A second and even more crucial issue is the value system we use in making choices. There are major differences among what people value around the world. Contrasts include togetherness compared to individuality, cooperation versus competition, modesty next to assertiveness, and self-effacement compared to self-actualization. Often, global differences in value systems keep us apart and result in spectacularly destructive dissimilarities. How we value a life, for example, can be crucial in terms of how we treat individuals. What value we place on family, work, leisure time, or progress has a substantial effect on how we see and evaluate each other.
Cultural studies tell us that there are major differences between and even within nations. Global marketing, through its linkages via goods, services, ideas, and communications, can achieve important assimilation of value systems. On the consumer side, new products offer international appeal and encourage similar activities around the world. It has been claimed that local product offerings help define people and provide identity and that it is the local idiosyncrasies that make people beautiful. Some even offer the persistence of the specific breakfast habits of the English and French as evidence of local immutability in the face of globalization.
Yet, we should remember that values are learned, not genetically implanted. As life’s experience grow more international and more similar, so do values. Therefore, every time international marketing forges a new linkage in thinking, new progress is made in shaping a greater global commonality in values which makes it easier for countries, companies, and individuals to build bridges between them, may eventually become the field’s greatest gift to the world.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.
Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 236-237.