ADAPTING A LEAN PRODUCTION PROGRAM TO NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN LATIN AMERICA: DANONE IN ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL

 

Adapting a Lean Production Program to National Institutions in Latin America: Danone in Argentina and Brazil

This article argues that national institutions identified in the varieties of capitalism approach have a significant impact on the degree of fidelity and extensiveness of best practices adapted by geocentric multinational corporations in host countries in emerging markets. To illustrate this argument it shows how differences in national institutions between Brazil and Argentina caused Danone to adapt a lean production in radically different ways in each of these countries.

Both of the programs implemented had low degrees of fidelity and extensiveness to the original best practice.

This article contends that in Argentina strong labor laws and the ability of unions to negotiate significant salary increases combined with a desire of workers to have individual pride in their jobs caused Danone to empower them individually instead of creating teams as foreseen in this company’s original lean production program. In Brazil the weakness of unions combined with labor laws that promote employee turnover and the desire of workers to improve their salaries caused this company neither to empower workers nor create teams. Instead, it motivated workers by providing them the previously unavailable opportunity to become a manager.

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