Global vs National Business: Interpreting the Gap in Trust

In a slowing global economy, many nations are aiming to out-compete their rivals and offer a more attractive environment for global companies to operate in. But GlobeScan’s most recent tracking illustrates that there may be cultural factors for countries to contend with. Citizens sometimes perceive national and global companies in a different light.
Trust in global and national business is certainly correlated—if a country’s citizens trust global businesses, they are also likely to trust its own national companies. However, in most countries, national companies are more trusted than their global counterparts. Concerns about foreign control of resources and workers, as well as national prestige, are likely to be factors in this.
There are some exceptions—South Korea and the USA have markedly lower trust in national business than they do in global companies. The presence of trusted and respected “household name” global companies of local origin—such as Samsung, Hyundai, Microsoft, and Coke—may be boosting views of global companies here. Nigeria and Kenya also trust global firms more than they do national companies.
At the other extreme, respondents in India (where there is on-going political resistance to further liberalisation of the retail sector to competition) and all the continental European countries demonstrate great mistrust of global companies. For European respondents, this may in part be a consequence of global companies being blamed for tough economic times. But the recent difficulties experienced by BP in its joint ventures with Russian oil and gas companies illustrate how a nationalistic culture like Russia, one that strongly favours local business, can make the difference between success and failure for global companies seeking to expand their operations.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012 
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.