Analysis of Cultural Differences and their Effects on Marketing Products in the United States of America and Germany: A Cultural Approach to Marketing using Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede

Academic Paper 2013 78 Pages


Table of content:

List of Abbreviations:

List of Tables and Figures:

1. Introduction
1.1. Problem description
1.2. Objectives and scope of work

2. Theoretical Fundamentals of Cultures
2.1. Origin of culture and definition of different terms
2.2. General overview of cultural theories
2.3. Culture-related barriers to marketing

3. Cultural Theories as a Tool to Visualise Cultural Differences
3.1. Use of models and dimensions in intercultural studies
3.2. Hall’s cross-cultural communication model
3.2.1. Scope of Hall’s model
3.2.2. Cross-cultural communication dimensions Context Space Time Speed of Information
3.3. Hofstede’s 5 dimensions model
3.3.1. Scope of Hofstede’s 5 dimensions model
3.3.2. The 5 dimensions Power distance index Individualism versus Collectivism Masculinity versus Femininity Uncertainty avoidance Long-term orientation
3.4. The American and German cultures according to Hall and Hofstede
3.5. Critique of the theories of Hall and Hofstede

4. Marketing Across Cultures
4.1. Concept of Marketing Abroad
4.1.1. Distinction between different geographical marketing terms
4.1.2. Standardisation vs. adaptation
4.2. Cultural differences and their effect on the marketing mix
4.2.1. Scope of cultural influences on parts of the marketing mix
4.2.2. Influence of culture on advertising
4.2.3. Examples of culture-related American and German advertising
4.2.4. Influence of culture on distribution
4.2.5. Wal-Mart as a negative example of cross-cultural distribution

5. Conclusion
5.1. Achievement of goals
5.2. Outlook and perspectives


List of Abbreviations:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

List of Tables and Figures:

Table 1: “Characteristics of m-time vs. p-time cultures”

Table 2: “Fast vs. slow messages”

Table 3: “Power distance index”

Table 4: “Individualism vs. collectivism”

Table 5: “Masculinity vs. femininity”

Table 6: “Uncertainty avoidance”

Table 7: “Long-term orientation”

Table 8: “Expenditures on advertising of the 20 largest advertising markets”

Figure 1: The Iceberg Concept of Culture,

Figure 2: Process of Cross-Cultural Communication,

Figure 3: The context factor in cross-cultural communication,

Figure 4: Similarities and differences between the USA and Germany,

Figure 5: Relationship between culture and standardisation,

Figure 6: Continuum of standardisation vs. adaptation,

Figure 7: Nike advertising “Just Do It”,

Figure 8: Nike advertising “My Assault”,

Figure 9: Nike advertising “I am the Bullet”,

Figure 10: Nike advertising “My Time is Now”,

Figure 11: Langnese advertising,

Figure 12: Coke Light German advertising,

Figure 13: Acura advertising,

Figure 14: Audi advertising Q7,

Figure 15: Hummer advertising,

Figure 16: Pantene advertising,

Figure 17: McDonalds advertising,

Figure 18: Audi advertising website,

1. Introduction

1.1. Problem description

“Companies that do not adapt to the new global realities will become victims of those that do.”[1]

In this quote Theodor Levitt, a former professor at the Harvard Business School, makes clear that companies all over the world have had to face a process which has changed the way they do business in many ways. This process, called globalisation, carries advantages as well as disadvantages, not only for the business world but also for nearly every person in the world. The importance of facing globalisation has always been there, but it has increased with the evolving stages of globalisation. Ever since this process started companies have tried to use the advantages of globalisation while at the same time dealing with the disadvantages.

For marketers in particular, this process seems to offer a lot of potential for exploring new markets and customers. However, the questions determining the success or failure of a marketing campaign are more complex than in domestic marketing. Accordingly, the terms international and global marketing are strongly connected to globalisation and have become a key factor for the success of companies. Corporations that want to belong to these successful multi-national companies (MNC) or global players certainly have to deal with the different issues that come along with marketing products in other countries. These can have a significant impact on international operations, but also on the overall performance of a company.

Since a company’s approach to these issues determines the success or failure of marketing a product abroad, these situations have to be addressed at an early stage. Among others, cultural differences are one of the major obstacles that have to be addressed when marketing products internationally. Every culture has its own individual values, behaviours, way of thinking, lifestyle and languages which make it unique. Accordingly, companies have the possibilities of dealing with this process in two different ways. In the first, standardisation, an identical marketing plan is used across different cultures while in the second, adaptation, appropriate adjustments are made to the special cultural environment of the target market. For a marketer it is therefore important to be aware of these differences and to use the right tools to market products successfully in multiple, varied cultural environments.

