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Handbook of Research in International Marketing

Edited by Subhash C. Jain

Presenting the challenges and opportunities ahead, the contributors to this volume critically examine the current status and future direction of research in international marketing. The result of a sustained and lively dialogue among contributors from a variety of cultures, this volume gathers their perspectives and many insights on the revitalization of the field.
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Chapter 10: Culture Theory in International Marketing: An Ontological and Epistemological Examination

Cheryl C. Nakata


Cheryl C. Nakata INTRODUCTION The body of international marketing studies has steadily grown over the last 25 years. From 1976 to 1982, just 112 papers on international marketing were published, whereas from 1983 to 1986, they numbered 262, followed by 363 from 1987 to 1990 (Albaum and Peterson 1984; Aulakh and Kotabe 1993). A significant trend in this burgeoning literature is an increasing interest in culture. From 1990 to 1995, 25 per cent of international marketing articles published in the leading scholarly journals incorporated culture, and from 1995 to 2000, the percentage rose to 44 per cent (Dubois and Reeb 2000; Hult et al. 1997; Nakata and Huang 2001). The dramatic increase suggests that culture is becoming a, perhaps the, leading theory in international marketing. Culture has been used to explain and predict everything from export channel controls, use of humor in global advertising, and new product diffusion to consumer innovativeness, word-of-mouth effects among industrial firms, and marketer adaptations to immigrant consumers (Alden et al. 1993; Bello and Gilliland 1997; Money et al. 1998; Penaloza and Gilly 1999; Steenkamp et al. 1999). Far and away the most popular culture theory in international marketing is Hofstede’s value paradigm. Hofstede identified four universal values – individualism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity – through factor analysis of cross-cultural survey data, and then developed indices so that countries can be compared directly on their levels of these values. Indicative of dominance, Hofstede’s work received more than six times the number of...

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