Geert Hofstede vs. Fons Trompenaars
How do we market in different cultures? Although we have done many researches about the different cultures, marketing, which is as a discipline, has lagged behind other researches in recognizing the need for it. Before we have found the importance of marketing in different cultures, usually, the approach for marketing was too simple, and we often use the economic theory to explain facts and solve problems, however, international marketing and management is a kind of practical work, which is different from the economic research. Firstly, we always assume that tastes, preferences, and habits are transferable between different countries; secondly, it also implies that we can do the trade freely in different countries. In the end of 20th century, we began to lay more emphasis on the influence of cultural differences, and more research have been done about the cultural differences. Take wine as an example, even now wine has become a global product, it still takes the French at least ten times longer to chose the right vintage and grape combination than it does the Dutch, who tend to be more focused on price. If we ignore this kind of difference, wine producers cannot success in both countries. The researches about cultural differences of marketing are still a new field. The first serious book on the subject of the cultural aspects of marketing was written by Jean-Claude Usunier in 1997. In this book, he mainly compares the differences between cultural systems and refers that culture is also a factor affecting business, like other socio-political,. financial, ecological, and legal factors. However, Usunier does not resolve the dilemmas and offer practical solutions. Culture, based on our research at Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, is different from what describe in Usunier's theory, which is not simply a factor like most processes in the transactional environment. The factor of culture challenges the fundamental strategy of marketing, customer relations management, definition of product, price, advertisement and other business processes. In short, culture is all pervading.
However, so far there are a few famous approaches to the whole subject of cultures and their classification and generalization, that can be employed in developing a truly transnational approach to marketing. The ones that we are going to discuss and compare further are those of Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars.
Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars: biographies and theories
He is a dutch psychologist and writer who was born in 1928. Hofstede was interested in the influence of culture on people's behaviour. He was inspired by the Culturalism (a trend which dominated the American sociology from the 1930's to the 1950's). The culturalists qualify culture as "the way of thinking, feeling and acting of a human group, which was acquired and transmitted by symbols and which represents its specific identity". (donner sources de la citation) Geert Hofstede explains the origins of the differences in behaviours, which can tend to problems. As we grow up and live in a multi-cultural world, we have to understand why people from
different nations act differently. This question is very important in business when a company from a certain country has to deal with a company from another country, or even within a company which is composed by employees from different nations, we have to know how to act and communicate.
Hofstede wrote several books: Culture's consequences (1984), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind (1992), co-authored by his son Gert Jan Hofstede. To explain and solve the problems engendered by people from different cultures living or working together, he included 5 factors of cultural differentiation: individualism/collectivism, masculinism/feminism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and long term/short term orientation. According to Hofstede, these 5 criteria explain the...
Bibliography: 2. Geert Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations, Software of the mind, 1992.
3. The multicultural company, Fons Trompenaars, 1993, Paris, Maxima.
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