The link between cultural value systems and strategic marketing

Yang‐Im Lee (School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK)
Peter R.J. Trim (Department of Management, School of Management and Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, UK)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to make clear how managers in Western organizations can understand the Japanese and Korean cultural value system and interpret the strategic decision‐making process that exists within organizations exhibiting a collectivist culture.


A literature review was undertaken and several studies, either jointly or separately undertaken by the authors, were drawn upon in order to provide depth to the analysis and interpretation.


Although there are similarities between Japanese and Korean people, there are a number of distinct differences between them. These differences have come about as a result of Buddhism and Confucianism being adopted at different points in each country's history, and the fact that these countries have developed their own unique cultural value system. The differences manifest in organizational characteristics, which provide Japanese and Korean organizations with a specific identity, management model and way of doing business. What is evident, however, is that managers in both Japanese and Korean organizations are familiar with the relationship marketing concept and actively embrace the strategic marketing approach.

Research limitations/implications

Undertaking research into national cultural value systems and organizational cultural value systems is complex and requires an interdisciplinary approach. It can also be suggested that more emphasis needs to be placed on undertaking research of this kind in both Japan and Korea. Furthermore, it is advocated that a longitudinal study is undertaken in order to provide both evidence of how organizational cultural value systems within a collectivist culture change through time, and how cultural traits influence the decision‐making process.

Practical implications

Managers in Western organizations will be able to relate to the value systems of Japanese and Korean organizations and as a consequence, will understand how long‐term trustworthy relationships are developed. This should facilitate the negotiation of business deals and result in business partnerships being developed that are based on mutuality.


The interdisciplinary approach adopted allowed the authors to view culture from several perspectives and to link more firmly national cultural value systems with organizational cultural value systems, and with organizational identity. By adopting this research strategy, the authors were able to explain how organizational identity is influenced by and reinforced by the concept of strategic marketing.



Lee, Y. and Trim, P. (2008), "The link between cultural value systems and strategic marketing", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 62-80.

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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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