1.2. Objectives and scope of work

This study aims at analysing cultural differences and their effect on marketing products internationally. The United States of America and Germany are used to exemplify this issue. Today’s science provides numerous approaches to making cultural differences visible and tangible. All of these solutions and dimensions give companies, and people in general, a guide to becoming aware of and understand differences and how to cope with them appropriately.

Trompenaars, a famous consultant for intercultural communication, uses the allegory of a fish and its habitat, water, to explain the characteristics of culture: “A fish only discovers its need for water when it is no longer in it.”[2] Accordingly, culture can be seen as the substance that surrounds a human being and makes him unable to distinguish between different and normal. Therefore, this study uses the cultural theories of Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede, who both developed approaches to cultural differences by using either a four- or five-dimensions model. These cultural dimensions will be applied to the special circumstances and conditions which a marketer has to deal with in the United States and Germany and thus draws connections between those two different fields of science.

As already mentioned in section 1.1, cultural differences play an important role in today’s international marketing. It is therefore important to examine if and how cultural differences, according to Hall and Hofstede, affect parts of the marketing mix for companies selling products in the United States as well as in Germany. The following questions can help to identify the necessary steps: What cultural differences, in both the United States and in Germany, could have an impact on marketing the products of companies selling in those countries? What impact do cultural differences have on parts of the marketing mix? Which adaptions should marketers make to their marketing mix due to the cultural differences? Is standardisation a successful method in both international markets? The answers should help the marketer make the right choice between adapting products to local circumstances or selling and marketing the same product all around the world. This study will attempt to answer these questions by applying the above-mentioned cultural theories, and will provide suggestions for how companies from the USA or Germany should conceive parts of their marketing mix. It will further provide examples of culture – related marketing efforts.

2. Theoretical Fundamentals of Cultures

2.1. Origin of culture and definition of different terms

Throughout history scientists from different academic backgrounds have tried to define what culture in general means. To be able to successfully analyse cultural differences in international marketing it is important to familiarise oneself with a broad variety of these definitions.

According to the Oxford Dictionary the word culture derives from the Latin word colere, which in translation means to tend, or to cultivate. From this very early stage the word developed into cultura, which is the Latin for growing and cultivation. It further made its transition into French and Middle English. From the early 16th century its meaning was transformed into cultivation of the soil and from there to the cultivation of the mind, faculties and manners. The term’s first appearance in an academic environment as we know it today dates back to the early 19th century.[3] Especially in western languages, “culture commonly means ‘civilisation’ or the ‘refinement of the mind’ and in particular the results of such refinement such as education, art and literature.”[4]

The early 19th century also marks the starting point for attempts to define the term culture. Since then a broad variety of definitions has been drawn up. The American anthropologists Alfred Louis Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn assembled a list of 164 definitions.[5] The fact that they were able to collect this relatively high number emphasises that there is no single right definition. It rather depends on which field of science the author originates from. Sociologists have defined culture differently from “cultural anthropologists”[6] like Hofstede or Trompenaars. However, the general idea is in many cases similar.

One of the earliest definitions of culture comes from Christopher Dawson, an important British Catholic historian in the 20th century. In his definition culture “is a common way of life – a particular adjustment of man to his natural surroundings and his economic needs.”[7] It implies culture as a common situation, one shared by more than one person. This aspect has significant connections to more modern definitions, like the one provided by Hofstede for instance, who argues that “culture (…) is always a collective phenomenon, because it is at least partly shared with people who live or lived within the same social environment.”[8] He further defines culture as the “collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others”[9] and additionally, “the unwritten rules of the social game.”[10] He also intensified his focus on the differences that allow one to distinguish groups of people from other groups.

A similar definition provides more information about what these different groups share with each other and make them unique: “The shared set of learned beliefs, values, assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors that differentiates a particular group of people from others.”[11] According to Hall, culture “is not innate, but learned.”[12] This fact is underlined by the previous definitions and also by the fact that this process “derives from one’s social environment, not from one’s genes.”[13] Accordingly, the group which a human being grows up in teaches him their own beliefs and values. According to Trompenaars “culture is [also] the way in which a group of people solves problems and reconciles dilemmas.”[14] Thus, culture also gives solutions to problems that occur during the interaction of different groups of people.

