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In India, it’s their Way or the Highway: - A case study on what cultural differences Swedish SMEs perceive on the Indian market and how they manage them. 
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing.
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Emerging markets are countries with rapid economic growth and have been on the global agenda over the last decades. The most prominent of these markets are the BRIC countries where India is included. India is one of the largest emerging markets in the world with large annual economic growth and great opportunities for firms doing business in it. However, it has proven to be complicated for Westerns firms operating in the country, which stems from its cultural differences towards the West but also the cultural diversity within the country. Differences also exist between India and the West in a business context, where Indians highlight the importance of personal relationships before engaging in contracts, unlike for example Swedes that do the opposite.

The purpose of this study is to investigate what cultural differences Swedish small and medium sized enterprises perceive while doing business in India, and what standardization or adaptation strategies they use to manage these differences. Empirical findings have been retrieved from interviews with key personnel in three firms located in Småland, in Southeast Sweden, which are established or have tried to establish business in India. The literature review contains three main concepts; Doing business in emerging markets, Standardization vs. adaptation and Cultural elements that are all connected to India and how SMEs should approach this market. These three concepts are later illustrated in a conceptual framework, which is based on the research questions.

The result shows that Swedish SMEs perceive Indian culture as very hierarchical in both society and organizations. The aspect of time is not highly regarded, where payment and delivery delays are frequent. Indians rely extensively on personal relationships and try to avoid uncertainties in business communication. Findings also show that friendship and personal bonds are initial aspects when negotiating a potential contract. It is also essential for Swedish SMEs to adapt some business activities when in India, although certain standardization methods should be used in order to thrive on the Indian market. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 64 p.
Keyword [en]
Emerging Markets, SMEs, International Business, Standardization, Adaptation, Culture, Indian Culture, Swedish Culture
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-45161OAI: diva2:827508
Educational program
International Business Programme, 180 credits
Available from: 2015-07-07 Created: 2015-06-28 Last updated: 2015-07-07Bibliographically approved

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