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McDonalds and Globalization

McDonalds has grown tremendously over the past few decades and the quick growth has come with a fair share of pitfalls. The paper McDonalds- I’m Lovin’ It follows a general theme of the problems that McDonalds has faced in various arenas and mentions the strategies that the company has used to emerge successful. The paper, in general, focuses on: 1) McDonalds and Globalization, 2) McDonalds, the FDA and Nutrition, 3) McDonalds and the Workplace, 4) McDonalds and the Environment, and 5) McDonalds and Corporate Social Responsibility.

McDonalds and Globalization McDonalds is fast growing and has become one of the biggest global brands in the world today. McDonalds has more than 30,000 restaurants worldwide in over 100 countries serving millions of people everyday. (McDonald’s Corporation, n.d.). Tracking back a couple of decades, the main forces behind McDonalds globalization were probably the growth of technology, capitalism, labor needs in other countries and a greed for size expansion and wealth creation. (Steiner & Steiner, 2006, p. 384-386). Globalization has had both positive and negative effects on the functioning of McDonalds.

The Good  So how has McDonalds become one of the most recognized brands in the world? McDonald’s spends years to understand a country’s market before making

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any sort of commitment. McDonalds has primarily succeeded because of the company’s franchising operations. (Vignali, 2001). McDonalds realizes that for the company to succeed globally, the ideas that work in one country might not work in another. McDonald franchises do business and maintain relationship with the local supplier, which enables the company to develop products based on the local people’s needs. (Vignali, 2001). The company also encourages local franchising (with over 70% restaurants abroad being owned by the locals) (McDonald’s Corporation, n.d), and, hence encourages the local managers to work independently and make most of the important decisions.

In Asian countries, especially, McDonalds has positively impacted the cultural values of the people, created a sense of world culture and improved working conditions for thousands of workers. (Steiner & Steiner, 2006, p. 381-387). To maintain competitive advantage, McDonald’s managers, in countries such as UK, France, India, Saudi Arabia etc. stress upon innovation and constantly come up with new local food items. (Harlan,1994, see also: Gershman, 2007). McDonalds has even provided employment opportunities to millions of people all over the world. But McDonald’s global growth has not been very smooth and the company has had to deal with a fair share of problems.

The Bad and the UglyMcDonalds has been accused of culture erosion or “Americanization”, environmental destruction, poor labor conditions and causing an increase in obesity in many countries. (Steiner & Steiner, 2006, p.381-384). McDonalds has also constantly faced threats from environmentalists, religious groups, worker unions, animal rights activists etc. over the company’s lifetime. (Steiner & Steiner, 2006, p. 381-384). Many of the company’s restaurants have been raided, burnt down, and completely destroyed by mass protestors in a lot of countries such as France where the company was being held responsible for fast-food and unhealthy introduction and workers exploitation. (Debouzy, 2006).

McDonalds is learning and making desired changes to tackle each problem that the company is facing. For starters, McDonalds now works to protect consumers by introducing healthy foods, provide nutrition labeling on the food products to increase awareness amongst the consumers, protect the employees and the environment and are more becoming increasingly socially responsible. McDonalds, the FDA and Nutrition McDonalds’ cares about the consumers worldwide and; hence over the past few years the company has not only made a great effort to make healthy food items a part of the food menu but also provided nutrition labeling on the food products. Time and again McDonalds has been held responsible for the increase in obesity in America and for not providing the consumers with necessary health warnings. (Barboza, 2003).

The underlying reason for government regulations in business can range from flaws in the market, such as not providing adequate information about products and product-content to the consumers to social and political reasons, such as providing healthier and safer products to the customers. (Steiner & Steiner, 2006, p. 288-289). The FDA, after repeated requests from the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, announced in 2003 that food manufacturers were required to provide nutrition labeling and declare the trans-fatty contents in the food products. (Burros, 2003).

The pressure to make information available to consumers forced McDonalds to think healthy and the first signs were seen in the introduction of more healthy food options, such as fruits and trans-fat free food items. McDonalds provides nutritional labeling on all the food products at restaurants worldwide, all in an attempt to abide by the federal government regulations and to “reassure customers of the quality of its food”. (Clark, 2005).

The company has even made changes to the design of packaging materials, which now display nutritional value of the food contents. (Solley, 2005). Because of constant monitoring by the government and other health organizations, McDonald’s is continuously working to improve the nutrition content of the food and to educate and encourage the consumers to make healthy choices. Simultaneously, the company is working towards providing a healthy and safe work environment for all employees.

McDonalds and the Workplace In the past, McDonald’s was constantly in the limelight for ill-treating employees and creating unsafe work environments. The job opportunities available at McDonalds were considered unequal and low-paying. (McSpotlight.org, n.d.). But over the past decade McDonalds has made a conscious effort to make changes in the workplace and offer equal employment opportunities to all.

Care is also being taken to ensure a safe working environment for all employees at restaurants worldwide. Because of the recent technological boom, McDonalds is now able to properly train all employees. The company not only brings in diversity in the workplace in the form of ethnicity but also provides equal opportunities to handicap people. On June 14, 2006 McDonalds was awarded the “‘Freedom to Compete’ Award by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Washington, D.C. for the company’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives”. (McDonald’s Receives Major Diversity Award, 2006).

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