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1 4. 4.

1 Culture and Inter-cultural Management Research The Definition of Culture

The term culture is often used in connection with national culture and in different areas of academia. The anthropologists Kluckhohn and Kroeber (1952) undertook an extensive literature literature research based on 164 definitions of the term culture from Anglo-Saxon countries and derived the following definition of culture, which has gained general recognition.1 Culture consists in patterned ways of thinking, feeling and reacting, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artefacts; the essential core of cultures consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values.2 Trompenaars defines culture as not what is visible on the surface. It is the shared way groups of people understand and interpret the world. It includes all values, needs, attitudes and norms that influence people (humans).3 Drawing similarities to the world of information technology Hofstede compares culture to the software of the mind4 and describes it as the Collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.5 Hofstede and Kluckhohn share their opinion concerning culture. Hofstede regards the mind as standing for thinking, feeling, and acting, with consequences for beliefs, attitudes, skills.6 Kluckhohn affirmed this and considers culture to include values, which are the core element for culture. Values remain invisible until they are expressed in behaviour, however the manifestation of culture may be visible via symbols, heroes, and rituals. In literature this idea has been further developed and is illustrated in the form of an onion, the layers consisting of symbols, heroes and rituals subsumed by practices, which are visible to the external observer.7 The metaphor of the onion shows that the inner part of the onion values - can only be reached when the outer rings of the culture onion have been peeled off. The experience that ones eyes
1 2

Kluckholm/Kroeber (1952), p. 86. Kluckholm/Kroeber (1952), p. 86. 3 Trompenaars (1993), p.3. 4 Hofstede (1991), p. 4. 5 Hofstede (2001), p. 9. 6 Hofstede (2001), p. 10.

Hofstede (2001), p. 11; Trompenaars, (1993) p. 39; Rothlauf, (1999), p. 18, Blom,/Meier, (2002), p. 40.

2 might begin to burn whilst peeling the onion is to a certain extent also applicable when encountering different cultures. 8


Visible behaviour

Values and norms Heroes, myths, rituals

Graph 4.1. The Onion Diagram. Source: Hofstede (2001).

Symbols The first and the most superficial layer of the onion represent words, gestures, pictures and objects that often include complex meanings that are recognized only by those who share this particular culture. Trompenaars regards these elements as artefacts, which is the observable reality of the language, food, buildings, houses, monuments, agriculture, shrines, markets, fashions and art.9 New symbols can be easily developed or may be copied from other societies, as they are visible. Old symbols can be replaced. Heroes Heroes, the second layer of the onion may be present or past, real or fiction. They are highly respected in their culture and in the days of television, film and Internet, film and sports stars are also sometimes regarded as heroes, for example Tiger Woods and David Beckham.10 Rituals The third layer of the onion, are collective activities that are technically unnecessary to the achievement of desired ends, but that within a culture are considered socially essential.11 These activities generally take place regularly and are not always easily comprehensible for outsiders, for example Christmas celebrations, national public holidays and Carnival celebrations.12 Values
8 9

Blom/Meier (2002), p. 40. Trompenaars (1998), p. 21. 10 Blom/Meier (2002), p. 42. 11 Hofstede (2001), p. 10. 12 Blom/Meier (2002), p. 42.

3 Values play a major role in the definition of culture and are therefore illustrated at the centre of the onion model. They are defined as enduring beliefs that result in specific modes of conduct.13 A value system is regarded as a relatively permanent perceptual framework, which influences an individuals behaviour14 although it is societal. Values establish the standards by which the importance of everything in society is judged. Cultural values are the implicitly or explicitly shared, abstract ideas about what is good, right, and desirable in a society. The ways that societal organisations (e.g. the family, education, economic, political, religious systems) function, their goals and their modes of operation, express cultural value priorities.15 Needs Needs are described as forces motivating a person to act in a certain way.16 Once the need is satisfied it no longer influences the behaviour of the individual. For example, thirst motivates an individual to find something to drink. Once the individual has had something to drink his need is satisfied and he will move on to the next need in the hierarchy of priorities. Cultural values my effect individual needs because they can influence how people satisfy their needs. For example different groups of society are not allowed to eat everything because of their religious belief for example practicing Jews do not eat pork and Hindus do not eat beef. Attitudes Attitudes may result in a tendency to react favourably for unfavourably to objects or situations, based on beliefs about them. Attitudes are influenced by societal values. For example in a business environment the style in dress can provoke certain attitudes depending on the societal values. If wearing a suit and tie indicates a conservative business perspective and conservatism is valued, this would result in a favourable attitude to someone dressed in this manner. Elsewhere, where innovation in business is more highly valued, and wearing a T-shirt and jeans is seen as indicating an innovative attitude and this attire may be viewed positively. Similarly, in some societies men with long hair are regarded negatively, while in others long hair represents virtue. Norms Norms describe a particular pattern of behaviour in a particular situation. This behaviour is regarded as normal within a society. A typical German norm when greeting someone, regardless whether it is a long-term friend or the initial meeting of someone is with a
13 14 15 16

Rokeach (1973), p. 10. England (1978), p. 36. Licht (2002), p. 5. Maslow (1954), p. 20.

