Teaching the World to Drink Coca Cola

Sample Research Paper

Words 1,430

One of the most important questions facing many large companies in today’s increasingly globalizing economy is whether the structure that a company uses in its home country will work when that company expands overseas. There are two separate sets of concerns here: first, is there anything in the structure of the parent company that is inherently unlikely to work in a satellite branch and, two, is there anything in the structure of the parent company that is unlikely to work in a specific foreign country because of legal, political, or cultural conditions in that other country. This paper examines the Coca-Cola Company and the ways in which globalization has forced the company to adapt aspects of its internal organization.

While the company has experienced remarkable success both in the United States and in dozens of countries outside of the U.S. (where the company is headquartered and where it got its start), this does not mean that the company’s entrance into different national markets has been entirely smooth – or that its continued competitiveness in various national markets will be assured. Each country presents a unique set of cultural and economic challenges as does each New Year and the corporation has in the past four years made a number of adjustments so that the underlying organization of the Coca-Cola corporation will allow it to flourish in such a highly segmented market. For the fiscal year that ended 12/31/02, the company’s revenues rose 12% to $19.56 billion. This reflects both the historic strength of the company and the fact that it has recently undergone some significant structural changes.

The company underwent an important structural overhaul in 1999 when Douglas Daft was chosen to become the company’s new chair and CEO. After a review of the company’s operations, Daft decided to make a number of internal changes, including decentralization of the company’s operations “so the company can react more quickly to problems that arise in its markets around the world” and sending a number of its international officers out of Atlanta to be based in the regions that they oversee (http://www.nctimes.net/news/012600/ccc.html).

Daft said the decision was made after a six-month, comprehensive review of the company’s entire operation and the realization that Coke needed to restructure its operations (http://www.nctimes.net/news/012600/ccc.html).

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