Cross Culture Management at IKEA

The organisational culture followed at IKEA in Sweden was very different from the Spanish culture which was experienced to be more hierarchical, more rule-bound, and more aware of status than the Swedish culture. While the company appears to be very aware of the culture and even uses differences in cultures to its advantages as reflected by its advertising campaign for the British, it found itself in a bind when it tried to export its organisational culture to branch offices of the company in different countries.
As per the case study, The culture at IKEA is essentially Swedish in nature where decisions are made with the consensus of others, mistakes are a part of the learning process and creative approaches to problem-solving are rewarded. Red tape is frowned upon and status barriers are discouraged while managers like to work closely with co-workers. It is essentially a culture of equality when business cards do not carry titles and employees are supposed to work their way up the company without any formalized training. In fact, any education given to the employees is through discussion and explanations which explains the philosophy of IKEA. The company seeks employees with open minds, positive communication skills, a good work attitude more than it seeks employees who have degrees in sales and marketing.
This particular organisational culture came into direct conflict with the national culture of Germany where hierarchical systems are important and personal initiative is discouraged. Even something as simple as using the managers’ first name created issues and risk assessment procedures showed that the German employees functioned differently when it came to making choices from a set of given options. Similarly, informality in France was seen as a sign of weakness and indecision which was taken to mean that the employees could do whatever they wanted to.