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The Role of Culture. The Meanings and Dimensions of Culture. Mark McKenna BUS 162 (6), International and Comparative Management San Jose State University.

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The Role of Culture

The Meanings and Dimensions of Culture

Mark McKenna

BUS 162 (6), International and Comparative Management

San Jose State University

Chapters 4, Hodgetts, Luthans and Doh, International Management: Culture, Strategy and Behavior , 6th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2006)

Adapted from PowerPoint slides by R. Dennis Middlemist, Professor of Management, Colorado State University


The Nature of Culture

  • Culture

    • Acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and generate social behavior

      • forms values

      • creates attitudes

      • influences behavior.


Characteristics of Culture

Learned

Adaptive

Shared

Culture

Patterned

Transgenerational

Symbolic


Values in Culture

  • Values

    • Basic convictions that people have

      • right and wrong

      • good and bad

      • important and unimportant

    • Learned from the culture in which the individual is reared

    • Influence one’s behavior

  • Differences in cultural values may result in varying management practices


What are your top 10 values?

  • Age/seniority

  • Authority

  • Belongingness

  • Collectiveness

  • Competition

  • Compromise

  • Cooperation

  • Devotion

  • Directness

  • Efficiency

  • Equality

  • Independence

  • Family harmony

  • Family security

  • Freedom

  • Go-between

  • Group consensus

  • Group harmony

  • Independence

  • Indirectness

  • Individualism

  • Hospitality

  • Openness

  • Parental guidance

  • Patience

  • Quality

  • Self-reliance

  • Time


Priorities of Cultural Values

Table 4-1

Priorities of Cultural Values: United States, Japan, and Arab Countries

United StatesJapanArab Countries

  • Freedom

  • Independence

  • Self-reliance

  • Equality

  • Individualism

  • Competition

  • Efficiency

  • Time

  • Directness

  • Openness

  • Belonging

  • Group harmony

  • Collectiveness

  • Age/seniority

  • Group consensus

  • Cooperation

  • Quality

  • Patience

  • Indirectness

  • Go-between

  • Family security

  • Family harmony

  • Parental guidance

  • Age

  • Authority

  • Compromise

  • Devotion

  • Patience

  • Indirectness

  • Hospitality

Note: “1” represents the most important cultural value, “10” the least.

Adapted from Table 4-1: Priorities of Cultural Values: United States, Japan, and Arab Countries


Distribution of Values Across Cultures

French culture

U.S. culture

Adapted from Figure 4–2: Comparing Cultures as Overlapping Normal Distributions


Stereotyping

U.S. culture

French culture

How the Americans see the French:

How the French see the Americans:

  • arrogant

  • flamboyant

  • hierarchical

  • emotional

  • naïve

  • aggressive

  • unprincipled

  • workaholic

Adapted from Figure 4–3: Stereotyping from the Cultural Extremes


A Model of Culture

The explicit artifacts and products of the society

The norms and values that guide the society

The implicit, basic assumptions that guide people’s behavior

Adapted from Figure 4–1: A Model of Culture


Values in Culture

  • There is a reasonably strong relationship between the level of success achieved by managers and their personal values.

    • Some differences, but similar findings for four countries (U.S., Japan, Australia, India)

    • Could be used in selection and placement decisions.

  • Values of more successful managers appear to favor

    • Pragmatic, dynamic, achievement-oriented

    • Active role in interaction with others

  • Values of less successful managers tend toward

    • Static and passive values

    • Relatively passive roles in interacting with others


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

  • Extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations accept that power is distributed unequally

    • High power distance countries: people blindly obey the orders of their superiors, centralized and tall organization structures

    • Low power distance countries: flatter and decentralized organization structures, smaller ratio of supervisors

Power Distance


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

  • Extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid such situations

    • High uncertainty avoidance countries: people have high need for security, strong belief in experts and their knowledge, structured organizational activities, more written rules, less risk taking by managers

    • Low uncertainty avoidance countries: people are more willing to accept risks associated with the unknown, less structured organizational activities, fewer written rules, more risk taking by managers, higher employee turnover, more ambitious employees

Power Distance

Uncertainty Avoidance


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

  • Individualism: Tendency of people to look after themselves and their immediate family only

    • Countries high in individualism: tend to be wealthier, support protestant work ethic, greater individual initiative, promotions based on market value

  • Collectivism: Tendency of people to belong to groups or collectives and to look after each other in exchange for loyalty

    • Countries high in collectivism: tend to be poorer, less support for protestant work ethic, less individual initiative, promotions based on seniority

Power Distance

Uncertainty Avoidance

Individualism/Collectivism


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

  • Masculinity: a culture in which the dominant social values are success, money and things

    • Countries high in masculinity: great importance on earnings, recognition, advancement, challenge, and wealth. High job stress.

  • Femininity: a culture in which the dominate social values are caring for others and the quality of life

    • Countries high in femininity: great importance on cooperation, friendly atmosphere, employment security, group decision making, and living environment. Low stress and more employee freedom.

Power Distance

Uncertainty Avoidance

Individualism/Collectivism

Masculinity/

Femininity


Synthesis of Country Clusters

Adapted from Figure 4–8: A Synthesis of Country Clusters


World Civilizations (Huntington)


Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions

  • Sequential approach

    • People do only one activity at a time, keep appointments strictly, prefer to follow plans as laid out (United States)

  • Synchronous approach

    • People tend to multi-task, view appointments as approximate, schedules are seen as subordinate to relationships (France, and Mexico)

  • Present oriented/future oriented

    • Future is more important (U.S., Italy, and Germany

    • Present is more important (Venezuela, Indonesia, and Spain

    • All three time periods equally important (France and Belgium)

Time


Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions

  • Inner-directed: people believe in controlling outcomes

    • Includes U.S., Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Greece, Singapore, and Japan

  • Outer-directed: people believe on letting things take their own course

    • Includes China and many other Asian countries

The Environment


Culture and Management

  • Centralized vs. decentralized decision making

  • Safety vs. risk

  • Individual vs. group rewards

  • Informal vs. formal procedures

  • High vs. low organizational loyalty

  • Cooperation vs. competition

  • Short-term vs. long-term horizons

  • Stability vs. innovation


Assignment for Next Week

  • Review the exercise on page 123, “A Jumping-Off Place”

  • Put yourself in the position of an international consultant or manager

    • What differences would you anticipate between Spain and the US?

    • How might lessons learned in Spain need to be adapted for operations in Italy?

    • How would France differ from both, and from the U.S.?


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