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Marketing Aspects of Cultural Distance

Part 6. International Marketing

  1. Carlos M. P. Sousa

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem06044

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Sousa, C. M. P. 2010. Marketing Aspects of Cultural Distance. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 6.

Author Information

  1. University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Cultural distance is a widely used construct in international marketing, where it has been identified as a key variable in explaining the behavior of firms in a vast array of areas including entry-mode choice, foreign-market selection, level of control, international-marketing strategies, and performance. Existing studies, however, have provided mixed empirical results regarding the importance of cultural distance in the literature. Various reasons have been proposed to explain these inconclusive results. The argument that preferences and tastes of consumers in different countries are converging to a global norm appears to be plausible considering the emergence of the Internet, greater ease of information flow, and more frequent/easier international travel. Nonetheless, these inconsistent findings could also be attributed to the difficulty that exists in the conceptualization and operationalization of the cultural-distance concept. Researchers are encouraged to provide a clear definition of cultural distance in their studies and be aware that the operationalization must be consistent with the conceptualization of the construct. Finally, the overreliance on Kogut and Singh's formula or an adapted version as a measure of cultural distance has led to an increasing call in the literature to develop new measures of cultural distance.


  • cultural distance;
  • conceptualization;
  • operationalization;
  • psychic distance;
  • values