Chapter 3
Understanding the Role of Culture
PowerPoint by
Kristopher Blanchard
North Central University
Dr Asma Abdullah (Malaysia)
Hodgetts & Luthans
© 2006 Prentice Hall
Culture and its effects on organizations
Cultural variables
Cultural value dimensions
The Internet and culture
Developing cultural profiles
Culture and management styles around the
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Key Terms
Culture Savvy A working knowledge of the
cultural variables affecting management
Cultural Sensitivity or Cultural Empathy An
awareness and an honest caring about
another individual’s culture.
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– The acquired knowledge that people use to interpret
experience and generate social behavior
– Cultural knowledge forms values, creates attitudes, and
influences behavior
– Characteristics of culture include:
• Learned
• Shared
• Transgenerational
• Symbolic
• Patterned
• Adaptive
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Key Terms
Culture of a society Comprises the
shared values, understandings,
assumptions, and goals that are learned
from earlier generations, imposed by
present members of a society, and passed
on to succeeding generations.
What would the occasion in Canada?
Victoria Day? Your culture. Your own
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Key Terms
Self reference criterion The unconscious
reference point of one’s own cultural values
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Key Terms
Parochialism Occurs when a Frenchman, for
example, expects those of French origins in
another country to automatically fall into
patterns of behavior common in France
Ethnocentrism Describes the attitude of those
who operate from the assumption that their
ways of doing things are best – no matter
where or under what conditions they are
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Culture and Its Effects on
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Culture and Its Effects on
Once upon a time there was a
great flood, and involved in this
flood were two creatures, a
monkey and a fish. The monkey,
being agile and experienced, was
lucky enough to scramble up a
tree and escape the raging waters.
As he looked down from his safe
perch, he saw the poor fish
struggling against the swift
current. With the best of
intentions, he reached down and
lifted the fish from the water.
The result was inevitable.
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Cultural Variables
Never assume that a manager can transplant
American, or Japanese, or any other
country’s styles, practices, expectations, and
Managers need to develop a cultural profile
that identifies the specific differences found
in each country
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Residents of the country only conform to
the national character to a certain degree
Could be from ethnic, geographic, or other
Good managers treat people as individuals
and they avoid any form of stereotyping
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Influences on National Culture
Kinship – guides family relationships
Education – formal or informal education of
workers affects workplace expectations
Economy – means of production and
distribution in a society influences all
aspects of the resource allocation
Politics – system of government imposes
varying constraints on an organization
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Influences on National Culture
Religion – spiritual beliefs of a society are so
powerful that they overpower all other cultural
Associations – the formal and informal groups that
make up a society
Health – system of health care affects employee
Recreation – the use, attitude, and choice of how
to use leisure time
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Cultural Value Dimensions
Values are a society’s ideas about what is
good or bad, right or wrong
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Project GLOBE (Global Leadership & Org
Beh. Effectiveness Cultural Dimensions170 researchers, 7 years data collection on
18,00 mgrs in 62 countries.
Future Orientation
Performance Orientation
Humane Orientation
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Cultural Clusters
Gupta et al (2002 – GLOBE res team)
9 cultural dimensions to assess cluster similarity
Result in 10 culture clusters: South Asia, Anglo,
Arab, Germanic Europe, Latin Europe, Eastern
Europe, Confucian Asia, Latin America, SubSahara Africa & Nordic Europe. Exb. 3-4.
-Germanic cluster: masculine, assertive,
individualistic & result-oriented.
-Latin America: high power distance, low
performance orientation, uncertainty avoidance &
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Hofstede’s Value Dimensions:
116,000 people in 50 countries
Power Distance. The level of acceptance by a
society of power inequality in institution
Uncertainty Avoidance. Extent to which people in
society feel threatened by ambiguous situations.
Strict laws & procedures
Individualism. People tend to look after
themselves & their immediate families.
Independence & achievement oriented.
Collectivism. Group comes first. Strong sense of
belongingness. Saving face culture.
Which cultures dominate each of the dimensions?
