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Culture Dynamics and

Global Marketing
Definitions and Origins of Culture
Most traditional definitions of culture around the notion that
culture is the sum of the values, rituals, symbols, beliefs, and
thought processes that are learned, shared by a group of people,
and transmitted from generation to generation.

Individuals learn culture from social institutions through:
- Socialization (growing up)
- Acculturation (adjusting to a new culture)
Origins, Elements, and Consequences of Culture
Insert Exhibit 4.4
Definitions and Origins of Culture (contd)


The political economy

Definitions and Origins of Culture (contd)
Social institutions
- Family
Favoritism of boys in some cultures
- Religion
Misunderstanding of beliefs. Saudi Arabian publication will not accept
any AD that has a picture of a woman in it. Sleeveless dresses are
considered offensive to Islamic rules and are banned in Malaysia.
- School
No country has been successful economically with less than 50%
literacy. American kids spend only 180 days per year in school contrast
that with 251 days in china, 240 days in Japan and 200 days in
Germany. Chinese officials are recognizing the rational of too much
school-Narrow minds.
Definitions and Origins of Culture (contd)
- The media
T.V & Increasingly the Internet has replaced family time
- Government
Governments try to influence the thinking and behaviors of adult
- Corporations
Most innovations are introduced to societies by companies
Elements of Culture
Cultural values
- Individualism/Collectivism Index
- Power Distance Index
- Uncertainty Avoidance Index
- Cultural Values and Consumer Behavior
- Marriage
- Funerals
Elements of Culture (contd)
- Language
Linguistic distance
- Aesthetics as Symbols
Insensitivity to aesthetic values can offend, create a negative
impression, and, in general, render marketing efforts ineffective or
even damaging.
- To make light of superstitions in other cultures when doing business
there can be an expensive mistake.
Thought processes
- Difference in perception
Focus vs. Big-Picture
A different meaning of the same Gesture

Hindus and some Chinese do not consume beef at all.
In Japan per capita annual consumption of beef has increased to
11pounds, still a very small amount when compared to more than
100 pounds consumed per capita in the USA and Argentina.
The Japanese eat uncooked seafood and Iraqis eat dried, salted
locusts (insect found in Asia) as snacks with drinks.
The French eat snails, Americans and European use Honey (Bee
Muslims do not eat pork, and foods cannot be processed with
alcohol and non- halal animal products.
Jews require Kosher (pure) food. Prohibit pork or shellfish and
there is no mixing of milk and meat products.


P & Gs Head & Shoulders shampoo:
Did well in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany but flopped in
France because in France dandruff is a socially embarrassing
problem that no body wants to admit having.
Barbie Doll:
This all American best seller did not do very well in India for a
long time. In a conservative country like India, the concept of a
boyfriend was unacceptable so KEN did not accompany her.
A non-alcoholic beer from Switzerland, is a product that was seen
as being able to overcome the religious restriction of consuming
alcoholic beverages. Became very successful in Saudi Arabia and
half of its world wide sales are accounted for in this country.
Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede)

The degree to which individuals in a society prefer to act as
individuals, as opposed to a group. Individualistic societies tend to
have persons who value initiative and achievement and are self-
oriented. Collectivism shows a liking to belong to a group and take
pride in it. India Ranks (48) indicating we are slightly more

Power distance
The acceptance of large differences in power between the most and
least powerful in society. Where such distance is large there is
domination of people at the top and less or no involvement of people
below. India ranks (77) indicating High power distance showing
excessive centralization in decision making within organizations. A
low rank reflects more egalitarian views.

Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede)

Uncertainty avoidance
Uncertainty avoidance deals with a societys tolerance for uncertainty and
ambiguity; it ultimately refers to mans search for Truth. It indicates to what
extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or
comfortable in unstructured situations.
Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, and different from
usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such
situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the
philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth.

For example, in Germany there is a reasonable high uncertainty avoidance (65)
compared to countries as Singapore (8) and neighboring country Denmark
(23). Germans are not to keen on uncertainty, by planning everything carefully
they try to avoid the uncertainty and wants to reduce its risks to the minimum
and proceed with changes step by step. India ranks (40) relatively low towards
uncertainty avoidance.

Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede)

- The degree to which a society displays mostly traditionally male or
traditionally female traits. In masculine societies people like to perform,
achieve, make money etc.. In Feminine society , people are considerate of
others, do not show off, pay attention to quality rather quantity etc. India
ranks (56) showing that it is slightly more masculine.
Time orientation
- The degree to which cultures possess a short or long perspective on time.
Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance;
values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition,
fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face'. Both the positively
and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings
of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around
500 B.C.; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a
Confucian heritage.


