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McDonalds Cross-Cultural Analysis Essay


The Internet has made the world a smaller place, especially when it comes to online business – it’s now just as easy for a company to attract customers in Nairobi as it is in Nevada. This technological globalization doesn’t translate to cultural homogeneity, though–while you might be able to find a McDonalds in nearly every city on earth now, that doesn’t mean that every city eats and thinks and shops in the same way. Every national and cultural group in the world retains its own language, its own metaphors, its own identity, and thus, its own way of shopping. At about the same pace as the popularity of the Internet increased, visions flourished of the World Wide Web as a tool for bringing the world together. The marketing world in particular quickly embraced the Internet as an ideal medium for reaching beyond domestic markets in order to disseminate products to foreign markets. By understanding how communication styles may be reflected on websites, we come a step further towards identifying, and subsequently realizing the potentials of, the interactive nature of the Internet.

This would be rewarding not only from the marketing perspective, but also for those organizations that are working on bringing the world closer together through dialogue. Intercultural communication competence, as Chen and Starosta [1] note, is imperative for human progress, and it is by studying communication styles and understanding how to use them that we may be able to communicate more clearly, and promote dialogue between “us” and “them.” The interactive and global nature of the Internet has fostered many visions of mutual understanding among cultures, although the means for achieving this are still at a very early, exploratory stage.

A number of studies on the relationship between website design and cultural dimensions have been conducted. Studies like Marcus and Gould [2] and Sheridan [3] analyzed both commercial and non-commercial websites in an effort to identify relationships between Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and visual presentation on the. In this work also were used Hofsted’s researches[4, 5], mainly his typology of cultures that is the most widely accepted and frequently cited theories. Also Hall’s description of some cultural dimensions was used [1, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Kluckhohn’s and Strodtbeck’s ‘Variations in value orientations’[11], Gudykunst’s [12] and Lewis’s [13] researches devoted to cultural specifics of different countries are mentioned in this study. In this work we will try to analyze the effectiveness of communication between company and customers on current websites of McDonald’s in the next five countries: Ukraine, Russia, Germany, America and Canada; and make some recommendations how to improve them according to their cultural specifics.

1 Theoretical Issues and Ideas

1.1 Website as Method of Communication between Company and Its Customers

The Internet becomes more and more popular all over the world. People use it for communication, business or just to look for the information they need. The Internet is a truly global thing. Growing importance of Internet is making communication through websites between companies and customers more and more significant. The Internet environment is not only a simple tool to promote a business, but it also offers opportunities to supply information; it is an efficient platform to communicate with the clients. It’s great opportunity for companies to get feedback from their customers; attract them and improve the vision of the company. Significant result of effective communication is improved branding. If the message or purpose of the company is communicated effectively to visitors, it will leave an impression on them that will help form their image of the company. Branding is important online and off, and the messages being sent are a major factor. Website is cost effective, paper free communication. Using website, company can reach the wider audience and it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it can distribute information internally within the organization, as well as to share information with business partners, clients and suppliers. New customers will be able to locate company and company’s information and will always know where to contact the company. [14]]

Company can inform customers about changes, sales, bonus campaigns, etc.; gain valuable market research, to build trust and finally reduce printing and mailing costs. A professional-looking site can help company to be taken seriously and build credibility and trust. Many consumers search for information online before purchasing at a physical store; company’s site can make a good first impression on a potential customer. At the same time customers can express their attitude towards company, their wishes and judgments about different campaigns or products proposed by the company. Developing a web-site makes it possible a very good communication with the clients and this leads, finally, to a constant adaptation of the company’s offer to the continuously changing customers’ requests. The most efficient web-site is the one that is integrated into company’s informatics system. By creating its own website, a company gets the possibility to influence in a positive way, the evolution of its activity. This way, the company becomes more efficient, with a more flexible internal functionality, more careful with the customers’ needs and expectations.[15]

1.2 McDonald’s Corporation

McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries, and there is the same number of websites nowadays. Currently 1.7 million people work for Brand McDonald’s. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948 they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand using production line principles. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955. He subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers and oversaw its worldwide growth. A McDonald’s restaurant is operated by either a franchisee, an affiliate, or the corporation itself. The corporation’s revenues come from the rent, royalties and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. McDonald’s primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, shakes and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, wraps, smoothies and fruit.

