U.S. managers interested in marketing and branding their companies and products in India now have a resource to help them understand the norms of Indian society. It’s called The Cultural Psyche of India: Guidance for the U.S. Marketer, and it’s now available as an ebook for Kindle at amazon.com.
Yep, it’s mine – my first solo book actually, and I would greatly appreciate your referrals to marketing managers and business professors.
Cross-cultural psychological literacy
The publication will be valuable to any U.S. manager seeking to understand India because it compares both the U.S. and India as societies on 25 dimensions representing five evidence-based frameworks from the world’s leading cross-cultural scholars.
Available here (with a free preview and with lending at no cost for Amazon Prime members), The Cultural Psyche of India was published on January 6, 2013.
Here’s a chapter-by-chapter look at the contents:
Understanding our own culture as a lens, culture at the societal level of analysis, avoiding the ecological fallacy, the importance of cross-cultural psychological literacy as an organizational competency.
Context (high-versus-low), based on the work of cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall, Ph.D., who also introduced polychronic-versus-monochronic time, and proxemics (use of space). Key themes: The nature of culture, context as hidden, the limitations of personal experience as a basis for understanding other cultures, context as cultural shorthand, other cultures as revealed in the form of deviation from one’s own culture, developing cross-cultural psychological literacy as a competency. Anecdotes: Wal-Mart’s failure in Germany, the stereotype of the “loud” American.
Project GLOBE, which compares societal practices (as is) versus values (should be) on nine dimensions, based conceptually on Hofstede’s cultural values. Key themes: Pain points as revealing within-society conflict, pain points as reflections of dissatisfaction versus willingness to accept change. Tangentials and anecdotes: India as a stage-1 World Economic Forum economy, The Whitehall Studies and the harmful cardiovascular effects of low-control, high-demand work environments, power failures in India, corruption as an indirect tax, human development in India, Indian bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, quality of life and opportunities for women, Kellogg’s initial failure in India, use of focus groups, religion, vegetarianism. Positioning implications: Enhanced perceptions of voice or control, performance improvement and innovation messaging, corporate social responsibility, perils of over-estimating market size, women as a target demographic, status enhancement.
The Schwartz values, which represent the cultural pressures that societies exert on their members. Key themes: Values and relationships between oppositional values as a reflection of societal-level dissonance. Tangentials and anecdotes: Unipolar versus bi-polar opposites, the U.S.’s poor showing on Intellectual Autonomy, Egalitarianism and foreign direct investment flows, cross-cultural market-entry difficulties and failures (South Korean Daewoo into France, U.S.-based Motorola into South Korea, Swedish IKEA into the U.S., U.S-based Lincoln Electric globally).
Bond and Leung’s social axioms, which are beliefs about how the world works. Key themes: Beliefs as augmenting the predictive power of values. Tangentials and anecdotes: Organizational silence, intervening (mediating and moderating) variables, the perils of over-promising, use of variations of “life,” Union Carbide’s 1984 gas explosion in India, theories of flux and transformation (autopoesis, organizational narcissism, shifting attractors, chaos and complexity theory, mutual causality), the demise of the passenger pigeon, the large-tooth aspen growing from the steeple of the courthouse in Greensburg, Ind., the Tylenol-poisoning murders of 1982, pedophilia within the Catholic church and the Boy Scouts of America. Positioning implications: Norm violation, the daily struggle made easier. I must warn you that the flux and transformation section of this chapter is “out there.” However, if you enjoy thinking about karma and how it might be considered from a scientific basis, this section is for you.
Gelfand’s Tightness versus Looseness, which is about whether societies punish and sanction when cultural norms are violated – or, instead, tolerate deviation from norms and look the other way. Tangentials and anecdotes: the 2011 killing by police of an unarmed robbery suspect in Pakistan, a Pakistani mob breaking into a police station in December of 2012 and burning alive a man jailed on charges of desecrating the Koran; Gillette’s “shaving well” positioning; effect sizes and correlation coefficients; the death of a young woman after being gang-raped on a public bus in New Delhi; segregation of women in Arab societies; power including French and Raven’s classic taxonomy of power, power as relational, 50 Cent (the rapper) and expert power. Positioning implications: Help with the daily struggle, pride in one’s in-groups and disruption of in-group solidarity, saving for the future. Readers may find this chapter to be the most intuitive, and perhaps, the discussion of power to be one of the book’s more interesting sections.
The application of cross-cultural research in the context of organizational psychology and the academic-practitioner divide. For the most part, this chapter captures postponed digressions: differences in business versus academic writing and perspectives, the academic-practitioner divide and the need for bridgers, quantitative versus qualitative research (including projective methods), the perils of home-baked surveys, some recommendations for your business library, validity of included cross-cultural frameworks as well as frameworks that were intentionally omitted, importance of distinguishing levels of analysis, testing your target audience, individual-level cross-cultural frameworks, focus groups and trust, what goes around comes around.