Share
Explore BrainMass

Business Boiled Frog Phenomenon Case

1. Did the author explain the business boiled frog phenomenon case in a manner that you agree or disagree with?
2. Are there unanswered questions?
3. Can you add to the posts with more value added information?

The following text will identify the "Boiling Frog" phenomenon often used in business as a metaphor for individual and organizational business practices. The concept will be defined and then further information will be provided as to how it affects strategic management. A specific business/company example will be identified as well as description of how the Boiling Frog phenomenon occurred. The document will conclude with discussion provding the reasons attributing to this metaphor as well as what options there are for businesses to avoid the negative effects of this phenomenon.

Boiled Frog Phenomenon Abstract (Q1)

The Boiled Frog Phenomenon stems from the concept of an actual frog being placed in boiling hot water. The frog's initial (survival) technique is to attempt to leap out of the pot as soon as possible. However, if the frog is in a medium-cool temperature with an increasing temperature over time, the frog rarely even notices the change. The frog might actually be unaware of any future danger, assuming the temperature will continue to rise. Sometimes even, as the temperature continues to rise, the frog will merely get comfortable and sleepy, causing the frog to not have the strength or ability to then leap out of the boiling water (Gomez, 2012).

This metaphor has been used frequently to describe the inability of some businesses unable to climb their way out of significant/troublesome business changes. If the business individuals are unaware of the impending negative results, they might be too used the climate in which they operate and then become unable to change. When small changes are left unaddressed, they could potentially lead to devastating results for the company. Overtime, humans become quite adept at ignoring downslides in business changes and/or hesitant to make any changes needed to correct the behavior which is clearly not producing positive results (Business Standard, 2009).

Company/Business Example (Q2)

One such example of this would be the demonstration of not focusing on culture when Starbucks implemented business practices throughout the international market, specifically China. There are many variables to consider when expanding overseas, especially in a very culturally rich country such as China. If any of these factors are ignored, there can be several negative affects leading to decline of sales and revenue for a company. Starbucks was ready to do business in China, yet the awareness of culture and Chinese values were oftentimes overlooks, resulting in a poor strategic plan and policy structure. Cultural influences and communication practices greatly affected Starbucks due to the company's failure to learn the Chinese culture prior to overseas ventures. As a result, several of Starbuck's advertisements, communications and business practices came across as insulting which severely affected the business performance in China (Cron, 2004).

Reasons for Collapse (Q2)

As a result of this, the Chinese population took mass action to protest and boycott of Starbucks and its subsidiaries. Starbucks moved into the region expecting to do business as usual. Seemingly to be somewhat successful, profits were reasonable at first. Over time, however, the company experienced slight pushback of customers, yet Starbucks oftentimes simply stood their ground and continued on as they do business throughout the United States. Sometimes subtle comments, feedback and loss in sales simply got categorized as the "growing pains" of the new venture. The company assumed it was simply a measure of these "growing pains" that would resolve itself. However, due to the pressure amounting overtime, they needed to change or face complete failure (Cron, 2004).

It's easy to get used to the norm and simply "ignore" some signs that something are not working. However, due to human nature, individuals operate out of a "comfort zone" and very often resist change. The negative reaction was not immediately visible producing the "frog to jump out of the pot" in metaphorical terms. However, in time, the "heat" was rising and it then just became that much more difficult for the organization to correct the errors and loss of customers from the start. As a result, the effect was a closure of several of Starbuck's chain stores throughout most of China and Asia (Cron, 2004).

Avoiding Pitfalls of Phenomenon (Q3)

Starbucks managers and site leaders should have studied the personal, professional and business culture far in advance to moving forward with overseas ventures in China. This should have been heavily regarded due to the depth of respect for the Chinese culture. Oftentimes, the culture dictates all behaviors both personally as well as professionally for the Chinese population. The managers of Starbucks should have studied the Chinese culture intensely to understand any and all cultural differences between the United States and China. By doing this, the organization could have been more sensitive to and appreciative for the difference which would have met the Chinese population with more acceptable attitudes. This in turn, would have also allowed for easiness in communication between all parties involved (Cron, 2004).

By focusing more intently on Chinese culture, the Starbucks organization could have better aligned itself social and business relationships without having to compromise any of their long-held company values. Multinational corporations should respect the values of others in order to engage in better strategic objectives. This would have allowed for more highly functioning working relationships as well as incorporated Chinese culture for global business expansion. There needed to be a change in attitudes and preconceived perceptions of cultural issues so that the training of the sales team and managers could have respected Chinese culture. This is essential for business to be successful in any global environment (Cron, 2004).

Conclusion

As discussed above, the "Boiling Frog" phenomenon is prevalent worldwide and always without its challenges. If business is conducted in a residual and complacent manner, overtime the "frog" will not even notice that it's slowly dying. The "frog" is representative of the company's assets, revenues, profits and overall economic prevalence. To avoid this phenomenon from occurring, one must be cognizant of all variables weighing in on the success or decline of its business practices. Humans are conditioned to have comfort zones, which makes change quite cumbersome. If the "pot" is not boiling immediately, people will not know to "jump" out of the pot and make a significant change. Oftentimes, individuals merely get used to activities and behaviors despite them being damaging for potential growth.

Solution Preview

1 Did the author explain the business boiled frog phenomenon case in a manner that you agree or disagree with? The author did an excellent job of explaining the boiled frog phenomenon and relating this effect to Starbucks venture into China. Starbucks assumed as many companies do that moving into a new country will require the same steps and techniques as those used in the home country. If Starbucks would have not been complacent and doing business as usual, they would have studied the Chinese culture and hired employees or consultants to help with the initial marketing and roll out of the Starbucks locations.

2 Are there unanswered questions? I think the author did a good job of explaining the situation with Starbucks and how the boiled frog phenomenon existed. I would like to the answer to the following questions: Who was in charge of the deployment of Starbucks in China and their previous experience in rolling out Starbucks into a new country? The answer would provide insight into why Starbucks was so confident in their success. What is the typical deployment method in a new country?

3 Can you add to the posts with more value added information? Human beings and companies become very complacent with success and allow the small issues to build and become a much bigger problem. However, the company and their employees should focus on continuous improvements. By following continuous improvements, the company will not allow small problems to grow and is always looking for a better way to perform, grow and improve. The key to successfully implementing continuous improvement is to have the support of the highest levels within the company.

The following text will identify the "Boiling Frog" phenomenon often used in business as a metaphor for individual and organizational business practices. The concept will be defined and then further information will be provided as to how it affects strategic management. A specific business/company example will be identified as well as description of how the Boiling Frog phenomenon occurred. The document will conclude with discussion ...

Solution Summary

Applying the boiled frog phenomenon case to the business. Specifically, the business example is the expansion of Starbucks into China.

$2.19