Intercultural Business Case. The "Chocolate Value Chain"

Essay, 2016

10 Pages, Grade: 2,2


Table of contents

Register of illustrations

1. Ethical Issues

2 The dimensions of Trompenaar’s model

Register of illustrations

Graph 1: 'Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1997) - 7 Dimensions of Culture' . .7

1 Ethical Issues

The ‘Schokoladenmanufaktur GmbH’ is located in Bremen and sends its Assistant Procurement Manager and Senior Procurement Manager to the Indonesian island, called Halmahera. The most successful product, which is the award-winning ‘Dark Surfin Chocolate’1 can only be produced with the unique cacao beans of the island Halmahera.

For that reason, there is an ethical issue by confronting two different national cultures: the German culture and the Indonesian culture, which mainly belongs to the Asian Continent. As Hofstede said: ‘Culture is always a collective phenomenon. It is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category from another.’2 To go into more depth, this means that the key stakeholders are in one hand the two German Procurement Managers and on the other hand, the Indonesian workers, especially, the roughly 40 year old machinist, who is also the team leader.

In fact, the machines in Indonesia were not being operated properly, whereas, the workers need to be certain to follow the service specifications. If they are not applying the service specifications, the result will be wastage of the cacao beans, which would obviously mean a loss of money for the company.

The ethical values in this case are based on ethical concepts. In this case, it is not said that there is only one ethical value. Teleology ‘evaluates human actions according to their final causality or ultimate end’3, which is here definitely the case. Moreover, it is called Utilitarianism, which focuses on the moral worth of an action, which is determined by its resulting outcome. This outcome would be the success of the company, meaning that if the workers of Indonesia are not doing their job correctly, the German Managers will not be happy as well and the success of the company failed. Therefore, if the workers are doing a great job, the greatest happiness for the workers, managers and the company can be achieved. Additionally, there is one more ethical concept, which is called ‘Discourse and Consensus’4. This moral issue fails completely within this case because when the Manager tried to explain to the worker the serious importance of the operational procedures and requirements, the worker did not show up for work on the next day. Therefore, these two ethical concepts are in danger of being violated.5

As already mentioned, the key stakeholders are given different priorities. The manager of the company has of course much more responsibility and power compared to the workers. However, this power or position has nothing to do with how a manager solves a moral issue. In this case, dualism is existent between profits and moral. For the German manager nothing went wrong, he just tried to explain the worker in depth and with no lack of clarity how important the correct usage of the machines are; however, the worker’s values or moreover, its complete culture, is not used to such straight and direct sayings. This could be the reason why he did not show up the other day. Asians have their own communication strategy and primarily do not come to the point immediately, which makes their communication message developed circuitous and indirectly6. Furthermore, this could be a reason for having here a misunderstanding between the manager and the worker. The worker might have recorded this clear announcement as a negative impact on how good he is working. He could have understood that he is not doing a good job overall. According to this, the manager should rethink how he is communicating to the workers and might talk again with the worker to make sure what exactly he wanted to explain to the worker. For this conversation, it is important that the manager supports the worker within his work, by motivating him and to build up trust. This ethic approach is important and will bind the two different cultures. In view of this concern, it is obvious that the worker or in the future all the workers, can intend their action to listen more carefully, and if they worry about a thing they should directly talk to their chief.

It is urgent that within the missing of the worker the entire crop of cacao will spoil if the worker does not process it within 24 hours. This shows that the worker is not responsible and needs to build up more trust with the managers. The best solution would be to talk to each other in depth and explain the perspectives to avoid misunderstandings, which damage the company. The mentioned company’s business objectives between profitability and moral acceptance, give the company the final result that without the worker they are making a loss. Therefore, the cost and the benefits would have negative impacts on the company, whereas, their might be an apology needed. In order to solve the problem as quickly as possible, the apology should not be the focus because the meaningfulness is the relationship of the manager and the worker, which should be deeply discussed. Moreover, they should come to an agreement about how to talk with each other.

For a suitable Corporate Social Responsibility7 instrument, ‘Ethical Codes of Conduct’8 should be used as a guideline. It might ensure a morale behavior, which is consistent with the values of the company and will avoid that any member of the company does not know how to act in certain situations. Such an ethical leadership code would have helped in the case between the manager and the worker. Therefore, this future plan should be followed to avoid situations like the past one.

The final ethic management process solution is that the stakeholders will be consulted to establish a fair and clear code of conduct, which will set their targets on paper. Both sides, meaning the worker and the manager have to compromise in some way to be successful in the future. Each individual is open- minded enough to present his or her claim and need as well to accept the other one.


1 Abbreviation - Dark Surfin Choclate = DSC

2 Dimensions

3 Schlesinger/ Braun

4 Schlesinger/ Braun

5 Schlesinger/ Braun

6 Dimensions of Cultures

7 abbreviation - CSR

8 Code of Ethics & Standards of Professional Conduct

Excerpt out of 10 pages


Intercultural Business Case. The "Chocolate Value Chain"
International School Of Management, Campus Frankfurt
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ISBN (Book)
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intercultural, business, case, chocolate, value, chain
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Julia Schneider (Author), 2016, Intercultural Business Case. The "Chocolate Value Chain", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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