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Cross Cultural Management – a comparison between IKEA Canada and IKEA Sweden (Management Project)

There are differences among the working culture in every country. The problem is in what way this affects the way of managing an organization. The purpose of this thesis is to get a greater insight on how difficult it can be to manage a global organization. The questions I will try to answer are: Are there any differences in management between Sweden and Canada? If so how does and how should, IKEA manage to deal with them?

This study is made using a qualitative method,.using theories about what culture really is and earlier studies about what a typical Swedish and what a typical Canadian business culture is. Further on the IKEA cooperation and its concept has been described.. Two employee managers of IKEA Sweden and two store managers of IKEA Canada have been interviewed. Additionally seven co-workers have answered a an open-questioned survey. The main differences between IKEA Canada and IKEA Sweden are that IKEA Canada is trying harder to keep the IKEA culture, norms and values in the store.

The way that this is shown is that in a Canadian store; everyone is participating in team building activities, but in Sweden it is divided from department to department. The business culture in Canada compared to the business culture in Sweden is not that different though. There might even be more similarities between Canada and Sweden, then Canada and the United States. IKEA’s way in coping with culture differences is not that inspiring really. It is the way how they are working on keeping their own values and norms that are remarkable.

From the day you set your foot inside IKEA you will feel the culture; if you are not feeling it you will be taught. The managers are checking if the staff is living by their norms, the staff even answers on questions regarding if the managers are working by these norms as well. You could say that IKEA fails on the aspect of taking in mind other countries’ cultures, and they way they work. But on the other hand if they did, they would get lost. No way could they be that flexible, they should know about them in order not to step on anyone’s toes, but they should stick to their concept – it is a winning concept.
Source: Stockholm University
Author: Blomqvist, Klas

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