4 handshake. This may appear unusual to a British person who normally only shakes hands on the first meeting. Norms are thought to have originated from values but no longer clearly represent them. Thus the German norm of shaking hands is not regarded as a societal value, it is simply the accepted way of behaving in the Germany.

From the characteristics associated with culture outlined in the above one is able to conclude that culture is a multi-versatile term. Keller and Drepper have attempted to develop a systematic approach to culture and examined the literature analysis carried out by Kluckhohn and Kroeber and have derived the following characteristics:17 Humans create culture. Culture is a social phenomenon and therefore not individually orientated. It is a

product of collective behaviour of society and the thoughts of individuals. It means that it is possible to study and identify group pattern. Culture is transmitted via symbols. Culture influences our behaviour. Culture strives for internal consistence and integration. Culture can be learned this does not mean that it is innate; people are socialised

from childhood to learn the rules and norms of their culture. It also means that when one leaves one culture for another it is possible to learn the new culture. Culture is adaptable and changeable. The basic orientation and the creation of preferences although a long-term process can react to a changing environment.

Culture is compelling this means that specific behaviour is determined by

culture without individuals being aware of the influence of their culture; as such, it means that it is important to understand culture in order to understand behaviour. Culture is interrelated This means that while various facets of culture can be

understood in context of the whole; as such, it means that a culture needs to be studied as a complete entity.


Keller, v. E. (1982), p. 114.

5 Culture provides orientation to people this means that a particular group reacts in general in the same way to a given stimulus; as such, it means that understanding a culture can help in determining how group members might react in various situations. Keller summarizes that culture includes all behavioural norms, patterns of behaviour and expressions of behaviour that are shared by a collective group and that are learnt by the other members of this group and passed on to the next generation. 18 In addition to this there are two other points that are relevant for the following study and should therefore be added to Keller/Dreppers list of characteristics: Culture is not necessarily synonymous with nations. The cultural influence does not stop at national boundaries, for example some countries e.g. Switzerland and India have a strong multicultural character. Other countries have been established based on political decisions (e.g. colonization and de-colonization) that have not considered cultural factors (e.g. Curds where never given their own State). Secondly culture is made up of smaller sub-cultures19 that to a certain extent can be disassociated from the major culture. These sub-cultures may differentiate themselves from the main culture in certain characteristics however generally resign to the main culture. The concept of sub-cultures extends to numerous sub-groups of society, e.g. young and old, well educated, less well educated, North and South, East and West, professional groups. Thus one person may belong to several sub-cultures at the same time.20


19 20

Keller, (1982), p. 118, A historical development of the term culture is presented by Hasenstab (1999), pp. 45. Special, relatively closed cultural groups within a culture with their own norms and values. Maletzke (1996), p. 16.

6 4.2 National Culture versus Corporate Culture

Analysing the terms national and corporate culture one may initially conclude that they are the same. This is however not the case as the reference object is different. Whereas national culture considers the values and practices of society, corporate culture only considers the values and practices of the company being analysed. The following graph illustrates the relationship between the corporate culture and the national culture and shows the instruments influencing the corporate culture.

National culture Branch culture Specific leaderdership guidelines Personal instruments Communication instruments

Corporate Culture Strategic instruments Organisational instruments Physical instruments

Graph 4.2: Corporate Culture and Influencing Factors. Source: Mller-Stewens/Willeitner/Schfer (1997), p. 114.

National culture is the basis for corporate culture, because the members of the company also belong to a larger society. The influence of national culture on corporate culture is less focused on the level of practices but more focused on the deeper established level of basic values and assumptions. These values belong to the deepest manifestation of national culture and are inevitably lived by the members of the organisation. People learn these values subconsciously in their childhood and keep them for the rest of their lives. The deepest-rooted values that an individual has and which determines his membership to a particular national culture is thus transferred to the organisational level. Alternatively, if one spends a major part of ones life in the work place people will learn and adopt the typical practices of that particular company or in other words the corporate culture.

