Cross cultural issues in management
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Cross-cultural issues in Management. Dr Joan Harvey and Dr George Erdos. Geert Hofstede. Dutch social anthropologist Obtained attitude data from IBM worldwide in late 1970s Factor analysed and looked for factors which differentiated nationalities

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Cross-cultural issues in Management

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Cross cultural issues in management

Cross-cultural issues in Management

Dr Joan Harvey

and Dr George Erdos


Geert hofstede

Geert Hofstede

  • Dutch social anthropologist

  • Obtained attitude data from IBM worldwide in late 1970s

  • Factor analysed and looked for factors which differentiated nationalities

  • Data on 50 countries, but only sufficient N for 40 in first book


Geert hofstede1

Geert Hofstede

  • Originally four main factors

    • Masculinity femininity

      • Ambition and desire to achieve versus social concern and interpersonal relationships

    • Power distance

      • Amount of power that can be wielded

    • Uncertainty avoidance

      • inflexibility

    • Individualism- collectivism

      • Help and commitment versus high personal achievement

  • and later added [in 1990s]

    • LT-ST orientation [Confucian dynamism]


Geert hofstede2

Geert Hofstede

  • Issues:

    • Study was based in 1970s and many countries have changed a lot since then- has this affected their orientation?

      • Eastern European changes

      • Some developing countries are now developed

      • Others have changed politically- e.g. South Africa


Geert hofstede3

Geert Hofstede

  • Issues:

    • All countries will have changed anyway in nearly 30 years

    • Changes in technology and global communication

    • Migration of peoples

    • Are cross-cultural differences still as pronounced?


Geert hofstede4

Geert Hofstede

  • Issues:

    • This study put cross-cultural differences into the mainstream rather than “error variance” in other studies

    • Encouraged other theorists, e.g. Trompenaars

    • Recent developments with studies all over the world have increased considerably the number of countries that have been mapped


Examples of other theories a trompenaars 7 factors

Examples of other theories: [a] Trompenaars 7 factors:

  • Universalism versus particularism

    • Work relationships mixed with personal ones

  • Individualism versus collectivism

  • Affective versus neutral culture

  • Specific versus diffuse relationships

    • Distinct relationships versus diffuse ones

  • Achieving versus ascribing status

    • Earned through achievement or recognised e.g. seniority/age

  • Perception of time

    • Sequential [monochronic] or parallel [polychronic]

  • Relating to nature


Example b global project

Example [b] GLOBAL project

  • Assertiveness

  • Future orientation

  • Gender egalitarianism

  • Humane orientation

  • Institutional collectivism

  • In-group collectivism

  • Performance orientation

  • Power distance

  • Uncertainty avoidance


Is the answer hofstede plus these two

Is the answer Hofstede plus these two?

  • Time perception

    • Polychronic or cyclical [e.g. southern Europe, China, Japan]

    • Monochronic [e.g. northern Europe, US]

  • Context

    • High means that perception of what is said is taken in context, including NVCs

    • Low means words are interpreted literally


Cross cultural issues in management

So how differently do we perceive time in terms of working hours?Who has the ‘long hours’ culture of ‘presenteeism’?


Other dimensions from indigenous social psychology

Other dimensions from indigenous social psychology

  • China

    • Confucian values

      • Filial piety

      • Industriousness

      • Giving and protecting face

    • Guanxi

      • Social networking crucial to business relationships

    • Ren ching

      • Respectful exchange of gifts, favours and obligations


Other dimensions

Other dimensions

  • Japan

    • Amae and respect

      • Reliance and dependence upon indulgent love of an older person

    • Kanban

      • Concept of whole transcending sum of parts

    • Ringi

      • Upward communications and decision making

    • Sacred treasures-

      • life time employment, seniority, enterprise unions/families

    • Harmony and cooperation [‘wa’]

    • Gakureki Shakai

      • Social system attaching value to education


Other dimensions1

Other dimensions

  • Africa

    • Cognitive tolerance

    • Not on seat

    • Africa time

    • Indaba and Ubuntu [sub-Saharan Africa]

    • Tribal loyalty

    • Power and respect based on experience

    • Managers ‘right to manage’


Other dimensions2

Other dimensions

  • Several cultures resent ‘intrusiveness’ of western values, western research methods, e.g.

    • Philippines

    • Sub-Saharan Africa

    • China

    • India


Other dimensions3

Other dimensions

  • Latin American countries: emphasis on

    • Respect

    • Family

    • Hierarchy

    • Honour

    • Affiliative obedience

    • Cultural rigidity

    • Machismo

    • Sympatia


Other dimensions eg india

Other dimensions eg India

Complicated as a cultural mix in one country

Detachment as a coping mechanism, therefore working hard is unrelated to success or failure

Ingratiation techniques to advance personal goals within hierarchical collective context

  • [similar to parts of western Africa]


Key text

Key text

Hofstede G and Hofstede G (2005) Culture and Organizations: Software of the mind. 2nd edn London: McGraw Hill

This book has been published in Czech, translated by Dr Ludek Kolman


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