Culture and Ethical Beliefs: International Marketing Strategy
Current patterns of globalization pose many challenges to businesses that venture into international markets. The international market has varied social, cultural, and ethical challenges that businesses should consider as they go global. These factors should be considered in the broader context since they are bound to affect the business in different ways. The company should be able to handle such challenges so that it can smoothly operate in a new country (Zekiri & Angelova, 2011).
Culture and Ethical Beliefs: International Marketing Strategy
Ethical problems are likely to increase due to globalization. In this case, companies have to deal with different counterparts in different countries. Therefore, the managers of businesses that want to go global have to understand the ethical decision making process of business in the foreign markets. Ethical issues might arise due to the divergent ethical behaviour and attitude, perceptions, and importance that is brought about by differences in culture, social setup, economic environment, demographic characteristics, and legal or political environment (Singhapakdi, Karande, Rao & Vitell, 2001).
For a company to market its products in an international market with great success, it should clearly understand the social and ethical responsibilities expected by different stakeholders in the industry. These may include customers, competitors, government, suppliers, society, and shareholders. Therefore, it is critical for a company to establish these aspects before engaging in any production or marketing activity within any foreign market. This allows the company to embed cultural, social, and ethical considerations in its business operation within such markets. Cultural consideration could be the distinctive beliefs, norms, values, and customs that shape cultural dimensions such as individualism, collectivist, and power distance among other aspects. These dimensions determine how individuals live a society and the binding principles. They also determine consumer behaviour in any given society (Rawwas, 2001).
In the last decade, the world has witnessed changing trends in consumer behaviour. The advent of ethical consumerism in this context, issues of culture and ethical beliefs in international marketing, come into play. Values are passed on from one generation to another, and they help in directing one’s behaviour and thinking. Values shape the individual’s concern for others’ morals. On the other hand, others place emphasis on pragmatism, individual success, competition, and risk taking. These morals and values shape the actions and decisions of an individual or group, which determine public and business ethics of any country (Rawwas, 2001).
Internationalisation of businesses has triggered a series of ethical issues for business due to the factors that have already been mentioned. International marketing among many other factors is an important ethical issue for businesses operating in international markets. Needs and wants that are driven by cultural and ethical beliefs vary from one group to another. These factors could be spring ethical conflicts for business operating in international markets. Marketing ethical issues are mainly related to the product or service transparency, product or service safety, pricing, fair trading, transparency in labour sourcing, employee fair remuneration, fair and honest advertising, and product labelling. Business ethics that positively address these ethical issues create positive customer attitude and behaviour in the internal market (Singh, Jindal & Samim, 2011).
The Divercity organisation has to consider cultural, social, and ethical issues before venturing into Russia. Though globalization has been able to transform and place Russia as a magnet in global business, doing business in this country is very challenging. There exist great differences in moral and ethical consideration between Russia and many other countries in Europe and other western countries. As opposed to other countries in Europe that are more individualistic, Russia is a relatively collective society whereby individuals are viewed at a broader level than just an individual or family. The Russian culture is communist in nature, and is dominated by ruling elites. Therefore, individuals in Russia have been raised believing that individual freedom is not a necessity. Over the years, Orthodox has been the predominant religion. This has contributed to the relegation of individual interest to the general good by stressing the importance of suppression of authority. This cultural system has resulted in the collective achievement of rewards rather than individual rewards. The culture has discouraged the pursuit of individual well-being and considered it unethical. It is only recently in the wake of globalization that Russia has recognized a few private enterprises as legal and acceptable in the country. This was after the dissolution of the socialist system. The interpretation of this is that the society will expect a lot from the businesses operating in their locality through various community social responsibility programs (Beekun, Stedham, Yamamura & Barghouti, 2003).
For a very long period of time, religion has greatly shaped children and ethical beliefs in Russia. The mainstream religion that is Orthodox, traditions has primarily shaped children culture and ethical beliefs. Religion coupled with traditional Russian culture ensured that children were inculcated with values of communal responsibility and responsible social behaviour. On this note, traditional culture played an important role in determining children ethical behaviour. Additionally, the Orthodox Church also played an important role in shaping moral and ethical beliefs of young children through religious education.
However, after the abolition of the Soviet Union Russia religion and traditional values lost grip in the Russia societies. The Russian culture has become more and more secularized. Presently, many parents prefer secular ethics and more generic religious cultures for their children over the Orthodox culture. Many traditional and cultural values are disintegrating leaving the secular culture which is manifested in majority of other countries to take centre stage in shaping children ethical behaviour. It is also important to note that Orthodox values are being pushed to be reflected in the secular ethics today. This has resulted in adoption of religious cultures and secular ethics in the school curriculum for children to learn basic religious cultures along with the most required secular culture.
The Divercity organisation has to consider changing its marketing strategy when entering the Russian market. The marketing strategy should lay great emphasis on the cultural aspects of the Russian culture and ethical values. The marketing strategy should place a lot of emphasis on the emerging trend in the entertainment that has been brought to the fore by the increasing globalization. This dissolution of the socialist system has sparked the emergence of market oriented values (Ardichvili et al. 2012). Though globalization had a role in the dissolution of the socialist system, managers and stakeholder in the country are likely to continue with the traditional Russian culture of collectivism whereby businesses have to focus on societal benefit.
The Divercity organisation should adopt a proactive marketing decision and capitalize on the potential market in Russia. The marketing strategy that addresses consumer ethics should be developed so that the company can satisfy the cultural expectations of the Russian customers. The marketing strategy should adhere to the fundamental, collective spirit of Russian business ethics and morality in order to build customer loyalty.
In this era of increasing globalization, operating businesses in different countries across the globe is inevitable. However, differences in culture and ethical beliefs between different nations present challenges to international marketers. On this note, marketers need to under standard business ethics related to the marketing products or services in foreign markets if it has to satisfy the needs and wants of stakeholders in the foreign markets. This can be done by crafting a marketing strategy that captures cultural and ethical consideration of that foreign market.