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2015/2016  BA-BIMKV1021U  Complexity of cultures: towards consumer centric intercultural marketing

English Title
Complexity of cultures: towards consumer centric intercultural marketing

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 55
Study board
Study Board for BA in Intercultural Marketing Communication
Course coordinator
  • Fumiko Kano Glückstad - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Intercultural studies
  • Communication
  • Marketing
Last updated on 16-02-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Describe the definitions of “cultures” based on shared values from different aspects
  • Define and explain the concept of Social Identity Theory (SIT) and its underlying principles
  • Define and explain the concept of convergence and divergence, and Identify examples of them in contemporary globalized society.
  • Formulate a research question relating to the contents introduced in the course
  • Compare theories introduced in the course and account for the selection of them applied to their own research question(s)
  • Compare methods introduced in the course and account for the selection of them employed to their own research question(s)
Course prerequisites
The course introduces very basic data analysis methods such as cross-table analysis. Hence, statistical knowledge is NOT prerequisites in this course.
Complexity of cultures: towards consumer centric intercultural marketing:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Materials which each student uses for his/her analysis should be attached to the written assignment (either in the written product, or as appendix).
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The students have to select their own materials (at least two advertisement examples such as TV commercials from different countries) as cultural artifacts and analyze commonalities and differences in values identified from them.


The analysis should contain students' own consideration from two viewpoints:


1) information sender's (marketers) strategy - what values do they want to convey; and

2) audience's (targeted markets) perception and expectation - what values are expeced by the audience


The term-paper should include students’ own considerations covering the issue of “complexity of cultures”.


The students are welcome to use materials used in their group work.

Course content and structure

The course addresses the issues on consumer-centric marketing and diversity of cultures, which reveals considerable variation in how people construe satisfaction in life and experience subjective well-being in the East (e.g.Japan, China) and the West (e.g. Denmark, US).


In contemporary globalized society, mobility of people with different values, attitudes and life-styles makes it complicated both for public and private service providers to offer consumer-centric service and communication. If service is intended to enhance individuals’ satisfaction by increasing their sense of well-being, we need to understand them not only at a national or global level, but also at a personal level. We also need to rethink how we define the concept of culture in order to account for this complexity.


From a theoretical viewpoint, the course introduces several key concepts, i.e. social identity theory and value theories, culture and values, as well as convergence and divergence, which take account of the complexity of cultures.


Based on the aforementioned theories, we will analyze consumer products and audio/visual marketing materials as cultural artifacts throughout the course. The course combines several methodological approaches among others, content analysis, cross-table analysis using World Value Survey and European Social Survey database and online questionnaire. Through these activities, we will discuss how to approach consumer-centric marketing by considering both transnational and national characteristics of consumers in the modern globalized society.


Tentative schedule (may be changed without notice):


Week1: Definition of cultures, Social Identity Theory (SIT) and Virtual Onion Model (VOM)


Week 2: Communicating across cultures, consumers in different cultures, content analysis using TV commercials from the East and the West


Week3: SIT and consumer behaviors, content analysis of TV commercials from the world


Week4: Values and cultures, Schwartz theory, World Value Survey (WVS) and European Social Survey (ESS)


Week5: Convergence and divergence, cross table analysis of WVS/ESS


Week6. Introduction to a group assignment, formulation of research question(s)


Week7: Emotional expressions in different cultures, online survey design


Week8: Consumer satisfaction, power relation between service providers and receivers in different cultures and senarios, online survey design


Week9: Cosmopolitanism, transnational- and national values, online survey analysis


Week10: Multicultural identities, personal values, online survey analysis


Week11/12: Workshop (presentations of the group assignment) 



Teaching methods
The course consists of lectures, discussions, hands-on sessions and group work.

Through hands-on sessions and group work, students apply theories introduced in the course to analysis of diverse audio/visual marketing materials in the East and in the West.

(In the previous course in 2014, the group work has been conducted by multinational teams thanks to many international students participated in the course.)

The course is taught and coordinated by a teacher with more than 10 years’ experience in consumer behavior research and product concept design at the largest Japanese high-tech consumer enterprise, as well as in Japanese marketing coordination at a Danish high-tech enterprise. The course will focus on students’ acquiring practical skills in identifying and analyzing consumers' transnational and national values that are essential for intercultural marketing communicatoin.

In particular, the course intends to introduce real-world cases brought up by a Japanese marketing company and consumer industries, and encourage students to work with themes relevant to real-world problems in intercultural marketing suggested by these industries.
Expected literature

(Tentative literature list: may be changed without notice)

Literature (methods):

Klaus, K. (2013) Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology, Thousand Oaks, Calf. Sage


Bearden, W.O., Netemeyer, R.G., Haws, K.L. (2011) Handbook of Marketing Scales: Multi-Item Measures for Marketing and Consumer Behavior Research. Sage publications


Bethlehem, J. 2009. Survey Methodology: A statistical perspective. Wiley. Chapter 3.


Literature (theories and applications):


Staub, D. et al. (2002) Toward a theory-based measurement of culture. In: Journal of Global Information Management, Vol. 10 No.1, pp.13-23


Trepte, S. (2006) Social Identity Theory. In: Psychology of entertainment, Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, xvi, 457 pp. 255-271.


De Mooij, M. (2011) Chapter 1: Global consumers in a global village?  In: Consumer Behavior and Culture, Sage publications


De Mooij, M. (2011) Chapter 2: Values and Culture. In: Consumer Behavior and Culture, Sage publications

De Mooij, M. (2011) Chapter 4: The consumer: Attributes. In: Consumer Behavior and Culture, Sage publications


Schwartz, S. H. (2012) An overview of the Schwartz theory of basic values, Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1116


Oyserman, D. (2009) Identity-based motivation: Implications for action-readiness, procedural-readiness, and consumer behavior. In: Journal of Consumer Psychology 19, pp. 250-260


Cleveland, M. et al. (2011) Cosmopolitanism, individual-level values and cultural-level values: A cross-cultural study. In: Journal of Business Research 64, pp. 934-943


Aaker, J. L. et al. (2001) Consumption symbols as carriers of culture: a study of Japanese and Spanish brand personality constructs. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, pp. 492-508


Matsumoto, D. (1990) Cultural similarities and differences in display rules. In: Journal of Motivation and Emotion, Vol 14 (3), pp.195-214.



Zhou, S, et al. (2005) Visual differences in US and Chinese television commercials. In: Journal of Advertising, 34(1), pp. 111-119


Keng, K. A and Liu, S. (1997) Personal values and complaint behavior: the case of Singapore consumers. In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. 4(2), pp. 89-97


Tams, S. (2013) Moving cultural information systems research toward maturity: A review of definitions of culture construct. In: Information Technology & People Vol. 26 No.4. pp.383-400


Literature (basic theories):

Turner, J. C. (1982). Towards a Cognitive Redefinition of the Social Group. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Social Identity and Intergroup Relations: 15-40. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Tajfel, H. (1978). Differentiation Between Social Groups. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Last updated on 16-02-2015