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Whilst the global nature of multinational activity may call for increased consistency, the variety of cultural environments

in which the MNE operates may call for differentiation. Workplace values and behaviours are widely regarded as being influenced by national as weIl as corpora te cultural characteristics. As Laurent (1986) claims, 'if we accept the view that human resource management (HRM) approaches are cultural artefacts reflecting the basic assumptions and values of the national culture in which organisations are embedded, international HRM becomes one of the most challenging corporate tasks in multinational organisations'. Greece is clustered in the 'Mediterranean culture' sector of managerial models, with native managers assumed to be less individualistic and more comfortable with highly bureaucratic organisational structures in order to achieve their objectives. In Hofstede's terms Greece is characterised by large power distance and strong uncertainty avoidance (see Figure 14.4, p. 550). Since the early 1960s, Greece has been the host country for many foreign firms, initially in manufacturing and more recently in services. Ir is broadly accepted that management practices which reinforce national cultural values are more likely to yield better outcomes in terms of performance, with a mismatch between work unit management practices and national culture likely to reduce performance (Newman and Nollen, 1996). The suggestion here is that multinational firms, which have established their affiliates in Greece, will be more efficient if their management practices are better adapted to the national culture of Greece. Theory suggests that this adaptation will be better achieved where the national culture of the horne country of the MNE is close to that of Greece. In other words, MNEs from collectivist, large power distance and strong uncertainty avoidance countries will be at a small cultural distance from Greece and will better integrate into the organisational culture of the Greek affiliate. The following hypothesis is therefore suggested by Kessapidou and Varsakelis (2000). Hypothesis: MNEs from horne countries at a large cultural distance from Greece will prefer to employ local managers and permit more decentralised IHRM practices. This hypothesis would then predict that MNEs from horne countries with national cultural characteristics of the individualist, small power distance and weak uncertainty avoidance variety (i.e. the opposites to Greece) will prefer to employ local managers and permit more decentralised IHRM practices. In their analysis of the operations of 485 foreign affiliates in Greece over the years 1994-96, Kessapidou and Varsakelis found considerable evidence to support this hypothesis. MNEs from horne countries at a large cultural distance from Greece (e.g. UK, Netherlands, US with cultural distance factors 4.27, 4.03 and 3.47 respectively) were much more likely to employ local managers and adopt a decentralised approach to IHRM than countries at a small cultural distance from Greece (e.g. Iraly, France and Spain with cultural distance factors 1.46,0.99 and 0.58 respectively).
Source: Adapted from Kessapidou, S. and Varsakelis, N. (2000). __ What relevance does this case study have for IHRM aspects of multinational firm activity?

Durex in China

SSL PLC is a major producer of health-related products and is responsible for the famous condom brand 'Durex'. Since its registration as a condom brand in 1929, the name has become weil known in many countries. Durex has a 22 % global market share, has become a premium seiler in over 40 countries, and is number two in 23 countries. In recent years the company has taken steps to conquer the Chinese market by establishing a 50/50-equity joint venture (EJV) with a Chinese privately owned company. Set up in 1998, the EJV is based in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong Province. The condom market in China is very competitive. Durex's main competitors in China are essentially the other foreign brands. However, one of the company's local co mpetitors is a brand called Jissbon, which in the short term has resulted in being areal issue for Durex. The world-famous condom producer filed a lawsuit against Jissbon on 24 June 2002. Durex is accusing Jissbon of stealing information from Durex's website and printing it word-for-word to describe its own product.

On its website, Jissbon described itself as 'a British-based world famous condom producer with a 70-year history and 20% of the global market share whose products are sold in more than 140 countries'. The description is very similar to that of Durex. Durex claims the design of Jissbon's website and even the details it provides are copied from Durex. As a result, Durex accused Jissbon of making claims that Durex can genuinely make about its own brand. In response to Durex's accusations, Jissbon admitted that some of the information on its website is false but stressed that the website is not for business purposes but intended to change people's ideas of condoms and safe sex. Durex asked for a formal apology and compensation of 5 million yuan (US$602,410) from Jissbon, saying that Jissbon has caused great loss to Durex's valuable image. The case was finally settled in December 2002. Jissbon had to give Durex 100,000 yuan, alter their website and make a public apology in the national press.
Source: Wilson, _ 1 What steps can companies take in an attempt to prevent IPR infringement? 2 Discuss the impact IPR infringement has on the consumer.