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Background of UNIQLO and its environment

Discuss about the Business Culture of UNIQLO.

Uniqlo has achieved accolades and glory by serving unique quality apparels to the Customers.  The company caters to the fashion sense of men, women and kids separately. The company has its outlets spread in Australia, Canada, china, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia among others. Conscious approach of the employees towards the maintenance of quality, innovation and purchasing power of the customers makes the company unique in its business (uniqlo.com, 2017). This consistency has enabled the company to expand the business in each and every corner of the world. As a matter of specification, delivering quality apparels to the customers have enhanced the reputation of the company. Exposure of collaborative working by the skilled and the experienced professionals has enhanced the standards of the apparels to an international level.

Along with this, the company pays special attention to the privacy of the customers. Similar to the other companies, UNIQLO has introduced privacy policy. The main aim of this policy is to protect the personal information that the customers are collecting or sharing online (uniqlo.com, 2017). Agreement to the terms and conditions is essential for the customers in order to get access to this policy. With the alterations in the business, the directives of the policy are undergoing noticeable changes. Cookies and web beacons are used for preventing the leakage of the contents generated by the customers for the launched apparels. Apart from this, the customers are provided with the access to SSL (Service Socket Layer), which alarms them about the security of their private information. 

These details reflect the conscious attempts of the company personnel towards the preservation of the organizational culture (uniqlo.com, 2017). This consciousness enhances the roles and responsibilities of the staffs in terms of creating a positive image in the minds of the customers. For this, the personnel make best efforts to adopt proper communication channels for conveying the news of the newly launched apparels to the customers. These advertisements enhance the relationship between the company and the customers. Countering this, joint ventures with the shareholders, results in the introduction of lucrative deals, trades and transactions, which helps UNIQLO to lure the customers towards the brand image (uniqlo.com, 2017).


Different outlets have different unique selling propositions, which results in the joint success of the company. Typical components of the propositions are leadership skills and abilities and enhancing the sales revenue, which enhances the brand image of UNIQLO (uniqlo.com, 2017).

Rationale behind the selection of Hofstede’s five Cultural dimensions

Culture is an important element for companies and organizations in terms of achieving customer loyalty, trust and dependence. Commercialization of culture, customs and traditions contradicts the placement of “business” and “culture” in the same alignment. On the contrary, assuring the customers about the safety and security of their personal contents enhances the roles and responsibilities of the managers (Wong, Tseng & Tan, 2014). The managers are entrusted with the responsibility to abide by the cultural values. This adherence safeguards the companies and organizations from crisis and challenges. Non-compliance to the policies compels the companies and organizations to encounter issues like scandals, which degrades the hard earned reputation (Riivari & Lämsä, 2014).  The current assignment attempts to shed light on unethical claims made by anti-poverty group regarding the approach of UNIQLO towards the preservation of the stakeholders and shareholders’ human rights.

Corporate social responsibility is an essential component of the organizational culture. Ensuring the wellbeing of the customers enhances the corporate nature of the marketing personnel. On the contrary, focusing on the betterment of the authority degrades the personality of the personnel amidst the customers. In view of these aspects, the claims made by the anti-poverty group regarding the immature behavior contradict the true essence of the aspect of corporate social responsibility (Ecouterre.com, 2017). The issue was published in an article entitled, This Way to Utopia. In response to this, a group of business critiques known as War on Want voiced out their opinions regarding the illegal joint ventures with the suppliers to inflict harsh treatment upon the workers. Similarly, this assignment, from the various perspectives, assesses the intensity of the issue and alarms the businessmen about the importance of preserving the organizational values and culture. Exertion of harsh pressure on the workers is against marketing ethics, which snatches away the basic human rights (Ruiz & Martínez, 2014).

In the 21st century, the companies and organizations aim to attain the hot seat by putting the customer benefit at stake. This motive contradicts the true essence of culture. The adverse impact on the purchasing power of the customers represents the selfish attitude of the marketing personnel in terms of enhancing their corporate social responsibility. The article taken into consideration is a live example of this issue.

