The Fairness Factor

Melody Udell
Marketing Insights
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Key Takeaways
  • Cultural background plays a role in preferred qualities within business relationships.
  • Marketers should encourage direct experience with other cultures.
  • Researchers should test theories in diverse cultures.

Practicing fairness in a business setting is a pretty standard guideline for getting along in the workplace. Or at the very least, the importance of fairness is generally well-understood. But Donald J. Lund, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, challenges this common assumption in his study, “Culture’s Impact on the Importance of Fairness in Interorganizational Relationships,” published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of International Marketing.

“It seems unlikely that relationship standards originating in the U.S. are going to apply broadly to every culture,” Lund says. “With the drastic increase in global business, it is important to understand that our expectations for relationship standards may not apply in all cultures."

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Author Bio:

Melody Udell
Melody Udell is the managing editor of the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. She can be reached at