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Question:
Discuss about the Report for Issuses In International Business of Nation Branding.

 
Answer:
Introduction:

Culture of a country reflects the way people think and behave. Understanding the culture is important to create a significant value for effective and successful communication. On the other hand, ignorance can result in creation of a cultural barrier that would have a detrimental effect on any kind of activities (Cavusgil et al., 2014). When it comes to a company to operate in another nation rather its home country, it is important for the company to be completely aware of the clearly distinct nature of culture of the host country.

The report is based on a market cultural report of United Kingdom. The paper will analyze the cultural values of United Kingdom that has been selected as the host country for this report. A detail analysis of the unique cultural components of the host country will be done. In addition to this, a comparison of the host country with respect to the home country, Singapore will also be carried on. Based on the analysis a conclusion will be drawn that would narrate the important features that a company must undertake to operate in the market of United Kingdom.

Rationale of selecting United Kingdom as the host country:

United Kingdom has been selected as the host country for the analysis of this report because this country holds great importance in terms of its business and culture. United Kingdom has that colonial history that the world has witnessed. There is no doubt that British culture has influenced the world largely (Geppert, Matten & Williams, 2016). UK is also the base for a huge number of manufacturing companies and industries. The country stands at 5th position in terms of it GDP. In terms of tourism, London is the most desirable place for tourists’ destination. UK truly has that cultural heritage that can attract anyone towards its culture. This is the reason for selecting United Kingdom as the host country and as a case study for this report.

Some of my relatives also reside in UK and they have adopted the European culture. I like their culture and their social aspects. I have even plans for going on a tour to London and other places of UK. These are the reasons that attracted me towards the country and I preferred to select United Kingdom as the host country.

 
Cultural analysis of United Kingdom:

UK has its own cultural heritage and identity. British people have their own dress style, food and language and some tradition that has different standard of morality (Ball et al., 2012). In the modern world due to increasing immigration, most of the ethnic groups of people have been found to live with British people.

United Kingdom consists of four countries, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. However, a strong sense of nationalism and identity is felt among the population of these four nations. United Kingdom has a class system. However, this divisional characteristic has been found to faint in past decades (MacDonald & Coffield, 2015).  People from various backgrounds have greater access to higher education and have been found to level the difference of the class-based division. Consequently, division of class no longer depends on the possession of wealth or education.  

A unique culture consists of five basic components such as language, culture, custom, etiquette and values. UK has a unique cultural identity. As per 2014 statistics, population of UK is 63,742,970 that include a mixture of various ethnic groups such as English (83.7%), Scottish (8.5%), Welsh (5%), and Northern Irish (3%). The country also has immigrants that include black American, Indian, Pakistani and other mixed races (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). Majority of people, about 70% are Christian that includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodists along with Muslims, Hindu. Therefore, a multicultural environment has been created in the country.

The constitution of UK does not predominantly state any official language for the country. English is the main language and majority of people speaks it. It is for this reason that English is the de facto official language of UK.  Other native languages include Welsh, Irish, Gaelic, Cornish and Ulster Scots (Meyer, 2014). In addition to these, the immigrants have brought various foreign languages from around the globe.

 
Unique cultural components of UK:

Corporate and social responsibilities: Corporate social responsibilities have been becoming very vital for businesses in UK. People of UK are mainly concern about three major workplace issues. These are:

  • Work place issues that include work life balance, right employment and basic human rights
  • Community distribution regarding big societies and social justice
  • The environment that focuses on sustainability of resources (Gangestad & Simpson, (2016)

The nation has even subscribed to the Millennium Goals of the United Nations to achieve the business goals. Even the UK government supports these CSR activities by the means of breaking taxes and encouraging charity. United Kingdom has been substantially found to reduce the industrial waste for sustainability purpose.

Greetings and meetings: People of UK like to greet people with their first name rather than using their last name or family surname. They always add Miss or Mr. with the name as a symbol of their culture. If British Etiquette and Customs are to be considered, they meet people and greet them with a handshake (Bowley, 2016). They believe in exchanging gifts in festive occasions like Christmas and New Year. The gifts need not to be expensive. They like to celebrate with family members at their home rather than being outside.

Time and punctuality: People of UK over-value time and punctuality. Unlike other Nations where participants of a meeting happen to arrive late, chances of people of UK are to arrive before time. However, their punctuality should not be confused with the fact that they are rushing in life.

Body language and dress code: People of UK believe in over dressing than giving a poor impression on the people in meeting. Denims are not acceptable and the professionals even have some kind of specified uniform (Greenfield, 2013). They do not prefer any kind of informal look and still believes in being a gentle man or a lady. When in office, they always prefer to maintain that formal attitude that is suitable for a work culture.

 
Business culture of UK in contrast to other countries

If certain unique cultural perspectives are to be considered, it can be said that British people are very reserved and conservatives. Privacy is very important for them and they respect others’ privacy. In terms of business culture, people of UK show certain etiquette and protocol. If punctuality of the people is concerned, then it is better to postpone or cancel the meeting rather than arriving late for the meeting (Bakir et al., 2015). In major other countries people are usually greeted with their last name or surname in Business or professional meetings but the scenario is different for UK professionals. There is also tradition of exchanging gifts if business meetings in other countries like United States or Singapore just like United Kingdom. However, for People of UK, it is a token of gesture to express thanks to the business counterparts (Minkov & Hofstede, 2012). Unlike culture of other countries where business meetings are held in corporate style, people of UK might send an invitation for dinner at home if they wanted to develop a relationship beyond business. These factors are very important for a foreign company to take into consideration.