Anti-poverty group making claims regarding the organizational event seems striking. When they should be protesting for societal upliftment, they are protesting against the unethical behavioral conduct (Ecouterre.com, 2017). Countering this, these protests might be for a relative, who works in UNIQLO and is subdued under the pressure of the higher authorities. The main aim of the protest is reforms for the existing situation. On the other hand, the marketing team of UNIQLO lacks this understanding. The propositions of the article affirm the absence of oriental approach towards the issue. In-depth insight on the specifications of the issue can be provided by bringing Hofstede’s cultural theory into the discussion.

According to Hofstede, culture is the conglomeration of several corporate minds. On the other hand, collaborative participation in discussions gives rise to conflicts, which degrades the standards of organizational values (Huhtala, Kaptein & Feldt, 2016). In view of the considered article, the protests and claims regarding the concealment of the ethical considerations is justified. Concealing the undertaken steps is against the business ethics. Transparency needs to be maintained in the execution of business activities. Absence of this transparency broadens the gap between the professionals and the professional development. Herein lays the appropriateness of the first dimension of power as proposed in the cultural theory by Hofstede. For proper maintenance of culture, the marketing managers of UNIQLO need to reveal matured behavior in terms of guiding the team members (Uniqlo.com, 2017). Emerging successful in giving proper guidance to the team members attaches the perspective of stable relationship to the aspect of “power”.

Upon the entrance of the employees, they are entrusted with the responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of the customers and the colleagues. This generates a closely knit family feeling. Typical example of collectivism is the presence of unity and coordination between the functional units of UNIQLO. In contrast to this, individualism has two connotations. One, it can be related to the perspective of enhancing the professionalism through the attainment of large scale customer satisfaction (Warren, Gaspar & Laufer, 2014). On the other hand, it can be considered as the selfish motive of the personnel to grab hold of the hot seat amidst the competitive ambience of the market. Delving deep into the aspects, individualism can be considered as broader version of collectivism, where the employees are provided with a chance to leave a mark by matured and professional conduct.

The third dimension represents the statistics of the employees- masculinity and femininity. Here, culture has different connotations for male and female employees. Countering this, there is a common goal and that is to respect the viewpoints of the other. Masculinity possesses the tendency to reveal more authoritative power on the female employees. This limits the chance of the female employees for voicing out their talents (DeBode et al., 2013). This creates disparity, which contradicts the true essence of culture.

The fourth dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance Index. This dimension assesses the approach of the public domain towards ambiguity regarding the events of the surrounding. The main aim here is to make estimates regarding the doable in terms of maintaining pace with the current trends. Herein lays the appropriateness of firm and strategic approach towards the execution of business activities (Chun et al., 2013).

The fifth dimension of culture is orientation, which is crucial in terms of tacking the issues, which comes the way of companies and organizations including UNIQLO. In order to achieve positive outcomes, short term goals are identified, which improves the focus. Emerging successful in this direction enhances the confidence regarding envisioning long term goals.  This enhances the confidence of the personnel regarding the capability to do challenging and enduring tasks (Lu, 2014).


The penultimate dimension projects the relationship between indulgence and restraint. Indulging in experimentation with the existing products and services enables the personnel to lure the customers to a great extent. Within this, restraining from the acts, which compels the personnel to encounter complexities, bestows an opportunity to sustain the market position within the competitive ambience.

Claims regarding unethical behavior put the reputation of UNIQLO at stake. Herein, the essence of “culture” attains a negative connotation. The source being the anti-poverty group aggravates the complexities of UNIQLO in terms of their corporate social responsibility. Concealment of revealing unethical behavior can be considered as the misultilization of the provided power to the managers (Mo & Shi, 2017). This incapability broadens the gap between the organization and the customers, negating the efforts of the personnel in terms of efficient execution of the business activities. Herein, lays the appropriateness of the word “distance” as proposed in the name of the dimension. Viewing it from the other perspective, “distance” can also be related to the detachment of the managers from their professional development due to the exposure of such irrational behavior with the stakeholders and shareholders (Shin, 2012).

