April 2008
Volume 2 | Issue 1  
[From the Editor]

Perspective, when inspired by an enlightened source, is a valuable tool for any business leader. So, who or what inspires your perspective? With competing priorities jostling for our time, it is easy to allow our perspective to be influenced by routine thinking or mundane practice. Decisions and thought processes take the path of least resistance as we barrel toward a finished product or result in the name of progress. It would seem to be the safest way, the easiest way. But, if we allow our thoughts, our ideas, our perspective to be inspired wholeheartedly by the unlimited insight of our Creator, scripture admonishes that the result often yields benefits beyond our expectation (e.g., consider Numbers 13:26-14:38).

In this issue, we are encouraged by the authors to consider our perspective. Starting with Arpita Khare, Ph.D., her empirical study reveals encouraging trends for multinational companies seeking success in emerging markets. Next, Franco Gandolfi, Ph.D. and Corné J. Bekker, Ph.D. provide an interdisciplinary approach to examine how firms can better understand the concepts of guanxi and the Christian concept of perichoretic hospitality to build authentic business relationships in China. Finally, Bekker offers an in-depth article that stirs traditional thinking about individualism in leadership toward mutuality followed by an analytical piece by Gandolfi and graduate business students on the real reason for Wal-Mart’s failure in some foreign markets, namely South Korea.

Enjoy the read, and may your perspective be enhanced all the more.


Guanxi: The Art of Finesse and Relationship Building When Conducting Business in China
By Franco Gandolfi and Corné J. Bekker

The notion of guanxi signifies relationships and relationship building. The concept is an essential part in the development and success of businesses in China. In order for foreign firms to successfully enter China they must have a solid understanding of the concept of guanxi. In this article, the concept of guanxi and its role in contemporary China is explored and compared with the Christian concept of perichoretic hospitality. If foreign firms intend to enter and succeed in China, an understanding of guanxi and its managerial and business implications is critical.

Global Brands Making Foray in Rural India
By Arpita Khare

Targeting Indian consumers has always been challenging for multinational companies in the Indian subcontinent given consumer preferences, lifestyles, and religious diversities. Global companies that understand the price-value equation have sustained their presence in India. As if the challenge of serving the urban consumer was not enough, liberalization has opened vistas of opportunities in rural India. Global companies are expanding their reach in rural India. With two thirds of the Indian population residing in villages and the increased development of infrastructure and education, rural India is a fascinating market bed for multinational companies. The growing demand for branded products is instilling confidence in companies to make investments on rural consumers. Based on a study that explores changes in perception of the rural consumers towards product consumption in the villages of eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, multinationals might fathom the impact this brings in marketing to consumers in the Indian rural markets.

Ubuntu, Kenosis & Mutuality: Finding the Other in Southern African Business Leadership
By Corné J. Bekker

There are strong parallels between the Christian construct of kenosis and the African social philosophy of ubuntu. These parallels allow for the construction of a value–based style of leadership in business that is both African and Christian where leader and follower attain full humanity through a liberating, empowering relationship of mutuality.

Colossal Failure: Why Wal-Mart Did not Succeed in South Korea
By Franco Gandolfi, Mindy Braum, Phil Nanney and Ki-Jun Yoon

Wal-Mart Inc., the world’s largest corporation, failed to capture the hearts of South Koreans. While it achieved stunning successes in the U.S. and overseas, Wal-Mart was unable to apply its proven U.S. business model in the South Korean market. In analyzing Wal-Wart’s experience in South Korea from the South Korean perspective, discussion emerges around Wal-Mart’s inability to properly understand and respond to the South Korean consumer. Although Wal-Mart is only one among many firms that have underestimated the role of conducting cultural due diligence prior to entry into a foreign country, their experience reveals a broader concern as to why firms fail to adapt their business practices to the idiosyncrasies of foreign cultures. Business leaders must recognize and respect the influence of local culture in determining a firm’s business model.

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