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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 32, Issue 4, May 2003, Pages 309–315
As business-to-business marketing channels become more international in scope, communication in channels occurs among a more diverse set of channel participants from different national cultures. Do such cultural variations influence channel communications and if so, how? This study examines these questions in international business-to-business marketing channels comprised of channel members representing different cultural contexts. The findings show that there is a relationship between culture and channel communication in international channels. This influence stemming from “cultural distance” may have significant implications as business moves into the E-commerce era of Internet-based B2B international channels of distribution.
As the 21st century begins to unfold, globalization has become more than just another piece of fancy jargon of the business lexicon. In fact, globalization in the sense of firms from all over the world interacting and dealing with each other is expected to be the normal state of affairs for the majority of businesses . In the industrial or business-to-business sector, this pattern may be even more pronounced because advanced communications and transportation technologies have the potential for enabling the laws of comparative advantage to be realized to a very high degree. Thus, businesses that were used to dealing with other businesses from all over the country will now seek relationships from all over the world. Internet-based B2B E-commerce, has, of course, been at the vanguard of the expected revolution in the way global business will be conducted in the future and has led to uncounted predictions of a worldwide e-business revolution where virtually all industrial firms will be linked together in a gigantic electronic global network  and . Yet, this scenario seems a bit too simplistic. All of the hype about global B2B E-commerce, networks, hubs, electronic auctions, etc., implies that the only thing standing in the way of electronically linked businesses on a global scale is the right technological hardware and software that, once put in place, will have global businesses operating with the precision and reliability of a Swiss watch. After all, this technocentric view suggests that the only difference between operating around the block or around the world is geographical distance. Therefore, it is just a matter of having the right satellites, telecommunications networks, and supply chains in place to solve this problem of distance . The purpose of this article is to show that there is more to distance in global business-to-business relationships than mere geography. Distance can also be defined in terms of culture so that one can think of “cultural distance” as a challenge that must be addressed by businesses from different countries around the globe who seek to deal with each other.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Much of the promise of B2B e-commerce on a global scale is dependent upon the efficiency that can theoretically be gained by electronically linked channel participants . Thus, instead of intensive communications between people at all levels of the marketing channel contacting each other to make sure that the right products are moving through international channels at the right place and time, Internet-based e-commerce would replace all of these people-centered communication processes. In short, communication among channel participants would be computer-to-computer not person-to-person in the international B2B e-commerce scenario. Once such electronic networks are in place, with the appropriate electronic marketplace architecture and B2B software, smooth and continuous flows of products from any given country to another would occur “automatically” based on virtually perfect flows of communication through the electronic networks . In such a world, good communication is dependent solely on having the right technology in place to traverse the distances separating channel participants in different countries. Variations among nations, and their peoples stemming from different cultures would be irrelevant in such a scenario. Cultural distance, if it exists, would be erased by the awesome power of the Internet. Our exploratory study of communication in international marketing channels suggests that such a scenario may be overly optimistic and naive if substantial “cultural distance” exists among international channel participants. Indeed, when the exporters from the LC US culture dealt with foreign distributors from HC cultures, “old fashioned” fax and telephone communication took place much more frequently than when the US exporters dealt with foreign distributors from LC cultures. Moreover, the more “modern” e-mail communications between US exporters and foreign distributors took place more frequently when both exporter and foreign distributor were from LC cultures, reflecting the limitations of the terse style of e-mail to fill in the gaps in communication between channel members from different cultural contexts. Of course, in this study, the US exporters and their foreign distributors were not yet part of an Internet-based electronic network. They were linked only in the sense of having established trading relationships in conventional channels of distribution. Thus, one might argue that if these same firms were to become part of a B2B e-commerce network their communication patterns would automatically change. Exporters and foreign distributors frequently reaching for the phone or constantly turning to the fax machine to clarify communications when cultural distance is high would, therefore, quickly cease. Frankly, it is doubtful that such would be the case. Indeed, the need to augment the totally impersonal electronic communications flowing over the Internet via “old fashioned” but more comfortable modes of communications might be greater than ever in the new electronic marketing channels. The need to ask questions, get clarifications, and reassurances so as to achieve a acceptable comfort level will not suddenly disappear for channel members from HC cultures simply because they are electronically linked to a network .