International Expansion into Culturally Close Countries

2118 words (8 pages) Essay in International Business

23/09/19 International Business Reference this

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  • Introduction 3
  • Internationalization 3
  • Culture 3
  • Manifestation of culture 4
  • Impact of culture on an Individual’s Life 4
  • Impact of culture on Internationalization and consumer behavior 5
  • Benefits of cultural understanding 5
  • Examples of cultural embracement by MNC’s 6
  • Conclusion 6


Internationalizing firms tend to start their expansion into culturally close countries before expanding further.



In today’s business environment, companies do business not only within the country but across the national boundaries also. Different nations have significant differences of attitude, belief, ritual, morality, truth, superstitions and the endless list of other cultural characteristics. Some of the beliefs may be important to one group of people and the same may mean nothing to another. The global markets, when their products are localized, and are planned for internationalization, support for the multiple languages without changes to the core application and the products is equipped for global use. These cultural differences deeply affect market behavior. Today’s market need to be familiar with the cultural traits of the countries they want to do business with. In the century of internationalization, the making bodies of the organization need to make decision regarding political, religion, cultural, economic factors to enter into the foreign market of the same. Now we will discuss the elements and the manifestation of culture as to how the markets are sensitive to the various cultures.


According to the Jane Knight, the Internationalization is the essential and important activity of international and intercultural dimensions to be seeded at the institutional level. The definition of Knight covers the methods adaptation and cultural sensitivity of market. Also the rapid growth of globalization of markets has changed economical pattern to internationalization. Thus the globalization is transforming into internationalization (Susman & Gerald, 2007). When a company takes steps to increase its clientage across the country and into international markets. They also make strategy taking place between the different countries. Thus internationalization is the process of designing and building the applications which are used to facilitate the localization as culture of the particular place or country.


Different people have varied views on culture, many consider it as something a country, region, firm or something you can see , hear or touch, some have belief in ceremonies, clothing etc.

According to Hall (1976) culture is an learned behavior which is not biologically transmitted. It depends on environment not heredity.

Hofstede (1980) states that the genetic programming of the person passes the culture from generation to generations which evolves gradually in stages.

There are multiple concepts given on culture by many as –

  • Pattern of behavior by which the things happen to occur in an organization is culture (Deal & Kennedy)
  • Culture is a learned behavior which is accepted and declared compatible and passed on to the generations through shared experiences (Schein, 1992)
  • (Geertz, 1973) the tenets of a culture extend to the other members of group. (Mulholland 1991) defined culture as total pattern of behavior by way of belief, ethnic, national, law, customs etc. be shared and long lasting effects be transmitted to generations.

Thus we may conclude that culture as a concept encompasses every part of a person’s life. It meets all human physical and psychological needs and is continuously evolving.


Impact of Culture on a person’s Life

Basically, culture is the individual’s way of life. For a group of people it includes, beliefs, values, customs, traditions, heritage, language, artistic expression, etc. which affect therin behavior.

For some, one culture and ethnicity affects their behavior which might not be same for other. (Ratner 2006)

culture as an influence of behavior takes the “nurture” side of the argument about influence of culture.

By concluding we may say that culture is individual’s secret weapon which allow us to express ourselves as individuals and at the same time as a part of the group. It allows us to learn from others and to build on the efforts of others. It is the way of which all that is wonderful in the past is carried to the future.

Manifestation of Culture

Hofstede (1980) categorized culture into different categories such as Signs, heroes, rituals and values.

Signs: – Signs refer to a mark or a word used as conventional representation of an object, function or process for those who shares same culture. It allows people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences by different cultural groups. For example hairstyles, linguistic worlds etc.

Ideals: – Person with highly recognizable character who is admired for their courage, achievements or noble qualities whether real or not becomes ideal personalities for others.

Traditions: – Traditions are the essential set of activities consists of religious or solemnly activities which contains series of actions performed according to prescribed order. Say, greeting someone, religious ceremonies and way of paying respect.

