Cultural elements within a business affect the way strategy is determined, goals are established and how the organization operates as an entity. Not only are decisions made as a group/community effort, but it is stemmed from cultural beliefs/practice/ways of living, which varies on a global context. In today’s global market place cultural differences across countries have a significant impact on business decision making; this is manifested in or through most functional areas of businesses including marketing, human resources and finance. Each function within a company has its own roles and responsibilities which contribute to the business’ overall success.
The marketing function plays an integral role in every business within the global marketplace. The marketing department thrives on “thinking outside the box” and pushing the limits of consumer imagination and recognition. To be more specific, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as, “an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders” (Peter, Donnelly, Vandenbosch 3). As the role of the marketing department continues to globally expand on both a consumer and organizational level, the marketing department becomes a key player in a vast variety of decision making processes. These decisions are subject to many internal and external elements, but most importantly the impact of culture and cultural differences. Cultural differences affect the decisions of the marketing department in a number of ways. These affects can be witnessed through the process of ethical decision making, the diverse cultural backgrounds of marketing managers, and advertising initiatives.
In a multicultural marketing environment, ethical values across global boarders continue to create attention and develop a significant degree of importance in the global marketplace. To clarify, ethical decision making is the process of identifying a problem, generating alternatives, and choosing among them so that the alternatives selected maximize the most important ethical values while also achieving the intended goal (Guy 39). Throughout the marketing department, culture heavily influences the prospect of ethical decision making. To begin with, a key element in ethical decision making within a marketing context is the concept of the establishment of relationships and trust amongst consumers. Cultural differences can have a major impact on the development of decisions relating to such relationships and trust ideals. Marketing personnel need to ensure that when making decisions that affect potential development of relationships and levels of trust, they remain consistent with the general marketing theory. The foundation of this theory states that all exchanges are based on the concept of trust, and that conflict is most likely to occur if buyer and seller are not in agreement with respect to their ethical mindsets. Hence, where conflict exists, trust will not grow and in turn the exchange process will cease and marketing relationships cannot fully develop. A clear understanding of this theory is vital as global competition continues to increase and consumer acquisition costs are consistently on the rise (Srnka 3). A reliance on relationships and trust can be witnessed throughout Latin European cultures (Browaeys and Price 42). Next, the marketing department is faced with making ethical decisions that reflect on the subject of value compatibility. Values can be defined as, “basic convictions that people have regarding what is right and wrong, good and bad, important and unimportant” (Doh and Luthans 101). Compatibility of ethical values within the global marketplace is a central prerequisite for organizational success. As most values differ amongst cultures, it can be understood that this has a major impact on business decision making...
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