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Cultural Distance: How Is it Measured, And How it Impact on Global Marketing Operations
The persistence of cultural distances is relevant for the global multinational marketing operations exposed to multiple cultures in their everyday activities. This indicates that marketing across border introduces complexities because it forces global marketers to tailor their approaches and practices to each cultural context they carry out their business activities. As a result, this paper will discuss concepts applicable to different aspects of cross-border operations. The primary focus of the paper is on multinational business corporations (Baumann, 2007).
This study shows how Hofstede's model is still the most relevant piece of reference for a successive cross-cultural analysis despite it being a widely criticized. The paper compares and contrasts Hofstede's famous concepts with Turner and Schwartz, Trompenaars and Hampden's valued inventory. It will attempt to provide empirical evidence of how cultural diversity influences the global markets by giving illustrations of various cultural conflicts of famous companies. At the end, the paper will discuss various business implications and offers suggestions on how global corporations can manage adaptation to cultural distances (Sarstedt, Schwaiger & Taylor, 2011). This study eventually confirms that cultural distance is an essential factor of success in an organization. Any business entity that takes into account all or many aspects relating to culture are bound to have stress-free business operations because cultural conflicts are reduced.
Hofstede's model in cultural dimensions was the first methodology introduced to measure cultural distance. Its development in the late 1970s came after an alternative investigation of work related problems in the IBM workforce across forty countries (Mooij, 2010). As the pioneering model, all subsequent investigations are linked to it, by comparing, evaluating, criticizing, and analyzing. For instance, the Hofstede's model of national cultural distances and its impacts may be considered as a failure of analysis but a triumph of faith. In all relationships with this model, the criticizing draws the attention of individuals who approached the Hofstede's study. However, a few scholars have taken Hofstede's side, thereby questioning the fallacious presuppositions of MacSweeny (Voich, 2013). The scholars have done this through conducting a thorough analysis of his work and pinpointing the profound misunderstandings.
Regardless of being subjected to pure criticism, Hofstede's model remains perhaps the widely accepted and used cross cultural analysis approach. Hofstede's model is still considered the easiest to understand and exhaustive study of cultural diversity. Culture, in its simplest form, is a broad concept and its definition varies based on the context it is related (Sarstedt, Schwaiger & Taylor, 2011). In fact, conceptualizing such a broad topic and applying it to each random context may be perceived presumptuous and awry as a milder effort to measure the immeasurable. Hofstede's study has been accused of only being conducted in one field and within a non-market sector whereby the test individuals of IBM were not investigated as negotiators, consumers, or market intermediaries. As a result, because its collection of data dates back to the late 1970s, it has been claimed impossible of implementing in the plausible current market environment (Hofstede, 2011). Therefore, it has been considered because outdated because the society has changed.
Limitations of Hofstede's Cultural Model
Although Hofstede's method remains the most widely utilized approach to the group and compares national cultures, it has some shortcomings impediments. An evident shortcoming is that the information is old and may not completely catch emerging changes in the political environment or the workplace in spite of the study's replications. Moreover, Hofstede's study was confined to information from a solitary organization. Generalization of national cultural attributes based upon the investigation of a minor subset of cultural parts relies on the untenable suspicion that every country comprises of a uniform national culture and that information from a segment of Toyota employees might be illustrative of the supposed national consistency (Cavusgil & Ghauri, 2009).
The cultural values of Hofstede have additionally been utilized to register total cultural separations between nations along these four measurements to quantify cultural contrasts between nations. Although these cultural separation scores have been used to clarify diverse phenomena in global business, like entry mode decision, worldwide expansion, and performance of multinational firms, this approach has likewise been intensely criticized. First, the calculation of distances based on Hofstede's scores recommends that the distances are symmetric (Baumann, 2007). At the end of the day, a Swedish firm investing in Asia is thought to face precisely the same cultural separation as a U.S. firm investing in Sweden, a presumption that has however been given minimal support.
Secondly, the notion of cultural diversity takes homogeneity in every country: a criticism recently voiced against Hofstede's information gathering in essence. It is important when the information is used to register distance scores between nations considering the diverse intra-cultural differences and the real physical separation between them. For instance, we might need critical contrasts for a Spanish firm investing in France depending on whether the home and host units are found in Barcelona and Perpignan, separately, or in Seville and Le Havre, individually (Cavusgil & Ghauri, 2009). This is especially important for huge and diverse nations like the BRICs (India, Russia, Brazil, and China). However, it additionally applies to smaller nations: The figured cultural separation between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, two states that imparted the same national flag for quite a while, is higher than for most other cultural sets. These not just highlights the part of intra-cultural distance, but it also raises questions over if the nation is fundamental a suitable substitute for characterizing cultural regions.
Other Cultural Models
Besides the Hofstede's work, various alternative frameworks can be sued to categorize national cultures in different dimensions. Although some dimensions portray a conceptual match with those identified by Hofstede's, some of them merit mentioning. A Dutch researcher, Fons Trompenaars, gathered the most recent information in more than forty countries. Among the dimensions mentioned, most of them concentrate on the relationship between persons while a few concentrate on a culture's and time management relationships with nature. An Israeli psychologist, Shalom Schwartz, offers another model to classify and describe national cultures (Curry, 2009). According to Schwartz, cultural values are a reflection of three fundamental issues facing societies. They include the nature of the association between the group and the individual shows guarantee to ensure responsible behavior and mechanisms to control the relationship between people to the social, and the natural world (Sarstedt, Schwaiger & Taylor, 2011).
Drawing on data from university students and schoolteachers in more than sixty countries, Schwartz obtained three dimensions representing solutions to the aforementioned issues. In the most ambitious efforts to characterize cultures, a group of international researchers focused on cultural distances in leadership. Dubbed the GLOBE study, the exploration obtained nine cultural dimensions addressing both power distance, which has been previously identified, as well as the new value categories like performance orientation. Experts suggest that we should note that the application of these cultural value dimensions comes with a vital caveat. Though the cultural dimensions are certainly important in comparing cultures, they tend to represent central tendencies at the national level rather than the description of individuals within a nation. Data pertaining to the actual behaviors and the value of an individual must also supersede the group tendency (Sarstedt, Schwaiger & Taylor, 2011).
The impact of Cultural distance on global marketing operations
Cultural diversity affects large multinational corporations that can expand horizontally and pursue great fortunes overseas. Setting up new investments in a foreign nation requires a high level of cash. This is the main reason why only great corporations will afford this treacherous move. A multinational organization can only be profitable as disadvantageous. This depends on how much the company can take cultural variables into consideration (Curry, 2009). Global and economic strategists argue that many firms are attracted by overseas markets to the extent that they underestimate the financial threat posed. In this context, it is important to highlight how the Asian culture continues to shape the business of a global company like McDonalds. The company has been forced to make changes in three different countries: China, Hong Kong, and Japan. There is a big difference between the eastern and the western culture. It is self-explanatory because the main principles differ from one country to another. The U.S. fast food firm, McDonalds had to be aware of various variables in its step towards establishing its brands in Asia (Tallman, 2007).
When individuals think about McDonalds, the first statement across their mind could be "standardization." Hofstede might have considered "organizational culture" rather. McDonalds is the significant example of an organization, which points at keeping the same level of customer service, quality, cleanliness, food value, and taste. Its principle qualities depend on quick services and standard taste of the food, and these have shown to be exceptionally beneficial in the western market. Unluckily, Asian individuals were not used to having dinner or lunch in dozens of minutes, hence McDonalds needed to contemplate a technique to get clients and make benefit. Drawing from…[continue]
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