Globalization is the intensification
Globalization is the intensification of economic interaction between people, organizations and governments of different nations. Globalization includes changes in political situations, economic and culture. The cultural changes which we are concerned with in this essay are hard to identify but are very important for different nations of the world. Globalization is more than just “Americanization”, Americanization may mean the culture which is recognised by most of the world influenced by United states. Americanization has a different meaning to many people. Imposition of American culture, domination of U.S. products, people, and businesses are some of the concerns that might lead one to believe that globalization is synonymous to Americanization. Americanization has a different connotation to many people. Some feel it is the influx of American culture, values, and violence that is sometimes commonly depicted and glorified in Hollywood movies. Others feel it is the political, social, cultural and economic domination of a superpower like the United States. Now that America is often regarded to as the only super power left in the world, some unsatisfied local politicians in many developing countries would like to tag globalization as nothing short of Americanization of their culture, customs, and their way of doing business. True, American multinationals like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, IBM, etc. can be seen throughout the world. Yet, there are important reasons why globalization does not mean Americanization. As a matter of fact, there are important American virtues that lend themselves to global appeal. It is the prevalence of some of these virtues that makes American business a truly global business. For example, Toyota became a truly global company by Americanization of its operations. While Toyota has captured a sizeable share of the global automobile market, yet no one seems to confuse globalization with Japanization. But we do frequently hear about “Disneyfication” and “Coca Colonization” from the vocal opponents of globalization.
Several U.S. multinational companies have gone abroad in search of new markets,
new products, new technologies, raw materials, and a host of other benefits. By any account these companies have been extremely successful in establishing their brand images on a global scale. Any person living in the most remote corner of the world would recognize logos of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, American Express, or the golden arches of McDonald's. These are some of the truly global Companies. A large American company is not necessarily a truly global company. A truly global company will not only survive in a so-called adversarial global environment, but will thrive in it as well. In other words, to the extent a company possesses some of these virtues; the more successful it will be in the global environment.
Big American companies in different countries influence the culture of those countries widely. Different aspects of Americanization affect the cultures in the world including Food, Movies, Music and language. Below is a discussion of these aspects.
Invariably, American culture can be seen all over the world. It has been spreading through the likes of Hollywood movies, the Big Mac, and Britney Spears. “Today, globalization often wears Mickey Mouse ears, eats Big Macs, drinks Coke or Pepsi, and it does its computing on an IBM PC, using Windows ….In most societies most people cannot distinguish anymore among American power, American exports, American cultural assaults, American cultural exports, and plain vanilla globalization. They are all wrapped into one.” (Moore, 2003). Nonetheless, “We don't speak of globalization in terms of Japanization or Koreanization of Asia or Germanization of Europe. To speak of globalization as Canadianization is silly, but Canadian multinationals do have a substantial presence abroad” (Moore, 2003).
In order to remain competitive in the global environment, U.S. multinationals are increasingly outsourcing their operations to low cost countries like China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and so on. Many companies have established their call centre operations in these countries. At times, this business process outsourcing has created a lot of confusion and resentment among the local people in these countries. The cultural exchange is a two-way process. For long time, America has been considered a “melting pot” of various cultures. This is no longer the case. It has now become more like a “salad bowl,” where people from differing cultures can preserve their identity and at the same time be called Americans. Now we have so-called hyphenated Americans like Asian-Americans, African- Americans, Japanese-Americans, Arab-Americans, Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, people of Middle-Eastern origin, and so on. The current emphasis is not so much on integration of people of different cultures, but to recognize and preserve diversity.
Food is a vital part of a culture, it can also influence the way people act in a society. For example, French like having their own cuisine like pastries. Some French fear that American fast food can overcome the demand of food in their country and it is not their culture. Food not only influences the habits but also the traditions of the country. For example, Italians think drinking coffee in sidewalk cafes is in their culture rather than drinking coffee at starbucks. However, in US people are used to drink coffee from takeaways and at workplace etc, whereas Italians prefer it in a relaxed cafe which has its own unique style. Americanization can also spread through the movie industry of US. For example, in France, the government tried to restrict the channels of foreign origin in order to protect their French culture. Globalization can pace up cultural change. Though this change depends on the consumer choice, therefore, the elements of a culture reflect consumer choice.
Although the America may play a dominant role within the phenomenon of cultural globalization, it's not always in the same way. Other nations also contribute to global culture, including American culture itself. Same as US culture influences other countries, other national cultures are influential within the US. Hollywood is a good example of an industry that integrates elements from more than one culture. Hollywood dominates world cinema. A lot of Hollywood celebrities are not originally from America, this tells how global is the Hollywood industry is.
A truly global company should be able to localize its business in host countries. Failure to do so will surely invite the wrath of the local population. Companies like Coca-Cola, General Electric, McDonald's, Dominos, and Boeing attribute their global standings to localize their global businesses. They all employ hundreds of thousands of people overseas and attempt to modify their products to fit local tastes. For example, in Belgium, Coke ran a promotion featuring Coke cans designed by Belgium fashion stylists. In Saudi Arabia, Abdul Mejid Abdullah, a top singer, is Coke's celebrity endorser. In France, McDonald's sells fresh fruit and Danone water in addition to fries and Coca- Cola. To better penetrate the European market three years ago, Boeing stopped flying salesman in from Seattle and hired a group of powerful country presidents with political ties to local governments (Guyon, October 27, 2003). Although Boeing is losing global market share to Airbus, its biggest customer in Europe is Air France, which is introducing Boeing's latest 777 model. In India, Domino offers toppings like capsicum, ginger, jalapeno, red peppers, and asparagus on its pizzas to suit the taste of the local people. In Germany, the home of BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche, winning over buyers is a tough slog for Lexus, the upscale brand of Toyota Motors Corp. Although the company has had enormous success in the U.S., supplanting Cadillac as America's best selling luxury brand. Lexus has a mere toe hold in Europe, selling only 20,000 cars a year, half of them in Britain. Now, as part of a push to become a global luxury brand, Lexus is gearing up to try to lift European sales to 60,000 by the end of this decade. In Europe, building credibility in Germany is the key: It is the largest single market
for luxury cars make up more than 10% of total sales. It is an uphill battle until Toyota Company realized that it has to localize its Lexus brand in order to compete with other luxury cars built in Germany. The Lexus RX330 sport-utility vehicle (SUV) has been praised in German motor press, yet it does not come with an engine using diesel, found in 90% of luxury SUVs sold in Germany. Toyota now plans to introduce its diesel powered Lexus in Germany in 2005 (Boudette, December 4, 2003).
Localization will help a company to become a truly global company, not just a large American company that is successful globally.