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Culture Impacing Decision Making

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Cultural elements within a business affect the way strategy is determined, goals are established and how the organization operates as an entity. Not only are decisions made as a group/community effort, but it is stemmed from cultural beliefs/practice/ways of living, which varies on a global context. In today's global market place cultural differences across countries have a significant impact on business decision making; this is manifested in or through most functional areas of businesses including marketing, human resources and finance. Each function within a company has its own roles and responsibilities which contribute to the business' overall success.

The marketing function plays an integral role in every business within the global marketplace. The marketing department thrives on "thinking outside the box" and pushing the limits of consumer imagination and recognition. To be more specific, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as, "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders" (Peter, Donnelly, Vandenbosch 3). As the role of the marketing department continues to globally expand on both a consumer and organizational level, the marketing department becomes a key player in a vast variety of decision making processes. These decisions are subject to many internal and external elements, but most importantly the impact of culture and cultural differences. Cultural differences affect the decisions of the marketing department in a number of ways. These affects can be witnessed through the process of ethical decision making, the diverse cultural backgrounds of marketing managers, and advertising initiatives.

In a multicultural marketing environment, ethical values across global boarders continue to create attention and develop a significant degree of importance in the global marketplace. To clarify, ethical decision making is the process of identifying a problem, generating alternatives, and choosing among them so that the alternatives selected maximize the most important ethical values while also achieving the intended goal (Guy 39). Throughout the marketing department, culture heavily influences the prospect of ethical decision making. To begin with, a key element in ethical decision making within a marketing context is the concept of the establishment of relationships and trust amongst consumers. Cultural differences can have a major impact on the development of decisions relating to such relationships and trust ideals. Marketing personnel need to ensure that when making decisions that affect potential development of relationships and levels of trust, they remain consistent with the general marketing theory. The foundation of this theory states that all exchanges are based on the concept of trust, and that conflict is most likely to occur if buyer and seller are not in agreement with respect to their ethical mindsets. Hence, where conflict exists, trust will not grow and in turn the exchange process will cease and marketing relationships cannot fully develop. A clear understanding of this theory is vital as global competition continues to increase and consumer acquisition costs are consistently on the rise (Srnka 3). A reliance on relationships and trust can be witnessed throughout Latin European cultures (Browaeys and Price 42). Next, the marketing department is faced with making ethical decisions that reflect on the subject of value compatibility. Values can be defined as, "basic convictions that people have regarding what is right and wrong, good and bad, important and unimportant" (Doh and Luthans 101). Compatibility of ethical values within the global marketplace is a central prerequisite for organizational success. As most values differ amongst cultures, it can be understood that this has a major impact on business decision making within the function of marketing. In many situations, marketing personnel are faced with decisions outside their own cultural boundaries and values, such as decisions regarding political and economic environments (Srnka 3). So it is vital for marketing personnel to go beyond the call of duty to ensure their decisions not only reflect organizational needs and values but are also aligned with the needs and values of consumers in the global marketplace. Lastly, various cultural dimensions have a major impact on ethical decision making within the marketing function. These cultural dimensions affect the decision making process in this area through specific ideals that include influences of the wider cultural environment and the closer cultural environment (Srnka 2). To be specific, the wider cultural environment includes elements pertaining to economic systems and nationality that aim to determine the stages in the affective part of the decision making process. On the other hand, the closer cultural environment is concerned with the organizational culture and has been noted to have an impact on the behavioural elements of decision making (Srnka 2). Both cultural dimensions are a key part of the decision making process that marketing personnel must refer to before making decisions in the global marketplace. Altogether, the concept ethical decision making continues to be a key attribute to successful decision making within the marketing function.

The managerial make-up of the marketing department in an organization determines the potential for success and recognition in the global marketplace. In times where cultural diversity is considered a true asset for business, it has a significant impact on the decision making processes of an organization. To start off, decision making styles amongst culturally diverse marketing managers in an organization can differ dramatically. These cultural differences can have both positive and negative impacts on the outcome of the decision making process. Herche, et. al. (2003) has identified five effective management styles that truly capture the essence of decision making amongst marketing managers. These dimensions include: information valuation, quantitative planning, individual decision making, advance planning, and information using. It can be said that these dimensions constitute a management style, not the management style (Albaum 2). Interestingly enough, marketing managers from the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand are characterized as being relatively low on information valuation and quantitative planning in comparison to marketing managers in Vietnam (Albaum 6). A clear and concise understanding of the impact of culturally diverse decision making styles can help not only the marketing function, but the entire organization to improve their decision making processes. Next, cultural differences regarding worldviews or paradigms for processing



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