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Adapting Corporate Strategy To Target Diverse Cultures The characteristics of social behavior differ between societies, at times substantially.

According to a professional translator with 24 Hour Translation, Wal- art learned this lesson the hard way when the giant retailer began opening overseas locations. !pecifically, Wal- art"s strategy in #ermany, which contributed to losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, became a te$tboo% e$ample for how not to e$pand into a country. After ten years, the company never reached its goal of becoming #ermany&s one-stop-shopping destination. 'ts formula for success that wor%ed so well in the (nited !tates - low prices, cutting edge inventory control and a vast assortment of merchandise - did not translate to foreign mar%ets that had established discount chains and consumers with other habits. Today, Wal- art continues to e$pand globally but has changed the way it imposes its corporate culture on local mar%ets. )or instance, ac*uisitions are being made with more consideration for local mar%ets and greater thought is being given regarding the degree to which Wal- art"s culture is e$ported to foreign mar%ets. According to a #erman translator, in #ermany, Wal- art ended the practice that mandated all service personnel to smile at customers-many male consumers viewed this as propositioning. 'n other countries, the company stopped ma%ing staff members do company chants and in some mar%ets li%e +apan and ,ra-il, the company even stopped using the Wal- art name. Although Wal- art"s changes came too late for #ermany, they have been successful in other mar%ets. According to a )rench translator in .hicago, certain behavioral rules are formal and e$plicitly communicated /classroom conduct is an e$ample0, and other rules are implied and are learned through e$periences /%eeping your hands to yourself and being respectful of other&s personal space are e$amples0. ,esides the aspects that were previously mentioned, social norms can differ from one culture to another in the following ways1

,ehavior and thoughts regarding wor% and success. 2eople in the (.!. often believe that the attainment of material items is a symbol of superiority and that individuals who produce more at wor% are better than people who focus less on wor%. )unction and power. .ulture establishes attempts to establish, the power that people hold. As an e$ample, in a number of countries, women cannot have managerial roles. .onse*uently, female professionals visiting these countries on official business might encounter some biasness and find that they&re seen as unworthy professionals. .ulture also signifies ran% and determines the amount of respect a person should receive. Adherence to eti*uette. What might be viewed as polite in your society could be considered impolite in a foreign society. 3ules of time. 'ndividuals in low-conte$t societies perceive time as a resource that can be used in planning in order to gain efficiencies. 4n the other hand, professionals from high-conte$t societies fre*uently view time as being somewhat fle$ible. ,uilding relationships is more important than meeting established deadlines. 2lanning for the future. 2rofitable businesses normally spend time on planning for the future. However, some societies tend to be more focused on the present and don&t place value on future planning. Acceptance of others. !ocieties can differ in the degree to which they are accepting of outsiders /people from other cultures and with different norms0. !ome societies will completely ignore outsiders while others will pressure outsiders to conform to certain cultural norms.

,y !arah Hudson