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Culture’s Influence on the Websites of German and Chinese Companies

An Analysis of Cultural Diversity on the Internet

by Julian Böhnisch (Author)
©2022 Thesis 246 Pages

Summary

Few inventions in human history have been as revolutionary concerning the way people communicate and do business as the internet. Almost 60% of the world’s population have access to the World Wide Web, so that a rapid future development regarding global businesses, which strongly depend on the usage of the internet, can surely be predicted . International companies and organizations operate worldwide, with participants across all cultures. This development results in an increasing focus on managing the gaps and specific characteristics of different cultures. In this context, not only marketing across geographic boundaries needs to be reconsidered, but also communication via internet. The author examines whether culture has traceable influences on the internet presences of international companies and – if so – what impact these influences have on the respective web design. Therefore, he analyzes sample internet presences of German and Chinese companies by applying the method of content analysis in order to finally propose a culturally optimized blueprint of a website.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Introduction
  • Introduction to the topic
  • Prime research question, goals, sources
  • Structure and research methodology
  • 1 Literature review
  • 1.1 Literature Review from 1999 to 2019
  • 1.2 Research gaps and innovations
  • 2 Overview of the theoretical foundation of culture
  • 2.1 Basic approaches to define the concept of culture
  • 2.1.1 Normative concept of culture
  • 2.1.2 Cognitive anthropology as a concept of culture
  • 2.1.3 Symbolic concept of culture
  • 2.2 Limitation of the term ‘culture’
  • 2.3 Hofstede’s dimensions of culture
  • 2.3.1 Power Distance
  • 2.3.2 Individualism versus Collectivism
  • 2.3.3 Masculinity versus Feminity
  • 2.3.4 Uncertainty Avoidance
  • 2.4 Hall’s dimension of culture – focusing on ‘context’
  • 2.5 Correlation of individualism-collectivism and high-low-context behavior
  • 2.6 Critical consideration of Hofstede’s and Hall’s cultural approaches
  • 3 Fundamentals of internet presences and elements of web design
  • 3.1 Basics and definition of a website, web page, homepage and internet presence
  • 3.2 The anatomy of a web page
  • 3.2.1 Header
  • 3.2.2 Footer
  • 3.2.3 Content and columns
  • 3.2.4 Navigation
  • 3.3 Usability
  • 3.4 Elements of web design
  • 3.4.1 Navigation Systems
  • 3.4.1.1 Navigation bar
  • 3.4.1.2 Dropdown menu
  • 3.4.1.3 Sidebar
  • 3.4.1.4 Search field
  • 3.4.2 Layout
  • 3.4.3 Images
  • 3.4.4 Icons
  • 3.4.5 Color
  • 3.4.6 Words
  • 3.4.7 Multimedia usage
  • 4 Methodology – Content Analysis
  • 4.1 Content analysis in general
  • 4.2 Analysis process
  • 4.3 Web analytics and key metrics
  • 4.3.1 SimilarWeb
  • 4.3.2 Total visits on websites
  • 4.3.3 Average visit duration on websites
  • 4.3.4 Bounce rate of website visitors
  • 4.4 Qualifying samples with SimilarWeb
  • 4.5 Data sampling
  • 5 Content Analysis
  • 5.1 Coding schedule
  • 5.2 Coding manual
  • 5.3 Overview of eight sample content analyses for German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.3.1 Content analysis for German and Chinese companies in the financial industry
  • 5.3.2 Content analysis for German and Chinese companies in the technology and engineering industry
  • 5.3.3 Content analysis for German and Chinese companies in the food industry
  • 5.3.4 Content analysis for German and Chinese companies in the fashion industry
  • 5.4 Content analysis for German and Chinese internet presences focusing on the average value of each analyzed industrial sector
  • 5.4.1 Navigation
  • 5.4.1.1 Navigation characteristics of German internet presences
  • 5.4.1.2 Navigation characteristics of Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.1.3 A comparison between the usage of navigation characteristics of German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.2 Images
  • 5.4.2.1 Images of German internet presences
  • 5.4.2.2 Images of Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.2.3 A comparison between the usage of images of German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.3 Multimedia usage
  • 5.4.3.1 Multimedia usage of German internet presences
  • 5.4.3.2 Multimedia usage of Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.3.3 A comparison between the usage of multimedia on German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.4 Colors
  • 5.4.4.1 Color usage of German internet presences
  • 5.4.4.2 Colors used in Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.4.3 A comparison between the usage of colors on German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.5 Words
  • 5.4.5.1 Word usage in German internet presences
  • 5.4.5.2 Word usage in Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.5.3 A comparison between the usage of words in German and Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.6 Performance metrics
  • 5.4.6.1 Performance metrics of German internet presences
  • 5.4.6.2 Performance metrics of Chinese internet presences
  • 5.4.6.3 A comparison between the performance metrics of German and Chinese internet presences
  • 6 Findings, discussion and conclusion
  • 6.1 An exemplary selection of high-performing websites
  • 6.2 Web design architecture: Influences of cultural dimensions on high-performing German and the Chinese websites
  • 6.2.1 Power Distance
  • 6.2.2 Individualism versus Collectivism
  • 6.2.3 Masculinity versus Femininity
  • 6.2.4 Uncertainty Avoidance
  • 6.2.5 High and Low Context
  • 6.3 Result of content analysis: Blueprints for high performing German and Chinese websites
  • 7 Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future studies
  • 7.1 Research Question
  • 7.2 Contributions
  • 7.2.1 Theoretical
  • 7.2.2 Methodological
  • 7.2.3 Practical Implications
  • 7.3 Limitations
  • 7.4 Future Research
  • References
  • Appendix

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List of Figures

Figure 1: Internet users in the world by geographic regions in 2019.

