L Mohamed Premji founded Wipro Limited in Bangalore, India. After he’s death, his son Azim Premji returned home took over Wipro as its chairman at the age of 21. Wipro became a more profitable, diversified corporation with new products, personal computers (PCs).In 1990, As the company grew, Wipro company continue launching like Wipro Technologies, hardware and systems, consumer care and lighting and hydraulic fluid. Then Paul became the president of Wipro Technologies and having Wipro Technologies’ headquarters in California. He was a native of India, yet was educated and had worked in the United States for many years. Paul faced a number of challenges in achieving this goal.
His most immediate challenge was attracting, developing, and retaining key talent. Paul needed someone at the helm who had established relationships and held credibility with the employees at Wipro Technologies' Indian operation centers. He wanted someone who knew the Indian corporate culture and who had the cross-cultural sophistication that comes from extended expatriate experience to be the director of Wipro Technologies Europe. Sudip Nandy was the perfect fit for such an assignment. This story illustrates the cultural challenges of transforming an Indian company to enhance its global effectiveness. The case discusses some of the methods Wipro used to leverage diversity in the workforce to create competitive advantage for the firm.
In 1946, Hasham Premji founded Wipro Limited in Bangalore, India. It sold cooking oil including bath soap and hydraulic fluid. Premji kept low costs in the market and selling products directly to retailers instead of using go-betweens. After Premji died, his son, Azim Premji, continued to move his father’s business comfortably from an old economy company selling oil to a new economy, high-technology business. In 1980, Wipro started offering information technology services in India. By 1990, Wipro hand abandoned software sales and transitioned away from costly onsite software projects in the US to more profitable offshore development in India. In 1995, the firm continued joined with Taiwan-based Acer to sell computers and other peripheral in India. By 1999, the company had reorganized into four groups, each separately run:
1. Software (Wipro Technologies) 2. Hardware and systems 3. Consumer care and lighting 4. Hydraulic fluid.
They also formed Wipro Net to offer e-commerce implementation services. The firm’s prized product is the UNIX-NT interoperability which gave users the bonus of working on both UNIX and Windows without having to reboot the system. Then Wipro had been used internationally and hence it could work on any language version of Windows. Wipro Ltd (NYSE:WIT) is a global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company with 145,000 employees serving over 900 clients in 57 countries.
The company posted revenues of $6.9 billion for the financial year ended Mar 31, 2013. Wipro helps customers to do business better leveraging our industry-wide experience, deep technology expertise, comprehensive portfolio of services and a vertically aligned business model. Our 55+ dedicated emerging technologies ‘Centers of Excellence’ enable us to harness the latest technology for delivering business capability to our clients. Wipro is globally recognized for its innovative approach towards delivering business value and its commitment to sustainability. Wipro champions optimized utilization of natural resources, capital and talent. Today we are a trusted partner of choice for global businesses looking to ‘differentiate at the front’ and ‘standardize at the core’ through technology interventions.
In today’s world, organizations will have to rapidly reengineer themselves and be more responsive to changing customer needs. Wipro is well positioned to be a partner and co-innovator to businesses in their transformation journey, identify new growth opportunities and facilitate their foray into new sectors and markets.
Nature of Problem and Analysis
Integration of Europeans and Indians is challenging. The cultural fit was complex and not easy to achieve. Both the cultures are very different and perceive information, opportunities differently. India-based people would periodically come to Europe, but more often they used email, the telephone, and videoconferencing. India-based employees were critical participants on the Wipro side of contract negotiations with clients as well as providers of the actual IT services to the clients once a contract was in place.
Wipros early European staffs were exclusively Indian expatriates. They tended to maintain their major collegial relationships with each other and with counterparts in India. This became a problem because they were not able to establish relationships and networks with the local communities. The European employees also had to understand Indian business culture themselves because they would have to shepherd the relationship between the client and Indian based Wipro employees. The Indian based Wipro employees were critical participants on the side of business negotiations with the clients and were also the actual providers of the IT services to the clients as soon as a contract was in place. There was also minimal face-to-face contact with the Indian based and European based employees, as much of the communication was done by e-mail, telephone and videoconferencing.
1. The company must let their employees do a research of local market to understand their customers and create more opportunities 2. The company must set training seminars at least every two months followed by: Cross-culture communication training, understanding between different cultures from different countries or Dale Carnegie training 3. The company must retreat for team building/bonding every 3 months, it could take its employees for a weekend trip in the local country to do team building exercise. 4. Lastly, the company must allow their employees to contact the customers on personal (face to face) basis, this helps create a stronger relationship.
The company should provide cross-cultural communication training courses every 2 - 3 months, In these training courses both the Indian Expats and the local employees will learn and understand how one's own culture communicates. They will study the teachings of Edward T. Hall about topics such as Power distance (difference in division of power between people), Uncertainty avoidance (how Eastern and Western cultures deal with uncertainty). How will this help: By understanding one's culture from another culture's perspective both the Indian expats and the European locals will be able to create empathy for one another and be more open to communication.
The company provide Inter-personal communication training courses (by Dale Carnegie) every 2 - 3 months, by taking Dale Carengie's courses the employees will be able to learn and understand how to effectively communicate with each other and with customers in any culture. Dale Carnegie's courses are world-renowned and his book "How to win friends and influence people" is considered a classic in the field of inter-personal communication. How will this help: By investing in knowledge and skills into both the Indian Expats and European employees they become more effective in their work. Employees who are more effective in their work become more valuable to the company as whole. A company with effective and valuable employees is most capable of providing better services to its customers compared to competitors who do not train their employees in this way. Do not re-invent the wheel; This Company is not the first company to become a multi-national and have to deal with cross-communication issues.
Other large multinationals such as Coca-Cola, G.E., Toyota, Honda and many more have all had to deal with cross-cultural communication issues with its employees. So why re-invent the wheel? In this case-study it is written that as a strategy top level management will often be involved with the local chambers of commerce. Therefore why not use existing connections to ask advice from other large multinationals who are in a non-competing industry. Or even ask the advice of the existing clients of the company. How will this help: By consulting other multinationals in non-competing industries (Coca-Cola, BMW, G.E.) you will gain a wealth of knowledge and experience for very little time and cost. It is said "Learning from others mistakes" is best. If the companies that you consult are in the same country than the information can be implemented efficiently because both companies are dealing with the same cultural issues in the same country.