Culture Clash In The Boardroom Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Ethical dilemma or Situation

Globalization of world economy and the differences between various countries, leads national and international companies face multiple issues and challenges such as ethical issues, cultural differences, economic and political differences, and the inflexible working environment. Ethical diversity in the workplace is considered as an advantage in the globalized world, not as a disadvantage in obtaining the opportunity(JP Shapiro, 2010).

According to the case, Almond Chemical, a joint venture between the Germany-based Company and China, headquartered in Munich. The German company initiated a strategy to expand its reach in China. However, the cultural differences come into play because the two venture conduct business in extremely different ways. During the meeting in the boardroom, the members of the executive board discuss various issues and challenges that are arising regarding the progress of negotiation with China.

In the Chinese culture, it is a common business protocol to be involved in the act of bribery, and there is no such law for bribery. The Chinese chairperson of the venture mixed some of his believes in giving commission with safety practices and procedure, alleging that these procedures are unnecessary over expenses. However, this kind of behavior and practice indicates a different way of leading business between two people and two different cultures. On the other hand, the president of Almond Venture Company, was totally against the practices because he wants to develop Chinese rules and regulations that would not bend the company’s standard regarding the ethics and safety.

Second, it is normal for the people trying to conduct business while playing golf together, buy customers by offering gifts and get to know their workers' families, or gaining the clients some percentage of profits gained from the business deal. However, the European company feels that these ethical standards and practices go against their moral culture and values. Furthermore, the chairperson of the venture wants to give commission on a sale, but this practice was against the rules of the company as a unit. Moreover, the Chinese executive feels that it is a waste of money and time to buy safety equipment and remove of waste byproduct. As a result, it is becoming highly difficult for the company to generate sales and make sales in the country.

Third, all business decisions in the European company are made through innovative ideas and thoughts, to increase customers and competitive advantage in the long run. This conflict arises at the meeting is whether to concede to the Chinese way of doing business or stay true to the culture of the European business. Conceding with the Chinese way of doing business, may lead to face legal issues in the local area where the venture company based. Moreover, it could cause negotiable inconsistency within the German’s network, and lead the company to lose clients within their home country. On the other hand, of the European company develop a concede strategy, they could make huge profits in the Chinese market.


For businesses that strive to be ethical, it is important to apply the ethical standards and values within and outside the organization, and adherence to all applicable laws and regulations consistently. Moreover, it is important for every organization, to communicate their ethical and corporate values of the key stakeholders effectively, in order to earn and maintain an ethical status in the dynamic market. In the globalized economy, it is highly important for the organization to apply “ethics without borders” practices that reflect the ethical behavior within the workplace.

However, it is difficult to maintain an ethical status and business between two people and two different cultures. China is the high-context culture, where people prefer collectivism and group harmony rather than the individualism. On the other hand, moreover, the people are intuitive, relation-oriented, contemplative, and emphasize interpersonal relationship.

On the other hand, European culture is low-context culture, where communication lay in the verbal form and expected to be straightforward and concise in delivering the message. Therefore, it is essential for the venture company to understand some of the ethical theories and concepts that help the firms to analyze and evaluate the ethical issues, and drive possible solution that helps the company to gain customers and competitive advantage in the long run.

Almond Chemical, a joint venture between the Germany-based Company and China, must adopt moral pluralism practices in the business. Moral pluralism accepts that every individual or company has a difference of opinion, belief, cultures, and values, and can also co-exist with each other in spite of their differences, especially in the globalized world. Under moral pluralism practices, person respects each other rights and values, to believe a different truth, even if the person believes in the objective truth. Moreover, it also focuses on the right legal company and the country...............................

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