7 An example to illustrate the difference between national and corporate culture becomes evident when one analyses American and Japanese companies. The difference between individualistic and collectivistic societies as presented by Hofstede can be transferred to a corporate level. Bleicher refers to individual corporate cultures that are typical for US-American companies and collective corporate cultures that characterize Japanese companies. Scholz21 talks about the hierarchical principals in whom the national culture, in its interaction with other national cultures is part of the global culture that influences the individual corporate culture.22 Corporate culture is however not regarded as one unit, but is composed of several subcultures, that are part of another level in the hierarchy. These may be in different functional areas of the company (e.g. marketing and research and development have slightly different cultures) or in the case of international groups, different subsidiaries (Germany, Great Britain, Spain). Thus, with regard to companies working within different countries or cultures one may speak about one collective corporate culture that is however made up of several different subcultures.


Objectives of Inter-cultural Management Research

Cross-cultural management analyses the influence of cultural factors on management factors. According to Adler, cross-cultural management research examines The behaviour of people in organizations around the world and trains people to work in organizations with employee and client populations from several cultures. It describes organizational behaviour across countries and cultures, and () seeks to understand and improve the interaction of co-workers from different countries and cultures.23

Comparative research focuses on revealing, identifying, classifying, measuring and interpreting the differences and similarities of phenomenon important for business studies.24 According to Keller cross-cultural management research follows the following objectives: 25 1) Descriptive Classification Objectives
21 22

Scholz (2000), pp. 806. The term global culture is understood as the culture of people in which the historic evolutionary development of the human race is reflected (Scholz, 2000, p. 806). 23 Adler (1986), p. 4. 24 Perridon (1981), p. 159. 25 Keller, v., E. (1989), Sp. 232; Keller v. E. (1982), pp. 30. and pp. 84.

8 The descriptive classification objective attempts to describe, record, compare and classify different cultures. The similarities and differences in management processes, norms and values are identified. Relative homogeneous cultural clusters are derived. 2) Heuristic Objectives The results of the descriptive classification (description, comparison and classification) are the basis for the discovery and generation of hypothesis and theories about the relationship between management processes and cultural factors and derive and explain trans-cultural laws. 3) Falsification Objectives The validity of the theories, hypothesis and explanations of alien cultures are tested in reality (control function). The cultural comparison tests theories in the social sciences under different cultural conditions. One problem with the cultural comparison is however isolating the causing factors because it is generally not possible to analyse two completely identical objects under different (cultural) conditions, as is the case in a controlled experiment. If certain hypothesis is not verified in another culture, then it is necessary to reveal the responsible cultural background variables. This may lead to the discovery and generation of new hypothesis.26 Cross-cultural research is a relatively new discipline of business studies and was not considered in research until the end of the 1950s. Scholz even speaks of (business) cultural ignorance before the beginning of the 1960.27 Gradually this subject area was approached during the 1960 s and 1970s, although research at this time was primarily empirical and quantitative in nature.28 The 1980s saw a deterioration of the business climate in the USA and Western Europe, however at the same time the very successful expansion of Japanese companies on the world market. The mysterious success of the Japanese companies provoked the question if Japanese management practices could be transferred to the Western culture. In addition to this there was strong criticism against the management practices of Western multinational companies regarding the need to adapt to the local cultural circumstances.29 According to the opinion of Kumar A measure for the success of management is not only the economic efficiency but also its cultural functionality.30 In the last couple of decades inter-cultural research has gained popularity and numerous contributions have been made concerning

26 27

Keller, v.E. (1989), Sp. 232, Keller, v.E. (1982) pp. 30. pp. 84. cf. Scholz (2000), p. 779. 28 Schmid (1996) p. 243. 29 Kumar (1998), p. 390. 30 Kumar (1998), p. 390.

9 transferring management techniques to alien cultures. As a result the following opinions have developed within the area of comparative cultural management.31

Inter-cultural management philosophies

Universal approach

Culture bound

Culture free

Graph 4.3: Different Inter-cultural Management Philosophies. Source: Own Compilation.