Cultural Differences for Ten Countries

Avoidance Masculinity
Hong Kong
West Africa
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Japan West Africa
West Africa
West Africa
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
West Africa
Collectivism Low
Femininity Short-term

Source: G. Hofstede. 1993. Cultural constraints in management theories.
Academy of Management Executive 7(1):8194.
Cultural Knowledge
Factual knowledge vs. interpretive knowledge
- Has meaning as a straightforward fact about a culture but assumes
additional significance when interpreted within the context of the
Mexico is 98% Catholic
Being Catholic within Mexico
Cultural sensitivity and tolerance
- Being attuned to the nuances of culture so that a new culture can be
viewed objectively, evaluated and appreciated.
- Cultures are not right or wrong, better or worse, they are simply
- The more exotic the situation, the more sensitive, tolerant, and
flexible one needs to be.
Global Perspective
Do Blondes Have More Fun in Japan?
Culture, including all its elements, profoundly affects management
style and overall business systems
- Individualists
- Consensus oriented & committed to the group
Central & Southern Europeans
- Elitists and rank conscious
Knowledge of the management style existing in a country and a
willingness to accommodate the differences are important to
success in an international market.
Required Adaptation
Adaptation is a key concept in international marketing.
As a guide to adaptation, all who wish to deal with individuals, firms, or
authorities in foreign countries should be able to meet 10 basic criteria:
- 1) open tolerance
- 2) flexibility
- 3) humility
- 4) justice/fairness
- 5) ability to adjust to varying tempos
- 6) curiosity/interest
- 7) knowledge of the country
- 8) liking for others
- 9) ability to command respect
- 10) ability to integrate oneself into the environment
Degree of Adaptation
Essential to effective adaptation is awareness of ones
own culture and the recognition that differences in others
can cause anxiety, frustration, and misunderstanding of
the hosts intentions.
The self-reference criterion (SRC) is especially operative
in business customs.
The key to adaptation is to remain American but to
develop an understanding of and willingness to
accommodate the differences that exist.
Cultural Imperatives
The business customs and expectations that must be met and conformed
to or avoided if relationships are to be successful.
Succesful businesspeople know the Chinese word Guanxi, the Japanese
Ningen kankei, or Latin American Compadre. All refer to friendship,
human relations or attaining a level of trust. Friendship motivates local
agents to make more sales.
The significance of establishing friendship cannot be overemphasized,
especially in those countries where family relationships are close.
In some cultures a persons demeanor(outward behavior) is more critical
than in other cultures.
What may be an imperative to avoid in one culture is an imperative to do
in another. In Japan prolonged eye contact is considered offensive and it
is imperative that it be avoided. However with Arab and Latin American
executives it is important to make strong eye contact or you will be
considered untrustworthy.
Cultural Electives and Exclusives
Cultural electives:
- Relate to areas of behavior or to customs that cultural aliens may
wish to conform to or participate in but that are not required.
- A cultural elective in one county may be an imperative in another.
- Cultural electives are the most visibly different customs and thus
more obvious.
Cultural exclusives:
- Those customs or behavior patterns reserved exclusively for the
locals and from which the foreigner is barred. For Example a
Christian attempting to act like a Muslim would be repugnant to a
follower of Mohammed.

The Impact of American Culture on
Management Style
Master of destiny viewpoint vs. future is controlled by an higher
order-Peristence, Hardwork, a commitment to fulfill expectations
and effective use of time give people control of their destinies.
Independent enterprise as the instrument of social action
company and work take precedence over family, friends, etc.
Personnel selection and reward based on merit vs. family, friends
personal relationships.
Decisions based on objective analysis and data vs. intuition.
Wide sharing in decision making vs. highly centralized
Never-ending quest for improvement vs. maintain status quo.
Competition producing efficiency vs. consensus and working
Context of Culture:
Low-Context Vs. High-Context
Low-Context Culture
- explicit messages
- words conveying main part of information
- words and meanings being independent of context
- What is said, not how it is said and the environment within which it is said.
- e.g., Northern Europe( Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries),
North America.
- compatible with "lecture" advertising strategy
High-Context Culture
- indirect communication
- message not understood without context
- environment changing meanings of words
- Verbal part does not carry all information much is contained in non verbal part.
- e.g., Japan, France, Asia, Africa, Middle East Arab nations.
- compatible with "drama" advertising strategy

