What considerations have been best to take into account regarding cultural sensitivity in data collection?
Data collection is very important. As our society moves away from factory jobs, lifelong education is becoming an increasing necessity. Technology and data have become a part of how we work. That change has placed more demands on educators than ever before. Whether you’re teaching in a classroom or a boardroom, you need to learn how to collect and manage data.
Although data can be valuable, too much information is unwieldy, and the wrong data is useless. The right data collection method can mean the difference between useful insights and time-wasting misdirection.
What is data collection?
Data collection happens when you gather and analyze valuable information (e.g., names, email addresses, customer feedback, and website analytics) from a variety of sources to build compelling marketing campaigns, learn more about your customers, or create financial budgets.
Effective data collection can help you solve a problem, of course, but it can also measure brand awareness, identify trends, and spark new ideas.
It is reasonable to indicate that globalization, travel, Internet browsing, the uniformity of training processes, among others, contribute to cultural factors reducing their importance. According to this proposal, an “international business culture” is becoming more and more similar in the world. Thus, an individual originating from a particular cultural environment can move through another cultural setting without many impediments.
This category of reasoning appreciates the level of closeness of cultures, and minimizes one element: the inclination of many people to preserve their distinctive cultural patterns. This is evident in the power and importance of nationalist currents around the world. In any case, it cannot be ignored that innovation in transportation services and the proliferation of travel, the splendor of the Internet, are relatively new concepts.
Even if it were true that we were heading towards a process of homogenization of cultural behaviors (a rather reckless conjecture in itself), this development would require many years of study until it was completely validated. Next, we proceed to develop each of these postures.
According to Osland et al (2001) , the majority of small and medium-sized companies that have faced the challenge of internationalizing their market; and, transnational organizations that, upon consolidating in foreign markets, face the challenge of restructuring both organizationally and culturally, to respond adequately to new realities and environments.
Particularly, excessive assent to stereotypes should not be allowed. There are differences within a national culture: modifications in regional culture, between the departments or states of a nation; And, there are also usually individual differences, since people can be affected by different models or learning.
It is not coherent to expect, as an example, that all the inhabitants of China or India respond and behave the same. Likewise, cultural processes are transformed, which is all the more reason why inflexible stereotypes become harmful. On the other hand, culture is one of the elements, but not the only one, that affects the course of a negotiation.
Mayrhofer (2004) established that organizations whose aim is to be at the forefront of their commercial competitors require a careful and conscientious analysis of the cultural factors originating from the country in which they intend to enter. It would be a costly mistake if companies did not pay due attention to cultural and institutional differences.
From the perspective of Meyer, Meyer and Murphy (2006), the success of a company’s intention to internationalize is directly related to the entrepreneur’s ability to understand, master and adapt to the legislation of the selected country, its political panorama, to the knowledge of habits, inclinations and desires of the people of the country to which it is intended to access.
The foundation of culture resides in acquired behaviors. Language, organization and technological development are presumably the most relevant inputs to culture. Cultural differences become evident in different ways. The group of values is the most relevant evidence. Values are identified as generalized tendencies, to prefer some states of affairs over others. Different cultures accept different guidelines regarding what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. And each culture provides mechanisms to confront the violation of socially accepted behaviors.
This article is based on the positions of researchers and experts on international culture and business issues, consequently, establishing the research question and attempting to argue based on theoretical and empirical reasoning, which compromises a comprehensive position, based on multiple dimensions and various scenarios of discernment, about cultural and business models, becomes a rigorous task that could be expressed in the following question, which we try to answer in this article: Is knowledge of cultural appreciations to successfully enter international markets, by entrepreneurs in the footwear subsector, in the city of Bogotá?
This proposal is articulated in three large sections, which are described below: a first part, in which the relevant theoretical references on the concept of culture are addressed, taking into account different perspectives and theoretical contributions. A second part, which addresses the relationship between culture and international business, their interrelationship, their importance.
A third part, which addresses the issue of the perception of culture and its relationship with international business for Colombian businessmen, describing the characteristics of negotiators in the country, based on contributions from renowned authors, hand in hand with the impact of culture, in the innovation processes in this group of businessmen.
In a fourth section, the most important findings derived from the research, which gave rise to this article, are listed, making a summary of the data analyzed; highlighting the most representative results, after characterization of the intervened companies, to end in a section that relates the final considerations and the most relevant conclusions of the study.
