Culture is a prismatic term that has been pondered in detail throughout history and a variety of papers are available on culture and its consequences. Culture is characterised by the renowned Webster dictionary as:
“The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought typical of a population or community at a given time.” (NPS, 2005)
It may appear to the naked eye that the culture of two nations on earth is similar, though they are practically diametrically opposite in nature and characteristics, as is the case when two “West” cultures, the Italians and the English, are taken into account, but when studies of the roots below the surface, both cultures exist under the western umbrella, they are extremely different. Therefore, the goal for a multinational entrepreneur is to recognise these disparities and thereby take advantage of the differences and similarities in the nature and growth of the venture system in order to maximise the returns earned by minimising, to the fullest degree practicable, the effects of cultural differences. Steve Carter (Carter, 1997, 65) suggests that, in addition to economic variables, culture is a subsequently important environmental variable that at the global business level demands massive focus. The aim of this paper is to examine the effects on the global market of the Italian region’s culture on the undertakings undertaken there, and to further explain how and why cultural convergence is becoming an important factor for US undertakings to operate in the Italian region.
- Carter. S (1997) Global Agricultural Marketing Management (Marketing and Agribusinesses Texts 3). Rome, Italy. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Steve Carter is a renowned FAO project director, who taught marketing at various universities around the globe, and worked as a consultant in developing countries around the world. This text’s central theme is agribusiness, however each chapter has a distinct objective, and chapter 3 analyzes ‘the cultural environment’ with regards to different anthropological approaches, including Maslow and Geert Hofstede, thereby critically analyzing numerous elements and dimensions of culture with regards to business and marketing. It describes culture as being an ‘environmental uncontrollable’ and illuminates various approaches to culture and its constituent elements.
- NPS (2005) What is Culture?. Retrieved April 13, 2011 from < http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/kids%20corner/fun%20facts/Culture/What%20is%20Culture.htm>
- Hofstede. G (2009) Geert Hofstede- Cultural Dimensions. Retrieved April 13, 2011 from < http://www.geert-hofstede.com/>
- Hofstede. G; Hofstede. G J and Minkov. M (2010) Cultures and Organization: Software for the mind- 3rd Edition. United States of America. Geert Hofstede BV. Geert Hofstede is a Dutch academic, known for exploring alternative sources of cultural study and pioneering research on national and organizational cultures, thereby critically analyzing empirical data, and has worked long periods in industry, namely IBM. The third edition explains jargon language with a glossary, making it easier to understand. His main focus is on four dimensions of work-related issues associated with national culture, and the scores in Italy have been analyzed for this paper (taken from his official website). The work reflects slight European bias due to author’s own cultural affinity; however the extensive analysis has been accepted by various authors, including S. Carter above, due to its reliable cross-cultural study, however specific country examples he made use of may not be applicable today but are still highly validated.
- Moran. T; Harris. P R and Moran. S V (2007) Managing cultural differences: global leadership strategies for the 21st century– 7th Edition. United States of America. Butterworth Heinemann
- UHY International Limited (2010) Doing Business in Italy. Retrieved April 8th 2010 from <http://www.uhy.com/media/PDFs/doing_business_guides/Doing%20Business%20in%20Italy.pdf>. UHY Ltd is the leading business advisory, consulting and accountancy networks, it is a global entity hence it provides in depth analysis pertaining to cross-border business effectiveness. This report was published in 2010 with specific focus on Italy, with regards to conducting business there, and the business environment. Since it’s a global firm, there is limited or no bias, due to the base being very extensive.
- World Business Culture (2011) Doing Business in Italy. Retrieved April 8th 2010 from <http://www.worldbusinessculture.com/Business-in-Italy.html>. This is a UK based e-publishing website which provides consultancy services and analyzes different aspects of business related phenomenon in countries worldwide. Its main focus is the provision of country specific and comprehensive description of business culture. The study related to the Italian business cultural dimensions have been incorporated in this study.
- Giovanni. M (2008) ‘Culture and Management in Italy: Tradition, Modernization, New Challenges’, In Eduardo Davel, Jean-Pierre Dupuis, et Jean-François Chanlat (Eds.) ‘Gestion en contexte interculturel: approches, problé-matiques, pratiques et plongées’, Québec, Presse de l’Université Laval et Télé-université (UQAM)
- Expatfocus (2011) Italy- Business Culture. Retrieved April 13, 2011 from < http://www.expatfocus.com/expatriate-italy-business-culture>
- UHY International Limited (2010) Doing business in the United States. Retrieved April 8th 2010 from <http://www.uhy.com/media/PDFs/doing_business_guides/Doing%20Business%20in%20the%20United%20States.pdf>. This is another report published by UHY focusing on the United States in 2010, providing in depth analysis about doing business in the respective country. It is used in this paper for a detailed comparison pertaining to impact of culture in the business sector of both countries under examination.
- Gorrill. J R (2007) ‘Doing Business in the United States of America | US Social and Business Culture’. CIA World Fact Book 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2011 from < http://www.communicaid.com/access/pdf/library/culture/doing-business-in/Doing%20Business%20in%20the%20USA.pdf>
- BuyUSA.gov (2011) Doing Business in Italy: 2011 Country Commercial
- Guide for U.S. Companies. U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved April 8th 2011 from <http://www.buyusa.gov/italy/en/ccg11.html>. This is an official government website of the United States of America providing customized solutions to compete in the business sector abroad, the main focus of this page being the Italian region. It is a state export promotion website hence it can be assumed to be biased, and can have an overestimation of positive outcomes.