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Walmart - Cultural differences in work ethics in the USA and Germany

Dissertation : Walmart - Cultural differences in work ethics in the USA and Germany. Recherche parmi 299 000+ dissertations

Par   •  2 Janvier 2017  •  Dissertation  •  566 Mots (3 Pages)  •  3 888 Vues

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Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that has more than 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under different names of subsidiaries. It is the biggest private employer in the world. Walmart has always been a huge success around the world until it started to set up shops in Germany. Even though America and Europe share similar way of living, its implantation to Germany did not go as well as expected. As a matter of fact, Walmart was force to withdraw from Germany in 2006, after almost 10 years of presence in the country. What would be the reasons why Walmart had to leave Germany? To answer to his question, this paper will first focus on the cultural differences in work ethics of both the USA and Germany. Then, it will focus on the cultural differences in the way of living of the two countries.

Among the different hypothetical reasons why Walmart had to leave Germany, the work ethics of the company is probably the main one. As part of Walmart corporate culture, employees were required to start their daily shifts by engaging group chants and stretching exercises. These practice intents to build morale and loyalty for the company. However, Germans did not appreciate the practice as much as their American co-workers. This was maybe seen as to embarrassing or a bit aggressive and trade union condemned the way of managing of, for most of them, foreign managers with very little experience of the German market. Furthermore, employees were required to spy on their co-workers and t report any problem, which did not get the approval of Germans as a court struck down Walmart’s ethic code imposed to Germany. Germany rejected Walmart corporate philosophy that was way too far from its own.

Another reason of the failure of Walmart in Germany would be because of another cross-cultural difference, the way of living. In Germany, people are not used to smile at strangers. So when Walmart imposed its “smiling policy” to its employees, it seemed odd to cashiers to smile at the customers after they made their purchases. Moreover, Germany is consider as a green country, and so Walmart corporate style with all its plastic bags and plastic junks might be a reason why Walmart could not properly set up to Germany. As the country of the discount market, Walmart was not well welcome in Germany by its main competitor there, Aldi. With more than 100 000 products and prices higher than its competitors, Walmart failed against Aldi with fewer low-coast products but of a better quality. Walmart products were also not adapted to German customers. Indeed, many American products were sold in Walmart that did not fit Germans expectations. Walmart did not succeed in adapting its culture to the German one.

As it was just demonstrated, Walmart failure to set up and carry on in Germany happened because of many reasons. Its lake of cultural adaptation to the German market put it far from its main competitor and engendered deficit for the company. Walmart cross-cultural misunderstandings in Germany were obvious in both its work ethics and the way of living. Because they always succeeded in other countries to set up, Walmart implantation to Germany was not enough well prepared. Their practices did not fit the Germans well and the consequences of their actions forced them to leave the country, not even 10 years after their first store opening.


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