Defining Culture

Defining Culture

•       An integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are distinguishing characteristics of the members of any given society.

•       The definition encompasses a wide variety of elements, from materialistic to the spiritual.

•       It includes everything that a group thinks, does, and makes-its customs, language, material artifacts, and shared systems of attitudes and feelings.

Success and Culture

•      Embrace local culture.

•      Employ locals to gain cultural knowledge.

•      Build relationships.

•      Adapt products to local markets.

•      Help employees understand you.

•      Coordinate by region.

•      Acculturation: Adjusting or adapting to a specific culture other than one’s own … and “one of the keys to success in international operations.

•      Change Agent: International business entities who introduce new products or ideas and practices.

•      Cultural Universals: Which are manifestations of the total way of life of any group of people.  These include such elements as bodily adornments, courtship, etiquette, family gestures, joking, mealtimes, music, personal names, status differentiation, and trade.


•      Verbal

–   How words are spoken.

–   Gestures made.

–   Body position assumed.

–   Degree of eye contact.

•      Local language capability’s
important role in international marketing

–   Aids in information gathering and evaluation.

–   Provides access to local society.

–   Important to company communications.

–   Allows for interpretation of contexts.

Nonverbal Language

•      Hidden language of cultures

–   Time flexibility and sensibility.

–   Material possessions.

–   Friendship patterns

–   Personal physical space and personal touching.

–   Non-verbal gestures, symbolic interaction and signaling.

–   Patterns of business transactions

Dominate Religions of The World

•      Christianity – 2.0 billion followers

•      Islam – 1.2 billion followers

•      Hinduism – 860 million followers

•      Buddhism – 360 million followers

•      Confucianism – 150 million followers

•      Values: What a group believes to be good, right, and desirable.

•      Attitudes: Evaluations of alternatives based on programmed values.

•      Manners: The prevailing practices within a society.

Social Institutions

•      Kinship relationships

–   immediate and extended family

•      Social stratification

•      Reference groups

–   Primary reference groups

•   family, coworkers

–   Secondary reference groups

•   professional associations, trade organizations

Communication Content Depends on

q  The product’s policy’s relative advantage over the existing alternatives

q  Compatibility with established behavioral patterns

q  Complexity or the degree to which the product or process is perceived as difficult to understand and use

q  Triability or the degree to which it may be experimented with and not incur major risk

q  Observability, which is the extent to which the consequences of the innovation are visible

Three Kinds of Infrastructures:

•      Economic infrastructure: Consists of transportation, energy, and communications systems

•      Social Infrastructure: Refers to housing, health, and education system

•      Financial and Marketing Infrastructure: Consists of facilitating agencies such as bank and research firms

•      Self-Reference criterion: The unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values

•      Cultural Assimilator: is a program in which trainees must respond to scenarios of specific situations in a particular country.

•      Sensitivity Training: focuses on enhancing a manager’s flexibility in situations that are quite different from those at home.

•      Field Experience: Which exposes a manager to a different cultural environment for a limited amount of time.