Cultural Challenges Faced in India

There are two parts that indulgence can be broken in to. First is Indulgence itself meaning there is weak control in the community and second is restraint meaning strong control. I understand why India scored 26 in this dimension because it is extremely restrained in India. I have experienced being restrained because to our culture education is important than making friends. As I grew up in India, I have seen children’s, housewives, and assistants who are restrained. On the other hand, the United States scored 68, so it falls under indulgence. My coworker went to India for business faced a challenge due to his indulgence. He was optimistic and had positive attitude towards his business however people in India deceived him for having positive attitude because they have introvert personalities. By having strict social norms, it led to IKEA’s consumer challenge in India. For example, “the furniture itself may need to be re-worked to suit Indian tastes” (Livemint 2012). I believe that is because IKEA creates polished and practical designs and Indians are “used to heavy teakwood furniture with intricate design” (Livemint 2012).

IKEA and Starbucks in India

It is a bigger challenge for businesses operating overseas. Adapting culturally to another country is hard specially for businesses. Some of the cultural challenges that IKEA faced in India were related to Hofstede’s dimensions. The government within the United States vary from India. IKEA faced challenging Indian government’s norm of sourcing 30% from within the country. The supplies that they opened “cater to the 30% will, most probably, also have a good possibility of exports and becoming big suppliers for Ikea globally” (Bhushan 2017). IKEA also faced challenges like returns on investment, ‘DIY’ culture, Walmart & Co., and finding space for big store.

Starbucks first open their store in Mumbai on October 19, 2012. Starbucks in the United States is contrasting than in India because of their coffee bean, taste, and different types of drinks. For example, Coffee bean in America is produced from Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific where in India it is produced in the country. The plant is located in Kushalnagar in Karnataka it distributes to all locations in Starbucks. I think due to cultural challenges Starbucks in India decided to produce its own coffee beans. The flavors of croissants also vary in India. For example, Elaicli Mawa Croissant in India and in the United States chocolate croissant. In India, Starbucks had to win the nation hearts because majority of the population drink tea. The author of the article mentions, “Coffee culture in India is less associated with coffee and is more connected with a place where people can meet for socializing, dates, and simply if they need a break from the workplace or home to spend time in the company of their friends” (Kaur 2018). I have experienced it when I went back to India in 2014, my friends wanted to travel five hours just get Starbucks.

Of course, there are many cultural challenges that are faced by managers, and business people operating abroad. The challenges can be from simplest or most complicated such as a person concerned about their safety, or food. The three main challenges I think that mangers face in India are time zone differences, miscommunication, and holidays. Time zone difference in one of the hardest things to adjust to for managers. I believe that is because in order to communicate to their boss or team member about a project in the United States, they would have to adapt to the time zone. Miscommunication can be cause by the use of language in a meeting. For example, when American business man is giving a speech in at a conference meeting, two people talk in Hindi, which is rude to the person giving the speech. The tone of voice also miscommunicates between American and Indian business people. Some of the major holidays that India celebrates are Holi (Festivals of Color), Independence Day, and Diwali (Festivals of Light). I feel that managers adapt to Holi easily however I think it’s hard for them to adapt to Independence because the United States gain its Independence on different day. For example, in the United States family get-togethers, and people spend their day at the beach, or lake. In India, each village host a flag ceremony in the morning, children parade through entire village, or parades at a school annual function on Independence Day.


Overall, Culture challenges for business people are hard to overcome, but they adapt to it. In this paper, I have explained cultural differences using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, discuss the challenges that IKEA, and Starbucks had to face when first conducting business in India, as well as the cultural challenges that are most likely faced by United States managers operating in India such as time zone difference, miscommunication, and holidays. The workplace for many businesses is changing and it is growing in different countries.

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