L'Oreal is a French company, worldwide leader in cosmetics, based in Paris. The company was founded in 1907, since then, experience and knowledge in the making and the selling of cosmetics have enriched and passed on from generation to generation. L'Oreal is a very big company which owns 17 different cosmetic brands and trades in 130 different countries. Its mission statement reflects the guiding values and objectives of the company : "At L'Oreal, we are fully committed to put all our expertise and research resources to work for the well-being of men and women, in all their diversity, around the world" (loreal, 2005). As expected from a large company, L'Oreal Paris is divided into a lot of departments. These departments are : corporate communications & external affairs, research & development, production & marketing, sales & finance and human resources. Besides, the number of managers working inside the organisation is enormous : indeed L'Oreal, as a worldwide company, has more than 52.000 employees. Thus, in order to draw L'Oreal's organisation chart, I needed to focus particularly on the higher layers of the company : the top managers who make strategic decisions and the middle managers who co-ordinate, from decisions taken, the work of their staff.
[...] L'Oreal matches with these criterias since decision making is done by superiors (board of directors) and that relationships between employees are highly specific and all fully described in its management scheme. Nevertheless, Trompenaars (1993) postulates that each country has its own particular relationship toward management, thus, a strategy which works in one country will not obviously work in another. Indeed, the main characteristics of North European countries, according to Trompenaars, are their tendency to prioritize analysis, logic, systems and rationality in their work. [...]
[...] This country, thanks to its famous history has an enormous sense of the past ; a vision which is shared by its actual larger companies. Indeed, L'Oreal gives importance to its past accomplishments : founded by a scientist, Eugene Scheller, the group carries on, for nearly a century, the tradition started by this chemical engineer (loreal, 2005). Others ideas which might help to understand the company's culture are these of Hofstede cited by Handy (1993). His study points out the different layers of culture trough several variables. [...]
[...] Nevertheless, what is done in this department is not done in others, thus the diversity element of their mission statement is not applicable to the whole company because of an inadequate choice of organisational structure. Moreover, the existence of different structures (such as matrix or informal structures) which interacts inside the biggest one (hierarchical structure) may create conflicts. Sometimes, informal structures in a department may tend to contradict the decisions of the top management team which can influence the quality of their work. [...]
[...] This change might be easy to realise since the company has a well-established management tradition in which middle managers will tend to think and act in the same way as the top managers did. Moreover, L'Oreal describes itself as being a global company which aim is to cross the different cultures. Indeed, since the majority of its employees works outside France, the cultural diversity of its employees should be reflected in their own management committee as well. L'Oreal has shown its attachment to the respect of parity (men-women) inside its management team, therefore why shouldn't they focus on cultural differences and put, in the top management of the group, people from different cultural background ? [...]
[...] The main characteristics of this culture are, first of all, that power lies in the hands of few people : at L'Oreal the top management is composed of a narrow band of seniors. Moreover, as position power is the major source of power in this culture, job description is much more important than the individual who fills it. Pheysey (1993) asserts that this culture enable people to work more effectively and more efficiently when they have clear tasks defined by their job description. [...]
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