These relatively modern definitions of culture are different, but they all share the same general idea and are dependent on each other. They illustrate that one has to focus one’s attention on the specificities of groups: their individual beliefs, values, assumptions, attitudes, behaviours, and their interaction with as well as dissociation of other groups. Since there is no single right definition of culture, the overall concept used in this study assimilates the similar components and the general idea in order to have a comprehensive concept for the entire analysis.

2.2. General overview of cultural theories

There are many approaches to visualising cultural differences. The main scientists that have to be mentioned regarding these cultural theories are Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars.

Apart from his four dimensions model, which will be one of the theories focused on in this study, Hall also developed the iceberg model (see figure 1).

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Figure: 1 The Iceberg Concept of Culture (source: Wederspahn, G., p. 35)

This model describes culture as a concept consisting of two different parts. There are parts that are visible over the surface, which are ways of living, laws and customs or institutions (music, food, signs, fine arts). Then there are components that cannot be seen at first, for example certain values, norms, assumptions or attitudes.[15]

Another important method to identify cultural differences is provided by Hofstede. Apart from his five dimensions model, which will be the second key component of this analysis, he designed the so-called onion model. He uses the different layers of an onion to describe the concept of culture, starting from the superficial (outer layers) to the key values and factors of a culture (inner layers). According to Hofstede, understanding the concept of a culture means that you have to analyse all these layers, which are represented by symbols, heroes, rituals, values and basic assumptions.[16]

Fons Trompenaars introduced his seven dimensions model in 1993. He focuses his work on the “ways in which human beings deal with each other”[17] as well as their relationship to time and the environment. He also worked on a similar theory of different cultural layers by “describing culture as consisting of three layers: the outer layer of artefacts and products, the middle layer of norms and values, and basics assumptions at the core.”[18] These four cultural theories provide a good basis for analysing cultural differences. However, this paper focuses on the four dimensions model of Edward T. Hall as well as on the five dimensions model of Professor Geert Hofstede because together they cover a broad area of different patterns. Although Hall developed his cross-cultural communication theory some decades ago it is still used by scientists for studies from different subjects, for example marketing, but also in business negotiations.[19] Hofstede’s research remains adequate due to its elaborate concept. He investigated several different nations; his might be the most wide-ranging research on this topic. His model also supports the formulation of hypotheses in terms of cross-cultural research.[20] Trompenaars’ model shows similarities to Hofstede’s in many aspects and is therefore not considered in this study.

2.3. Culture-related barriers to marketing

“Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster.”[21] This quote from an interview Professor Geert Hofstede gave to the Centre of Intercultural Learning in Canada underlines the fact that culture tends to have a more negative impact on international business than to create a potential for synergies, and hence it significantly influences the international marketing efforts of MNCs. However, he further argues that approaching this issue in the right way leads to success.[22]

Nonetheless, a lot of companies’ international marketing efforts fail, although the risks of cultural differences are well known. The most important issues and barriers that arise when marketing products across cultures are the so-called self-reference criterion (SRC) and consumer ethnocentrism (CET). The SRC, introduced by James Lee in 1966, is “the unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values.”[23] Due to the SRC, marketers are not able to recognise different cultural patterns than their own. They automatically project their cultural characteristics onto the foreign culture: “they use their own set of values as their reference point.”[24] As a result they cannot achieve the step of actually becoming aware of cultural differences. These companies expect to find the same market conditions in a foreign market as in their domestic business, so they sell and promote products in both markets identically without applying any adaptions to their marketing mix.

Consumer ethnocentrism is another key barrier that explains why international marketing efforts have a high tendency to fail. It derives from the more sociologically orientated term of ethnocentrism introduced by Sumner in 1906. According to him ethnocentrism is “the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it. (...) Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities and looks with contempt on outsiders.”[25] On the basis of this definition Terence A. Shimp and Subhash Sharma developed the theory of CET. This concept connects the theoretical aspects of Sumner’s definition of ethnocentrism with the behaviour of consumers. CER “represents the beliefs held by (American) consumers about the appropriateness, indeed morality, of purchasing foreign made products.”[26] They argue that these consumers do not purchase products from abroad because they do not want to harm their own economy as well as behave unpatriotically.[27] Although this concept was mainly developed for American consumers, or consumers in general, it can also be applied to cultures since it “gives the individual a sense of identity, feelings of belongingness, and (…) what purchase behavior is acceptable or unacceptable to the ingroup.”[28] This aspect shows similarities to the definition of culture mentioned in section 2.1.

