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Cultural sensitivity on company websites
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In today’s global marketplace, where companies market their products and services in different country markets, it is important for managers to know how to address customers in diverse cultures. One way to address these diverse cultures is to establish storefronts or company websites which are culturally sensitive and to respond to an increasing demand for national websites which are country specific. Our study is an attempt to uncover how culturally sensitive multinational companies are in their national websites. Guided by previous research in the area we provided a framework to conduct observations and supplemented them by interviews and documentation. Through these data collection methods we found out how culturally sensitive companies are in both design and content of their websites. By observing three national websites of two companies with Swedish background, Sony Ericsson and IKEA, we were able to collect data on the variables of website design and content. Through studying Hofstede’s cultural dimensions of Germany, Poland, and Sweden we were able to understand the three national cultures and the ways they differ from each other. We were thus able to find out to what extent these differences were taken into consideration in the corresponding country websites of the two companies. By interviewing people with German and Polish origins we were also able to get their points of view. Our findings show that companies are most culturally sensitive in their website design, specifically with regard to use of the national language. A majority of the websites had translated with sensitivity and allowed for language jargon and even culturally specific proverbs. The websites also adapted sales approaches to national cultures in order to communicate effectively with visitors to the websites. This was however only true for the company which sold to end users, IKEA. Our findings could contribute to knowledge as our findings also showed that most of the theory on the subject of website content had shortcomings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, Culture, cultural sensitivity, websites
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-47394ISRN: LTU-DUPP--08/011--SELocal ID: 4f1ffa14-907e-4157-bd6e-6eb4fd565f9aOAI: diva2:1020716
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
Marketing, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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