Social organisation refers to the ways
in which people relate to one another, form groups and
organise their activities, teach acceptable behaviour and
govern themselves. It thus comprises the social, educational
and political systems of a society.
The exporter's ability to communicate depends
to some extent, on the educational level of the foreign
market. If the consumers are largely illiterate, advertising
materials or package labels may have to be adapted to the
needs of the market. In this regard, however, a company
marketing baby food in a certain African country put the
picture of a smiling child on the outside of the jar. The
local resident assuming there were preserved babies inside,
avoided the product! In addition, there are unspoken signals
which identify cultural differences, from certain taboos
to less obvious practices like the time taken to answer
a letter. In some societies, for instance, an important
issue is dealt with immediately; in others, promptness
is taken as a sign that the matter is regarded as unimportant,
the time taken corresponding with the gravity of the issue.
In a culture where great importance is attached
to the family unit, promotional efforts should be directed
at the family rather than the individual. The size of the
family unit differs from one culture to another. It can
range from the nuclear family, i.e. mother, father, and
children, to the extended family which includes many relatives
and whose role is to provide protection, support and economic
security to its members. In the extended family, characteristic
of developing countries, consumption decision-making takes
place in a larger unit and purchasing power patterns may
be different from those evident in western cultures.
In any society, certain occupations carry
more prestige, social status and monetary reward than others.
In India, for example, there is a strong reluctance amongst
people with university education to perform 'menial' tasks
using their hands, even answering the telephone. In many
countries, including France, Italy and Singapore, financial
independence is considered essential for occupation-related
prestige. In Japan, however, the majority of university-educated
professionals tend to prefer working for large multinational
firms than for themselves.
Social organisation is also evidenced
in the operation of the class system, e.g. the Hindu caste
system and the grouping of society members according to
age, sex, political orientation, etc.