The paper "Contingency Factors of Marketing-Mix Standardization" is a wonderful example of a Management Literature Review. Culture as a concept is very difficult to define because of the many elements it encompasses (Barbu 2011, p. 105). In a business context, Hofstede’ s definition of culture as the ‘ collective programming of the mind’ which differentiates the members of one group of people from another (Hofstede 1984, p. 21) can be used. According to Craig and Douglas (2006, p. 322), culture has a significant influence on all facets of human behavior. Its impact may be slight or remarkable, direct or indirect, ephemeral or enduring.
Craig and Douglas (2006, p. 322) also argue that culture is so intertwined with all attributes of human existence that it is often difficult to tell how and to what extent it is manifested. In consumer research, culture is defined as the lens through which an individual or group of individuals view different phenomena (McCracken 1986, cited by Craig & Douglas 2006, p. 322). Based on this definition and Hofstede’ s definition which refers to the ‘ programming of the mind’ , it is apparent that one individual or group of individuals will view a given phenomenon differently.
Thus, a product that may be highly valued by one group may be resented by another. A review of literature by Yalcinkaya (2008, p. 203) shows that even with the increasing globalization, consumers from different cultures have different perceptions, attitudes, values, and preferences, and may remain hesitant to acquire foreign products. As such, it has been argued that consumers are not always rational in their buying patterns, and they are unwilling to change their consumption habits in favor of products or services that are increasingly available in the market.
Yalcinkaya (2008, p. 203) further points out that since cultural norms and values are strong determinants of people’ s behaviors and attitudes, cultural differences remain a significant aspect of global innovation adoption and diffusion studies. Thus, based on a review of various works by different authors, Yalcinkaya (2008, p. 203) reveals that cultural differences have an influence on the adoption and diffusion of new products. The differences in cultures across the globe imply that marketers have to deal with varied cultures as they sell their products globally (Meyer & Bernier 2010, p.
2). Hence, they have to find solutions to manage and deal with cultural differences in various countries. Various studies have shown that while one product may do well in one country or region, it may not do well in another country. One visit and Shaw (2008, p. 340) suggest that culture can exert a significant influence on product adoption. In the same book, Onkvisit and Shaw (2008, p. 241) argue that culture exerts a great deal of influence on the adoption of a product in a given locality.
They also point out that a product that is suitable in one culture may be absolutely out of place in another culture. The sentiments by Onkvisit and Shaw can be supported by the example presented by the same authors about the world’ s first automatic electric rice cooker that was developed and sold by Toshiba Corporation in 1955. This product was highly valued in Japan because for many Japanese, cooking rice is a serious business. However, selling the same product in the United States at a high price could be disastrous because to Americans, cooking rice is a mundane chore and thus they would not care if the new product was helpful (Onkvisit & Shaw 2008, pp.
339-340). Similarly, Asian and Italian preference for fresh vegetables and meat has hampered the acceptance of frozen foods (Onkvisit & Shaw 2008, p. 241). This means that companies that sell food items must change their approach and offer fresh products if they are to penetrate and succeed in markets in Italy and Asia.