08 by sandeshbhat


									QUESTIONS 1. What are the difficulties in using and comparing secondary data from a number of countries? There are several problems. First, countries may employ different data-collection methods. Second, there is a problem with classification differences. Finally, definitional differences are very common and have to be expected. 2. Why is it difficult to employ probability sampling techniques overseas? There are several reasons for the difficulty. A map of the country is often not available or out of date. Some cities have no street names, and houses have no numbers. The unavailability of block statistics thus precludes meaningful stratification. Lists of residents may be nonexistent or inaccurate. Poor people may illegally build shacks. Thus utility companies' customer lists may not be accurate or complete. 3. Distinguish among: back translation, parallel-blind translation, committee approach, random probe, and decentering. With back translation, the research question is translated by one translator and then translated back into the source language by another translator to determine any discrepancy. In a parallel-blind translation, the question is translated by several individuals independently, and their translated statements are then compared. The committee approach differs from the parallel-blind technique in the sense that the former permits committee members to discuss the research questions with one another during the translation. A random probe involves placing probes at random locations in both the source and translated question during pretesting in order to ensure that the respondents understand questions in the same way. In decentering, both the source version and target version are viewed as open to modification. 4. Distinguish between internal and external validity. What are the implications of external validity for international marketers? A study is said to have internal validity when it accurately measures the characteristic or behavior of interest. External validity, in contrast, is concerned with the generalization of research results to other populations. International marketers must understand that there is a limit on how far research findings can be generalized. Consequently, the findings based on a study conducted in one country, may


not be applicable to other groups or populations, other products, other cities, or other countries. American women's leg-shaving habits, for example, are unique. But this kind of behavior (as well as the determinants of the behavior) is not necessarily shared by women elsewhere. 5. What are the desirable characteristics of the MIS and IMIS? The MIS should be: user-oriented, expandable, comprehensive, flexible, integrated, efficient, cost-effective, reliable, timely, controllable, systematic, and self- perpetuating. Regarding the IMIS, the desirable characteristics include: time independence, location independence, cultural and linguistic compatibility, legal compatibility, standardization/uniformity, flexibility, and integration.

DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENTS AND MINICASES 1. Would Tokyo be a good test market? Why or why not? Tokyo is not a good test market. First, Tokyo may not be representative of the other parts of Japan because Tokyo is very urban and has the highest cost of living in the world. Tokyo consumers thus may not be typical. In favor of Tokyo, however, is the fact that consumer acceptance here is critical before a product can gain acceptance in the other parts of the country. Also Japanese consumers are relatively homogeneous. Another problem of Tokyo as related to test marketing is that the trading area is not self contained. Many workers live outside of the city and spend a few hours daily commuting to work in Tokyo. Thus the city's population in the daytime swells. Finally, Tokyo's media costs are prohibitively high. In addition, the media are not self contained, and consumers outside of Tokyo will be exposed to the message even though they are not part of the target market. Promotional waste can be exceptionally high. 2. Do you prefer observation or questioning in collecting overseas data? Although the questioning method is dominant in the United States, the use of this method outside the United States must be carefully investigated. A U.S. researcher should expect some difficulty using a ready-made questionnaire prepared in the United States. The standardized questionnaire is likely to contain questions which are probably irrelevant or inadequate in the sense that they may fail to unearth important dimensions of the local scene. It is thus critical to consult local researchers and/or do an exploratory study. Questioning and observation perhaps should be used together before a questionnaire is constructed and subsequently pretested. 3. Cite certain kinds of behavior so common in the United States that they are often taken for granted by Americans--but not by foreign observers.


The instructor may want to ask students to examine their own routine behavior throughout the day. This will force them to first recognize their activities and, second, to question whether foreigners have the same kind of behavior. It is common in the United States for women to smoke and for teen-aged girls to wear makeup. In many countries, this kind of behavior is reserved for older women. American students can wear casual dress to school, and they have a relatively great deal of latitude in affecting their school curricula. School transportation and food are provided either for free or at nominal cost. Teenagers of opposite sexes freely touch and kiss each other--even in the public. Furthermore, Americans feel free to express their opinions. These kinds of behavior are unacceptable in many parts of the world. 4. Discuss the reliability and validity problems in conducting a cross-national comparison study with the use of a standardized questionnaire. A standardized questionnaire is likely to have several reliability and validity problems in a cross-national study. In terms of reliability, translation is a common problem. A literal translation may yield misleading or incomprehensible questions. But any attempt to adapt the questions to insure understanding will lead to the problem of inconsistency. In terms of validity, the standardized questionnaire may lack content validity. A questionnaire prepared in the United States is based on Americans' common experience, and such experience may be difficult for foreigners to relate to. What is considered poverty in the United States may seem like luxury to those living in the slum areas of the poorest countries. In addition to the inclusion of questions pertaining to the unfamiliar experience, the standardized questionnaire is likely to ignore and fail to measure foreigners' own experience. Once again, a wholesale translation of the instrument is highly improper. One way of understanding the problems of a standardized questionnaire is to consider standardized tests used to evaluate students for college admission. Some foreign students criticize the use of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to determine admission eligibility. Their frustration is understandable, but the criticism is not a valid one. In the case of the English language, the rules are fixed and all people must adhere to the same grammatical rules regardless of their culture and native language. Because flexibility is not allowed, a standardized instrument is largely acceptable. On the other hand, it may be unfair to require foreign students to compete with American students for admission on the basis of their SAT, GMAT, or GRE scores. These standardized tests have been criticized by minority groups in the United States as being discriminatory and reflecting the experience of middle-class white males. As an example, women tend to score lower than men on these tests, and yet women tend to get better grades in college than men. Therefore, if these charges are indeed valid, it is even more unfair to evaluate foreign applicants solely or absolutely on this basis. This does not mean that these standardized tests have no value. The tests are useful in terms of consistency and, to a certain extent, comparability. The tests however should be used only as one criterion of the admission requirements and should not be used as an absolute criterion on its own.


