IKEA Against The Grain: Cultural Value Tension

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Question :

IKea Against the Grain

By Richard Milne Mr Kamprad founded [IKEA] in 1943 just to the north of Almhult, a community surrounded by dense forests and little else. Fifteen years later he opened the first shop in the town in what would become a global empire of flat-pack furniture.

Ikea is one of the most extraordinary success stories in postwar European business. Famed for its Scandinavian chic but cheap tables, des, and beds, its self-assembly wares inspire admiration and frustration in equal measure.


Mention is made in the text of the tension between IKEA's corporate culture and national culture. Which of the high-profile stumbles mentioned in the text do you think offer the clearest indication of this tension  in terms of cultural values? Explain your choice. 

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Answer :


Cultural Value Tension 

IKEA is a strong cultural hub of various cultures. It is obvious that there may have conflict in their corporate culture. The company follows strict human resource management and marketing standards. A diverse cultural workplace may have cultural issues, which can threaten the sustainability of the company. In relation to IKEA, a global company, where a high diversified cultural competence was there, which relates to high chances of conflict. Based on the high profile stumbled text, it cleared the tension of the cultural issue in the IKEA culture. The expansion of IKEA raised question in terms of their unique corporate culture, which is steeled in terms of rapid growth from China towards Dominican Republic (The Guardian, 2012). 

The series of high profile stumbles, such as spying of staff and customers to the corruption scandal, IKEA has suffered a lot. In terms of Russia stumble, IKEA fired two of the senior executives in case of corruption. Additionally, the criticism over the IKEA’s airbrushing women out of catalog of Saudi Arabia was also contributed in the cultural tension in the national and corporate culture. Based on the two stumbled cases, IKEA’s culture towards the national norms of different countries is creating a huge challenge (The Telegraph, 2012). As different countries have different norms and code of conduct, thus maintaining an equal corporate culture in different countries is posing a major challenge in terms of operation. 

As IKEA approaches a different culture in terms of their organization, thus, maintaining operations in the countries with having different culture and norms is difficult. The way of working along with the attitude and choice of customers along with employees will be different for different countries. Approaching fit-to all approach thus cannot work for operations in the different countries. The airbusing stumble raised the question about the gender equality of IKEA, where the company was criticized for removal of women from the catalogue. Removal of women from the catalog from Saudi Arabian version is conflict to the group values of IKEA (The Atlantic, 2015). A discrimination of gender equality thus was addressed in the stumble case that clearly indicated the tension in between cultural and national value of IKEA.