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Lego case study: Danish vs. British culture

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Company's background.
    1. A pure Danish toymaker and a British Subsidiary.
  3. Cross-cultural differences between Danish and British managers.
    1. In the everyday life context.
    2. Exploring cross-cultural theory as it relates to Denmark and Great Britain.
    3. Identity dimension: Individualism/collectivism.
    4. Hierarchy dimension: Power distance.
    5. Truth dimension: Uncertainty avoidance.
    6. Gender dimension: Masculinity/femininity.
    7. A global cultural chasm separating the two protagonists.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. References.

Modern companies can not longer hold on to a ?go-it-alone? philosophy in the modern networked business world. Global companies look for business opportunities outside their traditional boarders and have therefore to deal with cross-cultural issues in its everyday life. Human interaction in cross-cultural organizational contexts is more and more complex. Our case study examines the interaction between Denmark-based group Lego and one of its subsidiaries Lego Media in London. Lego is a notable example of how managing a cross-boarder venture may be difficult if cultural peculiarities are not fully understood by both protagonists. Through the comparison of values and attitudes of both Danish and British cultures, we will investigate the cross-cultural issues raised. Lego has a policy of playing down its national origins as a Danish company as far as its brand is concerned. However, managerial practices in the Group headquarters are strongly influenced by Danish culture. Lego Media's employees, mainly British, have their own national culture and sets of values. London managers are encouraged to compose with ?internal? Danish way of working.

[...] So was the creation of a new venture: Lego Media International Lego Media International: the British subsidiary In 1996, Lego has ventured into a new and strategically important business area: media products for children. This expansion has encouraged Lego to set up a presence in countries outside Denmark. The venture Lego Media International was then set up in London as an independent company. The choice of the town is mainly linked to the fact that there was already a LEGOLAND park in Windsor. [...]

[...] What's more, the new coming Danes in the British Lego subsidiary were having difficulties in getting used to social behaviours shown by their counterparts. The numerous parties taking place after work, where alcohol was omnipresent, upset them. A British manager claimed: had the idea that Nordic people were very liberal, but now I see I've been mistaken?. Actually, in terms of social norms, it is under a false liberal guise that Denmark is a country whose people at heart behave in a puritanical way. [...]

[...] In our case study, one major concern of the British subsidiary was the ?Lego ten product characteristics? that Danish headquarter required them to respect. British managers considered this list as too simplistic and idealistic. Gender dimension: Masculinity/femininity Another parameter to should be taken into account is gender roles: masculinity vs. femininity. In addition, according to the Hofstede model, Denmark is characterized by a particularly ?feminine? culture (with a low score of 16 for masculinity). This is significant for putting into practice motivation based on performance and the quality of human relationships, for these countries like to measure performances, such as collective successes, that respect the quality of interpersonal relationships. [...]

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