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The IKEA Saudi catalog scandal occurred in 2012 and attracted much attention. It relates to the fact that the Swedish company had removed all images of women from its fall 2012 catalog for Saudi Arabia. This action resulted in much criticism in both Sweden and the whole world. It seems that the scandal happened because IKEA wanted to strengthen its image of the company that respected the local traditions of the target market. In any case, IKEA should take some action to address the situation, and two options are available.

The first option is to do nothing and wait for the crisis to disappear. If it happens, IKEA will manage to solve the issue with no actions taken. Even though this variant is energy-conserving, it does not mean that it is a suitable solution, and two possible consequences explain it. On the one hand, doing nothing and leaving the catalog with no images of women can provoke even more criticism. While the act of removing women from the Saudi catalog led to the fact that some customers threatened a boycott, even harsher consequences can emerge because of further hesitation. On the other hand, failure to respond to the crisis and the use of catalogs without images of women contradict the company’s values. IKEA is a participant in the United Nations Global Compact that makes its members responsible for upholding human rights standards universally. At the same time, the company also focuses on empowering girls and women across the globe. Consequently, the removal of females from the catalog undermines IKEA’s image, both nationally and globally.

The second option is to reissue the catalog with women included. This approach will satisfy the demands of European and American critics. In addition to that, this step will show that IKEA respects gender equality in society and opposes discrimination of any kind. However, this option also implies some adverse effects on the company. It refers to the fact that Saudi Arabia officials can consider this step disrespect to their local laws. It is not beneficial for the company to worsen its relationship with Saudi Arabia and witness possible penalties because, by 2012, there had been three IKEA stores in the country.

Consequently, the situation above demonstrates that each way to solve the issue implies both advantages and disadvantages. There is no doubt that it will result in problems, and it is necessary to choose the lesser of two evils. That is why IKEA should weigh all pros and cons to identify the most suitable option to address the scandal and mitigate its adverse consequences, and the information below will comment on it.

As far as my personal opinion is considered, I would recommend reissuing the catalog because of a few reasons. Firstly, this option will mean that IKEA abides by its values and supports social and gender equality. Secondly, it is more reasonable to satisfy the demands of customers from Europe and North America because these two regions amount to a significant part of IKEA sales. It does not mean that it is necessary to neglect Saudi Arabia customers, but if it is obligatory to choose, the answer is evident. Finally, the option under consideration seems suitable because Saudi Arabia did not offer any specific response to the situation and only highlighted it. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia customers do not think that an international company depicting images of women violates their traditions. That is why reissuing the catalog with women included is a suitable solution to the IKEA Saudi catalog scandal.

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