McDonald’s has a charity organization Ronald McDonald House Charities which functions in 52 countries. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is an independent organization whose mission is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children across the world. Programs are grass-roots driven to enable the Charity to offer help where children need it most—right in their own communities. RMHC has three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. McDonald’s started its global diversity journey by creating the Global Women’s Initiative in 2009. This initiative is active in all of McDonald’s operating areas of the world and is sponsored globally by Don Thompson, McDonald’s COO. In each part of the world, this initiative supports the recruitment, development, and advancement of women at all levels of the company while creating a culture where women have the opportunity to succeed and grow. In 2011, the Catalyst organization recognized the Global Women’s Initiative as an innovative and systemic means through which women can thrive in the McDonald’s system and awarded the company the prestigious Catalyst Award. As a result of the global concentration, women’s business networks have been formed and have quickly grown. McDonald’s has for decades maintained an extensive advertising campaign.

In addition to the usual media (television, radio, and newspaper), the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, sponsors sporting events ranging from Little League to the Olympic Games, and makes coolers of orange drink with its logo available for local events of all kinds. Nonetheless, television has always played a central role in the company’s advertising strategy. ‘I’m lovin’ it’ is an international branding campaign by McDonald’s Corporation. It was created by Heye & Partner, a longtime McDonald’s agency based in Unterhaching, Germany. It was the company’s first global advertising campaign and was launched in Munich, Germany on September 2, 2003, under the German title ‘ich liebe es’. The English part of the campaign was launched in Australia on September 21, 2003, the UK on September 17, 2003, and in the USA on September 29, 2003 with the music of Tom Batoy and Franco Tortora and vocals by Justin Timberlake, in which the slogan appears. In 2007, after a public casting call which received 15,000 submissions, McDonald’s selected 24 people to appear as part of the campaign. Images of those chosen, who had submitted a story and digital photograph which “captured … themes of inspiration, passion and fun,” appeared on McDonald’s paper bags and cups worldwide [16].

1.3 Analysis’s Criteria

In this study is used the collectivism versus individualism dimension, which was proposed by Geert Hofstede. Individualism is the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Values in collectivistic cultures include training, physical condition and the use of skills whereas in individualistic cultures values are personal time, freedom and challenge. Another of Hofstede’s dimensions is power distance. This dimension expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The fundamental issue here is how a society handles inequalities among people. People in societies exhibiting a large degree of power distance accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In societies with low power distance, people strive to equalize the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power [17].

In F. Trompenaar’s interpretation there are the next cultural factors: equality and hierarchy. Equality corresponds with low power distance and hierarchy with high power distance. Equality is about all people having equal status. It assumes we all have equal rights, irrespective of birth or other gift. Hierarchy is about people being superior to others. It assumes that order happens when few are in charges and others obey through the scalar chain of command [18]. One more dimension is uncertainty avoidance. According to G. Hofstede uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, and different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’ . The next criterion used in analysis is high and low context of culture, which was found by E. Hall. Hall observed that “meaning and context are inextricably bound up with each other” [19], and suggested that to understand communication one should look at meaning and context together with the code (i.e., the words themselves).