As a conclusion, the first step marketers have to take is to become aware of the SCR and the CER to successfully market products abroad. This step is essential to effectively adapting the marketing mix to cultural differences or to identifying standardisations possibilities and has to be included in the marketing plan of companies selling products abroad.

3. Cultural Theories as a Tool to Visualise Cultural Differences

3.1. Use of models and dimensions in intercultural studies

Cultural differences have always been an issue. But the importance of becoming aware of these differences has increased in step with the advancing interconnectedness of the world, called globalisation. The first step to make the public familiar with culture is to help it visualise and give it tools to actually become aware of cultural differences. Scientists have therefore developed different tools and methods to visualise these differences.

Throughout the different groups of scientists and the decades, all approaches to cultural differences show similar components and structures. Hall’s four “distinguishing features”[29], Hofstede’s five dimensions, or Trompenaars’ seven dimensions model – all use the concept of models and dimensions to make cultural differences visible. Thus, it can be assumed that these concepts have been proven to be appropriate to analyse culture differences.

Models have been used in several different disciplines to enable scientists to better understand and handle highly complex situations.[30] Accordingly models do not represent the entire system but show only abstractions.[31] To understand the concept of culture with its complexity and different patterns, the use of models is an appropriate approach to make culture comprehensible. As with the definition of culture, defining the term dimension also depends on the field a researcher comes from. There are several different definitions, for example in terms of mathematical or physical approaches. Usually dimensions are used to measure lengths, breadths, depths, or heights.[32] In contrast to this usual usage physical approaches describe dimensions as “a physical property, such as mass, length, time, or a combination thereof, regarded as a fundamental measure or as one of a set of fundamental measures of a physical quantity.”[33] To apply a concept of dimensions to cultural issues a general approach is more appropriate. Therefore, dimensions in general can be defined as an independent feature to describe a system. This feature connects allegories to the system to make it measureable and predictable.[34]

These definitions, as well as the explicit wording, show similarities to the above-mentioned cultural theories. Connecting the two descriptions of dimension further underlines the applicability of dimensions in cultural sciences. Hence, it is appropriate that cultural scientists like Hall, Hofstede and Trompenaars used this concept to make cultural differences visible and give members of cultures a way to realise “the idea of situated difference, (…) difference in relation to something local, embodied, and significant.”[35] Thus, dimensions are a tool for groups of people to understand the characteristics of different cultures and help them to scale and experience their culture in relation to other cultures.[36] However, one has to keep in mind that everybody experiences these differences individually[37] so these cultural dimensions are to a certain degree personal interpretations and not universally applicable.

3.2. Hall’s cross-cultural communication model

3.2.1. Scope of Hall’s model

For Hall culture is especially characterised by communication between two different groups of people, so he focused his work on intercultural communication problems. Due to invisible cultural differences, communication between two different cultures is far more challenging than within the same culture.[38] To understand the difficulties in intercultural communication one first has to understand the overall concept of communication and its specificities in a cross-cultural environment.

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Figure 2: Process of Cross-Cultural Communication (source: Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 47).

For effective two-way intra as well as intercultural communication, there has to be a sender and a receiver, who provides a feedback.[39] Usually, the sender encodes the message and sends it via a channel to the receiver, who is able to decode it because they share the same cultural background.[40] However, the problem in cross-cultural communication occurs between the step of encoding and decoding the message. As one can see from figure 2, the message is sent through a filter of the different elements by which culture is defined, here referred to as cultural noise. Noise in cross-cultural communication is described as “impediments to communication that occur when people from different cultures interact.”[41] Thus, “both the encoding and decoding are done in reference to one’s own culture.”[42] These verbal or non-verbal messages are misunderstood because two different cultures are communicating. Thus, in the example in figure 2 the actual meaning of the message turns from green to red.

This can be caused on a superficial basis by language barriers, but to a greater degree by the different cultural backgrounds. This process leads to “misperceptions, misinterpretations, and misevaluations. (…) [Thus,] the greater the differences between the sender’s and the receiver’s cultures, the greater the chance for cross-cultural miscommunication.”[43] Therefore, Edward T. Hall developed his model resulting in the dimensions of high and low context, space, time and speed of information. All of the dimensions cover parts of the above-mentioned process regarding verbal and non-verbal communication between different cultures and can be used to become aware of these differences.

