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Cultural Distance. Critical Analysis of a Durex Campaign

Essay 2014 11 Seiten

Soziologie - Konsum und Werbung


Cultural Distance

Part A - Theoretical Evaluation

"The failure to take cultural differences between countries into account has been the cause of many business failures" (Steenkamp, 2001, p. 30). Globalisation not only reaches all companies worldwide but influences international businesses in their ambition to enter into new markets and reach operational efficiency as well as profitability. Since one cannot automatically assume that the culture of foreign market is analogue to the home market, the success of the expanding strategy depends on the appropriate consideration of systematic variation between cultures. Therefore, the degree of similarities shared by societies needs to be quantified and forms the basis for either adaptation or standardisation in the targeted market. Especially when it comes to marketing decisions a product's success depends on the accuracy of the predicted consumer behaviour in respect of its values and attitudes (Bird, A.; Stevens, M.J., 2004; Ghauri, 2014). In this essay, the three major large-scale dimensional frameworks by Hofstede (1980), Schwartz (1980) and GLOBE (2004) are compared and the practicality of the frameworks on consumer behaviour will be evaluated. Furthermore, the relevance of the cultural distance approaches to the marketing of Durex is shown.

The sociologist Kluckhohn said in 1952, "Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups" (Hofstede, 2001). Hofstede complemented Kluckhohn's definition by describing culture as "collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another" (2001, p. 9). According to the psychologist Schwartz "culture consists of the derivatives of experience, more or less organized, learned or created by the individuals of a population" (T. Schwartz 1992; cited by Avruch 1998, p. 17). To sum up, the concept of cultural distance means that values and practices are shared among members of a group and learned from one generation to another. Culture shapes behaviour as well as expectations and is transmitted by symbols and language. Many theories were evolved to integrate systematical variations between societies and lead to validation as well as replication of international marketing research rather than exploratory, qualitative comparisons (Steenkamp, 2001; Magnussen, 2008).

"Cultural differences [...] have been identified as an instrumental variable that influ- ences multiple international marketing phenomena" (Magnussen, 2008, p. 183). Frameworks such as by Hofstede, Schwartz and GLOBE compare and measure a culture's system of values whereby each established dimension reflect the people's way of thinking, acting and feeling. Although the frameworks share a number of dimensions, there are dissimilarities with respect to stratification, sampling, measurement, structure of scopes and further aspects. GLOBE established dimensions that are measured twice to contrasts practices and respective values meaning how they are and how they should be. (Javidan, M. et al. , 2006; (Magnusson, 2008).

Hofstede's dimension individualism-collectivism is split up by GLOBE to refine its scales being more comprehensive, cross-culturally developed, theoretically sound, and empirically verifiable (Javidan, M. et al., 2006). They distinguish two forms, one focusing on organizational and societal institutional practices and another referring to in-group integrity. According to Mooij, there is a negative correlation to Hofstede and GLOBE's dimension of ingroup collectivism whereas the latter delivers a more effective and clearer measurement and description in regard of consumer behaviour (2014). Regarding Schwartz measurement for individualism one can say, that it indicates if a society accept an individual as autonomous or integrated rather than contrasting motivations of individuals independently or within a group dynamic(Javidan, M. et al. , 2006). Hence, GLOBE's and Hofstede's approach reflect consumer behaviour than other models.

A strong influence on consumer behaviour can also be found in "the extent to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally" (Ghauri, 2014, p. 92). By comparing Hofstede's power dimension and Schwartz's hierarchy one can find deviations by country, for example, Portugal and Italy. This indicates that not only different values were measured but also different members of a group were questioned. This aspect is also emphasised by McSweeney and Williams stating that Hofstede mainly considered issues related to workplaces and Schwartz addressed students and teachers but business staff (Williamson, 2002; McSweeney 2002).

Since Hofstede developed his framework in cooperation with IBM and based on its interests, Javidan (et al., 2006) argues that it does not reflect gender specific diversity in full effect. GLOBE considered this critic and adapted Hofstede's approach on current environ- mental requirements by elaborating on Hofstede's masculinity-femininity dimension into assertiveness, performance orientation and gender egalitarianism. In respect to values measured, GLOBE's assertiveness, Hofstede's masculinity and Schwartz's mastery correlate positive and therefore can be applied equally to predict consumer behaviour . To capture the richness of today's national culture, GLOBE refines the aspect of masculinity-femininity with its gender egalitarianism dimension (Williamson, 2002). It refers to given opportunities for males and females in a society although it is no indicator of existing gender distribution regarding working environment. Related to consumer behaviour , this dimensions gives an indication if, for example, a product or service for women would be tolerated by men (Ghauri, 2014; Mooij, M. 2014).

Although, Hofstede and GLOBE used the same term for uncertainty avoidance, the values measured within this dimension differ strongly and therefore have a negative correlation. While Hofstede refers to the extents to avoid ambiguity, anxiety and uncertainty, GLOBE focuses on the extent of implicated laws, procedures and orderliness in a culture. This means GLOBE's refers more to how regulated a society is rather than how individuals deal with situations. Concluding, Hofstede's dimension supports assumptions regarding consumer behaviour (Ghauri, 2014; Mooij, M. 2014). Likewise, Schwartz's measurements for uncertainty show a negative correlation with Hofstede's dimension. The previous critic on Schwartz addressing his survey on students and teachers is confirmed by Magnussen (2008). He states, that this approach is not related to business and leads to inconsistent findings (Magnussen, 2008).

Long-term orientation is another dimension where negative correlation between GLOBE and Hofstede occur. Although Hofstede's and GLOBE's dimension refers to the same values among the in-group view, they differ on personal level values. This means, for example, a society' ability to read or the usage of classical media would be equally measured within both frameworks. In contrast, an individual's extend of self-esteem, self-enhancement and perseverance would not be measured. GLOBE does not explain in full extend how the attitude towards time reflects consumer behaviour (Magnussen, 2008).

Although the contemporary relevance of Hofstede's framework is criticised by Magnussen (2008), scholars, as well as practitioners, are still using his findings. (Javidan, M. et al., 2006). One reason is that Hofstede, as a pioneer of research in cross-cultural psychology,conducted his research with 117,000 questionnaires reflecting a wide and until now unique range of 81 countries (Hofstede, 2001, Javidan, M. et al., 2006).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
1.1 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Kingston University London
Marketing Cultural Distance Durex Hofstede Global Marketing Communication Kluckhohn Schwartz



Titel: Cultural Distance. Critical Analysis of a Durex Campaign