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Analysis and Comparison of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Samsung

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business Strategy
Wordcount: 7043 words Published: 12th Oct 2021

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Introduction...................................................................................... 2

PricewaterhouseCoopers.......................................................................... 2

Overview...................................................................................... 2

Management models and challenges............................................................ 3

Organisational Culture......................................................................... 4

Strategy and planning.......................................................................... 5

Samsung......................................................................................... 7

Overview...................................................................................... 7

Management Models and challenges............................................................ 8

Organisational Culture......................................................................... 9

Strategy and Planning........................................................................ 11

Strategy.................................................................................... 11

Planning.................................................................................... 12

Comparison..................................................................................... 12

References...................................................................................... 14


In this case study we will outline, evaluate and compare: the management models, organisational culture and approaches to planning and strategy of two multinational companies — Samsung and PricewaterhouseCoopers (referred to as PwC throughout). The document will be split into 2 separate case studies on Samsung and then PwC, followed by a comparison — comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both companies, and what they can learn from each other. Each sub-section, for example The Management Models of Samsung, has been allocated to a member of the group.

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We have chosen to examine Samsung because it is a familiar company to all the members of the group and we already had some prior knowledge about their culture and the market that they operate in. We have also chosen to study PwC, a company that we didn't know about before writing this document, as we wanted to learn more about that company and its importance. To us, it was interesting to compare two different companies, in two different markets and with different origins, and to see why different business decisions have been made and why they would work for one market and not for another.



PricewaterhouseCoopers is a professional services firm that has a network which stretches worldwide. It was created through a merger between two accountancy businesses: Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse. The former was started in 1854 in London by William Cooper and by 1957 it found alliances in the United States and Canada in Lybrand, Ross Bros & Montgomery and McDonald, Currie & Co. They changed their name to Coopers & Lybrand and extended their business to insolvency. Price Waterhouse was created in 1865 in London when Samuel Lowell Price went into partnership with Edwin Waterhouse and William Hopkins Holyland, but the latter quickly left to work independently. The firm soon became quite successful and by 1850 it opened an office in New York thanks to the growing trade between the United Kingdom and the United States and it also started to create partnerships worldwide. In 1998, Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse merged to create PricewaterhouseCoopers. They soon put in place a consultancy branch which grew quickly, however after the SarbanesOxley Act they sold it to IBM in 2002 for $3.5 billion. They quickly rebuilt their consultancy practice through a number of acquisitions and PwC is now considered part of the Big Four auditors and the second largest professional services firm in the world. They have three main services lines which are advisory, assurance and tax and they operate at a global scale with big success. Its global revenue for 2018 was $41.3 billion, it is the 5th biggest privately owned company in the US and they are employed by 420 companies out 500 of the Fortune 500 (Wikipedia , 2019).

Management models and challenges

PwC is a very successful global consulting company. In order to achieve success, you need hard work, a strategy, a plan, good management and the list goes on. PwC call themselves a purpose led, and values driven company. Their values being: empowering people and communities, being a low carbon and circular business, being a fair and trusted business, acting with integrity, making a difference, care, working together, reimagining the possible. In order to achieve all this and to make a profit the company has various inputs and processes. Inputs like financial capital, human capital, trusted relationships, intellectual capital, natural resources and physical assets. Also, key processes like attracting and developing diverse talent into the company. Giving this talent insight and know-how. Understanding a client's needs and opportunities and also harnessing technology and delivering distinctive goods. The company also has a lot of different managers responsible for their own section. Managers for consulting, investment, clients and markets, risk, people etc.

From this information alone it is clear to see how the company is doing well.

In our lectures this term we have learnt of four different types of management models. The rational goal model. The internal process model. The human relations model and last but not least the open systems model. PwC is operating with a competing values framework, therefore involving elements of all of the models named above. This is visible through their values, but also in the way the company governs. Care is one of their values for example. They want employees to understand each other's needs and to work in a way they bring the best out of each other. This way employees are kept happy and it helps business as well.

The company governs using 3 main boards of management. The so called "Management Board" which is responsible for the long-term strategy of the company and it also focuses on delivering for clients, for their people and external stakeholders. The Management Board also includes the Executive Board which is deals with the day to day leadership of PwC.

Then there's the "Supervisory Board". The Supervisory Board is there to represent interests of peers who invest in the firm. They listen to feedback from partnerships and provide guidance to the executive on their behalf.

