Introduction, Background or Context
The advent of globalization has certainly made the world smaller by means of opening up international borders that made it easier for various business organizations to explore opportunities beyond their current markets (Hollsten, 2016). According to Dawei (2008), as a consequence of globalization, more and more companies are becoming active and involved in various international activities which enable them to take advantage of a wider economic of scale as well as all possible business opportunities that are available across borders. By definition, the so-called ‘internationalization strategy’ refers to the highly-complex process of utilizing resources in order to obtain competitive advantage out of the sale of outputs [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited].
Based on research, various multinational companies adopt and pursue distinct approaches and strategies to internationalization due to specific advantages that they will be able to acquire from it (Peng, 2001). As stated by Twarowska and Kakol (2013), some of the most evident reasons why companies pursue internationalization strategies include achieving organizational expansion and growth, searching for potentially new and lucrative market segments abroad, as well as diversifying and expanding businesses. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. Among these include the acquisition of global assets and the increase of brand awareness within the global market (Huo & Hung, 2015). The authors, Jayashree and Ali Al-Marwai (2010) asserted that in the process of internationalization, strategies are crucial in order to determine the likelihood of success of a company’s pursuit for the international approach. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. to determine the most effective strategies and approaches that will enable them to achieve their company’s internationalization goals (Jayashree & Ali Al-Marwai, 2010).
[Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] have comprehensively tackled the impact of the external environment (i.e., the market dynamics in a host country, industry characteristics, competitive situaiton, etc.) in the pursuit of internationalization strategies, very little is known about how a company’s organizational culture plays a vital role as a tool that supports the internationalization approach (Joo, Oh, & Lee, 2016). In a previous study conducted by Amann (2003), the positive association between internationalization and organizational culture was established, particularly the importance of achieving an efficient balance between employee and customer orientation. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. As stated by Buckley & Ghauri (1999), an organization which has a strong employee orientation culture assumes responsibility for the employee’s overall well-being (i.e., salary, career growth, work-life balance etc.) while an organization which has a strong customer orientation culture acts based on the goal of maximizing the customers’ well-being (Manna, 2017).
In this research study, the main purpose is to assess the impact of employee versus customer orientation on the companies’ ability to successfully pursue internationalization strategies. Specifically, this study will focus on evaluating how a company’s employee orientation culture or customer orientation culture affects or impacts [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited], a Chinese multinational organization and one of the world’s renowned technological giants that provide multinational networking services and telecommunications devices. Huawei serves as an interesting case of a multinational organization, which after initially establishing itself as a leading Chinese company, experienced a successful international expansion in various countries around the world (Parmentola, 2017). [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] or customer orientation culture, as a tool in achieving a successful internationalization process within a highly complex international business environment. This research also serves as a new and interesting study that will provide useful insights for other emerging companies that intend to do well and successfully expand internationally as in the case of Huawei. This research is divided into several chapters which include the introduction, literature review, research methodology, data collection and analysis, and the conclusions and recommendations sections.
Research Aims and Objectives/Questions
In line with the primary research aim of this study which focuses on assessing the impact of employee versus customer orientation on the companies’ ability to successfully pursue internationalization strategies, the following are the research objectives that will be achieved in this study:
- To assess the existence of an ‘employee orientation’ culture in Huawei
- To assess the existence of a ‘customer orientation’ culture in Huawei
- To evaluate the impact of an ‘employee orientation’ culture in Huawei’s internationalization strategies
- To evaluate the impact of a ‘customer orientation’ culture in Huawei’s internationalization strategies
In line with the research objectives identified in this study, the following are the research questions that will be answered by the end of this research:
- Does an ‘employee orientation’ culture exist in Huawei? How does it manifest?
- Does a ‘customer orientation’ culture exist in Huawei? How does it manifest?
- What is the impact of an ‘employee orientation’ culture in Huawei’s internationalization strategies?
- What is the impact of a ‘customer orientation’ culture in Huawei’s internationalization strategies?
- Which among the employee orientation versus customer orientation culture works best in enabling Huawei to successfully implement internationalization strategies?
In line with the fact that this study employs a mixed methods approach, pragmatism will be utilized as the main philosophical paradigm for this research. According to Creswell (2009), pragmatism is considered as a philosophical tradition which rightfully sets a proper framework for the mixed methods research. Morgan (2007) describes pragmatism as being outcome-oriented and mainly focuses on defining the meaning behind certain things and at the same time, emphasizing on the most crucial point of the research (Shannon-Baker, 2016) [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] to the most common social problems as it stresses on answering the most pertinent research questions (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003). Shannon-Baker (2016) also added that pragmatism is founded on the assumption that theories are either generalizable or contextual depending on their transferability in another situation. For presearchers, applying this type of research approach enables them to apply both the objectivity in gathering and analyzing data and subjectivity particularly in reflecting research findings (Morgan, 2007). The main reason why pragmatism is deemed as the most applicable philosophical paradigm in this study as this specific research applies the mixed methods research. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited].
