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Power Distance, Individualism, Collectivism and Teamwork

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How does the concepts of power distance and individualism/collectivism impact teamwork?


Hall, Pat, Fernandez-Ramil, Juan (2007). Managing the Software Enterprise Software Engineering and Information Systems in Context. Canada: Thomson Learning. Page 57

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The following posting discusses how the concepts of power distance, individualism and collectivism impact teamwork.

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Power distance is a theory of Hofstede that equates the perceived distance between leaders/power/wealth and those without. People who are wage earners assume they are at least relatively far removed from those with power and wealth in the company. In the case of politics, an example would be in a country where there is a dictatorship (Saudi Arabia) there is a great power distance while in Germany, where equality is striven for, there is a smaller presumed power distance.

In a company that uses teams, sometimes the teams can help temper those perceptions of the power distance. Teams create a type of power because the elements and members of the team control some of the power and decision making. Power is having wealth, leadership skills, and the ability to make others follow one. Within groups, there may be someone with power, but the perception by the others will be one of more equality. Because the group rather than an individual is charged with solving a problem, all are needed to create those solutions. Everyone is perceived to be equal in the problem solving.

The issue of power distance can strain a team if the cultural ...

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