Blunders in International Business (1999)

BIB Blunders in International Business (1999), by Professor David Ricks of University of Missouri-St. Louis, is a book about mistakes that companies make when they go international. The book is divided into 9 chapters, that focus on specific topics such as Production (location, layout etc.), Names (company and product names), Marketing (promotion, pricing), and Management (labor relations and cultural differences). Two of my favorite examples from the book are:

1. One of Nike’s recent television advertisements “included people from various countries reportedly stating Nike’s slogan- “just do it” -in their native languages. However, one man, a Samburu tribesman, was really saying, “I don’t want these, give me big shoes.”

2. The New York Helmsley Palace Hotel approved a promotion campaign that compared the hotel with the Taj Mahal with the line- “In India, Its the Taj Mahal. In New York It’s the Helmsley Palace.” Now, most people probably know that the Taj Mahal is probably a mausoleum for Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, not a hotel! So, imagine when the Helmsley Hotel compared itself to the Taj Mahal and proclaimed, “Service and appointments fit for royalty- you- our guests.”

Blunders in International Business is full of such entertaining nuggets about doing business internationally! (Of course, there are some trivial, minor examples too that don’t illustrate the point as much). All in all, its a good book, an easy read, that can be casually read in a short plane ride.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Blunders in International Business (1999)

  1. abusinessprofessor

    Ah, here’s a website that provides some examples of cross-cultural blunders in international business:

    http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/crosscultural-blunders.html

  2. In July, bankrupt Northwest Airlines begins laying off thousands of ground workers, but not before issuing some of them a handy guide, “101 Ways to Save Money.”

    The advice includes dumpster diving (“Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash”), making your own baby food, shredding old newspapers for use as cat litter, and taking walks in the woods as a low-cost dating alternative.

  3. A golf ball manufacturing company packaged golf balls in packs of four for convenient purchase in Japan. Unfortunately, pronunciation of the word “four” in Japanese sounds like the word “death” and items packaged in fours are unpopular.

  4. Apple. Google. Walmart. Boeing. The U.S. Treasury. These hallowed names are among the crème de la crème in business and the economy. Top of the heap. Cock of the walk. Best and brightest. The A List, you might say.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-business-blunders-of-2011-2011-1#ixzz1UcoEEstw

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