Research Method, Strategy and Approach
The main research method for this study is the mixed methods approach. As defined by Jonson Onwuegbuzie (2004), mixed methods pertains to the research strategy wherein the assigned researcher combines or mixes both qualitative and quantitative research approaches and techniques within one single study. This specific research method presents an alternative approach that combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to enable researchers to explore more complex research phenomena (Halcomb & Hickman, 2015). [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. The authors, Tashakkori and Teddlie (2003) also validated that mixed methods research is a type of study that uses pragmatism as its main philosophical paradigm and combines various types of research approaches across different phases in the research process. Scammon, et al. (2013), asserted that by combining both qualitative and quantitative research methods in a single study, the researcher is able to exploit the strengths of each of these types of research while improving their weaknesses in providing a more integrated and comprehensive knowledge about the topic being investigated (Halcomb & Hickman, 2015). [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. As argued by McKim (2017), researchers who apply the mixed methods research do so as it was found out that it adds value by means of increasing the validity in research findings and that it effectively assists in the process of knowledge creation. Consequently, studies that employ the mixed methods research are able to gain a broader, deeper and more insightful understanding about the research phenomenon being studied as compared to when only a qualitative or quantitative approach is singly applied (Hurmerinta-Peltomaki & Nummela, 2006).
Given the fact that the study employs the mixed methods research, this study will combine the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. Specifically, this study will utilize the interview method to represent its qualitative form of data collection and the survey method to represent its quantitative form of gathering data. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] interaction between a respondent and a researcher for the purpose of entering into another person’s views and perspectives through the analysis of the most important and recurring themes and patterns of insight (Oltmann, 2016). On the other hand, a survey method pertains to the process of collecting a variety of information from the respondents by means of gathering their responses to specific questions (Check & Schutt, 2012). Through the survey research, quantitative information may be derived from the respondents that [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] (Ponto, 2015).
In this specific study, the interview and survey research methods will be applied which will involve the participation of a number of employees from the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen in the Guangdong Province in China. The employee respondents for this study will specifically include thirty (30) middle and senior managers currently working at the Huawei head office in China. They will be selected through the convenience sampling [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] survey form will be developed to gather information from the respondents. The close-ended questionnaires will be sent to the respondents via email which will constitute the web-based survey research for this study. Access to the potential participants will be obtained through a personal friend who currently works at the Huawei headquarters. After the completion of all the online survey forms, about three (3) to four (4) respondents (from the existing pool of 30 participants) will be randomly selected and invited [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited].
Two combined research methods are employed in this study in order to gather data from among the respondents and these include the interview and the survey research. In analyzing the information to be gathered from the interviews, this study will utilize the qualitative content analysis method. According to Hsieh and Shannon (2005), the qualitative content analysis method refers to the process of studying and analyzing texts obtained from documents, audio, video and other communication artifacts for the purpose of examining communication patterns. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] (Krippendorff, 2004). Apart from the use of the content analysis method, the data to be gathered from the survey questionnaires will be tabulated and analyzed using the Microsoft Excel sheet. Corresponding tables and graphs will be used to present the data for a more accurate research analysis.
This study upholds the highest ethical standards to ensure full anonymity and confidentiality not only of any sensitive and highly-confidential information from the Huawei employees but also of the individual respondents themselves. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited]. In addition, no personal information about the participants will be disclosed to anyone to preserve anonymity. The survey form/questionnaire will only include general questions about the given topic and the researcher will not ask for any confidential or personal information that may violate the confidentiality or anonymity of the participants or the Huawei organization.
This study’s theoretical assumptions are mainly based on the study performed by Amann (2003) which emphasized the positive association or link between internationalization and organizational culture, specifically the importance of achieving an efficient balance between employee and customer orientation. Similarly, [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited] (Burnett & Huisman, 2010). In fact, they even proposed how organizations must improve and press on towards their internationalization strategies in line with their respective organizations’ types of culture. Moreover, the link between an organization’s culture and a company’s ability to successfully pursue its internationalization strategies was also proven based on the study performed by Irrmann (2002) who have found evidences how organizational culture serves as a crucial factor that strongly influences a company’s internationalization process and strategies. Nevertheless, despite the abundance of research insights that associate organizational culture with the company’s ability to successfully pursue its internationalization strategies [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited], a unique framework which illustrates how the researcher visualizes the association between the [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited].
The Existence of an ‘Employee Orientation’ Culture
Gabcanova (2011) asserted that a company’s orientation on its employees or human resources plays a crucial role in the creation and execution of its strategic decisions particularly those that involve international activities. According to Vogel (2008), a study commissioned and published by the BMAS (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) found that a corporate culture that is employee-oriented actually has an important link to the employees’ level of commitment, performance and ultimately the overall company’s success. [Access to some parts of the dissertation has been limited].
Cooke, F. (2013). Human resource management in China: New trends and practices. Routledge.
Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications.
Dawei, G. (2008). Internationalization and entry strategy of enterprises: A case study of Chinese firm Huawei. University of Halmstad.
De Cremer, D., & Tao, T. (2015). Huawei’s culture is the key to its success. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/06/huaweis-culture-is-the-key-to-its-success
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.
Frambach, R., Fiss, P., & Ingenbleek, P. (2016). How important is customer orientation for firm performance? A fuzzy set analysis of orientations, strategies, and environments. Journal of Business Research, 69, 1428-1436.
Gabcanova, I. (2011). The employees- The most important asset in the organizations. Human Resources Management & Ergonomics, 5(1), 1-12.
Gebauer, H., & Kowalkowski, C. (2012). Customer-focused and service-focused orientation in organizational structures. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 27(7), 527-537.