Impact of cultural values on business?


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Deborah Mann Profile
Deborah Mann answered
No export business, or a business that is considering export, should ignore cultural values if they wish to succeed. Cultural values are integral parts of populations and understanding them is intrinsic to success.

  • Stereotypical images
Although stereotypical images can often be misplaced and damaging, they can be used here to illustrate how ignoring cultures can have a negative impact on a business. The British are often considered to be reserved and understated, while on the other hand, North Americans are often thought to be loud and brash (by each other, of course).

This means that if a British person tries to sell a product to an American in their usual manner, it is possible that the American will misunderstand the way in which it is being sold as meaning that the British person has no faith in his product and therefore it is useless. Result: No sale.

If the situation is reversed and it is the American who is doing the selling, the British person may be turned off by the seemingly over confident, in your face, way of promoting something and refuse to buy on principle because they are offended. Result: No sale.

  • HSBC
These examples are deliberately simplistic, and as stated, based on stereotypes, but one business that has made a point of announcing that it has made a study of different cultures is HSBC. They call themselves a world bank (not to be confused with the World Bank) because they pride themselves on having studied different cultures and so are in a powerful position to trade without upsetting anybody, and so can be successful.

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