3.2.2. Cross-cultural communication dimensions Context

There are several different ways human beings communicate with each other, for example by using language, but also with gestures and facial expressions. However, according to Hall’s high and low context dimension there is more to be added to this aspect. According to Hall, “context is the information that surrounds an event. (…) events and context – are in different proportions depending on the culture.”[44] Therefore, he introduced a scale on which cultures can be compared by their use of direct or indirect communication, which could lead to cultural misunderstandings.[45] This “continuum”[46] describes cultures from high to low context characteristics. Figure 3 shows a scale of country examples according to their characteristics in communication. However, one has to keep in mind that these characteristics are cross-border; thus it is more appropriate to say that the two arrows provide indications that some cultures tend to show more elements of either high or low context.[47]

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Figure 3: The context factor in cross-cultural communication (source: Ferraro, G., The Cultural Dimension of International Business).

A high-context environment tends to transport the meaning of the conversation by context.[48] Thus, “most of the information is either in the physical context or internalised in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message.”[49] People from high-context countries “often rely on unspoken understandings, hints, social rituals, and nonverbal cues.”[50] In contrast, low-context communication is defined by the fact that “the mass of the information is vested in the explicit code.”[51] They do not expect others to have the same background information, thus their communication is “simple, explicit, precise, and direct.”[52] In conclusion, if people from different context dimensions want to avoid communication issues, the low context population has to gain more “background data”[53] to understand people from high-context countries. In contrast, people from high-context countries have to be as precise as possible when communicating with people from countries on the lower part of the scale.

As another example, one can take the languages that are spoken in those countries. By comparing Chinese and French one can see that for Chinese people, considered as high-context, it is important to know the pronunciation to understand each other, whereas French, considered rather low-context, understand without recognising the exact pronunciation.[54] Thus, French people who want to learn or speak Chinese have to internalise the pronunciation as well as the words, whereas Chinese to a certain degree only need to learn the French words to communicate intelligibly. Space

Hall introduced the concept of space for his cross-cultural communication process. He argues that every human being has a visible border to the outside world, namely his skin. In addition there are other frontiers that surround every human being which he refers to as personal space and territoriality.[55] Personal space as it is defined in Hall’s research is a “bubble of space, which expands and contracts depending on (…) the relationship to the people nearby, the person’s emotional state, cultural background, and the activity being performed.”[56] People from different cultures therefore have different feelings about whether they feel comfortable or not when people from different cultures approach. Thus, it is all about the distance between two people.[57]

Territoriality relates to feelings and distinction about and of places. People try to assign to different spaces a high degree of importance, which in different cultures can lead to misunderstandings.[58] Hall uses the example of Germany and a car, which is classified as a certain space directly connected to a single individual. Thus, intrusion by others is not accepted. The concept of territoriality is also associated with a method to show distribution of power. The size and location of offices in an office building have differing meanings in a cross-cultural world.[59] Time

As with definitions of culture, several different systems of time exist. However, according to Hall two of them are especially important in the business world. He provides a model which categorises people according to their preference for more polychronic (p-time) or monochronic (m-time) behaviour.[60] Accordingly, “Hall examines the conscious and unconscious ways people, because of their cultural backgrounds, perceive and employ these two orientations towards time.”[61] Typical characteristics of p-time cultures are people who “tend to do many things simultaneously.”[62] They do not split their workday into small parts[63] and do not take schedules as absolute but rather easily adjust them.[64] Conversely, m-time cultures do only one thing at a time and are more schedule-orientated.[65] Within such cultures time is also seen as tangible, for example compared to money, which can be wasted or saved. It is further seen as a way to prioritise tasks, by pointing out that someone does not have time to do something.

Table 1 provides several characteristics of p-time cultures and m-time cultures. It also emphasises that the concepts of p-time and m-time are constructed antithetically[66] ; thus, it is clear that not both orientations can be used at the same time.[67]

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Table 1: Characteristics of m-time vs. p-time cultures (source: Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), Understanding Cultural Differences, p. 5). Speed of Information

Communication can also be measured by the velocity with which somebody encodes, transmits and decodes a message. There are cultures which tend to be faster than other cultures.[68] Hall provides some examples of messages which are either slow or fast-paced (see table 2).