Virtue: – It creates a origin of culture. The regard that something is held to deserve. Say, what is right or wrong, natural or unnatural, good or bad etc .

Impact of Culture on an Individual’s Life

Various cultural aspects influence the formation of an individual’s cultural value system and identity. Such elements consist social culture, regional culture and family values. Each social culture is coordinated by some specific social norms which are shared with its members which enormously influence an individual’s culture as he examines various elements of personality including beliefs, behaviors and ideas. Peer pressure, conformity, obedience, leadership, marketing and socialization be examples of societal cultural influences. According to Ratner (2006), it is the elemental nature of a human being that he achieves throughout his life by observing his surroundings and other persons and reciprocate the environment accordingly. An individual possesses the natural skills to choose and pick any form of the regional culture while rejecting some other associated ideas. For example, a person can adopt a language or religion and rituals from the region where he dwells his ideology and thinking.

Implication of Cultural Marketing

Culture totally depicts the way we live and attributes of specific group of people for example the way we speak, dress-up, attitude and our learning capacity etc. So, An organization do attain knowledge about every aspects of their culture before getting into trade with them so that the product can be adequately promoted and succeed between the local customers and bring up to their expectation. The components need to be looked into are as follows:

  • Spoken or Written Language:

A spoken language is produced by articulate sounds, as opposed to written language which states that there are different meaning of same words in various cultures. For example, English language spoken in England is different from the English language being spoken in Rest of the world. The intermediators need to learn the language of the country they are dealing with otherwise there may be miscommunication of dialogue resultant to failure of the product or service being rendered, even for the same purpose the intermediators can hire the translators which tend to increase the expenses of the organization and also the dependency on them. (Griffin and Pustay, n.d.)

  • Non-verbal Language:

Non verbal communication includes Kinesics, Facial expressions, Pitch of voice, Proxemics but a body gesture can be explained differently by the individuals of various cultures. For example according to Eckman, Eye contact is the major source of non verbal communication in which the duration of the same is the most meaningful aspect. The length of the gaze, the frequency of glances, patterns of flixation and blink rates are all importance cues because as the liking increases, the mutual gazing is increased. (Ekman, 1969).

  • Faith community:

Third most debatable concept of culture do have a major impact on international marketing. The faith community to which a consumer belongs controls their choices and influence their buying decision. For example, During yulin dog meat festival, an ancient tradition started in 1700 BC, dog being china’s one of 12 zodiac sign given esteemed importance whereas treated as a pet in other countries. (Koetse, M. 2016).



 In the 21ST century of internationalization, cultural aspect being focused aspect of marketing strategies of different organization influence its opportunities and decisions and provide a background for various stakeholders so various cultures need to be understood for the business growth (Adler, 2002).

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As said by Drnevich & paul’s (2004) synergic avenue, A favorable agreement is the one which can be designed without complexities and with cultural insight so that it can be clearly communicated with cross cultural differences. A clear view about the prevailing culture eradicates the problems of misinterpretation and protects us from negative impact on business. (Danciu, 2009).


Examples of embracement of cultural Diversities among different countries by MNCs:

In countries like China, many brands faced many problems from which “COKA-COLA” brand name faced pronunciation issues as it is pronounced like ‘KOOKE-KOULE’ which refers ‘A mouthful of wax candle’ so they have to give it new pronunciation ‘KEE KOU KEELE’ which means ‘joyful happiness and taste’ (, 2019). A Automobile company named “General Motors” faced the same issue in spain with their brand name ‘NOVA’ which states ‘Do not go’ then it was converted into ‘Caribe’ which means ‘Took off’ (Ricks, D.A., 1999).


According to the above concept, a conclusion can be made that culture do have an influencing impact on internationalization of the firm. Cultural potentialities have made market expansion a critical phenomenon in today’s boundaries less global economy. Countries with similar culture and consumer’s perspective towards new products are more business oriented as it is easier to build relationship with international market. So, A globalized firm need to focus on the culture of the respective country in which they are trying to generate profitability from their established unit.



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