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Cultural and Social

Chapter Overview

Defining culture
• Religion
• The family
• Education
• Attitudes toward time
• The Hofstede measures of culture
• Language and communication
• Social Relationships
• Overcoming the language barrier
• Adapting to cultural differences
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Chicken Soup for the African Soul

Kenyans Seek Answers to Problems

in U.S. Self-Help Books

• In some ways, there is a cultural fit

– Demand for books about hope, self-esteem
and common social ills, like teen pregnancy,
divorce, coping with AIDS
Chicken Soup for the African
Soul (cont.)
• But cultural differences cause much to be “lost
in translation”
– Books about family issues take for granted a small,
nuclear family not the normative large, extended
families of Kenya
– How-to-get-a-marriage-proposal books are not
necessary in an arranged-marriage context
– Kenyans, who associate physical heaviness with
wealth and happiness, can’t understand why
Americans worry about putting on weight and why
some suffer from eating disorders

• Culture encompasses the entire heritage

of a society:
1. Traditions
2. Morals
3. Habits
4. Religion
5. Art
6. Social systems
7. Language
Culture Defined

Culture is the collective programming of

the mind that distinguishes the members
of one category of people from another.
--Geert Hofstede
Cultural Analysis
Layers of Culture

• National
• Regional and/or ethnic and/or religious
and/or linguistic
• Gender
• Generation
• Social class
• Organization or corporate
Videotape on Culture
• Shaping: Good analogy of culture
– a “tree” is a product of its environmental conditions
– uprooting can result in “transplant shock”
• Subjectivity of culture
– hygiene
– affection
– time
– space
• Danger of stereotyping/generalization
– culture is an “average” response but there is also a “variance”
– must always allow for individual difference
• Importance of language and communication
• Must maintain curiosity
– about one’s own culture: self-reference criterion
– about other cultures as to “why” they behave differently
Three Dimensions of Culture


McDonalds McDonalds
USA Saudi Arabia
“When we go out to eat, which of us wants to go through the
cumbersome process of trying to insert the food into our mouths by
lifting the veil a crack, smearing ketchup and sauce over our clothes
and faces? We appreciate our own eating sections, which most
restaurants have, not just McDonald's, because we can be comfortable
there without men glimpsing our faces.”
-- Susan Aykurt, Woman living in Saudi Arabia
Cultural Influences on Buyer
Culture Clash
Will future conflicts occur between cultures not countries?
Western Hindu
Latin American

© PhotoDisc Europe
Or will increasing interaction among
cultures lead to cross-stimulation and
creative change?

© Corbis, Pacific Rim

Religion and Marketing

• Western religions
– Gift-giving and Christmas
• December 25 or December 6?

– Kosher in Israel
• Elite chocolate targets the Orthodox

– Buying matzo: tradition versus price?

Christmas as a Global Phenomenon

• China
– Bars charge $25 for entrance on Christmas
Eve, hotels charge $180 for a Christmas
• Turkey
– Children stand in line in shopping centers,
waiting to sit on Santa’s lap and ask him for
– Stores sell Santa suits and statues
NPR Segment:
Chinese Valentine’s Day

• NPR's Beijing Correspondent Rob Gifford

reports on how China is embracing the concept of
Valentine's Day. With the economic reforms of
the mid 1980s and contact with the West,
romance in China has been transformed.
Approximately 1.3 billion Chinese are among
those celebrating Valentine's Day.
Marketing and Islam

• An important cultural force in the Middle East,

Asia, and Africa
– Coke’s Malaysian
Ramadan commercial
 20 countries
• Islam
– Forbids interest
– Encourages modest dress
– Requires food to be halal
• No alcohol or pork products
• Adhere to ritual cleanliness
• Halal certification

AP Images
Ramadan Takes on a New
• Ramadan celebration norms in Jordan have
been influenced by Christmas celebration
norms common in the West
– Crescent and star lights
– Ramadan cards
– Tents set up in restaurants for Ramadan parties
– Companies have special Ramadan promotions
Marketing and Eastern
• Hinduism and Buddhism
– Vegetarians
• Shinto
– Prayers open the first
Starbucks abroad (Tokyo)
The Family

• Nuclear families
– Household sizes down in U.S. and Europe
• Extended families
– More important in developing world
– The importance of the Chinese clan
• Male-female roles
– House cleaning in Japan
Percent Female Population in Labor Force
Beyond the Family…

• High-trust versus low-trust societies

In many countries, such as

Turkey, the traditional
and modern coexist—
presenting marketers with
both challenges and

• Levels of participation
• Impact on consumers
and employees

© Corbis, Pacific Rim

Adult Illiteracy Rates for Selected
Countries (in Percentages)
Attitudes Toward Time