The last governance body is the "Public Interest Body". The Public Interest Body is there to intensify confidence in the public interest side of the company's strategy and decision making. It also makes sure public interest remains the number one priority for the firm's business activities. PwC also strongly believes in building trust by being ethical, fair, doing the right thing and acting with integrity. On top of this they also have their set of values that I have mentioned before. This way they hope to give stakeholders transparency through a wide range of topics that could be important for stakeholders, like audit or setting PwC's tax strategy.

By governing this way everyone knows exactly what they have to do, work is divided, there are multiple levels of authority and this way they are able to work more efficiently and therefore maximise profits.

Organisational Culture

Every company has a different culture. They all have their own values, beliefs, norms, assumptions that are shared by a group and that guide their interpretations of and responses to, their environments. These things set out the common framework around how employees in a company are expected to behave and to do the right thing. It also plays a core role in getting the company to where they want to be as professionals and showing what it is, they stand for.

PwC believes their values help them working towards building trust in society and solving important problems. Their values are what everyone has in common at the company, with most of the employees coming from different backgrounds. These values being acting with integrity, making a difference, care, working together, reimagining the possible. These 5 things are fundamental to everything they do. Using these they help guide behaviour; however, it is very important that for PwC these aren't a rulebook, simply a framework. PwC is mainly driven by a Role culture type. Everyone always knows what to do and there is a lot of communication that goes on between people. One would just need to take a closer look at their values.

Acting with Integrity. Thy encourage people speaking up for what is right. They want employees to make decisions as if personal reputation was at stake in order to deliver high quality outcomes.

Making a difference. They want employees to stay informed and keep asking questions. To respond with agility to the ever-changing environment and to make an impact with colleagues, clients with actions.

Care. They want employees to try and understand what's important to others. To work together in a way, in which they bring the best out of each other, recognising each other strengths and weaknesses and working in a way that is most efficient.

Work together. They want colleagues to give and ask for feedback, share ideas and knowledge and integrate different perspectives, people and ideas.

Reimagine the possible. They want people to be brave enough to challenge the status quo and always be trying new things. They want employees to be open minded, innovate and learn from failures.

There is also a healthy mixture of integration, differentiation and fragmentation. As to be expected there is guidance and instructions being given out by people in higher positions, but PwC encourages their employees to add their own ideas to things. To speak up if they find something wrong and explain themselves and explain why they think so. Communication they say is a key and they want their people to always be alert and watch out for things management might have overlooked.

It is also clear to see that PwC are taking socio and environmental factors very much into consideration. As it is one of their values, they are working towards being a low carbon and circular business and thus helping our environment. But also, socio factors are being taken into consideration as they run the company because they want to empower people and communities and want to be looked upon as a fair and trusted business.

Strategy and planning

PwC consists of a network of over 150 firms world-wide and this has allowed it to create for itself an important name in the professional services sector. Since the merger between Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse in 1998, the company has only grown and developed to become a leader in its field. PwC highly invests in three areas of its company which they believe will allow them to be the best they can be: technology, people and quality. PwC considers that keeping up with technology is vital for their company to grow and for their clients to succeed. It is the key to being ahead of the game in this modern-day world where we rely on technology for everything. Therefore, PwC has as objective "to be one of the most cloud-enabled organisations in the world" (PwC, 2019). They want to use technology as efficiently as possible so that they can use these new innovations to help their clients and improve their quality of work. Furthermore, PwC are making it a priority to upskill all their employees since the only way these technologies can be useful to them is if their employees have the capabilities to use and make the most out of them. The Chairman of PwC, Bob Moritz said this: "In today's complex and fast-moving world, our stakeholders demand that we use technology more effectively. They tell us they need more insight and faster, real time answers. At PwC, we're taking action to achieve just that. We're on a digital transformation journey." (Moritz, 2019). We can see that PwC seems to be using intended strategy: its goals are long term, as well as its strategies. However, while they are planning ahead PwC is still adapting and reacting to the new discoveries, trends and the changes they are creating in the business world. We can observe this in the decision PwC made in November 2017 when they decided to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment (Chaparro, 2017). They were the first out of the Big Four accounting firms to do this and this shows an emergent strategy since Bitcoin has only been successful for a few years and they could not have prepared for this event 10 years earlier. This could also be qualified as a differentiation strategy because they are giving themselves an edge by being the only company out of the four to accept Bitcoin which means that they will attract some new clients who are favourable to this virtual currency (PwC, 2019).

