A Cross-Cultural Study of Consumer Perceptions About Marketing

Document Sample
A Cross-Cultural Study of Consumer Perceptions About Marketing Powered By Docstoc
					Ethical Issues and Business Conduct
           Across Cultures
         Presentation and Discussion

                      Charles Blankson, Ph.D.

 Ethics is a code of behavior that a society considers moral
  and appropriate for guiding relationship with one another.
The issue at stake here includes: honesty, integrity, fair, open
  and straight-forward dealing.
 Ethics involves judgments as to good and bad, right and
  wrong and what ought to be (Hartman, 2002).
 Teens tendency toward deception (Bristol and Mangleburg,
The golden rule therefore is: “do unto others as you would
  have them do unto you”.
Introduction contd.
   Ethics deals with things to be sought and things to be
    avoided, with ways of life and with telos (Telos is the chief
    aim or end in life) (the philosopher, Epicurus, cited in
    Hartman, 2002).
   Morals: rules or duties that govern our behavior, e.g. “do
    not tell lies”, or “do not hurt another person”.
   Values: these are beliefs that a given behavior or outcome
    is desirable or good.
   Values serve as standards of conduct that guide our
   Example: how we value (a) the environment, (b) self-
    respect (c) keeping our family safe, (d) good health, (e)
Introduction: schools of thought
   Existentialists led by Jean-Paul Sartre believe that
    standards of conduct cannot be rationally justified and no
    action is inherently right or wrong.
   Thus each person may reach their own choice about
    ethical principles.
   This view resides in the notion that humans are only what
    they want to be…
   Sartre claimed that existence precedes essence, i.e., first
    humans exist, then we individually define what we are –
    our essence.
   Therefore each of us is free, with no rules to turn to for
   That ethics and moral responsibility belongs to each of us.
Schools of thought contd.

According to the Existentialists, …what one person
  believes is “right” or “just” may not necessarily
  be believed by others.
Existentialists may say, perhaps, there is no right
  answer in this situation.
 Relativists however call for some universal
  principles of right and wrong.
 Relativists contend that the ethical answer
  depends on the situation, i.e., that ethics is
  relative to a particular society.
Theories about ethics and religion: two

    Theory of Rationalization:
     Based on the case whereby religious people attempt to be
     ethical both at home and outside their home (e.g., very
     devout religious people).

    Theory of Sacred Canopy:
     In today’s materialistic, opportunistic and fast-paced
     lifestyle, it is a common belief that religious people have
     lost their influence on the direction of morals and ethics.
     This has meant that although people may be ethically
     astute at home, they may behave differently away from
Source: Rawwas (2005)
More issues about ethics

   Remember that ethics does not refer only to
    financial favors, i.e., corruption, but includes:
   Conflict of interest,
   Misuse of position by abusing ones office (e.g.
    misusing confidential information, government
    property, official time etc.).
   According to Gbadamosi (2004), high ethical
    standards, and low corruption perception will
    always be relevant in organizations and human
More issues about ethics contd.

   We already use ethics as a basis for decision
    making – family situations etc.
   “…there is no law that requires one answer or
   “…you might believe that you should act one
    way or another because it is the right thing to
   This is your personal ethic and which stems from
    the society/culture one belongs to.
Cross-cultural issues

   21 Century propelled by globalization and multiculturalism.
   The case of BP, Burger King, HSBC
   The case of Japanese and South Korean auto makers in
    the US
   Implications for international marketing – US outsourcing
    its call centers in India and China or the US reliance on
    crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Nigeria.
   Even locally, cultural diversity and cross-cultural issues
    present different challenges to all marketers.
   Important in USA, UK, Canada, South Africa.
Cultural conflict: unethical behavior

   Different cultures have different rules of conduct.
   Some cultures view certain ethical practices with different
    levels of condemnation (Pitta et al., 1999).
   The more serious problem concerns two different ethical
    standards meeting in a business transaction.
   US vs. Russian; US vs. Nigerian; US vs. Colombian; US vs.
    UK; US vs. Germany; Israel vs. Egypt.
   This situation is characterized as cultural conflict.
Cultural conflicts and unethical behavior:
bribery, corruption and sleaze

   The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
   Bribery is part of life in some countries because of
    different ethical standards.
   Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria have been mentioned in the
    popular press.
   Also in the West: UK, USA, France, Japan.
   “…with tobacco advertising banned in many Western
    countries, cigarette manufacturers are increasingly
    targeting countries in Africa…and more and more Africans
    are taking up the habit” (BBC online News, 18 March 2005).
   Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius have
    introduced smoking bans and have increased taxes on
    tobacco sales.
Bribery and corruption in Africa
   In Ghana, the government’s “zero tolerance” for corruption is
    challenged because Ministers have still not declared their assets.
   The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) is urging the government to
    implement the Public Procurement Act to enable it to subject
    ministers and public officials to greater degrees of scrutiny in the
    award of construction contracts (www.graphicghana.info, March
    18, 2005).
   Shoddy construction works abound in Ghana and in Nigeria.
   Discussion on bribery is problematic and controversial.
   The case of Nigeria and Ghana where it is argued that the roots
    are embedded in colonialism, rather than the fact that these
    countries are relatively poor.
The German-based Transparency International
Corruption Perception Index in 2002 (Africa)