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Table 2: Fast vs. slow messages (source: Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p. 5).

For example, friendship is a slow message because it takes time to discover and develop it. Cultural communication problems can occur between cultures that have a different message speed. As a result, misunderstandings occur within communication. It is further important to stress that people are often not able to realise that other cultures have a different speed of messages.[69]

3.3. Hofstede’s 5 dimensions model

3.3.1. Scope of Hofstede’s 5 dimensions model

Hofstede started his research during his time as a coordinator for personnel research at IBM[70], one of the largest MNCs for software development and consultancy in the world. Due to IBM’s very international business Hofstede got the chance to identify differences in cultures among its subsidiaries all over the world. With the help of over 100,000 interviews[71] he tried to visualise these differences for up to 50 different countries and 3 regions.[72]

Hofstede’s further developed definitions of culture differ a little from the general definitions provided in section 2.1. In comparison to organisational culture, which “is comprised of broad guidelines, which are rooted in organizational practices learned on the job”[73], the term national culture refers to “the values that distinguished countries from each other.”[74] He used this term to determine his dimensions to understand cultural differences among employees at different IBM locations and concluded that they change with employees’ nationality. He argues that it is easier to collect information about nations than any other form of clustering because countries normally provide a sufficient amount of data about their population.[75] To identify cultural differences and their effect on marketing this study will use the concept of national culture as the basis of analysis.

Due to the large amount of information he could generate from his interviews, Hofstede identified the first four dimensions: power distance (PDI), individualisms versus collectivism (IDV), masculinity versus femininity (MAS) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI).[76] He further introduced a fifth dimension called long-term orientation, which was based on research efforts by the Canadian Michael H. Bond[77], who studied cultural patterns in Chinese and Eastern cultures.[78] Hofstede’s concept gives countries different scores on each of his dimensions, but he insists that these figures can only be used for analysis if they are compared with other countries.[79]

3.3.2. The 5 dimensions Power distance index

Hofstede’s first dimension, called power distance index or PDI, describes the distribution of power combined with the acceptance of inequality in a society. This aspect is mutual; it is supported both by bosses and by those in inferior positions in the hierarchy.[80] Although inequality occurs in several different areas like reputation, prosperity or power, Hofstede’s work derives from the relationship between a boss and subordinates in a company.[81] For example, managers in low PDI countries like Austria (see figure 5) expect

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Table 3: Power distance index (source: Cultural GPS Lite, Ipad Application, accessed 26.04.2012)

employees to actively participate in discussion. In return, these are less afraid of disagreeing with their boss, whereas managers from high PDI countries are more autocratic leaders and employees fear to disagree with them.[82] As is mentioned in section 3.3.1, Hofstede assembled scores of countries in an index in which each country scores differently. Figure 5 shows some examples of both directions. Countries that score high, e.g. the Philippines, accept inequality to a great degree, whereas countries with a low score like Austria promote equality.[83] Individualism versus Collectivism

The dimension of IDV is built on the so-called self-concept.[84] This concept deals with the way people prefer either to take care of themselves and, at most, their closest relatives, or rather live in a collectivistic community by ministering to others and to the entire community.[85] The term collectivism also has a political connotation, but according to Hofstede this is not part of the cultural dimension. It is rather meant to describe the power of the group.[86] If countries in this index score relatively high, people will be more individualistic, whereas cultures with low scores will be collectivistic. Figure 6 shows some examples of scores for the countries, which were also used in the power distance index in section

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Table 4: Individualism vs. collectivism (source: Cultural GPS Ipad Application, accessed 27.04.2012).

As seen in figure 6, Austria’s score lies in the middle, without any clear distinction between individualism and collectivism; so both characteristics can be found in Austria, people who endorse group behaviour and people who are individualists.[87]

This process also applies for the education of children. In individualistic countries children are educated to “think in terms of ‘I’”[88], whereas collectivistic societies teach “in terms of ‘we’”[89]. From tables 2 and 3 it can be deduced that there is a connection between PDI and IDV. Apart for some exceptions, these two dimensions are “negatively correlated.”[90] This signifies that most collectivistic countries also depend on a system with social inequality, for example represented by the patriarch of a large family. In contrast, individualistic countries do not need anybody else for their self-concept, because they are more independent.[91] Masculinity versus Femininity

