Textbook treatments of culture (Hill, 2001: pp6–103) inform readers about social structure, education, norms, and value systems, but they say little about how to penetrate differences in meaning. Experiential exercises sensitize students to aspects of cultural differences, but their relevance to business deliberations may not be obvious. [Two classroom exercises sensitizing students to Japanese culture are Mendenhall and Gale (2003) and Van Buskirk (2004). ] One might know that another culture demonstrates greater power distance, but what does that mean in terms of how they should manage?
One might know that a culture is more feminine, but how should they modify job design and supervision? More generally, what are the operational implications of cultural differences in everyday workplace participation? Seeking another way to portray cultural differences that will provide students and executives with a “heads-up” appreciation for different understandings and motivations, the authors embarked upon using a linguistic analysis to highlight differences in thinking patterns across national groups.
Since all human behavior is accompanied if not guided by cognitive processing, a comparative study of cognition across cultures may shed light on each culture’s imprint on individual action. In the domain of business, if we identify differences in the thinking patterns that accompany participation in the workplace, then we may gain greater awareness of the cognitive underpinnings of differing behaviors. The rules and methods of economic participation, shaped as they are by social reality and national economic culture, necessitate some mental representation to guide behavior.
If that mental representation can be studied and communicated, ideally in a memorable visual form, then different behaviors in the workplace might be better anticipated. Two countries with very different cultural traditions and with a history of political economies organized according to different principles are America and Japan. Perhaps more than any other major industrial civilizations, Japan and America over the last 3 decades have been observing each other’s business practices and learning from each other’s national ideas.
They are the two largest economies in the world, yet the two cultures are distinct and are often compared as very different approaches to organizing business and society (Abegglen; Nakane; Dore; Rohlen; Cole; Pascale; Lincoln; Lincoln; Doi; Lincoln; Lincoln; Fruin; Linowes; Linowes and Kotha). Few studies have focused on workforce entrants, however. This particular group, by definition, has limited experience at organizational participation (other than in schools), and their ideas about work and careers are shaped by the socialization process during which they internalize the traditional values prevailing in their societies.
Conclusion To continue to grow, more and more U. S. firms have looked overseas in recent years to find markets for their products and services. Yet, international marketing may still be a mysterious universe for many of these firms and so they tend to look for foreign market entry strategies that minimize risk and financial commitment. The use of foreign distributors to penetrate unfamiliar overseas markets has thus been an appealing approach for many U. S. companies.
Foreign distributors presumably have the market knowledge and logistical capabilities to introduce the manufacturer’s products to his customers while reducing the risk for the exporter. In theory, this is a win–win situation; the exporter can gain access to overseas markets relatively inexpensively while the foreign distributor gains access to a desirable product or service that adds to his revenues and profits. The problem arises from the mechanism used to implement this foreign market entry strategy and the marketing channel that ties the exporter and foreign distributor together.
As this marketing channel emerges, all of the issues associated with inter-organizational management emerge as well. These include no clear lines of authority, no defined loci of responsibilities, and no explicit superior/subordinate relationship. In an attempt to overcome these challenges, partnerships and strategic alliances have been developed in recent years as the basis for channel relationships in both domestic and foreign marketing channels. Such strategic alliances, by their very nature, are based on trust, commitment, and cooperation between the channel members.
Strategic alliances in international marketing channels are essentially a meeting of the minds between channel members in that each will perform the tasks expected of him in such a way as to enhance the performance of his exchange partner. When cultural differences exist between exporters and their foreign channel partners, the alliance can be undermined if the cultural differences are significant enough to affect the communication process between the channel partners. Managers responsible for developing exports via foreign distributors need to pay close attention to the challenge of cultural differences in the channel.
Cultural differences are a part of human life these days; there would truly be hardly any part of the world that has a single type of culture prevailing. As the type of constituents in a salad bar increases, there is the inborn need of managing such human resource (work force) and customers appropriately. Human resource management constitutes the revenue generating stream of an organization; they are the assets that give birth to revenues. No matter how much mechanized an industry may become, the need for human resource will never die.
As potential and prospect may be in any part of the world, companies these days are focusing on hiring individuals from all parts of the world which is a pure implication of diversified cultural workforce. When all these individuals combine under the umbrella of a single organization, the attributes for the manager to lead and manage the workforce also enhances exponentially. And likewise mentioned through out the report, if cultural diversification is well managed, it can be converted into a true growth opportunity for an organization.
On the similar lines, the excess value of globalization has made the world a global village and there are literally no restrictions on the prospect customer base of an organization. Any organization operating in an unknown street of European countries may have a customer in some unknown village of Nepal; it is a possible scenario. Therefore, organizations need to take care of any and every possible and potential cultural value that a customer may hold. Giving respect to the cultural values would eventually lead into getting respect and a loyal customer base for an organization.
In a nutshell, it all comes down to the need of managing things appropriately; once that is being done, any cultural difference in the workforce or customer base can be well capitalized on into having growth in all directions.
Abegglen, J. C. , 2003. . The Japanese factory The Free Press, New York. Aiken & Hage, 2000 M. Aiken and J. Hage, Organizational Interdependence and Intraorganizational Structure, American Sociological Review 33 (2000), pp. 912–930. Alderson, 2000 Alderson, W. , 2000. Cooperation and conflict in marketing channels.
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