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Country classification and the cultural dimension: a review and evaluation

Johanna Vanderstraeten (Department of Management, Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)
Paul Matthyssens (Department of Management, Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium Department of Marketing Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to identify, review and evaluate international marketing (IM) studies in the domain of cultural country classification (1985‐2006).


First, articles in which an “original” classification is developed are identified. Then, the paper characteristics are summarized using Ronen and Shenkar's characteristics. Eventually, Hunt's evaluation criteria are used to evaluate these classifications.


Summarizing and evaluating the selected papers reveals that the authors of the selected papers do not always seem to explicitly consider Ronen and Shenkar's useful recommendations concerning questionnaire and sample characteristics. Moreover, evaluation seems to indicate that Hunt's evaluation criteria are not always met.

Research limitations/implications

It is recommended that future cultural country classification researchers consider Ronen and Shenkar's recommendations. Moreover, researchers might explicitly specify the concept of culture and/or incorporating other influencing factors. It is also recommended that researchers develop their own classification scheme to check whether the scheme meets Hunt's evaluation criteria. Other researchers might try to contribute to a convergence of the cultural country classification domain by empirically testing newly developed typologies; refining studies; assigning other countries; and testing comparatively existing classifications.

Practical implications

Practitioners might think of grouping countries culturally for fine‐tuning marketing strategy. When seeking for co‐ordination and synergy, multinationals can use country cluster offices as a step‐stone or alternative to more centralized, global headquarters.


Besides, Ronen and Shenkar's paper in 1985 – another evaluation paper in the domain of cultural country classification and IM was not discovered. The paper tries to offer some useful recommendations to both scientific researchers and practitioners.



Vanderstraeten, J. and Matthyssens, P. (2008), "Country classification and the cultural dimension: a review and evaluation", International Marketing Review, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 230-251.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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