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Electrolux and Scania in Africa: A Qualitative Study of How Two Swedish Companies; Electrolux and Scania, Adapt Their Business Culture When Operating in African Markets.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Businesses are seeking international market opportunities more than ever before. The growing activities of international business has given rise to the globalisation of markets which in turn creates more economic, political, social and cultural interconnectedness among countries. A few decades ago, most Swedish companies had limited trade with African countries due to the sluggish economic growth, low market size, political instability and redundant regulations. However, there have been recent developments in Africa and the continent is now home to growing economies. Today, Swedish companies trade with African countries such as Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

Africa is the most heterogeneous continent; culturally, linguistically and ethnically. In order to successfully operate in African markets, foreign businesses need to develop an understanding of the African cultural value system. The purpose of this degree project is to explore how two multinational Swedish companies; Electrolux and Scania adapt their business culture when operating in African markets. We chose a qualitative research strategy with an inductive approach and conducted semi-structured interviews with Electrolux and Scania, which are currently active in Africa. The respondents hold various positions within these companies. A thematic analysis was used to analyse our data. 

Our empirical findings suggest that Electrolux and Scania are very similar in how they adapt their business cultures in African markets. Although there are some commonalities, business culture can vary widely from country to country in Africa and what is true in one country might not be true in another. African markets have a relationship-based business culture and Electrolux and Scania have been successful in Africa by building good and long lasting relationships with business entities. Building relations, coupled with strong company core values, help both companies tackle corruption related issues. Our findings also indicate that Electrolux and Scania have an understanding that Africans have different time perception and consequently, adapt by understanding, accommodating, and being flexible and patient towards their business counterparts. The only major difference about how the two companies adapt their business culture in African markets regard how local talents are used. Whereas Electrolux appoint local people to take leadership positions, Scania send expatriates to the countries they have business operations in.

In conclusion, Africa has a unique business culture environment that requires foreign business people to have a sense of flexibility and freedom to respond to subtle or major difference in the various and diverse African countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 80 p.
Keyword [en]
Business Culture, Adapt, Culture, Africa, African Markets, Electrolux, Scania
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137459OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137459DiVA: diva2:1119112
Educational program
International Business Program
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-07-04 Created: 2017-07-03 Last updated: 2017-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Electrolux and Scania in Africa(2124 kB)23 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf