Assessment weighting: 60% Word Limit

The word limit for the report is 2,250 excluding the title page, table of contents page and reference list. A 10% tolerance over/under this limit is allowed, but you must ensure that you do not exceed to the word count limit, or you may be penalized.

Overview of the Task

The individual task requires you to write an essay that delves deeper into some of the concepts on the module. In particular you are required to focus on the key debates around standardization versus adaptation, and to address the role of consumer needs and culture in these debates. You may cite examples used in the group assignment, as well as other sources that help you to illustrate your points.

Specific Task Brief

Some scholars have argued that consumer differences will become more heterogeneous due to cultural differences, making it difficult for companies to standardize their strategies across cultures (e.g. De Mooij and Hofstede 2002). However, alternative perspectives suggest that consumer wants, needs and preferences have become globally homogenous, suggesting a global consumer culture (De Mooij 2015), which would require firms to standardize their strategies across cultures. Your task is to review the academic literature and provide a critical discussion that considers the merits and limitations of these perspectives, using examples to provide some recommendations on how multinational companies (like Unilever) could implement their marketing plans across cultures.                                          The discussion should include the following:


  • A Cover page (not included in the word count)
  • Self-Assessment (not included in the word count)
  • Table of Contents (not included in the word count)
  • Introduction (about 15% of the word-count/weighting)
  • Key debates around the homogeneity/heterogeneity of consumers across cultures (30%)
  • Key debates around adaptation and standardization (30%)
  • Conclusions and recommendations (about 25% of the word count/weighting)
  • Reference List (not included in the word-count; however note that any referencing within the body of the essay is included in the word count)
  • Examples: Use examples to illustrate your points throughout the discussion

Specific requirements for each section:

Introduction (15%)

  • Provide an overview of what ‘marketing across cultures’ means, citing examples of concepts such as ethnocentric, geocentric, orientations etc.

Key debates around the homogeneity/heterogeneity of consumers across cultures (30%)

  • You are required review the relevant literature and highlight the key debates and theories around the homogeneity/heterogeneity of consumers in international markets. Remember do not just repeat what different authors report on these issues; you must demonstrate critical thinking (for example by pointing out certain assumptions that they may be ignoring, such as unique environmental factors in different contexts). Use different resources, including empirical studies or information from market reports, journal articles, textbooks, case studies etc., and reference accordingly. This analysis will form the basis of your recommendations in the final section of the essay.

Key debates around adaptation and standardization (30%)

  • You are required review the literature around adaptation and standardization as used by companies that operate across cultures, highlighting key debates and theories that inform this area of international marketing. As with the previous section you must demonstrate critical thinking (for example evaluating the debates for and against adaptation or standardization, depending on different consumer wants, needs, behaviour etc.). Use different resources, including empirical studies or information from market reports, textbooks, case studies etc., and reference accordingly. Please note that this should NOT be a list of the pros and cons of standardization and adaptation, but rather an in-depth analysis of these concepts in relation to the previous discussion around culture.
  • Conclusions and recommendations (25%)
  • This is the culmination of the essay. Here you are required to provide some conclusions based on your previous analyses. (For example are consumers really becoming more homogeneous or heterogeneous, and does culture really matter when it comes to making standardization/adaptation decisions across cultures/markets?) Based on the conclusions reached, you then need to provide recommendations to multinational companies on how to best proceed with the implementation of their marketing plans across cultures. Use specific marketing examples here.

List of References:


  • You must use examples throughout the discussion

P/S: The suggestions offered on what to include in each section are not exhaustive; you should use them as a guide only. However, they do represent some of the key ideas and themes of discussion I will be looking for when marking the essay. In addition, the categorical grading criteria will be applied in grading the essay:


Please note that the lecturer/seminar leaders will not be able to read any sections or drafts of any student’s paper/sections of the essay beforehand. All essays will be read only after they are submitted on Moodle on 11th May 2022. The final feedback as well as the final grade will be provided in writing and posted on Moodle 3 weeks after the submission deadline, except where this period is interrupted by the Winter or Spring vacations, in which circumstance the work in question will be returned by the end of the first week of the following term.

