Effective Understanding of Cultural Differences Will Be Key to Successful Business Operations in the 21st Century. Discuss This Statement Using Examples from Two Sectors.

Topics: Financial services, Bank, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 11 (4245 words) Published: February 23, 2012
Effective understanding of cultural differences will be key to successful business operations in the 21st century. Discuss this statement using examples from two sectors. Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate why it is essential to understand cultural differences to achieve success in the 21st century. The paper focuses on the adaptations that different industries are incorporating into their business practices to meet the needs of the global consumer. In particular, the paper attempts to address the adaptations that industries are undergoing to cater to ethical and migration related requirements of the consumers. Design and Approach – The paper identifies trends, transformations and practises that are followed in two industries the Food Industry and the Financial Industry. Data and ideas from leading journals and papers are cited to substantiate the drivers behind these transformations and to link how these transformations have come about as a result of the opportunities brought about by cultural differences in the 21st century. Findings – On one hand customers are better equipped with knowledge about where and how to source their products and on the other businesses today are not confined to local markets or to geographical areas. At the forefront of a global business is the challenge of understanding the needs of its global customer. As important as it is for businesses to understand and cater to the needs of the global customer, so is the need to understand demographic and cultural variations amongst customers if an organisation aims to gain competitive advantage in the global market-space. Businesses today are making effective use of opportunities identified as a result of globalisation, understanding customer concerns and marketing their products in a way that addresses the customer's concerns. Value – The paper addresses some of the important challenges that The Food Industry and The Financial Services Industry face on the global trading floor and can be used as a reference point to study cultural impacts of consumer behaviour across other industries. Keywords - Cultural drivers, ethical transformation, consumer behaviour, Food Industry, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Financial Services Industry, migration 1

Effective understanding of cultural differences will be key to successful business operations in the 21st century. Discuss this statement using examples from two sectors. Introduction
The East India Company was not only one of the largest and most successful companies in the history of mankind but also one of the first global organisations. The company had its own army, tax system and resources unmatched for that time. The company started trading in the early 1600s and for the next 250 years grew consistently to become known as “The jewel in the British Empire's crown". In mid 1850s the company, which was at its peak and for the most part operating like a well oiled machine, made a crucial error. The company supplied its troops, who were predominantly native Indians, with cartridges laced with animal fat, Miscellany 1858, use of which, was against the religious beliefs of the local Indians. This led to a series of uprisings that eventually led to the Indian independence 80 years later. Such is the importance of understanding cultural differences especially in this era of a global economy. The advent of the internet has transformed the face of business. Today people live in very cosmopolitan societies and products are sourced from different parts of the world. In a global marketplace as people appreciate and understand other cultures, migration, integration and acculturation create opportunities. Chicken Tikka Masala, Anon 2001, an Indian dish alien to us until recently is proclaimed UK’s national dish, a clear indication that consumers’ culinary habits are evolving as they interact with counterparts from other cultures. Broadly speaking cultural habits of consumers can be...
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