Collaborative protests by the anti-poverty group and the business critiques make UNIQLO personnel mere creatures. In other words harsh blows from the opponent party, such as these groups and labor unions, makes the fate of the company personnel a tragic one, as they are given the status of culprits for hiding the unethical and irrational behavior. Countering this, the aim of these protests is to make the managers realize that they have interplayed with the human rights of the employees, which can be considered as a negation of their individuality (Crane & Matten, 2016). This negation, irrespective of the gender of the employees attaches an interrogative parameter to the societal existence of these employees. Lackadaisical attitude towards alteration of the plight would bring uncertainty and ambiguity to the market position of the company. This ambiguity degrades the sanctity and purity of the workplace environment, which limits the scope and arena of the employees in terms of revealing their talents towards efficient execution of the business activities. For this, strategic approach towards creating short term goals is needed for systematizing the business activities. Delving deep into the issue, overburdening the employees might be a result of the absence of oriental approach towards the execution of business activities (Valentine, Fleischman & Godkin, 2015). In view of this absence, setting short term goals is not justified, as it would lead to the achievement of negative outcomes.

Therefore, the managers need to reveal matured behavior in terms of meeting with the board of directors for creating concrete plans regarding restoration of the lost glory and honor. Indulgence in activities like survey and feedbacks possesses flexibility to bring to the forefront the areas, which needs modification. Spontaneous approach towards rectification of these drawbacks would enhance the individuality of the managers as well as the employees (Yang,  Ding & Lo, 2016). Collective output in this regards would take the individual attempts of UNIQLO personnel; however, it would enable the company to achieve successful completion of the projects within the stipulated time. Countering this, unity and cooperation between the functional units is crucial for managing the crisis in an efficient and effective manner.

Shedding light on one particular incident compels the readers to take one particular stance. However, on the other hand, developing a comparative study between similar instances broadens their perspectives. Speculation of the various instances leads them to come up with a conclusion, which is the result of their individual efforts. The following section sheds light on the issue of “slave labor” encountered by Zara, one of the biggest fashion retailers.

As a matter of specification, Zara’s outlet in Brazil has been accused of indulging in unethical slave working conditions. Designation of the employees as slaves is interplay with their individuality (Forbes.com, 2017). This is one of the grounds, which ties both the issues in the same thread. However, the only difference lies in the discovery. UNIQLO is accused of concealing the unethical behavior whereas the issue of indulging in adoption of unethical working conditions degrades the hard earned reputation of Zara. The differentiation in the nature of the instances enhances the clarity of the readers, especially the businessmen regarding the proper utilization of the provided power (Jacobs et al., 2014).

Outsourcing the operations of more than 30 plants aggravates the intensity of the issue. Delving deep into the word “accusation”, it can be related to the word “claims” made by the ant-poverty group regarding the concealment of the unethical behavior. The statements of the representations project hostility between the personnel of Zara, which is also evident in UNIQLO due to the incapability to manage the crisis in an efficient and effective manner. This is one of the other grounds, where the cultural dimension of power attains a negative connotation (Forbes.com, 2017).

As a matter of fact, outsourcing the organizational resources, for illegal activities restricts Zara from expanding their business into the foreign market. The assumption in the previous sentence projects the functionality of the penultimate cultural dimension. On the contrary, if the business plants were used according to the rules and regulations, the employees would not have been compelled to forgo their professional development by becoming the slaves of the masters. Moreover, absence of authorizations, in case of the plants, tags the issue under courtly intervention, as the human rights of the employees are involved.

