The Global Expansion of Coca-Cola

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Known as the global leader in the beverage industry, the Coca-Cola Company, often referred to as Coke has dominated in the business landscape. The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the corporation centers its engagement in accordance with its mission, vision and values. There is a driving mechanic built within the Coca-Cola Company's infrastructure to create an environment where employees feel as if they matter and that there is both open communication regarding innovative ideas and employee opinions. As a result of this, the company is committed and dedicated to ensuring that is has effective evolution in business, both domestically and internationally.

Kiessling & Harvey (2005) argued that having a strong global human resource management is important given the rapid swiftness of competition that is happening in all business sectors (p.23). Given the invaluable aspect that human resources departments have on the overall growth of an organization, when companies are attempting to ensure a competitive advantage over their rivals, they create new strategies to significantly capitalize on this. Coca-Cola has considerable shifted their philosophy in their hiring. Utilizing a geocentric approach, which is designed to find the best of the best, the company has discovered an opportunity in their midst to ensure continual global evolution.

The Coca-Cola Company envisions itself as an enterprise operating on multiple levels and this has allowed the company to expand into more than 200 countries. Presently, the company strives to find a nominal amount of individuals internationally because their vision operates on having the best of the best within the particular cities that the corporation operates in. Even though this is their particular strategy that they have instructed their HR department to exercise, the company wholeheartedly believes in employing expatriates (Anfuso, 1994). An expatriate is defined as "an employee who is not a citizen of the country in which the firm operations are located, but is a citizen of the country in which the organization is headquartered" (Mondy, 2013). Rationale for having expatriates on the part of Coca-Cola is twofold. First, it ensures that their geocentric approach is kept intact given that they are looking to have the best of the best working within their operations on both domestically and internationally. Second, it ensures that their mission and vision of making a difference in the world is prominent and present. Furthermore, it keeps their brand name viable given that they understand that "the world is changing" and that in order to continue being the dominant beverage brand knowing the "trends and forces that shape the business" ensures that they are "ready for tomorrow today" ("The Coca-Cola Company," 2013).

While having expatriates in the workplace is a part of the growth strategy of the Coca-Cola Company, there are some issues that they do face. This has to do with gender inequality. According to Mondy (2013) "some countries do not provide women equal access to jobs because they are barred from working in the same industries as men or are forbidden to work at night" (p.363). Therefore, considerations have to be made to account for that issue when Coca-Cola is making its hiring decisions internationally. This is a considerable dynamic that is causing issue internationally with Coca-Cola as only 30% of the senior management is composed of women and it is only ranked 24th on the best multinational places to work ("The Coca-Cola Company," 2013). Abdullah & Jin (2011) added that there needs to be better leadership and planning to handle the expatriate issues that arise when organizations opt to move their operations overseas. Performance expectation is another issue that often occurs with companies that exist on an international capacity (p.243, 245).

Over the years, there have been numerous studies conducted on the effectiveness of expatriates and as to allow for a better understanding of recruitment of HR departments. Companies on the scale of Coca-Cola have inquired as to why issues relating to expatriates persist in order to ensure that if their strategies and tactics for operating overseas are changed that the problems will be minimized or rendered over. Studies have identified that companies often take their expatriates for granted.

Hsieh et al. (1999) explored this phenomenon in depth and found that while companies have a strong pool of talent to operate overseas, once there, the companies have unreasonable expectations of their employees and the employees themselves have unreasonable assumptions regarding the ways in which the company will ensure they are compensated appropriately for imploring their talents and skills. Their research found that most of issues regarding gender inequality and performance expectation have to do with lack of understanding on behalf of the HR departments on the necessary steps to take to further the company's global evolution (p.74-77). Risks are not fully examined and analyzed beforehand and this is what causes many of the issues pertaining to expatriates.

So given the issues with expatriates that occur and continue to occur, does that necessarily mean that the Coca-Cola Company must scale back this particular strategic move? Not necessarily. The Coca-Cola Company has dominated the beverage industry more or less due to its tactical expressions and executions of understanding individuals and the need for creating an award-winning culture that maintains productivity and profit. This knowledge makes sure that the global HR areas can make efficient decisions based on the rising amount of new approaches and techniques in organization and management. Moreover, it will allow for its global HR department to focus on one specific task rather than modifying the entire ways by which they hire. In other words, the geocentric approach that has been and continues to be used can remain as such.

The Coca-Cola Company will need to employ certain characteristics to make sure that their global operations continue running smoothly given their business mission and vision. Mondy (2013) believes that companies need to explore different ways of developing their global HR departments in order to efficiently curtail the issues and trends that often result when operating overseas. First is to ensure that expatriates are properly trained and developed. This includes both orientation, training and continual development. Each specific employee is different and thus, it is crucial that all aspects of an expatriate's duties that they will be responsible for are noted up front. There is also a recommendation for online assistance and training that will allow expatriates to reinforce what was given and provided to them during the orientation and training process. (p.366). While it is understood that Coca-Cola encompasses a geocentric approach, that does not negate the fact that employees need to fully trained and continually expand on their skills and talents. Mondy (2013) also states that there is the issue of repatriation, which is when expatriates are brought home and expresses that there is a significant need for companies to understand the importance of making certain that employees who return home are treated properly and have a pleasant experience (p.366-367).

As far as dealing with the issue of women, there is not much that can be done as far as that is concerned as the Coca-Cola Company will be dealing with the laws associated with foreign countries and they must adhere to them. As a consequence of that particular trend, it may be viable for the domestic HR departments to hire more women to compensate for the lack of gender equality associated with certain overseas countries that Coca-Cola operates in. Essentially, the Coca-Cola Company will need to examine and assess their global HR departments to effectively move forward in the beverage industry as a viable voice overseas. In doing so, they will continue to dominate in their strategic tactics against their competitors in a business that is incessantly evolving.

References

Abdullah, D. N., & Jin, C. S. (2011). Issues and trends in expatriation management. IPCSIT, 16, 243-247.

Anfuso, D. (1994, November 1). Coca-Cola's staffing philosophy supports its global strategy. Retrieved from http://www.workforce.com/articles/coca-cola-s-staffing-philosophy-supports-its-global-strategy

The Coca-Cola Company. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/

Hsieh, T., Lavoie, J., & Samek, R. A. (1999). Are you taking your expatriate talent seriously? The Mckinsey Quarterly, (5), 70-83.

Kiessling, T., & Harvey, M. (2005, January). Strategic global human resource management research in the twenty-first century: an endorsement of the mixed-method research methodology. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(1), 22-45.

Mondy, R. W. (2013). Human resource management (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River,, NJ: Prentice-Hall.