Figure 2: Three levels of uniqueness in human mental programming.

Figure 3: The Onion Diagram: Manifestations of culture.

Figure 4: Power distance index (PDI) values and ranks China and Germany.

Figure 5: Individualism index (IDV) values and ranks Germany and China.

Figure 6: Masculinity index (MAS) values and ranks Germany and China.

Figure 7: Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) values and ranks Germany and China.

Figure 8: Anatomy of an average web page.

Figure 9: Global navigation system.

Figure 10: Local navigation system.

Figure 11: Supplementary navigation system.

Figure 12: Contextual navigation system.

Figure 13: Courtesy navigation system.

Figure 14: Internet presence of Daimler and the navigation bar in the header.

Figure 15: Internet presence of Daimler and the dropdown menu of the navigation bar in the header.

Figure 16: Internet presence of Zeit online, showing the sidebar on the homepage.

Figure 17: Internet presence of Deutsche Bahn and the search field in the header.

Figure 18: Well-known and often-used social media icons for websites: Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Wechat, Weibo, and Tencent QQ.

Figure 19: Flowchart of a web project developing process.

Figure 20: Coding schedule.

Figure 21: Coding manual.

Figure 22: Analysis process.

Figure 23: Searching result for www.streetscooter.eu on SimilarWeb.

Figure 24: Searching result for www.tu-freiberg.de on SimilarWeb.

Figure 25: The score of Germany and China measured by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.

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Figure 26: The chromatic circle of colors. Adapted from Johannes Itten.

Figure 27: Homepage of Deutsche Bank.

Figure 28: Four navigation bars of Deutsche Bank website.

Figure 29: Sidebar of Deutsche Bank website.

Figure 30: Images of humans on the Deutsche Bank website.

Figure 31: Social media icons on the Deutsche Bank website.

Figure 32: Code-to-text-ratio of the Deutsche Bank website.

Figure 33: Performance metrics by SmiliarWeb of the Deutsche Bank website

Figure 34: Homepage of ICBC.

Figure 35: Three navigation bars of ICBC homepage.

Figure 36: Drop-down menu of the ICBC homepage.

Figure 37: Sidebar of the ICBC homepage.

Figure 38: Seven icons of the ICBC homepage.

Figure 39: Images of the ICBC homepage.

Figure 40: Code-to-text-ratio of the ICBC website.

Figure 41: Performance metrics by SmiliarWeb of the ICBC website.

Figure 42: Homepage of Audi AG.

Figure 43: Navigation bars of the Audi AG website.

Figure 44: Search box of the Audi AG website.

Figure 45: Human in the image of the Audi AG website.

Figure 46: One of the videos on the Audi AG website.

Figure 47: Code-to-text-ratio of the Audi AG website.

Figure 48: Performance metrics by Smiliarweb of the Audi AG website.

Figure 49: Navigation bar on header and footer on the Geely website.

Figure 50: Side bar with icons on the Geely website.

Figure 51: Images on the Geely website.

Figure 52: Social media link in the footer on the Geely website.

Figure 53: Performance metrics by SmiliarWeb of the Geely website.

Figure 54: Code-to-text-ratio of the Geely website.

Figure 55: Overview of the Iglo website.

Figure 56: Two level navigation bar in the header of the Iglo website.

Figure 57: Navigation bar in the footer of the Iglo website.

Figure 58: Images with humans on the Iglo website.

Figure 59: The only icon on the Iglo website.

Figure 60: Performance metrics by Smiliarweb of the Iglo website.

Figure 61: Code-to-text-ratio of the Iglo website.

Figure 62: Overview of the Kee Wah Bakery website.

Figure 63: Navigation bar in the header of the Kee Wah Bakery website.

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Figure 64: One level navigation bar in the header of the Kee Wah Bakery website.

Details

Pages
246
Year
2022
ISBN (PDF)
9783631868034
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631868041
ISBN (Softcover)
9783631866870
Language
English
Publication date
2021 (December)
Tags
Culture’s influence Intercultural communication Web design Cultral diversity German companies Chinese companies Online marketing International business International management Cultural dimensions Internationales Marketing
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 246 pp., 45 fig. col., 109 fig. b/w, 10 tables.

Biographical notes

Julian Böhnisch (Author)

Julian Böhnisch studied business administration at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and at the Technical University of Freiberg, where he also received his PhD. His research focuses on finance, accounting and taxes as well as marketing and management.

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Title: Culture’s Influence on the Websites of German and Chinese Companies