General appreciations of international culture and business
If it is accepted that there are as many descriptions of the term culture as there are professionals who study the subject, many of them agree in defining the concept as: the set of beliefs, norms, assumptions, establishments and inputs, which are the imprint on human groups. . Putting it another way, culture lies in similar patterns of behavior, which individuals make their own and preserve, generating the identity necessary to characterize a given society, a situation that is equivalent to accepting the particular lifestyle of a specific group of people ( Gelles and Levine 2000 ). A large number of scholars on the subject agree that:
- Culture is assimilated, it is not born with the human being.
- The different elements of culture are interrelated with each other.
- Culture is shared among the subjects of a social group.
- Culture determines the borders of different social groupings.
Understanding that a society is made up of individuals who have cultural traits that are their own and acquired, it is materially infeasible to refer to them without identifying them with their cultural traits and characteristics. On repeated occasions, students of human behavior use words indiscriminately or mix them into a single word: “sociocultural.” This is the word that will be used to refer to such behaviors, since the variables taken into account by managers are social and cultural.
The representation of the term culture for international negotiations
When human beings interact in societies and cultures different from their own, the problems they face increase when addressing a single group of cultures due to the number of cultural environments they identify in each international market they intend to reach. . Unfortunately, those who understand a single cultural model choose to believe that they have the necessary knowledge of the cultural characteristics of different geographical environments, when this is far from reality.
If, at the very least, they have been able to compare their own culture with other different ones, they do not even understand the most relevant characteristics of their own. The question we should ask would be: How are international businessmen educated to coexist with cultures other than their own? The first task is to understand that we coexist with very diverse cultures, different from our own. Subsequently, they must travel a further path and study the elements and characteristics of these other cultures, with the purpose of achieving a prompt adaptation.
Through the repertoires of logical dissertations, imaginaries and values, business culture seeks to justify the changes that have occurred, attempts to reason about the reasons for said changes and proposes the organization’s actions to guarantee successful survival. It is very important to highlight that the concepts of business culture do not remain in cultural voids.
On the contrary, they are applied in organizations inserted in different cultural contexts, which dynamically relate to different scenarios, generating attempts to harmonize different doctrines, and resistance at the local level. It is not uncommon for metaphors of a “flat world” ( Friedman, 2005 ), a “global village” ( Ger, 1999 ), to be actually descriptions of the contemporary business world.
In the seventies, Hofstede (1980e) reviewed and dimensioned four categories of local or national culture. 20 years later, Fernández et al . (1997) measured these four categories, using a different scale ( Dorfman and Howell, 1988 ). Hofstede suggests that economic, demographic and geographic variables can influence the related dimensions.
Coherently, cultural inequalities between countries could be expected to be dynamic. In order to corroborate this hypothesis, a homogeneous measure of cultural distance was used in both studies ( Kogut and Singh, 1988 ). Then, a multidimensional scale (MDS) was used, with the aim of symbolizing such differences. The analyzes confirmed the research hypothesis.
For these reasons, a company that aims to internationalize and is market-oriented must adapt its actions so that it is consistent with the marketing concept. According to Chen and Quester (2009) , the relationship between market orientation and customer value has emerged from two arguments: customer value, which is a theory that emphasizes the implementation of customer-centered thinking, in marketing and value for the consumer, which is understood as the premise to achieve positive business performance.
In the last 20 years, market orientation has been assigned a determining priority in terms of research needs by the Marketing Science Institute. For this reason, the role played by the willingness to attend to and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the market has been recognized as an important source to achieve an attribute that guarantees competitiveness in the long term ( Castro et al. , 2005 ).
In this sense, Deshpande and Webster (1989) , cited by López, (2006) , had first associated the concept of market orientation with the organizational culture literature. When carrying out international commercial transactions, it is necessary to develop negotiation. In negotiation, issues are developed that interest two or more protagonists, who strive to achieve a beneficial solution that satisfies the parties.
In the end, and understanding that no real desire for internationalization can be considered with a short-term perspective, seeking to obtain imminent results to the detriment of the future strengthening of foreign markets, it is not innocent to analyze that such transactions subsequently force the creation and maintenance of subsidiaries and branches abroad.
This requires multinational organizations to have in-depth knowledge of the organizational forms inherent to each culture and the predominant values in them, as an explicit consequence of acting in a defined national culture. In short, culture is accepted as a fundamental reference for the strategic actions addressed by international companies, where this influence is observed in at least six elements particularly linked to international business ( Morales, 2009 ), namely:
- 1. The behavior of consumers, buyers and clients and their purchasing decisions (acquisition, use, appropriation).
- 2. The strategic position of the company.
- 3. The marketing mix that will be implemented in each country to be served.
- 4. Intercultural negotiation processes to establish agreements with local peers.
- 5. The forms of organization that constrain the strategic decision to open branches and international subsidiaries.
- 6. The acculturation process of those in charge of international marketing.