Countries Africa   World   Countries Africa   World
          Rank     Rank              Rank     Rank
Botswana 1         24      Senegal    9       66
Namibia    2       28      Malawi     10      68
South      3       36      Cote       11      71
Africa                     d’Ivoire
Tunisia    3       36      Zimbabwe   11      71
Ghana      5       50      Tanzania   11      71
Morocco    6       52      Zambia     14      77
Ethiopia   7       59      Kenya      17      96
Egypt      8       62      Nigeria    20      101
Woman fetching water in a country in Africa: result
of failed government and corrupt officials? Source:
BBC Online
A teacher’s dilemma: results of corrupt
policies and failed governments?
Culture as the basis of business ethics

   There is common agreement that a
    country’s culture is directly related to the
    ethical behavior of its managers. Two
    (1) Public or corporate statements and
    actions about ethical behavior.
   (2) The collection of ethical attitudes and
    values in the country.
Interface of culture and business
ethics: American Culture

   Ethical roots date back to the founding fathers
    and their traditional Judeo-Christian and Western
    socio-theological laws and principles. The
    founding fathers were mostly Christians and
    identified three basic “self-evident” truths
    regarding “inalienable” rights of mankind to:
   Life
   Liberty; and
   The pursuit of happiness;
   and exercised in an environment in which people
    are equal under the law.
Culture and business ethics contd.
(Saudi Arabia)

   Two dimensions influence the business culture
    (a) Islam and (b) the Bedouin tradition.
   The Bedouin tribal heritage views loyalty, justice,
    generosity and status as important.
   Religion has a profound effect on business,
    politics and social behavior.
   The “mutawwa” (The Saudi religious Police) is
    run by the Society for the Propagation of Good
    and Abolition of Evil ensure compliance (Rice,
Saudi Arabia

   Saudis conduct business only after trust has
    been well-established.
   The Bedouin tradition allows business meetings
    without a prior appointment.
   Sexual modesty and chastity is highly valued.
   Separation of women from unrelated men.
   Most activities outside her home requires the
    mediation of a female servant, male relative or a
    male servant e.g., chauffeur or gardener.
   Women are not allowed to drive, but they can use
    a male chauffeur.
Customs and Courtesies of Ghanaians

   English greetings (good morning etc.) and hand shakes are
   In the Akan culture of Ghana, inheritance is via the
    maternal lineage rather than the paternal lineage (i.e.,
    nephews inherit their uncles rather than sons inheriting
    their fathers).
   Most greetings are in the dominant local language and are
    followed by questions about one’s health, family welfare,
    journey (these were found to be similar in Saudi Arabia and also in
    northern Nigeria).
    Children refer to any adult that is well known to the family
    as “aunt” or “uncle” even when they are not related.
   It is generally improper to pass or receive items with the
    left hand. Right hand or both hands are the norm.

   It is common and appropriate for friends of the same sex to
    hold hands while walking/speaking. It does not signify
    anything beyond friendship.
   It is impolite to place feet on chairs, desks, or tables
    especially those being used by another person.
   Friends and relatives visit one another frequently, often
   Most initial business visits occur at home and it is polite to
    take a small gift for children.
   Guests are always served drinks and other refreshments. It
    is impolite to refuse these offers.
   Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
Geert Hofstede’s (1979) Cultural

   Power Distance
     – The willingness of a culture to accept status and power
        differences among its members
   Individualism / Collectivism
     – The tendency of a culture’s members to emphasize individual
        self-interests or group relationships
   Uncertainty Avoidance
     – The cultural tendency to be uncomfortable with uncertainty
        and risk in everyday life
   Masculinity / Femininity
     – The degree to which a society values assertiveness or
   Long-term / Short-term Orientation
     – The degree to which a culture emphasizes long-term or short-
        term thinking
US vs. Malaysia:
Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
The six dimensions of culture by
Kluckholn and Strodtbeck (1961)

   1. What are the society’s assumptions about the essential
    goodness of people?
   2. What does the society emphasize in interpersonal
    relations, the individual or the group? Should people feel
    free to act as individual or as a group?
   3. What is the value of personal space in the society?
   4. What does the society assume about the relationship of
    man and nature? Is man meant to live in harmony with
    nature or to dominate it?
   5. What is the role of change in society (value for stability?)
   6. What is society’s regard for time; past present or future?
Research undertaken by Singhapakdi
et al. (1999) in Journal of Consumer Marketing

   How consumers from Malaysia and USA
    differ in their perceptions of:
    –   Marketing ethics
    –   Attitudes toward business and salespeople
    –   Personal moral philosophies that underlie the
Singhapakdi et al’s. (1999) Results

