, and General Distributors Ltd. Countdown is the largest of these subsidiaries operating as a full-service supermarket. Woolworths New Zealand is in the retail industry, operating as a full-service supermarket chain, with other operations in the supply chain including distributions, packaging, delivery, and sourcing of products. Under the brand Countdown, Woolworths New Zealand serves more than 3 million weekly customers with a choice of more than 20000 products in each of the 180 stores across the country (Castro et al., 2021). The company also has in-store grocery distribution hubs, fresh produce distribution areas, and chilled and frozen product distribution, central support offices, and seafood and meat processing units.
The Cultural Environment
Woolworth New Zealand is a mainstream company that operates in New Zealand as a subsidiary of Australia’s Woolworth group. Woolworths (2021) explains that the New Zealand subsidiary is operated and managed by its locals who understand the local culture and show passion in terms of delivering its customers with fresh foods, offer great customer services, and on top of it, focus on creating the most value for money; More than that the company has positioned itself in the market through extensive product differentiation strategy – to provide customers with a wide array of selections.
Woolworths New Zealand is not a local but rather an international company. Woolworths (2021) states that Woolworth’s story began in the year 1924 when it first set shop in Sydney, Australia; at the time, the founder and CEO, Percy, committed to growing the company and expanding it beyond Sydney to other cities – hence built the company’s culture around that organizational goal. The branching out decision soon got implemented by 1927, and by 1929, Woolworths established a foothold in New Zealand’s food market (Woolworthsgroup, 2021). Woolworths is therefore an international company operating various subsidiaries in different geographic regions.
Cultural Aspects Impacting the Company
Culture exists in all parts of the world but with each part, culture is different. Woolworths’s decision to branch out from its home location put it at a risk of facing cultural barriers to effective communication of its marketing messages with the cultural norms of people living in New Zealand. According to Hofstede (2011), Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory can be used to explain the effect of culture, in a society’s values, as well as how these values impact behaviour; based on Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions, Woolworths would have to deal with cultural aspects touching on power, gender, uncertainty, masculinity-femininity, long and short-term orientation, as well as individualism-collectivism. The chart below provides insights on the cultural differences between New Zealand and Australia.
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1: Hofstede’s estimated cultural differences between Australia and New Zealand (Hofsted-insights.com, 2021)
Are the differences between pakeha and Māori cultural behaviour?
Māori and Pakeha are New Zealand’s two most prominent cultures. According to Sibley et al (2008), the Māori culture is the main culture in New Zealand given that the nation was founded by the maoris; on the other hand, the Pakeha is a more modern culture developed through integration of the British culture. People following the Maori culture identify themselves as iwi, awa, hapu, and maunga. Sibley et al (2008) explains that the Pakeha culture emerged in the nineteenth century through influence from the British colonialist’s culture. Currently, Maori are a minority group taking only 17 percent in the population pie, whereas the Pakeha takes up 70 percent as the majority group (Sibley et al., 2008). New Zealand’s two main cultures are therefore Pakeha and Maori.
Are there differences between pakeha or Māori cultural behaviour and that of the country where the company originates?
There are cultural differences between the culture in New Zealand and that of Australia where Woolworths originates from. One of the cultural differences between the two nations is resilience; people from Australia are more resilient owing to the tough desert conditions, compared to those in New Zealand who would not sustain in such condition as they’re used to abundance of prime farm land. Also, while the Maori makes up the minority in New Zealand, they possess more political clout as compared to their Australian counterparts, the minority Aborigine community; who have the least political influence (Zambas and Wright, 2016). The cultures in Australia and New Zealand have clear disparities even though the cultural behaviors merge to some extent.
The Role of Māori Beliefs and Cultural Practices
Cultural belief and practices fuse together moral principles that enhance and guides people in the Maori culture towards doing what is considered more important and good. Largely, the Maori prefer to stay rooted to their traditional culture hence to understand the role of Maori beliefs and cultural practices, it is crucial to first comprehend the context in which they were developed. Newzealand (2021) explains that Maori beliefs form a stronghold to comprehending how Maori perceive the world and engage with people as well as build relationships; furthermore, these beliefs aid Maori people to be aware of their environmental as well as spiritual realms – thus establishing a foundation for aspirations and goals. The beliefs and cultural practices of Maori establish a fundamental role in development of Maoris.