People of UK also follow a classical and conservative dress code for business or corporate meetings. Both men and women prefer to wear dark colored clothes. This also distinguishes from other countries’ tradition where people wearing a white shirt depict formal attire. In other countries where multinational companies are coming out of t6he formal look in the office and opting for a semi-formal or smart casual approach towards dress code, people of UK still believes in properly dressed and presentable manner in arriving at a meeting (Dartey-Baah, 2013). In addition to all these inherited qualities, they also value the sense of fairness and honesty in their business dealings. The Nation has recorded and always top listed among the International Corruption Perception Index that compared the corruption level of other countries of the World. The risk of getting caught in cases of corruption and bribery is very high and it is strongly advisable not to bribe anyone in United Kingdom.

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions:

The widely used framework for categorizing cultures of different Nations was developed by Greet Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist. The most important cultural dimension identified by him was power distance. According to him, it is the power distance that that reinforces the fact of cultural status in the society. As pointed out by Dissanayake et al., (2015), that there always remains a cultural difference in the hierarchy of the people in an organization, there also exists a similar cultural and difference in status in different countries and culture. The second dimension identified by Hofstede was the idea of individualism or collectivism. According to his view, people of an individual nation such as UK always maintain a loose social culture (Hofstede, 2013). These characteristics are achieved by mere means of independence, the importance of an individual’s personal right and recognition of personal achievements. On the other hand, members of collectivist society always distinguish between the members of in-group and out-group. Third dimension has been termed as uncertainty avoidance that concerns the willingness of a particular culture to adopt the ambiguous and risky situation of a culture. Therefore, it is important to embrace new approaches or getting engaged in various entrepreneurial activities. Lastly, the fourth dimension identifies the difference based on masculinity or femininity. In some cultures, masculinity culture is found to be more dominating than femininity (Shore, 2013).

 
Things to be considered by a foreign company:

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a cross-cultural communication framework that describes the effect of a society’s culture on the values of the members of the country. These values on the other hand relate to the behavior of people of that country. If the culture of UK is to be considered, it can be said that there is no discrimination between masculine and feminine gender (Banks, 2015). People are very caring and they believe in keeping a personal relationship with each other. When a foreign company takes an initiative to carry business in United Kingdom, it is important for them to understand and abide by the cultural norms of the nation. UK has their specific and prominent culture that has to be understood by people. People of UK maintain a hierarchy in the business culture. It is for this reason that companies, which have been running from generations, are more welcomed in UK (Dinnie, 2015). The companies must be well structured and should follow well designed strategies to operate in the UK market.

Other general characteristics include certain etiquette and general advice like respecting women and arriving to service to women whenever it is acceptable (Smith, 2013). People of UK always prefer keep things personal and it is advisable to keep business meetings limited to business culture and not to involve any kind of personal interaction with others.

Conclusion:

By the end of the discussion, it can be said that each and every country is distinguished based on their culture. It is very important to respect and abide by the cultures of the host country if a company is willing to business there. In case of UK, there is no doubt that the people have a distinguished work culture that is different from other countries of the World. It is important to respect that culture if a company wants to market in that place. Failing to adhere by the culture, it might result unfavorable conditions and the company might not perform the way as it had aimed to do. Understanding the culture of home country and recognizing the culture of the host country is important. In order to operate in other host country, it is advisable to adopt to their culture.

 
Reference list:

Bakir, A., Blodgett, J. G., Vitell, S. J., & Rose, G. M. (2015). A preliminary investigation of the reliability and validity of Hofstede’s cross cultural dimensions. In Proceedings of the 2000 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 226-232). Springer International Publishing.

Ball, D., Geringer, M., Minor, M., & McNett, J. (2012). International business. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Banks, J. A. (2015). Cultural diversity and education. Routledge.

Bowley, A. L. (2016). Wages and Income in the United Kingdom since 1860. Cambridge University Press.

Cavusgil, S. T., Knight, G., Riesenberger, J. R., Rammal, H. G., & Rose, E. L. (2014). International business. Pearson Australia.

Dartey-Baah, K. (2013). The Cultural Approach to the Management of the International Human Resource: An Analysis of Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions. International Journal of Business Administration, 4(2), 39.

Dinnie, K. (2015). Nation branding: concepts, issues, practice. Routledge.

Dissanayake, D. M. S. B., Niroshan, W. W. A. E., Nisansala, M. H., Rangani, M. L. D., Samarathunga, S. K. R. A., Subasinghe, S. E. I., ... & Wickramasinghe, M. B. (2015). Cultural comparison in Asian countries: An Application of Greet Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions.

Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2015). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Nelson Education.

Gangestad, S. W., & Simpson, J. A. (Eds.). (2016). The evolution of mind: Fundamental questions and controversies. Guilford Publications.

Geppert, M., Matten, D., & Williams, K. (Eds.). (2016). Challenges for European management in a global context: Experiences from Britain and Germany. Springer.

Greenfield, P. M. (2013). The changing psychology of culture from 1800 through 2000. Psychological science, 24(9), 1722-1731.

Hofstede, G. "National Culture comparison (2nd January 2013)‘Comparison between national cultures of Ecuador, Denmark, and Sweden in accordance with the cultural dimensions by Prof. Geert Hofstede’." (2013).

MacDonald, R., & Coffield, F. (2015). Risky business?: youth and the enterprise culture. Routledge.

Meyer, E. (2014). The culture map: Breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business. PublicAffairs.

Minkov, M., & Hofstede, G. (2012). Cross-cultural analysis: the science and art of comparing the world's modern societies and their cultures. Sage.

Shore, C. (2013). Building Europe: The cultural politics of European integration. Routledge.

Smith, A. D. (2013). Nationalism: Theory, ideology, history. John Wiley & Sons.

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