By context, we refer to the situation, background, or environment connected to an event, a situation, or an individual. When communication is high-context, it is not only the non-verbal and para-verbal communication that comes into play. High-context communication draws on physical aspects as well as the time and situation in which the communication takes place, not to mention the relationship between the interlocutors. The closer the relationship, the more high-context the communication tends to be, drawing on the shared knowledge of the communicating parties. Gudykunst identified high-context communication to be indirect, ambiguous, maintaining of harmony, reserved and understated. In contrast, low-context communication was identified as direct, precise, dramatic, open, and based on feelings or true intentions. The next Hall’s cultural factor used is time. There are two types of time: monochronic time and polychronic time. Monochronic, as he called it M-Time, means doing one thing at a time. It assumes careful planning and scheduling and is a familiar Western approach that appears in disciplines such as ‘time management’. Monochronic people tend also to be low context. In Polychronic cultures, human interaction is valued over time and material things, leading to a lesser concern for ‘getting things done’ – they do get done, but more in their own time.

Aboriginal and Native Americans have typical polychronic cultures, where ‘talking stick’ meetings can go on for as long as somebody has something to say. Polychronic people tend also to be high context. According to Richard Lewis we can divide all cultures in three groups: monoactive, polactive and reactive. Monoactive cultures – it is cultures, where activity complies with clear planning and organized in definite orded, they do not approve distractions to other tasks and percept the time linearly. Polyactive cultures are people-oriented, talkative and communicative, can make several actions at ones. In reactive cultures activity depends on changing situation and appears to be a reaction on these changes. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck did some germinal work in drawing up a conceptual map which tried to include the complete range of values which it is possible for human beings to hold in relation to five key issues about which all human beings hold opinions.

Postulated range of variations
Human nature
mix of good and evil

subjugation to nature
harmony with nature
mastery over nature
being in becoming

2 Communicative Effectiveness of the Company Website in Various Countries

2.1 McDonald’s Site for Ukrainian Customers

Ukrainian culture is more likely to be high-context than low context. By Hall high-context communication involves “more of the information in the physical context or internalized in the person”, that is why this cultures usually use more imagery and less text, people are expected to read between the lines and greater confidence is placed in the non-verbal aspects of communication. These features are notably represented on the ‘Ukrainian’ website: one can view the process of preparing food in stage by stage pictures with minimum accompanying text. One more example is a list of suppliers shown as a table of logotypes of these companies. Also the main page contains illustrations of dishes moving through the screen; links to other pages are given as small pictures connected with their content, for example if you want to go to the page where you can find more about quality of milk you should click the picture of a cow. So this site communicates by means of links and information stated in a limited amount of text with illustrations. This gives not very transparent overview of the content in the website and often requires that the user finds out the information placing the cursor over the link to reveal more content before finally clicking this link.

The term transparency is borrowed from the usability field. Basing on the “Variations in Value Orientations” Ukrainians perceive an individual as a mixture of bad and good features. According to Terri Morrison the level of trust is rather low: the Ukrainians are suspicious of other people and along with it they are likely to rely on objective factual information , based on their own experience [20]. There are a large amount of information devoted to the quality of milk and each component of food such as its composition and great diversity of food quality certificates. One more interesting feature is presence of variety of graphs which reflect the results of polls after Doors Open Day (DOD). But people in our country do not believe this information, they think it can be falsified and that the company deceives them just to gain profit. This part of content doesn’t work effectively. By Marcus & Gould strong focus on expertise, authority, certifications, official stamps or logos can be explained by high power distance. In addition the site contains a special section which describes you how to apply for participation in DOD and provides you with a video of the previous excursions. These features may appeal to relatively high level of uncertainty avoidance in Ukraine.

2.2 McDonald’s Site for Russian Customers

Russia is collectivistic culture – it’s one of dimensions found be Geert Hofstede, which is characterized by tight social frameworks in which people distinguish between groups. The site promotes collectivistic values; it is reflected in the imagery of the website, such as images of the groups of people who involved in various activities like dancing, singing, coffee drinking and doing some sports. Values in collectivistic cultures include training and physical condition. ‘Russian’ website includes special section called ‘be active’, which offers different physical exercises for boys and girls and contains sets of photographs of competitions navigated in various cities. Russian culture is relatively high-context which according to E. Hall means that the most of the information is already in the person, while very little is in the explicit, transmitted part of the message. Using this feature towards website a lot of animations and pictures are expected, and we can find a lot of them on the ‘Russian’ site. Animation effects are represented almost on each page and a lot of photos and bright, eye catching images are also placed. The power distance dimension offered by G. Hofstede is apparent in hierarchical structure of the website.

