International Marketing Reviewer from Web, Book by Cateora

Topics: Management, Culture, Business ethics Pages: 15 (4026 words) Published: October 3, 2012
Culture, Management Style, and Business Systems
Submitted by: GROUP 2

Culture, including all its elements, profoundly affects management style and overall business systems. Culture not only establishes the criteria for day-to-day business behavior but also forms general patterns of values and motivations.

Various studies identify North Americans as individualists, Japanese as consensus oriented and committed to the group, and central and southern Europeans as elitists and rank conscious. Although these descriptions are stereotypical, they illustrate cultural differences that are often manifested in business behavior and practices.

A lack of empathy for and knowledge of foreign business practices can create insurmountable barriers to successful business relations. Enough differences exist to cause frustration, miscommunication, and, ultimately, failed business opportunities if these differences are not understood and responded to properly.

What international marketers can do to minimize the differences and to prevent failed business opportunities is the ability to adapt.

Adaptation is a key concept in international marketing and willingness to adapt is a crucial attitude. Affirmative acceptance is also required as it makes adaptation easier because empathy for another’s point of view naturally leads to ideas for meeting cultural differences.

Ten Basic Criteria in dealing with foreign individuals:
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
Adaptation does not require business executives to forsake their ways and change to local customs; rather, executives must be aware of local customs and be willing to accommodate to those differences that can cause misunderstandings. The key to adaptation is keeping your own culture but developing an understanding of and willingness to accommodate the differences that exist. IMPERATIVES, ELECTIVES, AND EXCLUSIVES

Business customs can be grouped into imperatives, electives, and exclusives.

Cultural Imperatives are customs that must be recognized and accommodated. These are business customs and expectations that must be met and conformed to or avoided if relationships are to be successful.

Cultural Electives are customs to which adaptation is helpful but not necessary. These relate to areas of behavior or to customs that cultural aliens may wish to conform to or participate in but that are not required.

Cultural Exclusives are customs in which an outsider must not participate. These customs or behavior patterns reserved exclusively for the locals and from which the foreigner is barred.


Doing international business requires adaptation. No company will be successful if it tries to go international without adapting. Some American companies get angry about adaptation. Why do we have to be the ones to adapt? Why can’t they adapt to us? The truth is, most companies operating globally speak English, so they are already doing more than their fair share to adapt to us. No one is asking you to renounce your American culture completely take on the culture of the company you are doing business with, but make sure you know what customs you need to adhere to and what to abstain from. There are three groups of business customs that you should be aware of: cultural imperatives, cultural electives, and cultural exclusives.

Cultural imperatives are customs that you must conform to if you want to be successful. An example of a cultural imperative is relationship building. In many Asian countries such as China and Japan and Latin American countries, business understands the importance of building a...
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