This paper describes some of the ways in which social, cultural, economic, legal and political differences among nations affect international business. Specific real world examples of the described differences are also provided.
Doing business in the international marketplace mandates taking into account some very hard to overlook social differences between countries. For instance, if trying to market and sell a product in a country other than where the company is based, the company must take into account the language differences for such things as packaging (Ebert, R. J., 2003), use instructions, marketing materials, web site presence, and customer care and support. A marvelous real world example of overcoming social differences in order to do business in the international marketplace is provided by the company Ikea (Ikea, 2003). Ikea does business in over thirty-four countries. Much of Ikea's furniture requires the purchaser to assemble them. This means that all the instructions that are included with the same merchandise must be written for each of the countries that it does business in.
Another example of Ikea's adeptness at handling social differences is their website (www.ikea.com). The company has links from their global website to translated websites for each company they do business in.
There are some other, not so obvious, cultural differences as well. Such things as general consumer preferences may be very different in the target country. An example of these consumer preferences would be what is considered standard staples in the country. Another example would be shopping habits, such as time, frequency and consumer outlet type that is generally preferred (Ebert, R. J., 2003). Yet another example would be if the standard work day isn't the same as a standard workday in the country where the company is based, this could affect such things as the hours of operation of...