According to Marcus and Gould high power distance is reflected in tall hierarchical website structures, either through the implementation of many pages with unstructured layout, or the opening of new browser windows for new pages, instead of the same browser window. This description completely depicts the structure of ‘Russian ’site: there are many sidebars and menus, new browser window opens for each new page. The homepage features a large collection of links, and describes clearly what lays behind them though the use of headings, subheadings and illustrations. This makes it possible for the visitor to find what he or she interested in immediately, navigation schemes intended to prevent users from becoming lost. These features may appeal to two different parameters: high uncertainty avoidance proposed by G. Hofstede to explain a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; and by Lewis R.D. polyactivity – impatience and willingness to act quickly.

2.3 McDonald’s Site for German Customers

German culture is more likely to be individualistic culture than collectivistic one, according to Geert Hofstede it means that individuals expected to be independent of others and look after themselves. We can see that pictures on the site promote individualistic values like personal time and freedom: individuals shown alone, enjoying themselves and usually products are placed with them. Individualistic culture is inclined to make a direct connection between the individual and the product. We can explain this effect by referring to Marcus and Gould, who suggested that the individualism and collectivism may influence the importance given to individuals versus products shown by themselves or in groups and that in individualism images demonstrated through materialism and consumerism. German is very low-context culture and as it explained by E. Hall more explanation is needed and very little is taken for granted in this cultures.

As we can see the ‘German’ website is full of text information and large amount of wordage is used on each page, whilst only two pages have animated effects and on some pages the imagery is very poor. ‘German’ website can be described as a very transparent site, which may also appeal to the low context of this culture; so it provides a detailed overview of the rest of the site on the homepage and each subheading has a small picture corresponding with the content of relevant page. It can also be explained by high uncertainty avoidance – there are attempts to reveal or forecast the results of implications of actions before users act. Navigation through the site is linear and new pages constantly open in the same browser window – this appeals to monoactivity of German culture, which by R. Lewis means that it can make only one action during definite time. In German time is monochronic and special attention devoted to the speed of actions; website with the structure mentioned above is not goal-oriented and users are expected to be willing to explore the site and seek for information. Social roles are not used to organize the information it means that all sections are obvious to all users and not sealed off from them; prominence given to customers and employees – these features may appeal to the relatively low power distance.

2.4 McDonald’s Site for American Customers

In contrast to Ukrainian American is low-context culture. M. Hall described low-context cultures as those in which “the mass of information is vested in the explicit code” that is why these cultures are identified, direct, precise, dramatic, open, and basing on feelings or true intentions, people don’t communicate with gestures, the meaning depends on content and the spoken word, what means a verbal communication. These features are represented on the ‘American’ website: one can read a lot of information about different kinds of hamburgers, which is presented with text and with fewer occurrences of animations. Website is kept as practical as possible and has direct sources of information, for example additional information about components contained in food is placed below the page as boxes in which you can see the process of growth of this components and an information about it, and when you click this box a new page opens and the information appear as text without illustrations.

One more example is that only the main page consists of heavy images, pop-up effects, moving elements which accompanied by scaring music; this is one more proof of the low-context of American culture. On the ‘American’ website there is a promotion tab, when you click on it a new page opens as a game, this is a fast message for people. By Halls fast message are adept at creating quick contacts, but may also be perceived as superficial. Based on the work of Kaplan [21] and Chen and Starosta, Choe [22] low-context culture tend to emphasize logic and rationality, based on the belief that there is always an objective truth that can be reached through linear processes of discovery. Choe said “thought patterns refer to forms of reasoning and approaches to problem solution and can differ from culture to culture”. ‘American’ website implies linear navigation throughout the site, with a consistent layout throughout the pages of the site. The website performs the explorative function.