PwC also employs different levels of strategy within its network as to get the best results. For example, they believe that it is fundamental that everyone feels comfortable at work so that they can express themselves freely because having employees that have diverse backgrounds and perspectives means that there will be more creative ideas and solutions that the company can benefit from. Therefore, PwC puts in place a corporate level strategy which promotes inclusion and diversity which every branch and firm within the network has to support, as well a business level strategy which varies according to the circumstances. For instance, each PwC firm has to present an annual diversity plan based on the data of the country in which it is active so that they take into account the culture and the norms. This allows them to truly adapt each plan so that it is the most relevant and efficient it can be.



Samsung is a 'Multinational Conglomerate Company' (chaebol) (Quantrium Global 1000, 2015) In 1938 the Company originated in Taegu (Daegu), South Korea by Lee ByungChull. Lee originally traded groceries in Taegu and exported them to China. Early 1950's Lee broadened his product portfolio to textiles and he built the 'largest wooden mill in Korea' (Matthew Burris,2019). His main focus after the war was to focus on the redevelopment of Korea especially 'industrialisation' (Britannica, Peter Bondarenko, 2018). Lee started to diversify the company and focus on new industries such as 'retail, insurance, and securities' (Matthew Burris,2019).

Samsung Electronics developed its first black and white television in the 1970s and the late 1980s, it started developing telephones and faxes (Matthew Burris,2019). This was a crucial year for Samsung as they switched focused and invested the businesses' interests into research and development. This change was instrumental in the dynamic growth of the business as it expanded globally to Europe and North America. Today there stands '37 Research and Development centres' (Samsungs newsroom, 2019). This shows the importance of R&D within the company. Samsung launched its world's first flat-panel plasma TV in 1998 (Samsungs newsroom, 2019) and in 2010 Samsung launched its first Galaxy S Series smartphone selling 280 million phones by the end of 2010. (Britannica, Peter Bondarenko, 2018).

Within Samsung's Group, there are several subsidiaries. Samsung Electronics, Samsung Heavy Industries, Samsung Engineering, Samsung C&T, Samsung Life Insurance, and many others (Samsung GSG,2016). Samsungs main headquarters are in Seoul, South Korea (Quantrium Global 1000,2015). The Samsung Group is a Public Limited Company and its stocks are listed on the Korean Exchange, GDR London stock exchange and several others. Currently Samsung electronics co. ltd market capitalisation is '1,084.00 USD'. (in the past month) (London Stock Exchange plc, 2019) Samsung operates in 80 countries worldwide and has a total of 308,630 employees. (Samsung newsroom, 2019)

Samsung has a large target market as it has a huge range of electrical products from household products such as Mobile phones, TV's, laptops, Fridges, home theatres to storage devices like memory devices and semiconductors. (Peter Bondarenko, 2015). Samsung 'aims to be a worldleading company, devoting human resources and technology to creating superior products and services.' (Samsung Electronics co, 2018) Samsung prides themselves on having a 'constant focus on innovation and discovery' (Samsung newsroom, 2019) constantly improving and developing their product range, this is especially important in their competitive business environment.

Management Models and challenges

Samsung's management is arguably monocultural as 100% of independent and executive directors are Korean which would therefore suggest that their company operates according to Korean culture. Hofstede insights (2019) explain that in South Korea "people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy in an organization is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities, centralization is popular, subordinates expect to be told what to do and the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat". Evans (2019) demonstrates how this reflects Samsung as their head offices "notable manifestation of this hierarchy, which is part of an organizational design for ensuring that the conglomerate's operations are unified and effectively directed towards growth and operational effectiveness". This statement links in with Fayol's Internal Process Model which is comprised of centralisation, unity of direction and command meaning all control is given to the head of the company with little delegation to people further down.

Samsung follows the Rational goal model where output maximisation is the prime goal and worker's needs are compromised. According to Pattisson (2018), "Unlike its competitors, most of Samsung's products are assembled in-house, but it uses a long chain of suppliers to provide it with parts, services and labour, including foreign migrant workers". This means that Samsung are not outsourcing from suppliers rather they manufacture internally. Towne (2003) justifies Fredrick Taylor's scientific management theory, where the most efficient method of production was sought after; "to ensure the best results, the organization of productive labour must be directed and controlled by persons". By having effectively full control of their production process, Samsung can utilise efficiency methods and cheaper labour to keep manufacturing costs low. It can be argued that Samsung don't parallel with Taylor's vision however as he believed in financial rewards for increased production rate, Pattisson (2013) reports that the workers he came across at a Samsung factory "were earning far below the minimum wage".

