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The concept of culture in international marketing: Towards a relative measure

posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Merrilees, Ho WongHo Wong
Purpose – Previous measures of culture in international business or marketing are constrained by their etic and/or absolute approach. A relative measure of culture is proposed and developed. Such a measure has the potential to be robust across home and host markets. Design/methodology/approach – The conceptual basis for the culture concept is developed from the literature and field work. Next the proposed scale has been tested for reliability and validity using quantitative methods. Findings – The study reinforces the growing disquiet with existing absolute measures, including those of Hofstede. Empirically, the relative scale performs well statistically. The scale is reliable and satisfies face, concept, convergent, discriminant and predictive validity tests. Research limitations/implications – Although the scale works for a given home country (Australia) and over forty host countries, generalization is conditional until the scale is measured using other countries as the home market. There are immediate implications for international marketing practitioners because the subjective nature of the proposed culture measure means that success is up to their own cultural sensing, understanding and responding capabilities. Originality/value – Although the literature has been quite critical of the Hofstede and other absolute measures of culture, there has not been a serious alternative conceptually presented and empirically tested. The current study does provide such an alternative and should facilitate a more consistent future global examination of showing that culture matters.


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Business Research Group, Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Rockhampton, Qld.

Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Business Research Group (BRG); Faculty of Arts, Business, Informatics and Education; Institute for Resource Industries and Sustainability (IRIS); School of Marketing;

Era Eligible