CULTURAL DISTANCE: THE DIFFERENCES IN HOW IT IS MEASURED AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT IN THE BUSINESS WORLD TODAY.
BY: Iziegbe Okungbowa
20 October 2014
Cultural Distance and How it is Measured
“Cultural Distance is a widely used construct to international business, where it had been applied to foreign investment expansion, entry mode choice, and the performance of foreign invested affiliates, among others”(Shenkar, 2001, p.519). In order to fully understand Shenkar’s definition of cultural distance, we must first understand the meaning of “Culture” and how it is related to business. Culture can be defined as, “ a fuzzy set of basic assumptions and values, orientations to life, beliefs, policies, procedures and behavioural conventions that are shared by a group of people and that influence (but do not determine) each members behaviour and his/her interpretations of meaning of other people’s behaviour.” (Spencer-Oatey, 2008, p[K1].) Culture in business is significant, and most successful international companies had to adapt to the different cultural orientations of countries in order to be successful. According to Forbes (2014), companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken ?KFC)? which is known for their famous fried chicken in the US, serves porridge for breakfast and peking duck for lunch in Shanghai; and Coca-Cola, which is known for soft drinks/beverages, produces carbonated fruit drinks and bottled water in Shenzhen.
This essay compares and contrasts the similarities and differences between Hofstede’s (who is a former IBM employee well-known for his research and Model on measuring cultural distance) and Schwartz’s theories on cultural distance and how the different theories measure cultural dista...
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...ede_Work [Accessed 18 Oct. 2014].
Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, New York: Academic Press, 25, 1-65.
Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond Individualism and Collectivism: New Cultural Dimensions of Values. In U. Kim, H.C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S., Choi,C. & Yoon, G. (Eds.), Individualism and Collectivism: Theory, Method and application. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, 85-119.
Shenkar, O. (2001) Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 32, No. 3 pp. 519-535
Spencer-Oatey, H. (2008) Culturally Speaking. Culture, Communication and Politeness Theory. 2nd edition. London: Continuum.
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