2.5 McDonald’s Site for Canadian Customers

Canada is low-context culture. According to M. Hall cultural dimensions, in low-context cultures very little are taken for granted. Whilst this means that more explanation is needed, it also means there is less chance of misunderstanding particularly when visitors are present. Many overt and explicit messages that is simple and clear, outer locus of control and blame of others for failure; visible, external, outward reaction; flexible and open grouping patterns, changing as needed; fragile bonds between people with little sense of loyalty; low commitment to relationship (task more important than relationships); time is highly organized; product is more important than process. These features are represented on the ‘Canadian’ website: all pages are rich of text, especially a category Food Quality. Based on the work of Geert Hofstede low-context culture is more likely to be individualistic one, where emphasis is put on the goals and accomplishments of the individual rather than the group. Individuals are expected to be independent of others and look after themselves. When accomplishing goals, consideration of others is limited to include only oneself and one’s immediate family.

Personal values include personal time, freedom, and challenge. For example on the ‘Canadian’ website there are some information that is family oriented. There is a section called Community in which one can find a subsection called Ronald McDonald House Charities which provide families of sick children a home-away-from-home or a place of peace and calm within a hospital. By Hall, perception of time is one more peculiarity of culture. Canada belongs to monochromic culture, where time is viewed as an important, almost tangible phenomenon. People of such cultures are oriented towards planning and scheduling, so as to perform efficiency. As an example on the ‘Canadian’ website there is a category Restaurant Location, where you can put your address and site will show you the nearest restaurant.

3 Recommendations for Improvement of McDonald’s Websites

3.1 Cultural awareness in Web Design

Nowadays a website is not just a collection of text; it is a conglomerate of images, multimedia, interactive features, animated graphics, and sounds. Cross-cultural web design nowadays requires dealing with design issues that include culture-specific color connotations, preferences in layout, animation, sounds, and other effects that are characteristic of today’s generation of websites. Formatting and navigation of the website also help attracting users’ attention and interest them in using the website. In order to do this successfully, the target group of the website must be studied. Research into how your target market’s culture affects their consumer behavior should be done. Conducting an ethnographic investigation — visiting the country, viewing how they shop and what they like, studying products which have been successful in the market and seeing how these strategies can be adopted is an important step for creating a multicultural website. Market research can be done by surveying potential customers from the target market and interviewing cultural experts.

While user participation is ideal in the designing process, a study of the design elements prevalent in the culture may also provide the web designer with some useful guidelines. Values and behavior indoctrinated through cultural influences may be reflected in design practices. Every national and cultural group in the world retains its own language, its own metaphors, its own identity, and thus, its own way of shopping Keeping abreast of cultural and current affairs in each of the target markets is one of the key factors, as a change in circumstances may necessitate changes to the site. Research has shown that certain colors have distinct connotations in different cultures.

The implications should therefore be considered when choosing the palette for the website. Similarly to the impact of color, the appropriateness of the images across various cultures should be considered. Other symbols and images just may not be culturally relevant in other areas of the world. Studies carried out into the impact of new technologies show that users show resistance to products with Western metaphors in favour of products localized according to their cultural customs and idioms. Choosing appropriate images for the site accordingly or being prepared to use different images in separate versions of the website can be useful while creating an effective one.[23]

3.2 Potential Improvements for the McDonald’s Websites of Particular Countries

Before giving recommendations we would like to mention that we can assume that a successful and globe-spanning company such as McDonald’s has done extensive focus group testing of their website and consequently customized almost each website to appeal to its user group in each target culture, to ensure that product communication is as effective as possible. As a result it won’t be easy to recommend significant changes, but still there are some cultural issues that can be improved. Ukrainian website contains a lot of imagery, but taking into account the high context of this culture, it would be better to add more animation, because the site seems to be too constant.

