Discussion Questions for Chapter 3
History and Geography: The Foundation of Culture
Why study geography in international marketing? Discuss.
Geography is a study of the physical characteristics of a particular region of the earth. Involved in this study are climate, topography, and population. The interaction of the physical characteristics is one of the principal determinants of a country’s customs, products, industries, needs, and methods of satisfying those needs. Marketing is concerned with satisfying the needs of people. International marketing seeks out the whole world as its marketplace. Therefore, for an international marketer to know how to satisfy the needs of the international market, he must be familiar enough with geography to know what the various causal factors of the people’s needs are. He must know that various climates and topographies do exist and that they are vital in shaping the marketing plans that an international marketer must make. As an example, a producer selling machinery in the tropics would have to realize that special protection is needed to keep a machine running properly in hot and humid climates. 3.
Why study a country’s history? Discuss
History helps define a nation’s “mission,” how it perceives its neighbors, how it sees its place in the world, and how it sees itself. Insights into the history of a country are important for understanding attitudes about the role of government and business, the relations between managers and the managed, the sources of management authority, and attitudes toward foreign corporations. To understand, explain, and appreciate a people’s image of itself and the attitudes and unconscious fears that reflected in its view of foreign cultures, it is necessary to study the culture as it is now as well as to understand the culture as it was—that is, a country’s history. Unless you have a historical sense of the many changes that have buffeted Japan—seven centuries under the shogun feudal system, the isolation before the coming of Admiral Perry in 1853, the threat of domination by colonial powers, the rise of new social classes, Western influences, the humiliation of World War II, and involvement in the international community—it is difficult to fully understand its contemporary behavior. Loyalty to family, to country, to company, and to social groups and the strong drive to cooperate, to work together for a common cause, permeate many facets of Japanese behavior and have historical roots that date back thousands of years. Loyalty and service, a sense of responsibility, and respect for discipline, training, and artistry have been stressed since ancient times as necessary for stability and order. Confucian philosophy, taught throughout Japan’s history, emphasizes the basic virtue of loyalty “of friend to friend, of wife to husband, of child to parent, of brother to brother, but, above all, of subject to lord,” that is, to country. A fundamental premise of Japanese ideology reflects the importance of cooperation for the collective good. Japanese achieve consensus by agreeing that all will unite against outside pressures that threaten the collective good. A historical perspective gives the foreigner in Japan a basis on which to begin developing cultural sensitivity and a better understanding of contemporary Japanese behavior. 4.
How does an understanding of history help an international marketer? To understand, explain, and appreciate a people’s image of itself and the fundamental attitudes and unconscious fears that are often reflected in its view of foreign cultures, it is necessary to study the culture as it is now as well as to understand culture as it was, that is, a country’s history. An awareness of the history of a country is particularly effective for understanding attitudes about the role of government and business, the relations...
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