There are a number of differences in the way international project management and fieldwork should be handled in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States of America. One can expect to encounter different assumptions on project start dates, overall approaches, deadlines, methodologies, analytical tools and forms of communication.
As the world becomes more globalized and new markets emerge, these factors will increasingly impact and influence the course of research projects.
Cultural differences require nuanced and flexible approaches. For example, flexibility and practicality may be required approaches for projects in one region, while formal processes might better serve the priorities of another. In some cultures a hierarchical project structure may be seen as best, while in another, a “flat” project structure might best serve the project.
With the rise of emerging markets, these differences may become even more pronounced and may well affect the way market research should be conducted. For instance, research results and methodological applications can vary greatly from country to country. In some parts of the world, close proximity does not guarantee cultural similarity.
Case Study: Alcoholic Beverages Research Across the Globe
SIS conducted a project in the final quarter of 2013 that illustrated how to effectively approach the social and cultural differences between geographical areas. We conducted a qualitative multi-country marketing research study on behalf of an African-based spirits manufacturer.
The client chose to work with SIS due to our 30 years of experience conducting market research in over 120 countries. We have extensive experience in conducting qualitative research, primarily through in-depth interviews, focus groups and ethnographic studies. SIS also maintains regional offices which are strategically positioned around the globe with project managers that are able to speak at least two foreign languages and are able to efficiently manage multi-country projects.
The main objective of the study was to have a better understanding of the cultural and behavioral differences in terms of alcoholic consumption in five countries across three continents: