This write-up examines the actual culture in practice at one of the multinational companies in Nigeria – Cadbury Nigeria Plc. From the myriad of culture definitions available, the student has picked the most relevant. The organization’s HRM practices are then analyzed with a view to determining how they have impacted on the actual culture. An analysis of the espoused culture provides a critique of the differences between the 2 kinds of organizational cultures outlined in the texts (espoused and actual).
To these, has been added a third type of culture, (the perceived culture). An examination of the ongoing business re-engineering initiatives of the company is done, with a view to underscoring the importance of the awareness of culture change to the organization’s business strategy. In addition, insight(s) as to the approach to change management is described. Finally, recommendations are provided as to how to provide for a better strategic fit between espoused cultures and culture-in-practice in the company. Outline 1.
Introduction a. What culture is b. Cadbury Nigeria Plc: A cultural overview 2. Extracting CN’s core values a. Espoused culture: A description b. Culture-in-practice. c. The link between espoused, actual culture and employee motivation in CN. 3. An examination of CN’s HRM practices in relation to the culture-in-practice. a. Main HRM practices that shape organizational culture 4. Espoused culture Vs Culture in practice: Drawbacks of misalignment 5. Conclusions and recommendations. 6. References Introduction What is culture?
“Organisational culture is defined as the shared values, norms, behaviours, assumptions and expectations that guide organisation members in terms of how to approach their work and deal with each other and their customers. ” 1 This best describes how culture in the organisation operates in my own environment. An overview of Cadbury Nigeria Plc Cadbury Nigeria Plc (CN) is an associate company of the Cadbury Schweppes UK. Founded in 1965, it employs a little over 2000 workers. Its core business mission is as follows: The national culture(s) of the Nigerian environment in which CN is located is indeed a complex one.
Firstly, Nigeria is made of 250 ethnic groups, with 3 major tribes (based on size) of the Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa. Hence there is a myriad of subcultures inherent in the organisational culture typology of CN. This is a source of conflict in the company. Majority of CN’s employees are of the Yoruba tribe, hence it can be said that the dominant culture is clearly identifiable. Extracting CN’s core values Espoused Culture: A Description Drawing from a number of cultural artifacts, beliefs and basic assumptions amongst other cultural elements, it can be deduced that CN espouses:
Integrity/transparency: Its management claims that these are central to business operations. In a country rife with corruption, this is a means to convey good corporate governance and an ethical image. A highly motivating work environment, where staff turnover is low. In practice, staff turnover is low in CN, but whether this is as result of high motivational levels, is something that is probed further on. Production oriented, in the sense that its products are in high demand, hence there is a need to churn out large volumes of brands to the market.
Being part of a successful multinational concern, CN prides itself in being an employer of choice and equal opportunity employer. This, it attributes in part, to its ability to attract and retain a brilliant crop of managers and blue-collar workers. The assumption that CN has an excellent reputation as evidenced by various awards won in the country, such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange – most compliant quoted company, which it has won about 3 times. And more recently, Nigeria’s most respected company award (2005) – an independent study carried out by the Businessday newspaper and Pricewatercoopers Nigeria.
We are a conservative company, that rules by corporate governance and we refuse to be part of the “worm of corruption”. ome of the espoused cultural norms above are communicated through company reports and brochures (artifacts), but more through presentations, lectures and memos to employees and other stakeholders. Culture-in-practice The alignment between espoused culture and culture-in-practice in CN is wrought with a lot of falsehood. This is so for the following reasons (matched to the espoused culture detailed above):
Transparency International’s recent rating of Nigeria as the 6th most corrupt country in the world, leaves the reader with no doubt as to the pathetic situation of business ethics in this climate. Cadbury Nigeria, despite its status as a private concern (most corruption malpractices are recorded in the government sector – e. g. civil service. ) is one that is not immune to the prevailing national culture of – grab all you can, while you have the opportunity. 5 of the company’s seven executive directors have been directors for at least 14 years.
This has turned them into tin gods who give directives and expect they are followed to the letter. In essence, a high power distance is prevalent. CN may have a low staff turnover, but this is not due to high levels of motivation as espoused by its management. Rather, this can be attributed to the economic climate in the African sub region, with scarce jobs and unemployment; employees are content with receiving regular salaries in spite of unfavorable working conditions. E. g. staff in production typically work 7 days a week, as a result of the company’s production orientation.
This is demotivating, yet few employees resign. Rather that rely on market research, CN operates a volume-driven manufacturing strategy. The company incurs a lot of costs with the destruction of expired goods each year (due to excess production). This differs from the espoused belief that our products are always in high demand. CN may ride on the fact that it is a global business, but the observed differences between the cultures of multinational companies in various cultures, makes its claim to be closely modeled on the Cadbury Schweppes somewhat unrealistic.
The company’s external image – also referred to as the perceived culture (2) is one which is espoused as excellent, however in reality, the company is not as highly rated as it claims. Before the new open office plan was adopted in January this year, visitors to CN’s head office were often disappointed with the run down facilities. It took the management 4 years to finally refurbish the building. In the next section, we shall see how CN’s HRM practices have helped in shaping the (actual) culture.