A culture can have two different approaches or directions regarding the role of the sexes in society. National cultures can either have a masculinity or femininity orientation, which means that they behave in terms of one of the directions. Some behaviours are considered masculine, others feminine. In his research Hofstede determined several characteristics for both sexes in relation to the work environment. He defined male characteristics to include earnings, recognition, advancement and challenge whereas feminine behaviours include relationship to the manager, cooperation, living area and employment security. A more general approach is also introduced by Hofstede, who says that a society is more masculinity-oriented when roles within the society are clearly distributed[92], e.g. “men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life.”[93] A feminine society tends to have an overlap in the classic roles of men and women, hence both share similar concerns.[94]

Just as with the IDV dimension, countries score on a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 as the most feminine and 100 as the most masculine.[95] Countries that score low on this scale share characteristics like “quality of life, serving others, striving for consents, work in order to live, small and slow are beautiful, sympathy for the unfortunate.”[96] High score countries share characteristics such as “performance ambition, a need to excel, tendency to polarise, live in order to work, big and fast are beautiful, admiration for the successful achiever.”[97]

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Table 5: Masculinity vs. femininity (source: Cultural GPS Lite, Ipad Application, accessed 05.02.2012).

Table 3 provides an overview of from the scores of the same six countries as before. The differences in scores emphasises the fact that the masculinity vs. femininity dimensions does not have a significant segregation between well developed and under-developed countries or between Western and Eastern countries, as does the IDV dimension.[98]


[1] Levitt, T. (1983), p. 11.

[2] Trompenaars, F., Hampden-Turner, C. (1995).

[3] Cf. Oxford Dictionary (n.y.), http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/culture?q=Culture, accessed 04.04.2012.

[4] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 5.

[5] Cf. Kroeber, A.L, Kluckhohn, C. (1952).

[6] Hofstede, G. (2003), p.5.

[7] Kroeber, A.L, Kluckhohn, C. (1952) p. 105.

[8] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 5.

[9] Itim International (n.y.), http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html, accessed 04.04.2012.

[10] Hofstede, G. http://www.geerthofstede.eu/culture.aspx, accessed 04.04.2012.

[11] Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 19.

[12] Hall, E. (1976), p. 16.

[13] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 5.

[14] Trompenaars, F., Hampden-Turner, C. (1995), p. 6.

[15] Cf. Centre for Intercultural Learning (n.y.), http://www.international.gc.ca/cfsi-icse/cil-cai/magazine/v02n01/doc3-eng.pdf, accessed 06.07.2012.

[16] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 9.

[17] Trompenaars, F. (1995), p. 8.

[18] Sela-Sheffy, R., Shlesinger, M. (2011), p. 194.

[19] Cf. Bradley, F. (2002), Cateora, P.R, Graham, J.L. (2002), Hall, E.T., Hall, M. (1990).

[20] Cf. Soares, A.M, Farhangmehr, M., Shoham, A. (2007), p. 280.

[21] Hofstede,G. (2011), http://www.international.gc.ca/cfsi-icse/cil-cai/magazine/v02n03/1-3-eng.asp, accessed 07.04.2012.

[22] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2011), http://www.international.gc.ca/cfsi-icse/cil-cai/magazine/v02n03/1-3-eng.asp, accessed 07.04.2012.

[23] Lee, J.A. (1966), p. 106.

[24] Shankarmahesh , M. (2006), p. 149.

[25] Sumner, G.A. (1906), p. 13.

[26] Shimp, A, Sharma, S. (1987), p. 280.

[27] Cf. Shimp, A, Sharma, S. (1987), p. 280.

[28] Shimp, A, Sharma, S. (1987), p. 280.

[29] Frericks, R. (n.y.), http://lehrerfortbildung-bw.de/bs/bsa/bgym/kompcult/culpat/hall.htm, accessed 17.04.2012.

[30] Cf. Hall, E. (1976), p. 13.

[31] Hall, E. (1967) p. 14.

[32] Cf. Oxford Dictionary, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dimension?q=dimensions, accessed 17.04.2012.

[33] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2003), http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dimension, accessed 17.04.2012.

[34] Cf. Maurer, H. http://www.mahag.com/allg/dimens.php, accessed 17.04.2012.

[35] Appadurai, A. (2003), p. 12.

[36] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 14.

[37] Cf. Hall, E. (1976), p. xiii.

[38] Cf. Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 46.

[39] Cf. Xie, A., et. al. (2008), p. 3.

