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What is culture. Culture

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what is culture
What is culture
  • Culture
    • “culture provides members with images of their basic concerns, principles, ethics, and bodies of manners, rituals, ideologies, strategies, and tactics of self-survival including certain notions of good deeds and bad, various form of folklore and legends… The way we give logic to world begins at birth with gestures, words, tone of voice, noises, color, smells, and body contact we experience… Our culture is what is familiar, recognizable, habitual, It is ‘what goes without saying’”.
        • Van maanen, J. and Laurent, A. The flow of cultures: some notes on globalization and the multinational corporations, New York, NY, St. martin’s Press 1993.
culture
Culture
  • Culture
    • The Latin root of the word culture is colere, which means anything from cultivating and inhabiting to worshipping and protecting.
    • colonus colonialism
    • Colere cultus ‘cult’ (as the religious term)
  • Realist vs. subjectivist vs. idealism view of culture
  • Within vs. Around
  • For further reading see
    • Terry Eagleton (2002) The idea of culture, Blackwell publishers
cultural issues in global it management
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Global Village
    • Is there a universal Business Culture that is independent of surrounding culture?

Cultural differences explain everything

Business is business all over the world

The computer subculture is the same all over the world

Cultural differences explain everything

The continuum of “does culture matter”

cultural issues in global it management4
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Stereotype
    • Normal distribution cluster around a hypothesis.
      • American stereotypes
      • Indian stereotypes
      • British stereotypes
      • Finnish stereotypes
      • German
      • African
    • Cultural experts claim that most successful managers are those that use these cultural mental files as starting points and continuously update them with new information
    • Less successful managers are those who deny having any stereotypes and those who rely strictly on stereotypes.
culture5
Culture
  • Some notions about culture
    • The idea that culture can be managed is “itself cultural”
    • American managers understand culture as something an organization has
    • Europeans understand culture as something as organization is
    • Americans believe in controlling their destiny and their ability to change corporate cultures, even in relatively short time spans.
    • Corporate cultural change is something not highly stressed in Europe compare to America
cultural issues in global it management6
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Do Cultural Differences Affect Global Software Development and Management
cultural issues in global it management7
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Different Types of Culture
    • Within a national boundary (Canada or India or even US)
    • Across boundaries (Arab or Arabic)
    • Organizational culture (corporate culture)
      • IBM, Microsoft, Toyota, Ford, etc
    • Professional culture
      • Lawyers, military, academic, programmers etc.
    • Team Culture
      • emerges from bonding through common work experiences, disaster and success, from cliquish jokes, team symbols or icon.
    • Individual
      • Multiple caps
      • “I’m more American now than Indian”
  • Which of these cultural norms is the strongest?
  • What is the future of a true corporate culture?
cultural issues in global it management8
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Managing Cultural Differences
    • Awareness
    • Knowledgeable
    • Understand fundamental differences
  • There is no general theory of cultural difference so what can we do?
cultural issues in global it management9
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Key Cultural Dimensions
    • Data for these research was collected between 1967-1978
    • By Geert Hofstede, a Dutch scholar, an industrial psychologist at IBM.
    • Survey of IBM personnel in 40 countries
    • Sample size was over 100,000
    • Good data resource for our purpose but not perfect for social scientist in general because of the data was from a control group (IT professionals).
cultural issues in global it management10
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Result
    • Revering Hierarchy (or Power distance)
    • Individual versus Collectivism
    • Taking Care of Business
    • Risk Avoidance
    • Long term orientation.
cultural issues in global it management11
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Revering Hierarchy (Power Distance)
    • How people think about equality and relationship with supervisors and subordinates
    • In some culture
      • Large gaps between levels of organizational hierarchy
      • Individuals are careful about expressing their opinion to superiors
      • Show proper respect to their boss
      • Superior issue directives and expect subordinates to speak only when allowed and unpleasantly surprised when subordinates freely air their opinions
      • Vice-versa
    • Implication
cultural issues in global it management12
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management

Revering Hierarch. How unequal between rank and class is normal? Low scores represent little reverence of hierarchy.

cultural issues in global it management13
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism
    • The extent to which a person sees herself as an individual rather than part of a group
      • In individual culture people are:
        • Expected to have there own opinion
        • Concern with personal achievement
        • Individual right
        • Independence
      • In collectivism culture people are:
        • Opinions are determined by group members
        • People see themselves first as part of the group and are concern with the welfare of the group
      • Implication
cultural issues in global it management14
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management

Individual-Collectivism. The degree to which individuals prefer to act as individual rather than members of groups (I.e. collectivistic).

High score indicate high individualism and low scores imply high degree of collectivism.

cultural issues in global it management15
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Taking Care of Business (masculinity/femininity)
    • “Toughness” needed in taking care of business (“masculine”)
    • “Softer values” of taking care of people and being concerned with quality of life (“femininity”)
slide16
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management

Taking care of Business. To what degree are tough values such as assertiveness valued against paternalistic values such as relationships and quality of life.

cultural issues in global it management17
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Risk Avoidance
    • Attitude towards risky situations, ambiguous behaviors, predictability and control
      • High risk avoidance culture places greater emphasis on
        • Stability rather than innovation or change
        • Resistance to outsiders or starting a company
      • Low risk avoidance culture
        • Embrace change more easily
        • Tend to be more entrepreneurial
        • More likely to break rules and
        • Accepts new ideas faster
      • Implication
slide18
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management

Risk Avoidance. To what degree do people prefer structured, low risk situation versus ambiguous, higher risk.

cultural issues in global it management19
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Long Term Orientation (Confucianism dynamism)
    • Relative importance of here-and–now versus the future – long-term.
    • Confucian – is a type of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
      • Persistence
      • Diligence
      • Patience
      • The Confucian tradition, also implies strong patriarchal authority, which is family centered, and it is also close to the “taking care of business” dimension
slide20
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management

Long-term orientation. Based on values of Confucianism. To what degree do people value the future (e.g., in persistence and thrift) versus the past or present

cultural issues in global it management21
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Edward Hall Interpretation of Culture
    • Space
    • Material Goods
    • Friendship
    • Time
    • Agreement
cultural issues in global it management22
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Space (Attitude towards space)
    • Social distance or bubble
      • Distance between business people
        • Arab are comfortable with less space and find an American backing away as being rude
      • Space between people in social settings
        • British form nice organize queues (line) with lots of space in between people while waiting for bus
cultural issues in global it management23
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Material Goods
    • Material goods are used for power and status
      • American managers wants the biggest, preferably corner office.
      • In Japan, the boss has his desk in an open office space next to those of his subordinates, expressing the less importance placed on material as status.
cultural issues in global it management24
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Friendship
    • On a continuum
      • American make and loss friend quickly, regarding friendships as transitory, in part due to their high mobility. I.e. on both ends
      • In other cultures
        • Friendship takes a long term to develop but they are durable and involve a strong sense of mutual obligation.
        • Same is true for business relationships. These culture prefers to do business with people with whom they have developed a relationship
        • Business is conducted only after a personal relationship is established
cultural issues in global it management25
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Time
    • In Linear time culture
      • Deadline are taken very seriously
      • Time is structured, sequential and linear
      • Events are taken one at a time
      • People plan things in great detail and are very punctual.
      • Germany
    • Expandable time culture
      • Consider time commitments to be achieved only if possible
      • Time is unlimited or simultaneous
      • Time is fluid, elastic
      • Delays are less important
      • French
cultural issues in global it management26
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Agreement
    • Expressing Agreement and Disagreement
      • In some cultures detailed written contract is essential to agreement
      • Handshake is sufficient
      • In some cultures disagreement and dissent are openly and quickly expressed
      • Open confrontation must be avoided at all cost
cultural issues in global it management27
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Language and communication
    • High-Context Cultures
      • E.g. Arabs, and East Asians
        • Communicate a message in which most of the information is in the person, the surroundings, and the social perspective.
        • Much of what is communicated is not said
        • Ambiguity may be valued.
        • For this culture the relationship of trust is of paramount importance
    • Low-Context Cultures
      • German and Nordic Countries
        • People communicate is such a way that most of the information is explicitly stated in the actual message
        • The person, the surroundings, the social perspective are largely irrelevant.
        • Requires a high degree of precision in their communication
        • Ambiguity is frowned upon.
cultural issues in global it management28
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Implication for IT professional

High Context Japan, Chinese, Arab,

Implicit communication India, Latin

Low Context American, German,

Explicit English, Scandinavian

cultural issues in global it management29
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Do Cultural Differences Affect Global Software Development and Management
    • No, there are essentially no cultural differences amongst software professionals
        • Scientific culture dominates national culture
        • I.e. Programmers in Moscow is more similar to his American peers than to other Russians.
        • Engineering or Scientist stereotypes
          • Is there a computer professional sub-culture that overpowers national culture?
          • E.g Low social needs and high achievement
          • Software development tools internationally
          • Technical language and jargons
cultural issues in global it management30
Cultural Issues in Global IT Management
  • Do Cultural Differences Affect Global Software Development and Management
    • Yes, there certainly are cultural differences amongst software professionals
        • Different development method are used in different countries
          • French are better in OO
          • Japan are better in metrics
          • American code first and then design later
          • Contract and requirement interpretations
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