European Common Market and National Cultures in Product Management
European Common Market and National Cultures in Product Management
Q: European common market and national cultures in product management.
As borders of the European Union expand and internal barriers to trade continue to be lifted, European common market becomes more and more of an everyday occurrence rather than a lofty slogan. Thanks to harmonized legislation and lack of trade barriers, it is now easier than ever to treat the European Union (or perhaps the whole of Europe) as a single market for the purposes of product development, promotion, and distribution. Yet at the same time various European regions and nations have quite different historical baggage, differing value and attitudes—in short, different national and regional cultures. Discuss the impact cultural differences have on product management possibilities in Europe and vice versa (how are open markets changing European cultures?).

Provide an analysis of major cultural differences and their consequences, using available theories to build your argument and concrete, real-life examples of products to illustrate it.

Across Europe and within the European Union, there exist many cultural diversities descending from the many countries and regions. With many companies now spreading out into the European market place, these cultural differences have to be strongly taken into consideration by product managers if they wish their products to be successful. Within this essay I will attempt to identify why cultural differences need to be established and considered within a companies management approach to their products and some examples of where certain approaches have be successful or otherwise.

Before attempting to analyse the topic, it is necessary to define exactly what �product management’ is. In brief, �it is the business process that actively manages products throughout their lifecycle’. ( This incorporates the management of a products development, placement and marketing, which is why it is crucial to �continuously monitor the markets needs and requirements, taking into account future technology/developments and competitor’s products/ services’ ( As well as establishing the nature of product management, the term culture needs to be accurately defined also. Bates and Plog established the nature of culture to be as follows, �the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours and artefacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning’ (Bates and Plog 1990).

For many European companies expanding into neighbouring markets has become an appealing avenue for companies that are keen to broaden their horizons. In doing so they can potentially reduce costs, increase their customer base and maximise profits. However despite the benefits of spanning out into the European market, there are still some obstacles to overcome. Within the EU’s borders are a great number of different languages and cultures which all migrating companies need to identify to ensure their products meet the local needs and wants of their customers. (Bate P 1999) In many cases products need to be localised in order for them to meet the standards of a particular region. One of the key components of managing a product across cultures is the marketing message that is introduced to the host country; this can be a fairly complex task as not only are there national and local cultures to consider, but also political and business cultures. In responding to advertising, some cultures may value freedom and reward for effort whilst other cultures will be more adverse to individualism. (Bartlett and Ghoshal 2000) In many European cultures significant achievement in life is taken as a measure of success, and therefore those people that meet these standards are more highly regarded. Consequently, cultures such as this are more accepting of marketing that aims to advocate and aid these achievements. However the same marketing style when directed at people whose cultures put greater emphasis on social standing, birthplace and influence will not be acceptable and thus result in poor marketing results. (Bate P 1999)

The idea of risk taking and uncertainty is feared in some cultures, whereas the �you too can succeed’ attitude in others is an attractive possibility. Some cultures dislike the use of slogans, symbols and even some colours. Particularly in religious cultures and societies, different colours can appeal more than others. The issue of colour can apply not only within media advertising but also in the website a company directs at customers. A further strong cultural difference that exists in many countries and cultures is gender. For example in

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European Common Market And National Cultures. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from