Taking into account that Ukrainian culture is collectivistic one not only logos of McDonald’s suppliers might be on the site; some images which corresponds with its values like family, physical condition and training could be used. Importance must be given to the products shown by themselves or with groups, not to the individuals. Also stress on the Ukrainian history and traditions should feature the site to attract users’ attention. In Ukrainian culture we can see high power distance, so the strong focus on expertise and certification might have been effective, but it’s not. This culture is suspicious about people so it is better to avoid too high concentration on this information; otherwise the site is unattractive and can arouse the suspicions. On the whole it can cause negative perception of the company; people may think that McDonald’s just trying to pool the wool over their customers’ eyes.

One more important thing to be considered is opening of new page. On Ukrainian website new pages open in the same window but according to Marcus & Gould study for cultures with high power distance it is more convenient to use pages, which open in the new window of browser. To match high uncertainty avoidance the site should be structured better: more sidebars and menus can be added to simplify the navigation across the site and to prevent the user from becoming lost. It is also important because of polyactivity of Ukrainian culture; people are unwilling to seek for information and to explore the site, they need to get the clear information quickly. On the Russian website more animation can be added, for example animation of moving people is really suitable for high-context culture and also some musical support on the main page is appropriate. Information should be organized according to social roles, for example there can be special section for managers or potential investors. This can be effective because of high power distance inherent to Russian culture.

Also according to these feature significant emphasis should be made on the social and moral order and its symbols like national colors or traditions. To correspond with high level of uncertainty avoidance in Russia the next improvements may be efficient: addition of tiny windows which will reveal more content information when placing a cursor over a link before clicking it, in other words forecast of the results or implications of acting before users act. Russian culture is relatively feminine it means that attention to the content of the site can be attracted by usage of poetry, common idioms, visual aesthetics and appeals to unifying values. German website contains a vast animation on the main page. It’s not the best choice for low-context culture like this one; it can bewilder people and decrease the attractiveness of the site. Low power distance also dictates some important characteristics: we can find a huge section devoted to the quality of food but for German culture it’s advised to weaken the focus on the expertise, logos and certificates.

Taking into account that German is individualistic culture we can say that more prominence should be given to youth and action, the section devoted to the employment can be expanded. Individualistic cultures are expected to be willing to provide personal information, so different employees can share their experience with those who want to start a job in McDonald’s. Emphasis might be done on what is new, unique and available only in this particular company. American website contains huge amount of animation on the main page, but for the low-context country it would be better if the site contains fewer amount of digital data, less-highly structured information, minor and infrequent emphasis on the social and moral order (e.g., nationalism or religion) and its symbols, weak focus on expertise, authority, experts, certifications, official stamps, or logos. As an individualistic country the site should contain more information or pictures to maximize motivation of people, some images of success: demonstrated through materialism and consumerism. Also it’s good to use rhetorical style: controversial or argumentative speech and tolerance or encouragement of extreme claim. An important thing is to give prominence to youth and action. In American culture we can see low uncertainty avoidance, so to match this fact website should simplify the complexity with maximal content and choices (do more descriptions for quicker decisions).

People from country with low uncertainty avoidance accept wandering and risk, so it would be good to do some quizzes online. Canadian website, as it is also low context culture, should give more prominence to citizens, customers, or employees. There should be no restrictions or barriers to access on the site; it should be transparent, integrated, implicit freedom to roam must be present. Taking into account that Canadian culture is individualistic one they should give importance for individuals, make an emphasis on truth and what is new and unique (on the Canadian site it is hard to understand which information is fresh, all articles are mixed and undated, so it is difficult to find something new. On the Canadian website here are no graphics, sound, and animation, but for masculine country it would be good for utilitarian purposes.

Also it could contain game and competitions, because an attention gained through these features. The navigation should be oriented to exploration and control. Canada is a long-term oriented country, so in fact information on the site should be focused on truth and certainty of beliefs. It could contain some rules as a source of information and credibility, because the Canadian website is made a little freely, for example, when you what to return to the previous page the site let you on the other page, which you didn’t open and sometimes it hard to find what you saw before.


