In a perfect example of the complexities involved in operating globally, an article from Reuters explains the difficulty Starbucks is having operating in a country who's primary religion is Islam. These difficulties are directly related to the organizations stance on LGBT Rights. Starbucks has publically stated multiple times that it supports international LGBT Rights. However, according to correspondent Ebrahim Harris, this stance may be bad for business operations in Indonesia and Malaysia as, "intolerance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people has spiked in recent years".
This cultural difference is an excellent example of the difficulties that businesses face operating in a global economy. This does not only impact customers, and operations; it impacts the potential flow of employees as well. Furthermore, this raises a very complex series of questions. Who is right? Should Starbucks conform to the religious preferences of their customer demographic in Indonesia and Malaysia? After all, Starbucks did choose to operate there. Should Starbucks allow LGBT managers and employees to travel to their Indonesian and Malaysian locations?
The bottom line is that this is an very interesting example of a polar cultural difference that is encompassing a product that both cultures love [a good cup of coffee]. These cultural differences will continue to be challenging for international managers as long as there is a interdependent global economy.