High Context vs. Low context Cultures
Insert Exhibit 5.1
P-Time versus M-Time by Edward T. Hall
Monochronic time:
- Tend to concentrate on one thing at a time
- Schedules, Punctuality and a sense that time forms a purposeful straight line are
- Divide time into small units and are concerned with promptness & fast tempo.
- Most low-context cultures operate on M-Time
Polychronic time:
- Dominant in high-context cultures
- Characterized by the simultaneous occurrence of many things
- Allows for relationships to build and context to be absorbed as parts of high-context
- Most High-context cultures operate on P-Time

Most cultures offer a mix of P-time and M-time behavior, but have a tendency to
be either more P-time or M-time in regard to the role time plays.
As global markets expand more businesspeople from P-time cultures are
adapting to M-time.
Issue Western Value Eastern Value
Distinctiveness of people Want to be distinctive Not valued; emphasis on tie to
Perceived control Significant; values determine
Modestsocietal values are already
Emphasis Success and achievement;
relationships may get in the way
Best outcome for relevant group
(e.g., family, work group)
Self-esteem Strive to feel good; assurances
Tied to belonging with group
Relationships Equality or superior position Clearly defined; hierarchical
Rules Same rules apply to all Depend on context and relationship
Contrasting Advertising Perspectives
(Aichison 2002)
- Atomisticbroken down to
smallest component parts
- Unique selling propositions
- How to
- Positioning
- May be dull and boring
- Copy focused
- Holistic
- Everything relates to
everything else
- How things fit together and
- Visual and oral
Jim Aitchison, How Asia Advertises, New York: Wiley, 2002.
Negotiations Emphasis
Business negotiations are perhaps the most fundamental
business rituals.
The basic elements of business negotiations are the same
in any country.
- They relate to the product, its price and terms, services associated
with the product, and finally, friendship between vendors and
One standard rule in negotiating is know thyself first,
and second, know your counterpart.
Gender Bias in International Business
Women represent only 18% of the employees who are chosen for
international assignments.
In many cultures women are not typically found in upper levels of
management, and men and women are treated very differently.
- Asia, Middle East, Latin America
Prejudices toward women in foreign countries
Cross-mentoring system
- Lufthansa
Executives who have had international experience are more likely
to get promoted, have higher rewards, and have greater
occupational tenure.
The Western Focus on Bribery
1970s, bribery became a national issue with public
disclosure of political payoffs to foreign recipients by
U.S. firms.
The decision to pay a bribe creates a major conflict
between what is ethical and proper and what is profitable
and sometimes necessary for business.
OECD Convention on combating the bribery of foreign
public officials in international business transactions.
Transparency International (TI)
Bribery: Variations on a Theme
Bribery and Extortion:
- Voluntary offered payment by someone seeking unlawful advantage
is bribery.
- If payments are extracted under duress by someone in authority from
a person seeking only what he are she is lawfully entitled to that is
Subornation and Lubrication:
- Lubrication involves a relatively small sum of cash, a gift, or a
service given to a low-ranking official in a country where such
offerings are not prohibited by law.
- Subornation involves giving large sums of money, frequently not
properly accounted for, designed to entice an official to commit an
illegal act on behalf of the one offering the bribe.
Bribery: Variations on a Theme (continued)
Agents Fees:
- When a businessperson is uncertain of a countrys rules and
regulations, an agent may be hired to represent the company in
that country.
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Change will come only from more ethically and socially
responsible decisions by both buyers and sellers and by
governments willing to take a stand.
Ethical and Socially Responsible Decisions
In normal business operations, difficulties arise in making
decisions, establishing policies, and engaging in business
operations in five broad areas:
- Employment practices and policies
- Consumer protection
- Environmental protection
- Political payments and involvement in political affairs of the
- Basic human rights and fundamental freedoms
Laws are the markers of past behavior that society has deemed
unethical or socially irresponsible.
Some cultures appear to emphasize the importance of information
and competition while others focus more on relationships and
transaction cost reductions.
Businesspersons working in another country must be sensitive to
the business environment and must be willing to adapt when
Understanding the culture you are entering is the only sound basis
for planning.
Business behavior is derived in large part from the basic cultural
environment in which the business operates and, as such, is subject
to the extreme diversity encountered among various cultures and
Summary (continued)
Environmental considerations significantly affect the attitudes,
behavior, and outlook of foreign businesspeople.
Varying motivational patterns inevitably affect methods of doing
business in different countries.
The international trader must be constantly alert and prepared to
adapt when necessary.
No matter how long in a country, the outsider is not a local; in
many countries that person may always be treated as an outsider.
One must avoid the critical mistake of assuming that knowledge of
one culture will provide acceptability in another.