Establishing a Strategy-Culture Fit in Multinational and Global Companies

1. In multinational and global companies where some cross-border diversity in the corporate culture is normal, efforts to establish a tight-strategy-culture fit is complicated by the diversity of societal customs and lifestyles from country to country.

2. Leading cross-country culture-change initiatives requires sensitivity to prevailing cultural differences; managers must discern when diversity has to be accommodated and when cross-border differences can be and should be narrowed.

3. The trick to establishing a workable strategy-culture fit in multinational and global companies is to ground the culture in strategy-supportive values and operating practices that can travel well across country borders and strike a chord with managers and workers in many different areas of the world, despite the diversity of local customs and traditions.

4. Aside from trying to ground the culture in a set of core values and operating principles that have universal appeal, management can seek to minimize the existence of subcultures and cross-country cultural diversity by:

a. Instituting training programs to communicate the meaning of core values and explaining the case for common operating principles and practices
b. Drawing on the full range of motivational and compensation incentives to induce personnel to adopt and practice the desired behaviors
c. Allowing some leeway for certain core values and principles to be interpreted and applied somewhat differently, if necessary, to accommodate local customs and traditions