Third Culture Team in White House
An article in The Daily Beast highlights the numerous culturally astute personalities that comprise the current US presidential administration. The confluence of like-minded individuals is “…more than a trivial coincidence. So-called ‘Third Culture Kids’—and the adults they become—share certain emotional and psychological traits that may exert great influence in the new administration. According to a body of sociological literature devoted to children who spend a portion of their developmental years outside their ‘passport country,’ the classic profile of a ‘TCK’ is someone with a global perspective who is socially adaptable and intellectually flexible. He or she is quick to think outside the box and can appreciate and reconcile different points of view.”
Now that the current administration is nearing the one year mark, how has it fared in comparison to past administrations that hadn’t the same cadre of multicultural members? What is the value of international, intercultural experience in political leadership?
Click here to jump to the article.
Indian Solutions for Pepsi
At a media conference in New Delhi this week, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, said “We feel that solutions which have been devised by us around the world, cannot be imposed here. The company needs to find unique solutions for India.” She also noted that the country was in the top three markets for the company, and that they intend to foster a cultural awareness of India to produce the most relevant products. For global corporations, culture becomes an ally when marketing and selling to diverse populations. We’ve seen how PepsiCo approached China (click here to read a related post).
What do you think it takes to achieve success in the Indian consumer market?
Click here to jump to the article on the Hindustan Times website.
Canadian Paper Nominates Managing Across Cultures
In the Report on Business section of The Globe and Mail, a Canadian periodical, Harvey Schachter reviews Charlene Solomon and Michael Schell’s recently published book, Managing Across Cultures, The Seven Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset (McGraw-Hill, 2009). He compared it to other books in the field and concluded the following:
“…If you could only read one, I’d nominate Managing Across Cultures, which is more comprehensive, particularly in taking readers through the seven key differences they will encounter in other countries, and having you fill out a questionnaire so you know your personal instincts, should they be different from other Canadians.”
Click here to read the full review.
“What Starbucks says about America”
A radio show on Public Radio International (PRI) used Starbucks as an example of American abundance and excess. The show attributed its success to its positioning as a communal hub.
According to Temple University professor Bryant Simon, “what Starbucks identified was a very important shift and a very important need in American society. Throughout the post-WWII era, Americans moved to the suburbs, they became locked in their cars, for fear they would increasingly live behind gated communities.
“At the same time they were securing themselves, they began to feel as though they were missing something: a kind of community that we often associate with older city neighborhoods. Starbucks understood that desire. From the very beginning, they suggested that their stores, like the old coffee houses, were something called ‘third places’: a place between work and home where people would gather. Starbucks aggressively marketed itself as the place where community would be constructed, maintained, and renewed.”
The individualistic nature American culture developed in the latter half of the 20th century was certainly a step away from a more group-oriented past. Simon argues that their move to foster a community experience was only the means to a very profitable end.
“If Starbucks tells us again and again from its marketing…that this is what community is, it makes it harder to find truer versions of it some place else,” says Simon.
How would you define community, and where would you go to find it in the US?
Click here to read the article and listen to the radio show.
Establishing a Global Mindset: International Education
Read an article by RW3′s Sean Dubberke in this month’s MOBILITY Magazine about the extraordinary educational experiences that are attainable today. As practical experiences, says Dubberke, they best describe the modern, globally-minded professional. In any industry, it is crucial to know that an international education is more valuable than ever before.
Click here to read the article.
Cupcake Craze reaches Middle East
Trends are flying at new speeds when cupcakes, an American miniature cake, become coveted treats in places like Amman, Beirut, Dubai and Tel Aviv.
A New York Times journalist notes that “cupcake shops have become as ubiquitous as hot dog stands in some American cities, and have spread to Rome; Istanbul; Berlin; Seoul, South Korea; and Sydney, Australia. Now…even the Arab world is not immune to such a Western frivolity.”
Why? The article mentions the historic sweet tooth of the region. Their popularity stems from a Middle Eastern penchant for spending money on items that reflect high social standing, and some journalists have noted cupcakes as a “symbol of prestige,” according to the article.
A culture of the globe continues to evolve.
Click here to read the article.
Why is Kraft so Successful in Asia?
We’re familiar with this kind of story. This one is in the Wall Street Journal.
“For a long time, Kraft Foods Inc., the second-largest international food company by revenue, struggled to make headway in Asia-Pacific, the world’s most populous region,” and a culturally puzzling region for an American company. An understanding of local cultural preferences made all the difference.
In 2008, Kraft was finally seeing profit in the region, and it continues to grow. Why is this? Pradeep Pant, Asia-Pacific President at Kraft, says that one reason for the shift was giving “people close to the point of action” more decision-making authority. Based on their input, products were modified to appeal to local tastes. “For instance, when Kraft’s research showed that Chinese consumers found Oreo cookies too sweet, ‘we toned down the sugar, whereas the Indonesian version is definitely sweeter than the Chinese product.’ As a result, Pant says, Oreo is now the best-selling packaged cookie in China.”
A little culture went a long way.
Click here to read the full article.
CNNMoney.com featured the Alibaba Group, what many have called “China’s eBay,” in an article about the B2B e-commerce company’s growth in the American market. Alibaba.cn, the original Chinese site, is where small- to mid-size businesses can buy products from suppliers and manufacturers. The fact that many small-business owners in China are not internet-savvy has made Alibaba.cn extremely successful, as it eliminates the need for entrepreneurs to have their own online operations, which is much harder to have in China.
The article questions whether Alibaba.com (the English version) will prosper in a market where e-commerce websties, e.g. eBay and PayPal, and the internet is commonplace. You don’t actually buy things through Alibaba, you only find suppliers and then arrange payment and delivery outside of the website. Alibaba’s lack of contractual regulation may be less attractive to a North American audience, where transactions are considered secure when prices are fixed and easily viewed online. Alibaba is somewhat relationship-oriented, not unlike Chinese culture, since buyers and vendors are required to initiate contact with each other to move forward and finalize a deal or to establish a working relationship.
Can anyone offer an experience they’ve had on Alibaba.com?
Click here to read the full article.