   Malaysian consumers were less sensitive to unethical
    marketing practices.
   Malaysian consumers tend to be less idealistic and more
    relativistic in their moral philosophies than US consumers.
   Relative to US consumers, Malaysian consumers reject
    moral rules (i.e., high relativism).
   They are however positive about the possibility of
    achieving positive outcomes for everyone concerned.
   Malaysian consumers were more likely to respond
    positively to collectivist (as opposed to individualistic)
    marketing strategies.
Research undertaken by Robinson
(2004) in Journal of African Business

   To examine how entrepreneurs experience and deal with
    ethical dilemmas in South Africa.
   Results: Entrepreneurs forsake demeaning workplace and
    inter-personal practices, containing crime, adopting
    socially responsible and ethical business practices,
    appreciating ethnic differences and attempting to reconcile
    with each other.
   Ethics is facing challenges in the context of: (a) Issues
    such as diversity, (b) overcoming the legacy of Apartheid,
    (c) crime containment, (d) business ethics, (e)
    reconciliation between different ethnic groups.
   “…Apartheid may be officially dead and buried, but its
    legacy thrives in a clearly dichotomous society…”
    (Robinson, 2004).
A woman selling produce in Harare: Failed
governments and corrupt officials?
Harare, Zimbabwe, a man selling on the street
School children in Harare
A young man in Harare
Selling on the street in Harare
Cars queuing for gas (petrol) in Harare
Taxi in Harare
Fetching water in some parts of Africa
Happy? about a newly installed pipe-
borne water in a country in Africa

   Africa is the only
    continent to have become
    poorer in the past 25
   By the year 2000, half of
    the world’s poor were in
    Africa compared with 10%
    in 1970 (BBC online News,
    March 18, 2005).
Is Africa “better in colonial times?”
asks Moeletsi Mbeki

   “…the average African is
    poorer than during the age
    of colonialism…in the
    1960s African
    instead of focusing on
    development, amassed
    enormous wealth, saving
    their loot in Western
    countries – Switzerland,
    UK, USA, France)…”
Photos from around the world

   Pipe-borne water in a
    country in Africa

   Wife of the President
    of Mali
President of Mali Mr. Amadou Toumani
President of Mali conversing with the
oldest woman in Mali, 128 years old.
Man walking on a street in India
Friends playing in India
Woman washing clothes in India
Man sipping tea in Egypt
Montreal, Canada, skyline during
Winter 2005.
Closing comments and implications
for international marketing

   Many of the differences in ethical behavior result from the
    world’s cultural diversity.
   Most pressing challenge for international marketing is
    tolerance of diversity.
   “…think and act as equals with overseas business
    partners…” (Robinson, 2004).
   According to Robinson, philosophers through the ages
    have advised that it is important to appreciate cultural
   The latter calls for a relativist view of the world.
   Note: Moral objectivism offers little accommodation for
    differing views (Robinson, 2004).
Closing comments contd.

   Notwithstanding, in view of the well
    known human shortcomings such as
    fraud, bribery, corruption, sleaze,
    deception across all cultures, the
    question is:
   How can we ensure the adherence to
    ethical conduct in cross-cultural
   Africa Better in colonial times, http://news.bbc.co.uk
   Early years, http://news.bbc.co.uk
   Singhapakdi, A., Rawwas, M. Y. A., Marta, J. K. and Ahmed, M. I. (1999), “A Cross-cultural study of consumer perceptions
    about marketing ethics”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol.16, No.3, pp.1-13.
   Rice, G. (2004), “Doing business in Saudi Arabia”, Thunderbird International Business Review, Vol.46(1), January-February,
   Pitta, D. A., Fung, H. G. and Isberg, S. (1999), “Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and
    the USA, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol.16, No.3.
   Implement Procurement Law-Integrity Initiative, http://www.graphicghana.info
   Customs, Courtesies of Ghanaians, http://www.graphicghana.info
   Why do we still smoke in Africa? http://news.bbc.co.uk
   Robinson, D. A. (2004), “Entrepreneurial Challenges in South Africa”, Journal of African Business, Vol.5(2), pp.173-185.
   Hartman, L. P. (2002), Perspectives in Business Ethics (2nd ed), McGraw-Hill, New York.
   Gbadamosi, G. (2004), Ethics, Corruption and Economic prosperity in Africa: Botswana Experiences, Proceedings of the
    International Academy of Business & Development (IAABD), Atlanta, April 7-10, pp.204-213.
   Bristol, T. and Mangleburg (2005), “Not Telling the whole Story: Teen Deception in Purchasing”, Journal of the Academy of
    Marketing Science, Vol.33, No.1, pp.79-95.
   Rawwas, M. Y. A. (2005), Does Religion Matter? A Comparison Study of the Ethical Beliefs of Students of Religious and Secular
    Universities in Japan, Proceedings of the AMTP Conference, March 24-26, Jekyl Island, GA, pp.378.

Shared By:
gjmpzlaezgx gjmpzlaezgx