ORGANIZENSATIONAL CULTURE - Cultural connections in multinational companies

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Author: Josefine Strömberg; Emma Soikkeli; [2008-06-10]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Introduction: Our world is changing. Due to globalization, multinational companies are meeting fiercer competition and the pressure to be competitive and successful is increasing. The characteristics of the companies seem to be more in focus now and ever since the eighties the concept of organizational culture has been a much-discussed topic. Companies expanding abroad face national cultures that may differ from their own. In order to create a common ground and strive towards common goals there is a need for common values and a favourable culture. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how the employees in a subsidiary of a successful company perceive their own organizational culture and its connection to the organizational culture of the foreign parent company. This is also our research question. The company we have chosen to perform a case study at is BMW Group Gothenburg, subsidiary to BMW AG Germany. Method: This is a qualitative study, and in order to investigate the attitudes of the employees we have performed interviews with employees of different levels and departments at BMW Gothenburg. As a complement to the data collected during the interviews we have made observations outside and inside the facility in Gothenburg in order to broaden the impression of the culture. Analysis: Our study shows that the employees at BMW in Gothenburg perceive their culture as unique due to its cheerful and friendly atmosphere where everybody feels at ease with their work. The relationship between different organizational levels and departments is good and has developed in this direction during recent years. The employees have fun working and this is, according to them, the biggest motivating factor. Important symbols stressed are the meetings where they feel they get the opportunity to express their opinion and have discussions, events and activities outside the formal working facility and the home-baked cake made by the sales manager to reward any salesman who sells more than 30 cars in a month. The employees’ perceptions of organizational culture at the parent company are vague, but a hierarchical structure is something all respondents agree characterize German organizational culture in general and therefore also ought to be present at BMW in Germany. Conclusions: The connections in organizational culture between the subsidiary in Gothenburg and the parent company in Germany are mainly materialistic. The employees do not consider the fact that BMW is a German company as something they reflect about or that affects them in their daily work. In other words, BMW show that a company can be successful worldwide without having a strong common corporate culture, something many researchers consider to be of great importance. A strong product, material control that makes BMW-facilities all over the world recognizable to the customer as well as liberties for the local managers are possible factors behind the success of BMW.

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