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– Masculinity - culture in which the
dominant values are success, money, and
– Femininity - dominant values are caring
for others and quality of life
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Trompenaar’ Value Dimensions
Research produced five cultural dimensions that are based
on relationship orientations and attitudes toward both time
and the environment
Universalism vs. Particularism
– Universalism - belief that ideas and practices can be
applied everywhere in the world without modification
• Focus on formal rules and rely on business contacts
– Particularism - belief that circumstances dictate how
ideas and practices should be applied and something
cannot be done the same everywhere
• Focus on relationships, working things out to suit the
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Individualism vs. Communitarianism
– Individualism - people regard themselves as individuals
• Rely on individuals to make decisions
– Communitarianism - people regard themselves as part
of a group
• Seek consultation and mutual consent before making decisions
Neutral vs. Emotional
– Neutral - culture in which emotions are held in check
• People try not to show their feelings
– Emotional - culture in which emotions are expressed
openly and naturally
• People smile, talk loudly, greet each other with enthusiasm
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Specific vs. Diffuse
– Specific - culture in which individuals have a large
public space they readily share with others and a small
private space they guard closely and share with only
close friends and associates
• People often are open and extroverted
• Work and private life are separate
– Diffuse - culture in which both public and private space
are similar in size and individuals guard their public
space carefully, because entry into public space affords
entry into private space as well
• People often appear indirect and introverted, and
work and private life often are closely linked
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Achievement vs. Ascription
– Achievement - culture in which people are accorded
status based on how well they perform their functions
– Ascription - culture in which status is attributed based
on who or what a person is
• For example, status may be accorded on the basis of
age, gender, or social connections
– Sequential approach to time - people do one thing at a
time, keep appointments strictly, follow plans to the
– Synchronous approach - people do more than one thing
at a time, appointments are approximate
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– Inner-directed
• People believe in controlling environmental
– Outer-directed
• People believe in allowing things to take
their natural course
Cultural Patterns or Clusters
– Defined groups of countries that are similar to
each other in terms of the five dimensions and
the orientations toward time and the
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Critical Operational Value
Time: the concept of time. “rubber time”
Change: control: internal or external
Material factors: materialistic vs non
materialistic. How one values material
things. How one values nature, the aesthetic
& the spiritual realism.
Individualism: I vs we culture.
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Developing Cultural Profiles
Wht wld be the 10 most valued values
amongst your own racial/ethnic groups? See
Next slide. Have u done the exercise on Wk
What be the 5 top valued values amongst
your own racial/ethnic groups? You will get
the handout, A Survey on Values & Cultural
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Cultural Dimensions
Harmony (flexible, cooperative) vs Control/Mastery
Relationship (accomodating) vs Task (accomplishment)
Hierarchy (respect, seniority) vs Equality (merit, equal
Shame (face saving, ext locus of control) vs Guilt
(personal accountability)
High Context (indirect) vs Low Contact (direct, specific)
Ploychronic (multi tasking, non-linear) vs Monochronic
(time bound)
Group Orientation (we-ness) vs Individual (I, personal
Religious (holistic, spiritual) vs Secular (religion separates
from work related issues)
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Comparative management in Focus
Profiles in Culture: Japan, Germany &
South Korea.
Japanese entering United States. Cultural
shock? See Exh. 3-8 p 104
Patience vs Action
Harmony vs Freedom
Hierarchy vs Equality.
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Culture and Management Styles
Cultural Values & Managerial Behaviors in Saudi Arabia
Family loyalty
Honor & shame
An idealised self (decision making!!)
Use of time-polychronic
Male dominance.
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Negotiations across Cultures
- linear, fact driven and numbers oriented
- impatient and the contract is their central focus
- avoid conflict
- express opinions indirectly and maintain a face of surface harmony
when too direct can be seen as rude
- enjoy emphasising distinctions and differences
- blunt and logical approach to conflicting points of views that can
antagonistic to people from other cultures
Middle Easterners and Latinos
- passionate expression of differences
- save face and preserve dignity
a great deal of posturing and theatrics
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Guidelines on Negotiation across Cultures
Check whether they think like you
Spend time on non-task sounding matters to
establish personal relationships
Know the differences between your opponent’s
social, political and economic systems and
Know how the above differences affect his
thinking, authority and negotiating methods
Know your opponent’s legal, technical and
financial systems
Know how the above will affect our choice of
Know the effects of ethical standards (right,
Know the importance of face saving
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Guidelines on Negotiation across Cultures
Recognize the role of status
Understand the role of government in the affairs of your
Identify the levels of approval
Ask questions, but don’t put pressure
Ensure there is a suitable communication system with Head
Identify the right leader for the situation
Make sure when using an interpreter he is skilled in both
languages and negotiation.
Have a dummy run with him. Get him to translate gestures etc
Avoid using jargon
Confirm in writing and use words carefully to avoid ambiguity
Use team approach by using experts
Recognize differences in perceiving contractual differences and
Make concessions only after issues are discussed.
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Behaviours of Successful Negotiators
Have greater flexibility - wider range of influence styles
Recognize that an agreement can only be reached through exchange
Label their behaviors
- I want to propose.....
- I want to give three reasons why..
Limit their reasons to two or three strongest points and repeat them if necessary
Evaluate behavior they like positively attributing it to themselves
Use incentives and find alternative currencies of value to the other party
Summarize and test understanding
Identify areas of agreement not on areas of conflict
Avoid provoking the other party
Use both verbal and nonverbal techniques to support ideas e.g. Use “ I”
language to convey that the speaker accepts responsibility for what he or she is
Maintain eye contact with others as eye contact communicates sincerity,
concern and involvement
Show a relaxed attitude towards time and do not place unnecessary pressure on
themselves by creating artificial deadlines
Have persistence and see a difficult task through its completion
Value organizational goals above and over their own
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Looking Ahead
Chapter 4 - Communicating Across Cultures
– The Communication Process
– The Culture – Communication Link
– Information Technology
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Chapter 3 Understanding the Role of Culture