Operating internationally has been somewhat unstable for Samsung, particularly in China. Jung-a, Yang & Bradshaw (2019) report that Samsung have stopped production, manufacturing and selling, in China. "Samsung did not pay enough attention to the particularity of the Chinese market," said Yanhui Wang, secretary-general of the Mobile China Alliance". There were many threats for Samsung including their smartphones using Google play which is one of many systems blocked by the Chinese Government. This caused competition such as Huawei and Xiomi, with alternative systems, to become market leaders leaving Samsung with less than 5% market share nationally. Whitley's (1999) devised business model which "deals with the coordination of economic activities across national boundaries" where the systems including education and legal are considered by a firm in order to operate efficiently in a country. Lyon (2009) explains that "Failing to identify the problem that needs to be dealt with may result in a poor consideration of the variety of technology policy alternatives that exist". In this case, Samsung should have analysed the political environment of China before deciding to enter the market.

Organisational Culture

Organisational Culture is 'the set of values, beliefs, norms and assumptions that are shared by a group (Ogbonna and Harris, 2014). They are 'how decisions should be made and how work activities should be carried out.' (Chartered Management Institute,2015).

Each business' Organisational culture is formed through their individual beliefs and values. Every business establishes and maintains its unique culture. From Samsung's website, it discloses its five main shared values that run throughout the organisation. The first value 'people', they believe 'A company is its people', as they are the ones who get the tasks done and determine the success or failure of the company. If the employees get demotivated and disinterested with the tasks, it's most likely going to cause a negative impact on the organisation, resulting in constant needs for high levels of employee satisfaction. 'Excellence', they aim to become the 'world's best in every way' showing Samsung's commitment to having outstanding quality and performance. 'Change' they have strong beliefs in Innovation 'with a risk awareness' as they believe they 'cannot survive if we do not constantly strive to innovate' consistent innovation is particularly important for Samsung as they are in a highly competitive fast-moving environment with extreme pressures from their competitors such as Apple, Dell and Sony. Change is also an important value as it enables Samsung's employees to learn new skills and intern will increase their productivity. 'Integrity' Samsung actively believe in 'ensuring fairness with honour and grace' Integrity is a core element of success within an organisation as Samsung is committed to what they believe in. This belief adds value to Samsung's brand image as is shows consumers their dedication and commitment to delivering their latest high-quality products. Lastly 'Co-prosperity' they pride themselves on being 'good corporate citizens in pursuits of mutual prosperity with our community, nation and human society' showing the company act in an ethical way enabling them to have a positive brand identity. These five main shared values are linked back to Samsung's mission statement which 'promotes an inspiration focused strategic objective that makes the business an influencer amount people and societies around the world' (Victoria Martin,2019)

Samsung's traditionally had a 'senior-orientated' (John Dudovskiy, 2017) centralised organisational culture. This senior culture is reflected in 'Hofstede's dimensions of national culture' of its home country South Korea (John Dudovskiy, 2017). South Korea has high levels of collectivism and power distance. This high level of collectivism is due to industrialisation and high levels of power distance mean people in the country 'accept and appreciate inequality' (Hofstede & Minlkov, 2010). However their organisational culture has changed from a power culture (Handy,1993) where decision making within the organisation is set to a limited amount of people to a new task and role culture (handy,1993) resulting in Samsung concentrating more on communication between managers and employees and more on getting the task completed by sharing skills. The change of organisational culture is also to 'improve its global competitiveness' (Song Jin- sik, 2016)

Samsung has planned to make more innovations to its human resources management. This is to devise a creative and horizontal organisational culture. Widening the span of control within Samsung's organisational structure and allow employees more interdependence of working together towards their common goal. Increasing communication within the organisation between employees and managers allowing employees more opportunities of working in groups and teams. Making employees feel more motivated. (Mayo,1949).This cultural change was as a result of the 'internal awareness that Samsungs software compared to the rate of their growth was falling behind' the company successfully overcame this problem however to their competitors the companies innovation was viewed as weak due to its 'fixed centralised culture'.

(Song Jin- sik, 2016)

A major factor influencing the organisational culture is the 'External Environment'. Below is a pestle analysis of Samsung:


Potential Political conflicts between North and South Korea. Countries like Latin America and African Countries have unstable political environments


In 2014 there was a decline in Korean currency causing Samsung a profit loss of 25%.

In 2015 USA had economic uncertainty

Samsung sells its products globally, so it needs to be aware of constant fluctuation in exchange rates and interest rates


Samsung are in global markets so the tastes of consumers are different in each country. Need to adapt to the constant changing of consumer tastes.


High pressure for Samsung to keep up innovation and to be the first to the market.

High levels of R&D needed to keep up with their competitors.


Faced high costs for its supposed copy of Apple's iPad and iPhone.

