Strengthening the Impact and Value of International Marketing Curriculum Outcomes: A Comparative Study of Turkish and European Business Students Perceptions of Coursework and Careers

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INTRODUCTION

As economic crises affect world markets rather than individual nations, the need for international marketing expertise is growing rapidly. Regardless of the size (small to large), many businesses are looking for internationalization and are using an opportunistic strategy by targeting developing countries. Under these circumstances, it is crucial that there is a keen understanding of not only business environments but also how they are culturally unique from country to country. Knowledge of these differences can come from educational backgrounds as well as practical experiences.

A growing need for internationalization requires some infra-structural and cross-functional support in terms of foreign market research, foreign language knowledge and particularly qualified people specialized in this field (Crittenden and Wilson, 2006). For many developing countries, it is very likely that the number of people employed in international firms will increase proportionally to domestic firms. This increase will also be accelerated by foreign firms employing nationals in their host countries. Meeting these demands, however, has proven challenging for many business programs due to inadequate resources as well as a lack of focus on these issues (Rose, 1997).

LITERATURE REVIEW

The shift in emphasis toward an international perspective in marketing curricula has been influenced by the various forces in the world economy and the rapid growth in the number of firms engaged in international business. Marketing educators are increasingly required to provide a multicultural perspective in their courses (Munoz et al., 2006). For many marketing lecturers, developing this understanding has been difficult because many students do not have extensive experience interacting with other cultures (Curran-Kelly, 2005; Laverie, 2006). Despite these difficulties and because of the growing globalization of the business community, it is critical that international marketing be a strong component of the business curricula today.

The internationalization of the curriculum in colleges of business has been studied from various approaches. One was the business leaders' views regarding the growing need for employees with foreign language skills and knowledge of the importance of understanding and tolerance for other cultures. Another approach toward studying this topic was an examination of the perspectives of the academicians themselves. Andrus, Laughlin and Norvell (1995) viewed marketing educators as "the main providers of international marketing information". They viewed the faculty as being very influential regarding student's knowledge of the global marketplace. In their study, they surveyed 144 faculty who taught international marketing. The objective was to better understand the faculty's perceptions regarding the international marketing course as a part of the business curricula. The results indicated that most of the respondents perceived their courses to be well developed in terms of meeting the needs of students to understand this topic. The three areas of most importance in developing and teaching this course were identified as being "the cultural environment, the competitive environment, and strategic planning" (Andrus, Laughlin, and Norvell 1995).

Turley, Shannon, and Miller (1993) found that at that time there had been no research related to international marketing that examined the student's perspectives. The only similar study was by (Yavas and Yaprak 1991) who studied the characteristics that would cause a student to choose this area as their major. Turley, et. al, (1993) conducted two studies to examine the following, "measure student attitudes toward international marketing as a part of the curriculum, to what extent are students exposed to international marketing, and students' perception of the importance of international marketing" (1993 p. 52). Their results indicated that marketing educators were doing a good job of impressing upon students the importance of international marketing (97. …

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