Researchin Sociology: Cultural Differences When Expanding Globally
Researchin Sociology: Cultural Differences When Expanding Globally
Wendy`sis one of the popular American chain restaurants and it hasoperations in the local and the international markets. The firm hasbeen expanding in the foreign countries by opening new stores andcollaborating with franchisees. However, the efforts made by itsmanagement to enter the international market have been frustrated bycultural differences between the U.S. and the target regions. Forexample, International Business Guide (2016) reported that Wendy’shad failed to make the foreign customers fall in love with its“greasy goodness”, which resulted in the closure of about 71stores in 2009. This description of the situation is an indication ofthe cultural differences between consumers in the U.S., where Wendy’shas been operating for many years and those in Japan. Conductingresearch before expanding into foreign markets can increase thesuccess of the company (Heirsmac, 2015). This paper will addressreasons why people fail to appreciate the cultural viewpoints ofothers.
Factorsthat make it Difficult to Appreciate Other People’s Culture
Thereare three key factors that limit the capacity of people to appreciatethe cultural viewpoints of others. First, individuals from somecommunities are ignorant of the potential benefits that they couldenjoy by trying to find value in traditional practices of othergroups. By appreciating various cultures, people get the opportunityto share the positive aspects of the customs held by communities(Laroche, 2012). For example, consumers from Japan can enjoy the foodproducts that are consumed in the U.S. People with closed-mind findit difficult to appreciate the cultural practices of othercommunities.
Secondly,the perception that one’s culture is superior reduces the capacityto appreciate the traditional practices of others. Many people tendto believe that the customs held by their communities are better thanthose that are brought to their countries by foreigners. People whoare affected by the aspect of superiority close their mind and refuseto appreciate new cultures. For an instant, the Japanese customersare highly influenced by religion, unlike those held by the U.S.citizens (Hendry, 2012). Each of the two communities tends to believethat its traditional practices are superior. This trend makes itdifficult for companies from the U.S. to succeed in the Japanesemarket.
Third,the fear of strange things is among the key factors that limit theability of people to appreciate cultures of other people. Individualswho have been accustomed to a given traditional belief are unable toadapt to a new lifestyle. People who fear strange things may react tothem in different ways. For example, they may ignore, deny, or attackthem. In most cases, tolerance is confused with acceptance. Manycommunities in the modern world encourage people to accommodate thosefrom different cultural backgrounds, but this does not mean that theyhave adopted their practices (Beaman, 2012). For example, toleratingthe kind of food taken by the western communities does not imply thatAsian people are willing to consume the same products. This trendexplains the scenario in which many U.S. restaurants have failed tosucceed or meet the expected levels of growth in the Japan, in spiteof the fact that the consumers in these foreign markets do not showany sign of negative reaction to the type of brands that they offer.Therefore, tolerance does not mean acceptance.
Effectof Appreciating Cultural Diversity on Effective Communication
Communicationis a significant process that enables people to share their ideas,but it can be affected negatively by cultural differences.Traditional beliefs determine the way individual members of thesociety translate the messages. Cultural differences increasemisunderstandings between the communicating parties, which imply thatthey serve as potential barriers of an effective process of sharinginformation (Lerner, Li, Valdesolo & Kassam, 2014). However,these negative effects can be minimized by appreciating thediversity. By finding value in the traditional practices of others,it becomes easier for individuals to develop an interest in what theyintend to mean when sharing messages. The idea of appreciatingdiversity means that people are willing to respect, interact, andwork with people from cultural backgrounds that are different fromtheir own.
Theappreciation of diversity facilitates effective communication inthree ways. First, it reduces behavior constraints that limit theability of the parties to interpret messages correctly (Lerner etal.,2014). Each traditional group has a set of rules that determine howits people apply verbal as well as non-verbal cues. The capacity ofan individual to appreciate these differences makes it easy tounderstand one another.
Secondly,the ability to appreciate diversity helps people overcome emotionalconstraints that tend to prevent effective communication. Traditionalgroups regulate the way their members express their inner feelings indissimilar ways (Lerner etal.,2014). The negative effects of these differences can be reduced byappreciating the fact that individuals have different ways of showingemotions, which will make it possible for people from differentcultural groups to share information effectively.
Culturalpractices affect the capacity of companies to succeed in foreignmarkets. The values and customs held in different regions have adirect impact on the level of effectiveness with which parties areable to communicate. However, the barriers associated with thisconstraint can be resolved by appreciating the diversity and cultureof others.
Thegroup provided an insight into how failure to appreciate the culturaldifferences limits effectiveness in communication. Beliefs andcustoms have a significant influence on the way people shareinformation. Behavior, cognition, and emotion differ from onecultural group to another, and they determine the level ofeffectiveness in communication. The company should understand thesefactors before expanding their operations in the foreign markets. Thegroup suggests that appreciating these differences can go a long wayin addressing the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional constraintsthat affect communication between individuals from different culturalbackgrounds.
StepsTo Ensure a Successful Expansion
Thereare two key strategies that can enable Wendy’s to ensure thesuccess of its expansion in the international market. First, therestaurant should conduct research on the cultural practices of thepeople in the regions in which it aims to invest. An effectiveresearch can help Wendy’s understand the tastes of the consumers inthe target market segments (Heirsmac, 2015). This strategy will helpthe company avoid the risk of delivering meals that do not appeal tocustomers. Most importantly, research findings will increase thecultural awareness of the company, which will enable it to decidewhether they should invest in the foreign market and the scale withwhich they should expand.
Secondly,Wendy’s restaurant company can address the challenges associatedwith cultural differences by recruiting expert and members of stafffrom the local markets in which they intend to enter. Employees whoare sourced from the domestic labor market understand traditionalpractices of customers (Heirsmac, 2015). Wendy’s can rely on thesemembers of staff to develop strategic plans for its expansion. Theemployees can also be requested to train those from the U.S. in orderto ensure that the services delivered by the restaurant areconsistent with the cultural beliefs of the customers in the foreignmarket.
Inconclusion, adequate preparation can increase the success of acompany that intends to grow by investing in the foreign markets. Thecompany can conduct research on the cultural practices of the peoplein the target regions.
Beaman,G. (2012). Reasonableaccommodation: Managing religious diversity.Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.
Hendry,J. (2012). UnderstandingJapanese society.Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
Heirsmac,P. (2015). Impact of cross cultural factors on expatriate’seffective execution of international assignments. InternationalJournal of Management Sciences and Business Research,4 (12), 52-62.
InternationalBusiness Guide (2016). 10 successful American businesses that havefailed overseas. InternationalBusiness Guide.Retrieved January 1, 2017, fromhttp://www.internationalbusinessguide.org/10-successful-american-businesses-that-have-failed-overseas/
Laroche,L. (2012). Managingcultural diversity in technical professions.Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
Lerner,S., Li, Y., Valdesolo, P. & Kassam, S. (2014). Emotion anddecision making. AnnualReview of Psychology,66, 1-33.