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The subtle alchemy for success in a new country

Local and global have become virtually indistinguishable. It’s become a given that, when a business looks to expand abroad, they have to adapt to different social and economic contexts—often very different from those of their home nation—and must do so in a hurry. This is the only real path to growth, but it’s a path to be followed in measured steps, taking with you the essence of your roots, the heart of your own culture of enterprise, while being able to make the best of the new markets and the essence of other business cultures, particularly when you head abroad to do more than just sell your wares.

Nonetheless, what is truly happening is need of greater study in order to understand it fully, because success comes from a delicate balance that changes from one company to the next and from one place to another.

Tamara Katharina Kürzdörfer and José Carlos Santana Lopes have made their own contribution in this direction with their thesis for the Masters in Business Administration programme at the Jönköping International Business School, Sweden. The work, published in May, seeks to understand the effects of transferring cultural and organisational models of a given business to other countries and other cultures. As the authors explain, “it is crucial to transfer […] already developed business models to other countries with different cultures in order to keep a competitive advantage as well as a strong position in [the] corresponding industry.”

Entitled “Cultural Influence on the Success Factors of Business Models”, the thesis goes beyond a mere analysis of previous studies to also analyse the case of Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), which transferred its model to Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This exploration of Volvo’s range of experiences proves two things according to the authors. The first is that “the heart of the whole business model” of an organisation as important and as structured as Volvo is not influenced by the national culture of an individual country. The second is that the national culture of a given country can influence the success of a business model, but limited to certain factors. It is this fragile alchemy that comes about when a business moves into a new setting that can lead to the success or failure of a great many enterprises, and this work out of Jönköping offers up some proof.

Cultural Influence on the Success Factors of Business Models

Tamara Katharina Kürzdörfer & José Carlos Santana Lopes

Jönköping International Business School – Jönköping University, May 2013.