(Abide the employment law)


Needs to keep up with their ethical image as that's highly attractive to consumers.

Their carbon footprint as they have factories all around the world

(Abhijeet Pretap, 2018)

(Prachi Juneja, 2015)

Strategy and Planning


Samsung began as a family run grocery store, but the founder wanted to quickly diversify into many different areas. In the 1960's Samsung diversified into an electronics industry, manufacturing switchboards. As the diversification and rapid growth of the Samsung group was thought out long term, planned and realised, this would be an example of Mintzberg's intended strategy. In recent years however Samsung has been a market follower, watching competitors and taking well received aspects from their products and incorporating them into their own. This makes the Samsung group more of a market follower and less of a market leader than it used to be. It could be argued that this is an example of an emergent strategy, as it is moving its focus to produce new products and features which have already been successful — hoping to capitalise from them. However, it could also be argued that this is a well thought out long-term plan which is realised to make a profit (Mintzberg, 1994).

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In the sustainability annual report, the CEO and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics states that "We will devote our human resources and technology to create superior products and services, thereby contributing to a better global society". This statement would indicate that Samsung uses a differentiation strategy, as outlined as "offering something unique beyond simply offering a low price" (Porter, 1985). Differentiation strategy is important because it allows for protection from imitation and a reliable consumer base (D Boehe, M Barin Cruz, 2010), which is incredibly important in the technology industry. Thanks to implementation of this strategy, 70 million smartphone units were sold for the 25th quarter in a row, landing a global market share of about 20% (Statistica , 2019).


Samsung has outlined quantitative goals and qualitative goals as part of its vision 2020. The quantitative goals are to reach USD 400 billion in sales, to be number 1 in the global IT industry and to be part of the global top 5, whereas the qualitative goals are to be an innovative company, one of the top 10 world's best workplaces, to be a leader in building new markets and to have a global enterprise that attracts world talents (Samsung Electronics, 2019). These goals meet every aspect of SMART Criteria (Doran, 1981). The quantitative goals are specific amounts and positions, they are easily measured by accountants and auditors, they are achievable due to a growing technology sector, they are definitely relevant as an increase in sales should increase profitability and adaptability of the company, and there is a specific date of 2020 for realisation The qualitative goals are also specific, they are measurable by auditors and surveyors, they can definitely be achieved by powerful global company such as Samsung, they are relevant to the differentiation strategy Samsung applies, and they also have the same deadline of 2020. The emphasis on the time frame that Samsung places will stimulate effectiveness throughout the company (Chen, 2015).


When assessing the company culture of our chosen organizations, it can be noted that both had 5 similar shared values in areas such as innovation, ethics and development. Samsung and PwC alike spoke about their focus on innovating in order to be ahead of competition; PwC wants to "challenge the status quo" by allowing employees to speak out about ideas however Samsung takes a more low-profile approach where "risk assessments" take place to carefully evaluate. The benefits of scrutinization is it enables flaws to be identified and time to decide whether to invest or not. Therefore, we agree that Samsung have higher stability as they seem to expend more time and effort on analysis during the initial stages of production. PwC is said to be a very diverse company, where many different backgrounds allow for different perspectives and idea which is further enhanced by the company's "communication is key" ideal. Samsung somewhat struggle with the same open mindedness originating from a conservative society. As earlier discussed, 100% of directors are Korean which could be a drawback on global thinking.

Through our research of PwC and Samsung's business models we have considered Whitley's (1999) competing values framework. We argue that Samsung resonate more with Fayol's internal process model because of their Head office; Evan's (2019) described as "directed towards growth and operational effectiveness". PwC differs in this aspect as their organisation consists of "3 main boards of management". Their management, supervisory and public interest boards suggest that their structure is less hierarchal than Samsung as there is a clear division of control meaning decisions are not primarily made by one, central office. PwC is recognised for their ethic-orientated management where the empowering of people has shaped their brand. The same cannot be said for Samsung where as previously discussed their workers are inadequately treated, linked to rational goal model were output is the single priority. We as a group believe that Samsung should take inspiration from PwC's outlook of management which consists of more contemporary values, fairer employment and decentralisation of control.

With respects to planning and strategy, it can be noted that both PwC and Samsung mainly use intended strategy, however, they both capitalise on situations and use an emergent strategy to increase profitability (Mintzberg, 1994). They are both implementors of new technologies and use them to their advantage in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Both companies employ large amounts of people and focus on diversity and cultural integration in the workplace. This is shown by the annual reports outlined on the websites of both companies.


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