Four Seasons Goes to Paris

This paper examines the Four Seasons case study on its entry into France. The study begins by identifying some of the issues that Four Seasons faced when it became a French employer. Some of the issues include irresponsible personnel and new staff who lack the Four Seasons spirit. The article also addressed the origins of these challenges, such as cultural differences induced by French business rules and the company's ideals and employee expectations. Additionally, the paper has covered the possible alternative solutions for the company in solving these problems such as education and training of employees as well as importation of qualified employees from America. More so, the criteria for these alternatives have also been covered inclusive of the pros and cons of each of them. Finally, the paper has discussed the recommended solution and the reason why this solution was chosen.

Statement of the Problem

Four Seasons had been successful in the service industry due to the company's corporate culture. However, upon entry into Paris, the company was faced with some problems, which emanated from the organization culture of the company as well as the French culture. Upon acquiring the management of the George V hotel, Four Seasons had to retain the employees as indicated in France labor laws. As such, there emerged a problem because the employees were not conversant with Four Seasons way of doing things. Therefore most of the employees were reluctant to adopt the Four Seasons culture because they considered it as too American and were accustomed to the French culture (Paris, 2012).

Another issue facing Four Seasons was the inability to replace the employees and hire others who could adapt to the company's culture. As such, the company had to retain the employees despite their incompetence. For instance, the managers had little or no information concerning human resource issues. Consequently, these managers opted to refer personnel issues to the human resource department instead of handling these issues. Apart from that, the French employees were polychromic in nature. As such, they could not keep important schedules thus making it difficult for them to handle guests' needs on time. As well, they were emotional which made it difficult for them to maintain a constant graceful attitude when handling guest as required by the standards of Four Seasons. Another problem was the tendency by the managers to wait for the top management to solve issues (Paris, 2012). The Four Seasons expects the direct line managers to solve problems, but in French, the problems are left for the boss. In addition, the employees were not ready to try new tactics before experiencing them on sight. As such, they had to see a new tactic working before trying it out. To manage these problems, Four Seasons had to instill its corporate culture in the employees.

Causes of the Problem

The main cause of the highlighted problems is the conflicting cultures between company's corporate culture and the French international culture. For instance, the labor laws in France prohibit replacement or termination of employees without a valid reason. As well, the laws dictate that employees should only work for 35 weeks in a year with at least four hours of window light a day. As such, these requirements affected the shift and staffing arrangement at Four Seasons. Therefore, culture diversity was contributing to the differences in the way four seasons handle issues and the approach used in France (Paris, 2012).

The organizational culture of Four Seasons was the ultimate key to its success in both local and international business. However, in the case of Paris, the culture was clashing with the international culture. Consequently, the organization had to identify the company values to be modified for the company to succeed in the country. French employees had a mentality that was inhibiting them from adopting the Four Seasons way of seeing things. For instance, the managers did not believe in solving problems by themselves without involving the human resource. Apart from that, the cultural differences led the French employees to believe that Four Seasons was taking things too seriously (Paris, 2012). For instance, the French employees did not believe in the golden rule because they perceived it as too American.

Decision Criteria and Alternative Solution

According to this case study, the possible solutions must meet the following criteria. For a solution to be viable, it should not take more than two months to implement. As well, the solution should cost less than $300 per employee, and it should conform to the management expectations. As well, the solution should also comply with French business and labor laws. Additionally, it should reflect the spirit and values of Four Seasons' culture. Some of the possible solutions include education and training the employees so they may understand the cultural diversity and adaptation, replacement of the employees unwilling to adapt change, as well as a change in management. Also, the company could import American employees who understand the four season's culture (Stahl, Mendenhall & Oddou, 2012).

These solutions have pros and cons. For instance, education and training would ensure that the employees are given an opportunity to learn and understand the Four Seasons competitive culture. As such, the company would have a group of polished employees. On the other hand, the process is expensive and time-consuming. Importation of employees who understand the company's culture would ensure the company has the best personnel, but it is expensive and does not conform to France business laws. On the other hand, change of management is cheap and will ensure that the company has somebody to steer its values. However, the management may be overcome by negative pressure from the employees thus losing his/her managerial capabilities. Importation of employees was rejected because it is against the laws of international business (Stahl, Mendenhall & Oddou, 2012). As well, the process is overly expensive.

Recommended Solution

The recommended solution for these problems is the training of employees as well changing of the general management. Employees who are willing to learn are easy to teach and hence can adopt the Four Seasons culture. As such, they will be able to understand the importance of embracing the company's culture after undergoing the training. Since the cause of the problem is clashing of cultures, creating cultural awareness is the best way to approach the problem. As well, this will enable the employees to understand how to merge the French culture with the corporate culture of the company (Roberts & Rollins, 2006). The training will involve weekly seminars where different groups will attend during off days. As such, this will ensure that the business hours are not affected. The reason why this solution would work is that it has met most of the criteria described.


PARIS, F. S. G. T. (2012). Roger Hallowell, David Bowen, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. Readings and Cases in International Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, 74. Retrieved from,5&as_ylo=2012

Roberts, D. R., & Rollins, T. (2006). Targeted culture modeling: A new approach to culture assessment and change. Employment Relations Today, 23(2), 7-19. Retrieved from

Stahl, G. K., Mendenhall, M. E., & Oddou, G. R. (2012). Readings and cases in international human resource management and organizational behavior. Routledge. Retrieved from

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