The beliefs and cultural practices of the Maori people revolves around the concept of “Tikanga”, Harmsworth (2005) asserts that Tikanga refers to a more sophisticated behaviour, and also includes a set of beliefs and values which determine how Maori people conduct themselves in their daily life. Therefore, Tikanga can be perceived as a control mechanism for social interactions, social identity, as well as how interpersonal relationships are built. The main beliefs and cultural practices in the Maori culture include: Whanaungatanga -meaning belonging, katiakitanga – meaning guardianship, manaakitanga – to mean hospitality, kotahitanga -to mean unity, Tino Rangatiratanga -to mean self-determination, and Wairuatanga – meaning spirituality.
WhanautangaThe term whanaungatanga in Maori stands for belonging, relationship building, and kinship. This concept can apply as an organizational principal in the sense that it helps to both structure and maintain positive social relations. Creating a Whanau business environment can allow Woolworths to create a sense of belonging for its employees as well as provide support networks.
KatiakitangaThe concept of Katiakitanga refers to protection and guardianship of the natural resources. According to Mclntosh et al (2004), Katiakitanga is passed down from the ancestors and it encourages the Maori to be keepers of the environment around them as well as guardians of mauri -which is the physical life force. In terms of its relationship with the business context, this concept pushes for sustainable business practices in terms of managing company operations to ensure safety and do away with environmentally degrading activity. Woolworths must therefore make considerations in terms of environmental sustainability practices such as waste management as well as controlled energy consumption to reduce carbon footprint (Caldera et al., 2017). Katiakitanga hence plays a huge role in sustainable business practices
ManaakitangaThe concept of Manaakitanga revolves around wanting to care for other people, showing generosity, as well as hospitality (Cockburn-Wotten, 2021). Caring for people is an important principle in the world of business; for instance, if Woolworths intend to engage in a customer-centric strategy such as in-store experience and organization, the management would have to develop a workplace culture that emphasizes on Manaakitanga.
KohitangaKohitanga guides the Maori people in the context of uniting them through networking and relationship building. According to Chant (2011), the Maori structure their work using Kohitanga guidelines therefore companies such as Woolworths must adapt to create strategic alliances with other Maori businesses to establish Maori unity.
Woolworth’s Decision-Making Practices
As businesses today strive to achieve sustainable business practices no only as an organizational goal but also due to cultural impact in terms of beliefs and values that are specific to a country. The Maori culture for instance is all about sustainability and the main cultural concept of Tikanga comes to life in three forms: environmental sustainability, relationship building with people, and perception of profit. These aspects are essential to Woolworth in terms of successful decision making for the business.
Examples of successful decision making
One of the successful decision-making process relative to tikanga in Maori culture is connection with the environment. Ulluwishewa et al (2008) explained that the Maori are in tune with their natural environment and as per their history, their lineage can be tracked back to the earth; when introducing themselves, Maori people normally refer to the landscapes like rivers and mountains. This shows great priority and importance placed on the natural resources hence it is essential for Woolworths to recognize that beyond profit, what the Maori really care about is environmental sustainability. Therefore, Woolworths’s business practices must not interfere with the natural environment else face immense criticism. Instead, to reflect on its connection with the environment, Woolworths has to show commitment in activities such as tree planting, or water conservation to express their understanding of, and their connection to nature; For instance, Woolworths New Zealand engages in energy conservation measures for sustainable future by setting up an Energy Management Centre alongside practices such as solar rollout, and refrigeration management (Woolworthsgroup, 2020). This forms a crucial environmental sustainability practice for Woolworths brand image.
Another decision-making aspect revolving around the Maori culture is that of relationship with other people. To be in good stead, businesses operating within the Maori culture must be aware of the tikanga concept of relationships with people. Three key attributes discussed in this concept include how customer well-being is addressed, consciousness of the environment, and corporate social responsibility. Woolworths must acknowledge its people’s commitments and offer flexible working terms; for example, Woolworths can include job sharing roles so that people can work part-time and also arrangement of retirement plans along with a succession plan. This not only enables companies in New Zealand to attract the right employees, but also those with high talents and lean less on salary as compared to the employment experience given the Tikanga culture.