Upon discovery, it was found that the immigrant workers of Bolivia were engaged for manufacturing garments for some other company. This created discrepancies between the managers of Zara and their stakeholders (Forbes.com, 2017). Indulging in this type of illegal activities is considered as the violation of the identified and specified values. This violation degrades the personality of the personnel, which nullifies “individualism”, the second dimension of Hofstede’s culture theory. However, delving deep into the issue, the protests projects the collaborative attacks of the business critiques in order to destroy the individual efforts of Zara personnel. The breaches of contract aggravate the complexities of both Zara and UNIQLO in terms of culture (Ng, Lam & Feldman, 2016). The contract can be accounted as one of an integral part of the organizational documents. Disobeying the propositions of this document adds an interrogative parameter to the organizational culture. This interrogation does not even spare the business environment of UNIQLO. Here, if “LO” in the name of the company can be considered as “LOW”, this reduces the uniqueness of the initial portion.

The name Zara symbolizes a female name. However, in view of the slavery, it is a shame for the race “women”. Viewing it from other perspective, it is a nullification of the “femininity” as proposed by Hofstede in his third cultural dimension (Resick et al., 2013). In view of the slavery issue, it is a kind of domination for the women employees, which degrades their individuality. Here Hofstede’s cultural dimensions get a backseat.

Pondering upon the working conditions, pressurization limits the individual efforts of the employees. Supporting them for doing unethical acts sets a bad example in the minds of the employees for their managers. Hostility between the employees and managers destroys the workplace sanctity, which nullifies the urge of the employees to reveal better performance. This nullifies the aspects of safe and comfortable working conditions in case of both ZARA and UNIQLO. Countering this, safe and comfortable working conditions would have safeguarded both the organizations from these unwanted issues (Treviño et al., 2014). This is a matter of willingness, which needs to initiate from the inner self of the marketing managers. This inner willingness seems absent in the case of both the organizations, which projects the helplessness of the managers in terms of regulating the employees for extracting the needful.


For this, rational approach is needed so as to preserve the individual sentiments of the employees. Emerging successful in this task reflects the proper utilization of power in case of the managers of both the organizations. Effective and judicious utilization of the provided power fades away the uncertainty regarding the execution of business activities (Lam et al., 2015). Clarity in the execution of the business activities would have reduced the distance between the organizations and success. However, this clarity was missing, which is due to the absence of strategic vision.

Conclusions

In the 21st century, people are blindly running in the rat race for grabbing hold of the hot seat. This situation projects a selfish motive for enhancing the professionalism by putting the needs, demands and requirements of the stakeholders. Viewing it from the other perspective, this kind of approach adversely affects the purchasing power of the stakeholders. Most importantly, it destroys the sanctity and congenial ambience of the workplace, needed for enhancing the productivity. Countering this, maintenance of workplace culture is crucial in terms of luring foreign investors in large scale. Within this, ethics gains an important position. However, the issues of concealing the unethical actions like slavery are a shame for business as a whole. This is rather interplay with the individual talents of the employees. Portrayal of individualism in the previous sentence summarizes the whole of the dimensions proposed by Hofstede. Countering this, there are six dimensions, which complete the aspect of culture and the previous sentence just speaks of one. Counter arguing this, preserving of the individual sentiments of the employees reflects the proper utilization of power by the personnel, which fades away uncertainty and distance between the organizations and the success stage.

In order to achieve maintain the sanctity and decorum of the workplace; the managers need to reveal strict approach towards regulating the performance of the employees. This can be achieved by developing efficient, effective and flexible strategies. The employees need to be involved in the decision making process, which would attach value to their talents. This would add firmness in the implementation process. After the implementation, measuring the approach of the employees and stakeholders would reflect the effectiveness of the adopted strategies. This relates with the evaluation, which would bring to the forefront the major areas, which needs modification. Inner urge, willingness and eagerness to alter the business environment would help both the organization especially UNIQLO to attract many customers on the grounds of cultural diversity.

References

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