Sunday, January 17, 2010

Building the Knowledge Base

Constrain of time, resources, and expertises are the major inhibitors to international research. Nevertheless, firms need to carry out planned and organized research in order to explore foreign market opportunities and challenges successfully; such research must be linked closely to the decision –making process. For example, based of the result of research, High-priced consumer products are unlikely to be successful in the people republic china, as their price may be equal to a significant proportion of the customer’s annual salary, the customer benefit may be minimal, and the government is likely to prohibit their importation. This is where the need for international research.
International research differs from domestic research in that the environment –which determines how well tools, techniques, and concepts apply-is different abroad. For example, multiple regions of a country need to be investigated, however if the lack of homogeneity exists because of different economic, geographic or behavioral factors. One source reports of the failure of a firm in Indonesia due to insufficient geographic dispersion of its research. The firm conducted its study only in large Indonesia cities during the height of tourism season, but projected the result of the entire population. When the company set up large production and distribution facilities to meet the expected demand, it realized only limited sales to city tourists. In addition, the international manager must deal with duties, exchange rate, and international documentation; a greater number of interacting factors; and a much broader definition of the concept of competition.
When the firm is uninformed about international differences in consumer tastes and preferences or about foreign market environments, the need for international research is particularly great. Research objective need to be determined based on the corporate mission, the level of international expertise, and the business plan. These objectives will enable the research to identify the information requirements. For example, Toyota sent a group of its engineers and designers to southern California to nonchalantly observe how woman get into and operate their cars. They found that women with long fingernails have trouble opening the door and operating various knobs on the dashboard. Toyota engineers and designers were able to comprehend the women’s plight and redesign some of their automobile exteriors and interiors, producing more desirable cars.
Given the scarcity of resources companies beginning their international effort must rely on data that have already been collected. These secondary data are available from sources such as governments, international organizations, or electronic information services. It is important to respect privacy, laws and preferences when making use of secondary data. For example, European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products. Information on drug approval producers and documents of the committee for Propertiory Medicinal Products and the Committee of Veterinary Medicinal products.

To fulfill specific information requirements, the researcher may need to collect primary data. An appropriate research technique must be selected to collect the information. Sensitivity to different International environments and cultures will aid the researcher in deciding whether to use interviews, focus groups, observation, surveys, or web technology as data-collection techniques.
To provide ongoing information to management, an information system is useful. Such a system will provide for the continuous gathering, analysis, and reporting of data for decision-making purposes. Data gathered through environmental scanning, Delphi studies, or scenario building enable management to prepare for the future and hone its decision-making abilities. For example Accenture, Accenture is the big consultation service firm that had 129,000 employees and client in 48 different countries. They didn’t have parent operational company and formal branch that push their employees to work directly with their clients. Manager used e-mail, phone, web, and other information technology to organizing virtually.

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