The other decision-making aspect is in the perception of profit in Tikanga culture. According to Newzealand (2021), reputation for businesses operating within tikanga culture in New Zealand is everything; by implementing the businesses practices described in the beliefs and cultural practice of the Maori, businesses like Woolworths stand to receive better treatment in terms of ethics, credibility and equality. Hence, instead of only focusing on profit, decisions made in Woolworths company have to consider aspects such as creating value in people through job creation, leaving the environment in a more improved state than it was before, and preservation of natural resources for use by future generations. For instance, Woolworths engages in community support projects in association with its customers to raise funds for charitable organisations (Woolworths, 2021). Tikanga is designed to enhance workplace relations between people through deeper personal engagement; these aspects are more important to Maori culture when compared to profits as seen in other mainstream businesses.
The Reason for Success
Based on the Maori culture, the above examples on decision-making were successful owing to the fact that they address crucial business values such as people, purpose, planet, and profit. By following guidelines stipulated in the Tikanga culture, Woolworths is able to comprehend what is perceived as right and wrong by the Maori people – for instance Woolworths has committed to collecting customer feedback to improve its processes such as including more healthier foods (Woolworths, 2021). Woolworth’s success in venturing the New Zealand market has been mainly due to the emphasis placed on the foundation of Tikanga. Tikanga advices Woolworth’s top management in terms of design-thinking, decision making, and strategic actions.
The Decision-Making Process: The involvement of management and whether there is consultation with experts, stakeholders or community leaders who may be culturally powerful
Decisions at Woolworths are not purely made by management otherwise it would conflict with the national culture; instead, decisions must be passed through various stakeholders and community leaders in the Maori culture since they have more political clout hence dictate how business should operate – for instance, in matters concerning land asset, Woolworths cannot trade without consent from Maori leaders. According to Woolworthsgroup (2021), Woolworths acknowledges the local custodians of the nation as well as understands their respect for environmental sustainability among other sustainable business practices. Woolworths therefore consults with the Maori elders tied both to past and those tied to present traditions when entering a decision-making process; the brand ensures that 20 percent of representation of Maori and Pakeha in store management level (Comcom, 2021). This is done in order to ensure alignment of Woolworths company with the Tikanga culture across all levels and locations.
Effect of cultural or cross-cultural environment on the Decisions
The Woolworths company operates in the Tikanga culture which advocates for sustainable businesses practices. The decisions it makes are affected by the culture around Tikanga as the business must take into consideration of what Maori people perceive the world, and on the right business practices. Woolworths therefore has to tune all its operations in a diverse way to become more appealing to the Maori culture, through integration of its various cultural concepts such as the Katiakitanga. For instance, to ensure cultural alignment Woolworths New Zealand has shown commitment to cultural workforce diversity. Such a decision came as a result of the cross-cultural environment in which Woolworths New Zealand operates in.
Woolworths is an international company originally based in Australia but has international branches in other countries such as New Zealand. Its venture into New Zealand emphasized on the need to comprehend the national culture and how it impacts the decision-making process of the business. New Zealand people follow two types of culture, one is the Maori and the other is Pakeha. Whereas the Maori represents a traditional more conservative group, the Pakeha consists of people who have characteristics similar in the British culture. Despite the fact that Maori group is a minority compared to the large Pakeha population, they control political stage. It is crucial therefore for companies like Woolworths to comprehended the culture surrounding the Maori people in order to receive fairness, equity, and be perceived as a credible business that aligns and identifies with the national culture. The Maori culture affects decision made by Woolworths company in diverse ways such as; how the company perceives profits, how the company builds relationships with people and how the company employs sustainable business practices. Decisions such as how to design the organizational structure are affected by culture and Woolworths NZ found it necessary to ensure that Maori leaders are represented fairly across its various stores in the country. By doing so, Woolworths NZ has been able to successfully integrate its operations with the local culture to gain both market recognition and acceptance.
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