In the terms of globalized ways of satisfying people’ needs, there is a trend of gradual replacement of the companies’ market-orientation with the customer-orientation. Companies’ customer-orientation implies a continuous and detailed process of analysis regarding the potential clients’ expectations, in this way, a strong connection between customers’ needs and the quality of offered products and services being assured. Learning the cultural differences in particular countries it’s easy to understand how to attract the customers and make their researching more productivity, funny and simple. When you understand the personal, national or organizational culture, then you can seek to align with them and hence gain greater influence. Hofstede notes that some cultural relativism is necessary: it is difficult to establish absolute criteria for what is noble and what is disgusting. There is no escaping bias; all people develop cultural values based on their environment and early training as children.

Not everyone in a society fits the cultural pattern precisely, but there is enough statistical regularity to identify trends and tendencies. These trends and tendencies should not be treated as defective or used to create negative stereotypes but recognized as different patterns of values and thought. In a multi-cultural world, it is necessary to cooperate to achieve practical goals without requiring everyone to think, act, and believe identically. By creating its own website, a company gets the possibility to influence in a positive way, the evolution of its activity. This way, the company becomes more efficient, with a more flexible internal functionality, more careful with the customers’ needs and expectations. But still, when creating a website, all features of particular countries must be considered to make clear appeal and improve the communication between company and customers.

List of References

1 Chen, G., & Starosta, W. (1998). Foundations of Intercultural Communication. Boston: Allyn and Bacon 2 Marcus, A., & Gould, E. W. (2000). Cultural dimensions and global web user-interface design: What? So What? Now What? Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Human Factors and the Web. Austin, Texas.2 3 Sheridan, E. F. (2001). Cross-cultural web site design: Considerations for developing and strategies for validating locale appropriate on-line content. MultiLingual Computing & Technology #43,12 (7).3 4 Hofstede, G. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1997.4 5 Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.5 6 Hall, E.T., The Hidden Dimension, Anchor Books/ Doubleday, New York, 1990. (Reissue of 1965.)6 7 Hall, E.T. (1976). Beyond Culture, New York: Doubleday7

8 Hall, E.T. (1983). The Dance of Life, The Other Dimension of Time, New York: Doubleday8 9 Hall, E.T. (1985). Hidden Differences: Studies in International Communication, Hamburg: Grunder and Jahr9 10 Hall, E.T. (1990). Understanding Cultural Differences, Germans, French and Americans, Yarmouth: Intercultural Press10 11 Kluckhohn, F. R., & Strodtbeck, F. L. (1961). Variations in value orientations. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson.11 12 Gudykunst, W. B., Matsumoto, Y., Ting-Toomey, S., Nishida, T., Kim, K., & Heyman, S. (1996). The influence of cultural individualism-collectivism, self-construals, and individual values on communication styles across cultures. Human Communication Research, 22 (4), 510-543.12 13 Richard D. Lewis When Cultures Collide. Managing Successfully Across Cultures. NB Publishing, 2000 13 14 Feher, A.; Towell, E. (1997)- Business Use of the Internet, Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy; 15 Granger, M.J.; Schroeder, D.L. (1996) – Integrating the Internet into the business environment, Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy; 16 McDonald’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s 16

17 Hofstede’s, G. official website 17
18 Trompenaars, F. and Hampden-Tuner, C. 1997 Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business. UK: Wiley and Sons.18 19 Hall, E. T. (2000). Context and meaning. In L. A. Samovar & R. E. Porter (Eds.), Intercultural Communication: A Reader, 9th ed. (pp. 34-43). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 20 Christian Arno, 2010. Four Steps For Effective Cross-Cultural Website Design < http://aext.net/2010/03/effective-cross-cultural-website-design/ >19 21 Morrison, T. and Conaway, W.A. (2006) Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries. Adams Publishing Group. 20 22 Kaplan, R. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Language Learning, 16, 1-20.21 23 Choe, Y. (2001).
Intercultural conflict patterns and intercultural training implications for Koreans. Paper presented at the 16th Biennal World Communication Association Conference, Cantabria, Spain22

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