[40] Cf. Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 46.

[41] O’Connell, J. (1997), p. 60.

[42] Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 47.

[43] Adler, N.J. (2004), p. 2.

[44] Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p. 6.

[45] Cf. Ford, D., Moore III, J, Milner, R. (2005), p. 101.

[46] Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 48.

[47] Cf. Pistillo, G. (2003), http://www.immi.se/jicc/index.php/jicc/article/view/135/103and, accessed 24.04.2012.

[48] Cf. Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 48.

[49] Hall, E. (1976), p. 91.

[50] Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 48.

[51] Hall, E. (1976), p. 91.

[52] Wederspahn, G. (2000), p. 48.

[53] Hall, E. (1990), p. 7.

[54] Cf. Hall, E. (1976), p. 91-92.

[55] Cf. Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p.10.

[56] Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p.11.

[57] Cf. Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p. 11.

[58] Cf. Hall, E. (1981), p. 158 ff.

[59] Cf. Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p. 10f.

[60] Ibid, p. 13.

[61] Samovar, L., Porter, R, McDaniel, E. (2012), p. 313.

[62] de Mooij, M. (2010), p.73.

[63] Ibid. p.73.

[64] Cf. Usanier, J-C., Lee, J.A. (2009), p. 20.

[65] Ibid, p. 20.

[66] Cf. Hall, E., Hall, M. (1990), p. 13ff.

[67] Cf. Hall, E. (1981), p. 152.

[68] Cf. Müller, S., Gelbrich, K. (2004), p. 369f.

[69] Cf. Emrich, Ch. (2009), p. 62.

[70] Cf. Schmidt, P. (2010), p. 5.

[71] Cf. Hofstede, G. (1980), p. 11.

[72] Cf. Itim International (n.y.), http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html, accessed 23.04.2012.

[73] ITAP International (n.y.), http://itapintl.com/whoweare/news/146-organizational-culture-and-national-culture-whats-the-difference-and-why-does-it-matter-.html?lang=, accessed 23.03.2012.

[74] Itim International (n.y.), http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html, accessed 23.04.2012.

[75] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 12.

[76] Cf. Itim International (n.y.), http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html, accessed 26.04.2012.

[77] Cf. Bond, M.H. (1988), p. 1009–1015.

[78] Cf. Hofstede, G (2003), p. 12.

[79] Cf. Hofstede, G. (n.y.) http://www.geerthofstede.nl/dimensions-of-national-cultures, accessed 24.04.2012.

[80] Cf. Hofstede, G. (n.y.), http://www.geerthofstede.nl/dimensions-of-national-cultures, accessed 27.04.2012.

[81] Cf. Hofstede, G. (1980), p. 92f.

[82] Ibid, p.118ff.

[83] Cf. Cultural GPS Lite, iPad application, accessed 27.04.2012.

[84] Hofstede, G. (1980), p. 215.

[85] Cf. Itim International (n.y.), http://geert-hofstede.com/dimensions.html, accessed 27.04.2012.

[86] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 50.

[87] Cf. Hofstede, G. (1980), p. 230.

[88] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 67.

[89] Ibid. p.67.

[90] Ibid, p.54.

[91] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 55.

[92] Ibid, p. 80ff.

[93] Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 82.

[94] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 82f.

[95] Cf. Hofstede, G. (1980), p. 278.

[96] Cultural GPS Lite, iPad application, accessed 28.04.2012.

[97] Ibid, accessed 28.04.2012.

[98] Cf. Hofstede, G. (2003), p. 84.


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International Marketing and Global Marketing Standardization vs. Adaptation Cultural Differences USA / Germany Edward T. Hall Geert Hofstede


Matthias Boeing, B.A., born in 1990 in Dorsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Management from the FOM University of Applied Sciences in Essen in 2012. At the same time he completed an apprenticeship in 2011 as an industrial business assistant at E.ON Ruhrgas AG in Essen and was further employed giving him the chance to gain extensive experience in the sales department. The author also studied one semester at Boston University in the USA, where he acquired knowledge about cultural differences in academic courses as well as in the direct contact to various different cultures. This aspect also contributes to his interest in different cultures and their effects on business topics. The author is currently attending the University of York, UK to achieve his Master of Science in International Business and Strategic Management.

Title: Analysis of Cultural Differences and their Effects on Marketing Products in the United States of America and Germany: A Cultural Approach to Marketing using Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede