Culture affects businesses and human behavior. Most problems between nations come up from deep misunderstandings between the people of these nations, and most of these misunderstandings are rooted in cultural differences. When we understand the behaviors of people from different nations and the reasons why they behave in a certain way, we are less likely to take offense.
Getting to understand different cultures also enhances performance, more so in the business world which is expanding to a global market. This study shall focus at an international food company known as Arla Foods and its operations in Sweden, a country that has a unique business culture (Dunning, 1992).
The company supplies customers with natural milk products, which create inspiration and confidence among users (Omore and Khanna, 2001). The company has been operating for a number of years now.
It serves people from different parts of the world that have different cultures with different norms and beliefs with the entertainment. Learning about cultural difference is critically necessary for this corporation, since when people understand each other there will be more productivity and benefits.
International Business and Culture
The world has been affected by a growing number of global companies. When we discuss the global marketing strategy, it involves both equivalence and variation.
Culture is the total learned values, beliefs, and traditions which serve to express consumer behavior in a market. As a marketer, or a manager of a business, one should consider fundamental issues such as the cultural differences. These values are often embedded in a culture and have differences among different countries.
Culture puts the principles split by significant sections of the society, which sets the policy for working in that market. The diversity of culture plays a pivotal role at Arla Foods. Cultural values influence the marketing approach of at Arla Foods in different ways. The language, value and customers’ conduct are the key factors that affect the performance of marketing strategy at Arla Foods.
Concepts of culture that Affect International Business
Language is extremely valuable since it provides information or details about the cultural values of a society. The level of politeness in someone is known through the use of certain words and the tones, which provide a strong suggestion that it is extremely valuable to maintain levels of respect when talking to business people (Arnold and Quelch, 1998; Temu, 2005).
One of the demonstrations of culture is language the diversity. Language is the foundation of culture, and without having a language, one has no culture. Languages are most significant elements of culture since one culture will be different from another if conversed in a diverse way.
Language is used in communications, which is extremely crucial in business transactions. It is the main component of culture. Arla Foods in Sweden recognizes that a customer’s decision to buy something will be bound by their culture as one of the many factors.
It is for this reason that the company employs workers who are conversant with the local languages of Saami, Finnish and Romani, in addition to the national language, of Sweden. In this way, the company ensures that there is proper communication among the staff and customers. This approach also enables the Swedish customers to associate with the company.
Values play a crucial role mostly when the marketers are trying to make decisions that might help to enter a new market. Values that direct a society cannot be observed directly, but can be unstated from different cultural products through asking members of that society to win personal values and their favorites among alternatives. In marketing, the value perception is usually used in an ethnocentric manner.
Values are learned unknowingly when people are less aware of them, and determining values is not an easy task. They face some problems as a result of their misguided imaginations that the new markets will be the same as the home market. Hence, they can carry out their businesses in a similar way.
The values of any culture satisfy a need inside that social order for regulation, course and assistance. Culture lays down the principles shared by influential sections of the society which set the regulations for working in that market. Values vary between nations. If one wants to take a product to a different nation, he/she should have a firm grasp of that society before they enter that market.
Arla foods recognize the values of the Swedish people. It is in this view that the company practices kindness and hospitality, especially when dealing with customers. The management at Arla foods emphasizes the need of greetings exchange, since Swedish people value greetings (Tallman, 2006).
Consumer’s Behavior and Beliefs
This is culture bound since the consumers behavior is influenced by their culture and background. For example, at Arla Foods, they offer all kinds of foods. Some cultures do not feed in certain foods like the Hindu who do not feed on beef.
This determines the consumer’s choice of what to buy and what not to buy. It also helps the marketer understand what business they can carry out in a certain place through learning the culture and values of that society.
A butcher cannot start a pork business in a Hindu land (Johnson and Scholes, 2002). This is because their beliefs do not allow feeding on pork. This is a strong influence to the international market which should be considered by business managers and those who run these businesses. Also, since the Swedes believe in doing things in moderation, the company always subsidizes its costs on food products.
The character and convolution of many religions an international marketer could come across is a lot. Common religious beliefs can develop trust and this can minimize business costs between the trading partners. Organizations should ensure that their products and the services they offer are neither offensive nor illegal to the society or the local nation. Numerous religious beliefs include set of laws for every part of daily life.
Different religions have different believes and values, and the way they view their religion is always different from the way a different group views their religion too. Religion may be influential to the way people behave. Arla Foods in Sweden only operates for six days, from Monday to Saturday, since most people in Sweden are Christians making a Sunday a holy day (Peng, 2002; Publications, 2007).
Hence, religion affects the business days of this company. Religious beliefs, also, have an influence to institution building. Therefore, religious beliefs contribute to the economic change between and within religions.
When a firm comes into a new market, the marketing managers should be cautious when coming up with their business strategies since these strategies are extremely valuable (Johanson and Valhne, 1977).
A firm assumes a combination of standardization and adaptation of a variety of fundamentals of the marketing management agendas and processes by globalizing some fundamentals and localizing others (Lasserre, 2003). Cultural aspects are the stability linking standardization and adaptations.
This means that when a firm set off into a new market with a dissimilar cultural structure, the managers should look for substitute strategies such as the multi-domestic strategy.
Culture stories enable us to understand various components of social and culture in a better way. They offer a clear understanding of how culture variations came up and how the environments affect people’s lives in different places. The 4p marketing strategy that is product, price, place, and promotion give an insight of how culture impacts the customers buying behavior and how it affects the companies (Tarun and Krishna, 2006).
Culture differences have significant allegations for how Africans and Americans view the world. People from Africa view them as intertwined with the environment and depend on others (Idowu and Filho, 2008. Americans tend to view themselves as a unique people who are independent of others.
The international managers should pay attention to the cultural aspects and should and cautious about understanding cultural difference. Arla Foods has been endeavoring to penetrate Africa and other developing nations. The company always presents desired products in accordance to the local consumer values and behaviors of that market.
Also, the company ensures that it does not establish enterprises in areas that it is likely to offer competition to other similar enterprises. This is because the Swedes culture disregards competition (DeWitt, 2009). Some markets have high context culture.
This means that, in such countries, most information is shared by the members of that community (Rahman, 2003). People in that country do similar things as others did more so those who surround them.
Culture is extremely crucial since it can influence the choice of a business strategy when an international corporation decides to enter into a new foreign market.
This pays more attention to how Arla Food hotel implements their international marketing strategies in their place of business, and their purpose of exposition is to find out how the definite national cultures influence these strategies which have been put into practice by worldwide companies.
Managers need appropriate frameworks, which enable comparisons to be made as well as contracts and similarities to be drawn. In the European countries, it is ordinary for children to take wine at a family meal, but in Korea while one is supposed to serve others and wait for them to reciprocate (Ghemawat, 2007; Guillen, 2000).
In US, those under 21 yrs are not allowed to take beer. Also, another example is Turkey where coffee is an exceptional drink served to guests while in Italy coffee is served after a family meal. In China tea is preferred drink and in the US, the adults take it in the morning. Presenting coffee to a kid is an offence in the US. Arla Foods has to consider all these diversities while entering new markets.
Law and Politics
With various features of cultural structure, the reinforcement of common culture will strengthen the political and legal setting (Buckley and Pervez, 2004). For example, the United Kingdom has a substantial market, self-governing society with laws set upon precedent and legislation while Iran has a political and legal system set upon the teachings and morality of the Islam (Campbell, 2005).
Conversely, the supremacy of the King in Sweden is ceremonial and emblematic. Also, Sweden has various business laws that Arla Foods Company conforms to in its maneuvers. For instance, the company adheres to the laws on taxation and business registration.
Process of Cultural Changes
Cultures affect each other and change too. Culture transforms gradually, and it has been indulged as a fairly firm characteristic. Its permanence helps to lessen uncertainty and directs to more control over the supposed performance outcomes. Most subsisting forms of culture and work activities believe cultural steadiness and put emphasis on the wall between culture and definite managerial and inspirational practices (Teece, 2004).
The statement of cultural permanence is acceptable as long as there are no societal transforms that add to the implementation and cultural revolutionize.
There are some few theories about a culture that pertain the aspect of culture. Culture is composed awareness, confidence, skill, rule, principles, ethnicity, and all other aptitudes and practices attained by humans as members of society. Arla Foods regularly conducts trainings to its staff, so as to equip them on how to deal with cultural changes.
In Conclusion, members of all societies should hold on to their culture since it impacts all essential aspects in life as well as determines the lifestyles of different communities all over the world. In business, culture has an impact since it determines what business to be carried out at a place and one should ensure that it is in accordance to the culture of those in the society as respect to their culture.
Ignoring culture in business leads to failure. A company that sells beef hamburgers cannot be based in India. This is because the Hindu does not feed on cow meat. This company will defiantly fail because they will have no customers and their sells will be low.
Cultural values influence the marketing approach of at Arla Foods in different ways. The language, value and customers’ conduct are the key factors that affect the performance of marketing strategy at Arla Foods. Arla Foods in Sweden recognizes that a customer’s decision to buy something will be bound by their culture as one of the many factors.
It is for this reason that the company employs workers who are conversant with the local languages of Saami, Finnish and Romani, in addition to the national language, of Sweden (Nordstrom, 2010). Also, Arla foods recognize the values of the Swedish people. It is in this view that the company practices kindness and hospitality, especially when dealing with customers.
The management at Arla foods emphasizes the need of greetings exchange, since Swedish people value greetings. Since the Swedes believe in doing things in moderation, Arla Foods always subsidizes its costs on food products.
Religion also influences the activities of the company in Sweden, since most people in Sweden are Christians making a Sunday a holy day. Arla Foods has been endeavoring to penetrate Africa and other developing nations.
The company always presents desired products in accordance to the local consumer values and behaviors of that market. Also, the company ensures that it does not establish enterprises in areas that it is likely to offer competition to other similar enterprises. This is because the Swedes culture disregards competition. Finally, Arla Foods regularly conducts trainings to its staff, so as to train them on how to deal with cultural changes.
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