This chapter aims to present the background of the subject of the thesis and introduce the reader to the topic of the research. Therefore it will present the reader with a basic discussion of standardization versus adaptation for companies operating in international markets. Also the research questions which are intended to answer are presented.

  When companies expand their market internationally,they have to consider standardization and adaptation of their marketing program (Jobber,2001). Standardization is an international marketing strategy where the company uses the same marketing program for all their international target market. The author describes Adaptation is a strategy regarding change of the marketing program, in other words the company's product, price , place and distribution for each international target market.
  Well managed companies respond to expanding global markets with standardized products that are higher in quality, more reliable and lower priced than their competitor. Levitt (1983, cited in Loyka,2003) .Buzzel (1968, cited in Loyka,2003)   identifies benefits and barriers to standardization in terms of product design, pricing , distribution and sales forces . Areas identified by Buzzel(1968) as having the potential to serve as barriers to standardization included physical environment, Stage of   economic development, cultural characteristics, stage of product life cycle, competition, distribution systems, advertising media and legal restrictions. He also reported that customary ways of doing business including basing marketing philosophies on local marketing environments were employed during a time when national boundaries were more formidable. Buzzel (1968) argued that it would be a mistake to assume that products could be transferred from one market to another without careful consideration of the market differences and requirements. Levitt(1983, cited in Zou, et al (1997) provided the most compelling case...