• Monochronic versus polychronic

• Temporal orientations
– Past orientation
• Europe and Middle East
– Present orientation
• Mexico
– Future orientation
• Work and leisure time
© Corbis, Pacific Rim
Globalization and Work Hour
• For past 25 years, German unions successfully push
for shorter work week
– German labor costs have become highest in the
– As a result, many companies have left Germany
for lower-labor-cost countries

Will German workers decide to extend

the work week for the same pay to lower
German labor costs like they have
done in France?
Hofstede Measures of Culture

• Power distance
• Individualism-collectivism
• Masculinity-feminity
• Uncertainty avoidance
Power Distance

• The extent to which less powerful

members within a society accept that
power is unevenly distributed
• High power distance societies
– Children expected to be obedient to parents
– Subordinates are less likely to contradict

• The world is viewed as in-groups and out-

• Individuals are identified by group allegiance
and role
• Groups are established, strong, and cohesive –
You don’t just choose which group to join!
– Non-group members may eventually become
“trusted” outsiders
• Individualistic cultures are more open to
outsiders and foreign ideas
Masculinity- Femininity

• Masculinity is associated with assertiveness

• Masculine societies value ambition,
competitiveness, and high earnings
• Femininity is associated with modesty and
• Feminine societies are concerned with public
welfare and caring for the underdog
Uncertainty Avoidance

• The state of being uneasy or worried

about what may happen in the future
– Anxious in general
• Uncertainty avoidant societies
– Don’t like ambiguity
– Consider the different to be threatening
– Tend to be better implementers than
Hofstede Scores Are Relative

• Compared to USA, Japan is collectivist

– USA = 91 on Individualism
– Japan = 46 on Individualism

• Compared to South Korea, Japan is

– Japan = 46 on Individualism
– South Korea = 18 on Individualism
Hofstede Scores

Country/ Power Individualism Masculinity Uncertainty

region distance avoidance

USA 40 91 62 46

Canada 39 80 52 48

United 35 89 66 35
Hofstede Scores (cont.)

Country/ Power Individualism Masculinity Uncertainty

region distance avoidance

France 68 71 43 86

Germany 35 67 66 65

Hungary 46 80 88 82

Romania 90 30 42 90
Hofstede Scores (cont.)

Country/ Power Individualism Masculinity Uncertainty

region distance avoidance

Arab 80 38 53 68
Israel 13 54 47 81
Mexico 70 46 53 68
Chile 63 23 28 86
Power Distance and Individualism
How can the Hofstede
scores be useful?
What are the limitations
of the Hofstede scores?
Cultural Paradox

• Japanese score higher than Americans

on uncertainty avoidance
• BUT Americans incorporate every
contingency into a business contract
while the Japanese are more comfortable
with ambiguous clauses
What Is Communication?

Message Message
Encoding Decoding

• Messages are encoded:

– Nonverbally
– Linguistically (diction, syntax)
– Contextually
Official Languages of Selected
Translation Challenges

• In Spanish, Colgate means “Go hang yourself.”

• In German the word probe means test or rehearsal, so
buyers thought the Ford Probe was a used car.
• In the U.K. Mars originally labeled Snickers as
Marathon so as not to be confused with knickers
(woman’s underwear).
• In German, Puff tissues refer to a whorehouse.
Cross-Cultural Communication

• We are born embedded into cultural

• Socialization in cultural context shapes
managers’ worldviews, impacting beliefs,
values, and behavior
– Primary socialization
– Secondary socialization
– Tertiary socialization
Language and Communication

• Forms of address
• Context of language
– Low-context
– High-context
• Showing emotion
– Affective cultures
– Neutral cultures
Noboru Hashimoto
The Importance of Language
Translations found in hotels across the world…
“Please leave your values at the desk.”
“The manager has personally passed all the water
served here.”
“You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”
“Ladies are required not to have children at the bar.”
“We will execute customers in strict rotation.”
Overcoming the Language Barrier

• Translating and translators

• Translation problems

• Which language to learn?

Dealing with Culture Shock

• Be culturally prepared
• Be aware of local communication
• Mix with host nationals
• Be creative and experimental
• Be culturally sensitive
Dealing with Culture Shock (cont)

• Recognize complexities in host cultures

• See yourself as a culture bearer
• Be patient, understanding, and accepting
of yourself and your hosts
• Be realistic in your expectations
• Accept the challenge of intercultural
Banning Barbie

Case Review
• Why is Barbie popular in the Middle East?
• Should Muslim countries ban Barbie?
Sacred Work, Sacred Leisure

Case Review
• What cultural factors influence a society’s
attitudes toward work and leisure?
• How can different attitudes towards leisure
affect the marketing of products?