Socio Cultural Environment impact on business

socio cultural environment

Socio Cultural Environment

The socio cultural environment refers to the social and cultural factors that influence individuals and communities. It encompasses various aspects such as beliefs, values, customs, traditions, and social norms prevalent in a particular society or group. 

The cultural and social influences of international marketing are immense. Differences in religion, social conditions, and material culture all affect consumers’ patterns of buying behaviour and their perception. It is this area that determines the extent to which consumers across the globe are either similar or different and so determines the potential for global branding and standardisation. This category encompasses a broad range of factors which if misunderstood or unanticipated – significantly undermine a business’s marketing efforts.

These include:

  1. Literacy rates,
  2. General education levels,
  3. Language,
  4. Religion,
  5. Ethics
  6. Social values, and
  7. Social organisation.

Understanding Socio Cultural Environment

A failure to understand the social/cultural dimensions of a market is complex to manage, as McDonald’s found in India. It has to deal with a market that is 40 per cent vegetarian, had an aversion to either beef or pork among meat-eaters and hostility to frozen fish and meat, but with the general Indian fondness for spice with everything. To satisfy such tastes and preferences of its customers, McDonald’s realized it had to go beyond simply offering the perfect burger. Customers who opt for vegetarian burgers desire confirmation that the preparation occurs in a dedicated kitchen space with distinct utensils and sauces. Therefore, the purpose of developing McMasala and Mcimli was to provide a spicier option for Indian customers. However, the interesting thing is that what they introduced in other markets are now innovations.

When a firm operates in an international business environment, as an individual is bound by the society in which people live, it needs to understand the importance of society. Social class is an important part of the society. In most Western societies, these classes are classified as upper, middle, and lower. The level of perception of each class and their frequency of buying goods differ from one country to another.

In countries like India perception and trends of the consumers have been changing owing to the liberalisation and the changes in lifestyles. Another important aspect of society is the group. The performance of groups differs in collectivist and individualistic societies. The family is an important part of the social environment.

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Importance of socio cultural environment

The socio cultural environment is an important component of the international business environment and one of the most challenging aspects to understand. This is because the social and cultural environment is essentially unseen; it has been described as a shared, commonly held body of general beliefs and values that determine what is right for one group. National culture is described as the body of general values and beliefs that are shared by a country. Factors like history, religion, language, government, geographic location, and education shape values and beliefs, and firms initiate a cultural analysis by comprehending these elements.

Before entering a foreign market, marketers should study all aspects of that nation’s culture, including language, education, religious attitudes, and social values. The French love to debate and are comfortable with frequent eye contact. In China, humility is a prized virtue, colours have special significance, and it is insulting to be late. Swedish culture places a high value on consensus and generally avoids the use of humour in negotiations. The “etiquette tips for marketing professionals” feature offers some examples that will help you deal with cultural differences that arise in business dealings with foreign guests.

Aspects of Society and Culture

The basic aspects of society and culture can be understood in the following points:

Socio Cultural Environment

1) Prescriptive

It prescribes the kinds of behaviour considered acceptable in society. The prescriptive nature of culture simplifies the decision making process of consumers by narrowing down the available product choices that match their social values and norms.

2) Socially Shared

Culture out of necessity must be based on social interaction and creation. It cannot exist by itself. Members of society must share it, thereby reinforcing the prescriptive nature of culture.

3) Facilitates Communication

One useful function provided by culture is to facilitate communication Culture usually imposes common habits of thought and feeling among people. Thus, a given group culture makes it easier for people to communicate with one another. But it is important to note that a lack of shared cultural values can also become an effective barrier to communication between groups.

4) Learned Phenomenon

Culture is not a result of genetic inheritance; rather, it demands learning and acquisition. Socialisation or enculturation occurs when a person absorbs or learns the culture in which he or she is raised. In contrast, if a person learns the culture of a society other than the one in which he was raised, the process of acculturation occurs.

5) Subjective

People in different cultures often have different ideas about the same object. It is important to recognize that acceptability varies across cultures. What is acceptable in one culture may not necessarily be so in another cultural norms and values as they vary across different societies. In this regard, culture is both unique and arbitrary. As a result, the interpretation of the same phenomenon seen in different cultures can be very different.

6) Enduring

Culture endures through generations due to its sharing and passage from one generation to another. This continuity ensures that culture remains relatively stable and somewhat permanent. Old habits are hard to break, and people tend to maintain their own heritage in spite of a continuously changing world. This explains why China and India, despite severe overpopulation have a great deal of difficulty with birth control.

7) Cumulative

Culture is based on hundreds or even thousands of years of accumulated circumstances. Each generation adds something of its own to the culture before passing the heritage on to the next generation. Therefore, culture expands its scope over time by incorporating new ideas and integrating them into its fabric.

8) Dynamic

Culture is passed along from generation to generation, but one should not assume that culture is static and immune to change. Contrary to popular belief culture is not a static entity. Rather, it is a dynamic force that is constantly evolving – it is adapting itself to new conditions and new sources of knowledge.


The socio cultural environment is an important factor that businesses and organizations must consider in their operations. By understanding and adapting to the social and cultural factors, they can effectively engage with their target audience, shape consumer behaviour and create a harmonious work environment. Embracing diversity and cultural sensitivity is not only a professional necessity but it is also a pathway to success in today’s interconnected world.

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