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National Cultures and organization

Early research on the influence of cultural conditioning on collective human behaviors challenged the assumption of the universalism of management practices emanating from the USA and others like Japan.

In an increasingly border-less world managers need to know how national cultural differences might affect organization structures and processes, notions of leadership, HR practices and so forth.

Management scholars have consequently been inspired to translate the work of social anthropologist to the world of work.

Leading scholars in the area are: Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars, Kulkhohn and Strodtbek Andre Laurent among others.

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Introductions

1.Early research on the influence of cultural conditioning on collective human behaviors challenged the assumption of the universalism of management practices emanating from the USA and others like Japan.

2.In an increasingly borderless world managers need to know how national cultural differences might affect organization structures and processes, notions of leadership, HR practices and so forth.

3.Management scholars have consequently been inspired to translate the work of social anthropologist to the world of work.

4.Leading scholars in the area are: Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars, Kulkhohn and Strodtbek Andre Laurent among others.

Hosftede's Research

One of the most influential pieces of research in relation to national cultures is the work of Hofstede (1980, 1991). The differences he found in his research where attributed to four main factors:

a. Power distance
b. Individualism
c. Uncertainty avoidance
d. Masculinity.

High Versus low power distance

Power distance: relates to the extent to which societies accept that power in institutions and organizations is and should be distributed unequally. It suggests that a society's level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as the leaders. In organization terms, this relates to the centralization of authority and the degree of autocratic leadership.

Societies with 'high power' distance' scores are reflected in hierarchical organizations where it is felt to be the right that the superior is seen to be more powerful than the subordinates. Examples of countries with high power distance are Malaysia, Philippines, France and Greece.

In contrast, countries with 'low power' distance scores such as Britain, Sweden, USA, and New Zealand favor a more democratic style of management and a flatter organizational structures.

Distance according to power distance

High power distance

In the family: Children educated towards obedience to parents.
Parents are treated as superiors.
At school: Teacher-centered education (order)
At work: Hierarchy means existential in ...

Solution Summary

One of the most influential pieces of research in relation to national cultures is the work of Hofstede (1980, 1991). The differences he found in his research where attributed to four main factors:

a. Power distance
b. Individualism
c. Uncertainty avoidance
d. Masculinity.

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