- Were the store owners and staff justified in their actions to remove the elderly Koreans?
- What role do you think culture played in the dispute that McDonald’s faced in the United States and Japan?
- If you were a senior executive at McDonald’s what steps would you take to resolve these types of issues and prevent a recurrence of such incidents?
From an economical point of view, the actions of the store owners and staff were justified because it is the rule of market. It means that if you do not pay of a service or a good you cannot enjoy it. Moreover, these elderly Koreans treated the restaurant in an unreasonable manner because there are signs on the wall stating that customers should not spend more than 20 minutes per meal. In fact, it is the culture of fast food restaurants, that people do not spend too much time inside to always have available seats for the next guests. In fact, in the United States, the business world is ruled by the phrase “ time is money”. So, by using McDonald’s restaurants as a public space, elderly Koreans made the business lose a large amount of money.
However, humanely there was a better and more intelligent way to handle this conflict. In fact, it is more about a shock of cultures than of money, but these Koreans were not treated properly. There was a lack of sensitivity and respect from the owners because they hurt them with a broom, they discriminated them with sentences like “ we don’t sell coffee to people like you”. But, at the end, I think that McDonald’s lost more money than if they had handle it properly because it has shown a very bad image of the company, without any cultural awareness. (Total: 235)
I think that culture played a very important role in this dispute because it proved that the company did not do any research about the Japanese culture and that they have no cultural awareness. In fact, when you are doing business abroad, not only do you need to be aware of the current situation of the country but also of its past and its culture. Indeed, if McDonald’s had studied the Japanese culture and history, they would have seen that Japanese have very strong feeling about Koreans due to unresolved issues after the Second World War. Moreover, if McDonald’s had adopted the right communication, they would have broadcasted a real Japanese girl who would have known how to bow according to the Japanese etiquette. Hence it would not have ended as a disaster. (Total: 133)
If I were a senior executive at McDonald’s, I think first I would train my employees to cross-cultural situations with seminars. In fact, I think that when you are a big company like McDonald’s, your employees should be aware of the culture of each country where you are implemented. Then, I would hire from different countries to create multi-cultural groups and diversity because these groups are known to be more creative, open-minded and they bring their own knowledge about their culture, which is nowadays really important as living and working in a globalised world. Finally, I would put in place a cross-cultural management, which is by definition, the management of people from different backgrounds, cultures in a single workplace, in which managers could be a local or international person. (Total: 129)
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