International Marketing
14th Edition
P h i l i p R. C a t e o r a
M a r y C. G i l l y
John L. Graham
Cultural Dynamics in
Global Markets
Chapter 4
International Marketing 14/e
Copyright © 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
What Should You Learn?
• The importance of culture to an international
• The origins and elements of culture
• The impact of cultural borrowing
• The strategy of planned change and its
Global Perspective Equities and eBay –
Culture Gets in the Way
• Culture deals with a group’s design for living
• The successful marketer clearly must be a
student of culture
• Markets are the result of the three-way
interaction of a marketer’s
– Economic conditions
– Efforts
– All other elements of culture
• The use of something new is the beginning of
cultural change
– The marketer becomes a change agent
Culture’s Pervasive Impact
• Culture affects every part of our lives, every day,
from birth to death, and everything in between
– Japan – the year of the Fire Horse
• As countries move from agricultural to industrial to
services economies’ birthrates decline
• Consequences of consumption
– Tobacco
• Culture not only affects consumption, it also affects
– Stomach cancer in Japan
Birthrates (per 1000 women)
Exhibit 4.1
Patterns of Consumption
(annual per capita)
Exhibit 4.2
Consequences of Consumption
Exhibit 4.3
Human Universals – Myth of Diversity
• Use metaphors
• Have a system of status
and roles
• Consider aspects of sexuality
• Express emotions with face
• Are ethnocentric
• Reciprocate
• Create art
• Use mood altering drugs
• Conceive of success and
• Overestimate objectivity of
• Create groups antagonistic to
• Fear of snakes
• Imitate outside influences
• Resist outside influences
• Recognize economic
obligations in exchanges of
goods and services
• Trade and transport of goods
Definitions and Origins of Culture
• Traditional definition of culture
– 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
• Humans make adaptations to changing
environments through innovation
• Individuals learn culture from social institutions
– Socialization (growing up)
– Acculturation (adjusting to a new culture)
– Application (decisions about consumption and production)
Origins, Elements,
and Consequences of Culture
Exhibit 4.4
• Exercises a profound control
– Includes climate, topography, flora, fauna, and microbiology
– Influenced history, technology, economics, social institutions and
way of thinking
• The ideas of Jared Diamond and Philip Parker
– Jared Diamond
Historically innovations spread faster east to west than north to south
– Philip Parker
Reports strong correlations between latitude (climate) and per capita GDP
Empirical data supports climate’s apparent influence on workers’ wages
Explain social phenomena using principles of physiology
We All Love Flowers – Why?
• Geography
• History
• Technology and economics
• Social institutions
• Cultural values
• Aesthetics as symbols
History, the Political Economy,
and Technology
• History
– Impact of specific events can be seen reflected in technology, social
institutions, cultural values, and even consumer behavior
Tobacco was the original source of the Virginia colony’s economic survival in the 1600s
• Political Economy
– Three approaches to governance competed for world dominance
Democracy/free enterprise
• Technology
– Jet aircraft, air conditioning, televisions, computers, Internet, etc.
– None more important than the birth control pill
Social Institutions
• Family
• Religion
• School
• The media
• Government
• Corporations
Social Institutions
• Family
– Nepotism
– Role of extended family
– Favoritism of boys in some cultures
• Religion
– First institution infants are exposed to outside the home
– Impact of values systems
– Misunderstanding of beliefs
• School
– Affects all aspects of the culture, from economic development to
consumer behavior
– No country has been successful economically with less than 50%
Social Institutions
• The media
– Media time has replaced family time
• Government
– Influences the thinking and behaviors of adult citizens
Passage, promulgation, promotion, and enforce of laws
• Corporations
– Most innovations are introduced to societies by companies
– Spread through media
– Change agents
Elements of Culture
• Cultural values
Individualism/Collectivism Index
Power Distance Index
Uncertainty Avoidance Index
Cultural Values and Consumer Behavior
Hofstede’s Indexes
Language, and Linguistic Distance
Exhibit 4.5
Elements of Culture
• Rituals
– Marriage
– Funerals
• Symbols
– 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
• Beliefs
– To make light of superstitions in other cultures can be an expensive
• Thought processes
– Difference in perception
Focus vs. big-picture
Metaphorical Journeys
through 23 Nations
Exhibit 4.6
Cultural Knowledge
• Factual knowledge
– Has meaning as a straightforward fact about a culture
– Assumes additional significance when interpreted within the
context of the culture
Needs to be learned
• Interpretive knowledge
– Requires a degree of insight that may best be described as a
Most dependent of past experience for interpretation
Most frequently prone to misinterpretation
Requires consultation and cooperation with bilingual natives with marketing
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
Cultural Change
• Dynamic in nature – it is a living process
• Paradoxical because culture is conservative and
resists change
– Changes caused by war or natural disasters
– Society seeking ways to solve problems created by changes in
– Culture is the means used in adjusting to the environmental and
historical components of human existence
Cultural Borrowing
• Effort to learn from others’ cultural ways in the
quest for better solutions to a society’s particular
– Imitating diversity of other makes cultures unique
– Contact can make cultures grow closer or further apart
• Habits, foods, and customs are adapted to fit
each society’s needs
Similarities – An Illusion
• A common language does not guarantee a
similar interpretation of word or phrases
– May cause lack of understanding because of apparent and
assumed similarities
• Just because something sells in one country
doesn’t mean it will sell in another
– Cultural differences among member of European Union a
product of centuries of history
Resistance to Change
• Gradual cultural growth does not occur without
some resistance
– New methods, ideas, and products are held to be suspect before
they are accepted, if ever
• Resistance to genetically modified (GM) foods
– Resisted by Europeans
– Consumed by Asians
– Not even labeled in U.S. until 2000
Planned and Unplanned
Cultural Change
• Determine which cultural factors conflict with an
• Change those factors from obstacles to acceptance into
stimulants for change
• Marketers have two options when introducing and
innovation to a culture
– They can wait
– They can cause change
• Cultural congruence
– Marketing products similar to ones already on the market in a
manner as congruent as possible with existing cultural norms
Consequences of Innovation
• May inadvertently bring about change that affects very
fabric of a social system
• Consequences of diffusion of an innovation
– May be functional or dysfunctional
Depending on whether the effects on the social system are desirable or undesirable
• Introduction of a processed feeding formula into the diet
of babies in underdeveloped countries ended up being
• A complete and thorough appreciation of the
origins and elements of culture may well be the
single most important gain to a foreign marketer
in the preparation of marketing plans and
• Marketers can control the product offered to a
market – its promotion, price, and eventual
distribution methods – but they have only limited
control over the cultural environment within
which these plans must be implemented
• When a company is operating internationally
each new environment that is influenced by
elements unfamiliar and sometimes
unrecognizable to the marketer complicates the
• Special effort and study are needed to absorb
enough understanding of the foreign culture to
cope with the uncontrollable features

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