Required Readings

You must read and cite at least 8 academic peer reviewed journal articles, including the ones below. It is also expected that you will consult other sources of information including textbooks, market reports, reputable newspapers, country statistical documents among others (see the previous section on ‘Some General Resources to use for your Content’). Please do not use non-academic resources like ‘Wikipedia’). Do ensure that these journals are included in your readings in the preparation of this essay:

Heterogeneity/homogeneity of consumers across markets

De Mooij, M., & Hofstede, G. (2002). Convergence and Divergence in Consumer Behaviour: Implications for International Retailing. Journal of Retailing, 78(1), 61-69.

De Mooij, M. (2015). Cross-Cultural Research in International Marketing: Clearing Up Some of the Confusion. International Marketing Review, 32(6), 646-662.

Rippé, C. B., Weisfeld-Spolter, S., Yurova, Y., & Sussan, F. (2015). Is there a Global Multichannel Consumer?. International Marketing Review, 32(3/4), 329-349.

Standardization And Adaptation

Ryans Jr, J. K., Griffith, D. A., & Steven White, D. (2003). Standardization/Adaptation of International Marketing Strategy: Necessary Conditions for the Advancement of Knowledge. International Marketing Review, 20(6), 588-603.

Chung, H. F., Lu Wang, C., & Huang, P. H. (2012). A Contingency Approach to International Marketing Strategy and Decision-Making Structure Among Exporting Firms. International Marketing Review, 29(1), 54-87.


  • Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct. Plagiarism may be committed in a number of ways, including:
  • Copying another person’s work or ideas. This includes copying from other students and from published or unpublished material such as books, internet sources, paper mills, computer code, designs or similar
    • Submitting previously submitted or assessed work of your own without attribution
  • Submitting work solicited from (or written by) others
  • Failing to adequately reference your sources
  • Also ensure that you reference appropriately. Every time you state an argument or information from a source in your own words you have to provide a reference. Current Harvard Reference Guidelines are available at:

See more of these guidelines in Section 2 (pgs. 8-9) of the Module Guideline (Uploaded on Moodle)

4.   The report should be submitted in PDF, written Times New Roman size 12 font, with double line spacing.
3. Please note that anything within the body of the report (discussions, references, headings, subheadings,  words in diagrams and tables) will be included in the word count.
2. The word limit for the report is 2,250 excluding the title page, table of contents page and reference list. A 10% tolerance over/under this limit is allowed, but you must ensure thatt you do not exceed to the word count limit, or you may be penalized.
1.   This is an  individual assignment that  counts  towards 70%  of the module assessment.
Specific Assessment Guidelines on Presentation and Structure
  • Ensure that your paper is well structured; use numbered headings and subheadings; any diagrams/tables used must also be numbered and labelled. When you use diagrams ensure that the diagrams used are not just copied and pasted from other sources, they must be your own depictions of the ideas you discuss in the essay.
    • Discussions must flow coherently and be grammatically correct, and sections interconnected logically. Avoid direct quotes; use your own words and provide a well-thought out argument. Poorly structured papers that do not flow coherently will score less than those that flow better and that have better structure.
  • All readings should be clearly referenced in the using the ‘Harvard Style’, e.g. Gordon et al. (2011). Unless you can provide sources for your data the basis on which you made your decisions and recommendations will be questioned.
  • Furthermore a full reference list must be provided at the end of the document, with references alphabetically arranged and all relevant details provided of the resources used. (E.g. for a journal article: Gordon, R., Carrigan, M., & Hastings, G. (2011). A framework for Sustainable Marketing. Marketing Theory, 11(2), 143-163.) Poor referencing in-text and in the reference list will be penalized.
  • DO NOT include any appendices section; your discussion must all be within the main body.

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