International companies enter foreign markets generally for two reasons, either they want to increase their profits or they want to keep up with their competitors. But before stepping into a new market, the companies have to consider the foreign market, especially the foreign culture. Not until they have adopted their strategy to the country, they can be successful.
Marks & Spencer would like to enter the Algerian market and open a shop in the capital of Algeria, in Algiers. But before carrying out this project, they have to research the Algerian culture and market. As their consultants, we compared the British with the Algerian culture to find out, if Marks & Spencer can be successful in Algeria. In the following report you can read our results and our recommendation, if they should open a shop in Algeria or not.
I/History and Philosophy of Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer – a very well-known shopping place in England. In 1894, Michael marks formed a partnership with Tom Spencer to run the business. 1901, a new warehouse and head office opened at Derby Street, Manchester and now they have over 370 stores located throughout the UK, In additional, the company has 150 stores worldwide, including over 130 franchise businesses operating in 28 countries.
The success of Marks & Spencer is not only because they provide good quality of product. They also provide good services, innovation and trust. In additionally, they launch the ethnical products to reach the demand of our customers who come from the multi culture.
Since 1884 until now, within 120 years, their store was ranked the top retailer and one of the top companies UK. And now their services are included, the clothes and accessories for women, men and kids; home accessories and furniture; gifts and flowers; food and wine etc…… moreover web site is also provided: www.marksandspencer.com. Customers can order or see their products on the internet in any time, hence to benefit to our global market.
In Marks & Spencer, they are acting responsibly to their customers and they are trying to ensure a good working condition for everyone involved in producing, wherever in the world. They also have their own Ethical Trading Initiative ‘Base Code’ to make sure the following points happen.
> Employment is freely chosen
> Freedom of association and the right to collective
> Bargaining are respected
> Working conditions are safe and hygienic
> Child labour shall not be used
> Living wages are paid
> Working hours are not excessive
> No discrimination is practised
> Regular employment is provided
> No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
II/The British culture
Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) is in north-west Europe and is an island country.
Official Language: English
Main Religion: Christianity
Business dressing: formal suit with dark colour
British Eating Culture
Traditional British cuisine is substantial, yet simple and wholesome. We have long believed in four meals a day. British cuisine has always been multicultural, a pot pourri of eclectic styles. For example: there are many distinct ethnic cuisines to sample, Chinese, Indian, Italian and Greek restaurants are amongst the most popular.
Some of our popular food in England includes:
> Cakes, Biscuits and Puddings
> Bread and rolls
> Fish and chips
It is currently (2003) estimated that there are between 3 and 4 million vegetarians in the UK, one of the highest percentages in the western world.
Tea and coffee is Britain’s favourite drink; we add cold milk to our tea or coffee.
British Business Culture/Behaviour
British Culture in general
The British are known for their politeness and reservation. When you are in the UK, try to avoid direct questions because you probably will receive only elusive answers. As the conversations are rather vague, you should be careful with body language and the tone of voice.
Humour is a very important part of the British life. In a society, which has problems to express personal feelings, humour is used as a defence mechanism, often in the form of self-depreciation or irony.
‘Stiff upper lip’ – This is an expression of the distant and restraint behaviour of the British, when they are faced with a problematic situation. To show emotions, if positive or negative, should be avoided. That means, that business meetings in the UK are more formal and the British people keep their distance.
Working in the UK
If you are working in the UK, you have to be accurate and making appointments should be happen several days in advance. The UK companies need much time to come to decisions because they follow particular rules and practices in their decision-making processes.
The organisational hierarchy of the companies is mainly very flat. Generally the decisions come from the board of directors. The British employees like to work in the security of a group-established order with which they can identify.
The relationship between the managers and their subordinates is very important. The boss is more a coach, who supports and encourages his staff, than a supervisor.
Teamwork is very important, however there exists a strong feeling of individual accountability for implementation and error.