Sunday, January 23, 2022, by Leo-Paul Dana & Aidin Salamzadeh
Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Canada
Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Iran
Many people believe that doing business is just about selling something. Although this could be true, one cannot neglect the importance of where we do such activities. As mentioned by Peter Drucker: “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The context reveals the playground in which we could win or lose. While a businessperson could succeed in a context, he or she might not even be able to compete in another context. The culture could motivate people or kill their creative spirit.
Hopefully, many intellectuals and authors have already highlighted its importance, but how it could affect business activities is beyond a simple discussion. Countries have various cultures that have been evolved throughout centuries. Many cultural aspects of a set of randomly selected countries might be surprisingly contradictory, while similar textbooks, courses and programs are offered around the Globe to help people do their businesses! It is more like trying to survive a freshwater fish by putting it in the ocean or saltwater!
One might believe that “doing business is all about offering a set of products to a group of customers. that’s it!”. To be honest, one might answer, “that’s not right at all!”. While the business modelling logic provides a basis for understanding any business, it lacks enough attention to its context. At least, this is the mainstream approach in business schools worldwide. We do not overlook the activities already done by various entities in many countries, but we talk about the mainstream approach.
“A leopard never changes its spots!”
Generally, people respect their shared values, beliefs, and customs, which we simply call their culture. People stick to these issues and avoid doing something contrary to those unwritten rules and regulations. It is almost impossible to change who they are, even if they try to do so very hard. Then, as businesspersons, we need to be so careful about such issues. Although it seems simple, history has shown that it is not much simple. Without respecting various cultures, no one could not make a success story in a specific context. Then, before initiating a business, one must learn more and more about the context. Indeed, many benefits are associated with studying the context, such as knowing the Dos and Don’ts, ensuring survival and growth, and preparing to succeed.
“Understanding Contexts of Business in Western Asia: Land of Bazaars and High-Tech Booms” (Dana et al., 2022) is an example of how culture has affected Western Asian countries by using an interesting phenomenon called “bazaar”, and how such a cultural fact has helped them deal with high-tech booms and improving entrepreneurial ecosystems in those countries. It could be a beginning to revise teaching and doing business in diverse contexts.
Dana, L. P. (2014). Asian models of entrepreneurship—from the Indian Union and Nepal to the Japanese Archipelago: Context, policy and practice. World Scientific Publishing: Singapore.
Dana, L. P., Salamzadeh, A., Ramadani, V., & Palalic, R. (2021). Understanding Contexts of Business in Western Asia: Land of Bazaars and High-Tech Booms. World Scientific Publishing: Singapore.