5. Dieting and jogging are concepts which Americans can easily relate to. Are they understood by non-Americans? It would be difficult for people in most parts of the world to understand the need for dieting or to stay thin, especially those of poor countries or those suffering from famine. In very poor countries, the need is to find food rather than to eat less. A great number of people are so poor that they have hardly anything to eat. To them, any need to be on diet is perplexing and probably absurd. For other developing and industrialized nations, citizens surprisingly do not become overweight by American standards--for whatever reason. Non-Americans may have no weight problem because they have to struggle more. As a result, they are less likely to become overweight. This does not mean that non- Americans do not enjoy eating. In fact, eating is a very important social event in most countries. Jogging is another concept that non-Americans find difficult to relate to. Americans jog a great deal to lose weight or stay fit, and they do so in almost all kinds of weather. In many countries, people are so busy working for a living and do not have time for this kind of "recreational" activity. Also in hot, tropical-climate countries, the heat and humidity can prove to be too much for most people who want to stay cool instead. The last thing on their minds is to expend energy when it is so hot as to be nearly unbearable to begin with. 6. Do demographic variables have universal meanings? Is there a likelihood that they may be interpreted differently in different cultures? Even demographics may have problems in terms of conceptual equivalence because of the varying frames of reference. A demographic variable such as sex is universal. Age, however, is not always considered in the same way--the Chinese include the time during pregnancy in their age. Education level, likewise, does not have the same meaning everywhere. The meaning of primary school, grade school, secondary school, high school, college, and university vary greatly. It is thus wise in many instances to ask about the number of years of schooling attended by the respondent. 7. After learning of no import barriers to its product, a U.S. processed-food manufacturer conducted a marketing research in Japan to determine the degree of interest in cake mixes. The results were encouraging: the Japanese enjoy eating cakes. Concluding that there was no reason why Japanese consumers would not want to buy ready-made cake mixes, the company proceeded to get Japanese supermarkets to carry its product. The sales were extremely disappointing. Did the Japanese interviewed mislead the manufacturer? Or did the manufacturer fail to ask enough or the right questions? First it must be understood that what people say and do may be two different things. It was possible that the Japanese consumers who were interviewed might say something favorable about cakes and cake mixes in order to please the interviewer and to show that they were modern. Nonetheless, this was probably not the case.


The problem in this case is that the U.S. firm failed to ask the right or adequate questions. Many household appliances taken for granted are much more expensive and not readily available in Japan. Most Japanese homes are not equipped with ovens to bake cakes. Only three percent of all Japanese families have ovens. This problem can be tied to the discussion in the consumer behavior chapter concerning innovative behavior. Cost is a deterrent in the acceptance of a new product. In this case, the cost of an oven is a major concern. Another problem is related to attitude. Japanese consumers may have a favorable attitude toward the product (cake mixes in this case) but not necessarily a favorable attitude toward the situation surrounding the purchase (i.e., the need to buy an oven). Had the questioning been supplemented by observation of household appliances, the problem could have been avoided. 8. As a researcher, you have just been asked to do marketing research in order to make recommendations on how to market coffee in a number of Asian, European, and South American countries. What questions do you need to ask in order to understand the varying buying motives, consumption habits, and uses of this particular product? The purpose of this assignment is to get students to recognize the varying usage and buying motives of a relatively simple product--coffee. At first, the students may be at a loss to see why any questioning is even necessary, and they probably do not know how to ask questions. Not until after talking to foreign students or other foreign-born persons will they realize that there are many different kinds of coffee coupled with varying buying motives. The questions which follow come from: P d'Antin, "The Nestle Product Manager as Demigod," European Business 28 (Spring 1971): 44-49. How is coffee used--in bean form, ground, or powdered? If it is ground, how is it brewed? Which coffee is preferred-- Brazilian Santos blended with Colombian coffee, or robusta from the Ivory Coast? Is it roasted? Do the people prefer dark roasted or blond coffee? The color of Nestle's soluble coffee must resemble as closely as possible the color of the coffee consumed in the country. Do the Germans drink coffee after lunch or with their breakfast? Do they take it black or with cream or milk? Do they drink coffee in the evening? Do they sweeten it? In France, the answer is clear: in the morning, coffee with milk; at noon, black coffee--i.e., two utterly different coffees. At what age do people begin drinking coffee? Is it a traditional beverage, as in France, or is it a form of rebellion, as in England and Japan, where the younger generation has taken up coffee drinking in order to defy their tea-drinking parents?


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