1) Firstly the supporters of the universal approach who do not consider culture to be a major factor when transferring management practices and theories between countries. They believe that management know-how can be universally implemented and transferred within different cultures with no problem. 2) The culture-bound supporters are of the contrary opinion. This group believes that different cultures require different management concepts and that know-how cannot be transferred easily from one country to another. 3) The third group are the culture free representatives. Members of this group do not criticise the relationship between management principles and cultural influencing factors, but they believe in a homogene and convergence process, that will in the longrun result in the cultural differences disappearing. The reason for this convergence is the ever-increasing economic and technological development. According to the representatives of the culture-free group comparative cultural studies should concentrate on the similarities between national cultures. In the long-term perspective they regard these studies as superfluous.32 Adler analysed the development of the cultural research in management and attempted to classify the studies in a systematic order. He differentiated between six types of cultural management studies that have developed over time.33

31 32

Perlitz (2000), pp. 293; Keller (1982), pp. 539. Perlitz (2000), p. 294. 33 Adler (1983a), pp. 30; Nath (1986), pp. 255; Ronen (1986), pp. 55; Kumar (1988), pp. 390.

10 1) Firstly Adler refers to the single culture studies which are concerned with analysing one culture and has been undertaken by a researcher belonging to this national culture. A majority of these studies were published in the USA in the 1970s. Most of the researchers belong to the Universal school and are of the opinion that the results of their studies can be used in other cultures. Due to this underlying assumption this research method has found relative little acceptance in the theory and practice in inter-cultural management.34 2) The ethnocentric research develops the idea of single culture studies by considering other cultures when trying to find answers to the question of applying theories to foreign cultures. Unlike the single culture studies this research concept looks for the universal approach of theories but does not immediately assume it. Methodically this is normally done by measuring the second culture against the first that is using a self-reference criterion is one of the indications of the underlying ethnocentrism inherent in this approach.35 3) Polycentric research assumes that every culture is completely unique and can therefore only be analysed individually. Polycentric studies are based on two assumptions, the assumption equafinality which says that there are many cultural specific ways to reach the management aim. The second assumption is that of cultural rivalry, which means that, none of the existing solutions is seen to be better or more efficient. The universal approach is rejected. Management and organisations should be analysed without prejudice and are only valid within the context of their own specific cultural environment. Methodically the inductive or descriptive methods are preferred. The emphasis is on the soft research methods, which are qualitative case studies including unstructured interviews, introductory symptom interpretation, observation, action research and literature and language analysis.36 One tries to avoid generalisations and formulating nomothetic hypothesis. One disadvantage if this research concept is that a comparison between cultures is not possible because a mutual reference framework does not exist. 4) The forth research direction that Alder describes is comparative research which is the most widely spread cross-cultural management research method. It looks for similarities and differences between two or more cultures and attempts to answer the question, which theories and management practices can be applied universally and which have a specific character.37

34 35 36 37

Adler (1983), pp. 32. Adler (1983), p. 34. Keller (1989), Sp. 239; Nath (1986), pp. 261. Adler (1983), pp. 35.

11 5) The geocentric research is concerned with companies that operate in different countries. It concentrates primarily on the management of large international organisations and similarities between cultures. The underlying assumption is that the headquarters influences the corporate culture and the subsidiaries are integrated as far as possible. The emphasis is generally on the geographical disparity of the group and not the cultural differences. The focus of interest is on the 6) The synergistic research attempts to explain the behaviour of humans in multinational organisations and the interaction between the different individuals that stem from different cultures. It attempts to answer the question: How can organisations create structures and processes which will be effective in working with members of all cultures?.38 The practical implications of cross-cultural research are manifold and include the following:39 Transferring management practices and theories to other cultures. The necessity to adapt different management methods and techniques and calculating the resulting costs which is what the following dissertation is concerned with. Problems of culturally mixed teams working together. Problems in business communication and negotiations with foreign business partners. Sending employees to different cultures - expatriation.

The following overview of cultural research shows the development of studies from the analysis of individual cultures to the comparative national and corporate cultural research.

Macro level

Micro level

Macro- and Microlevel

Global level

until 1960
Ignorance culture
38 39

from 1960
Cross cultural management

from 1970
Comparative management

from 1980
Research corporate of

from 1990
Integration of

from 2000
Pointillism of


Adler (1983), p. 31. Hasenstab (1999), p. 43.

culture culture culture

Graph 4.4: The Development of Cultural Research in Management. Source: Based on Scholz (2000), p. 780.

Scholz also talks about the pointillism cultural concept which he expected to develop at the beginning of this new millennium. According to this the increase in globalisation will lead to the development of the smallest cultural unit in an area without boarders.40 Traindis summarizes the requirements for future inter-cultural research as follows: In the future we should have much better theories about what culture really is, what aspects of management phenomena are universal and what aspects are culture-specific, and ways in which we can integrate what is specific to one culture into a theoretical framework that deals with all cultures.41


Inter-cultural Management Research: An Overview of Empirical Research

In the following section the most important studies undertaken later on in comparative intercultural management research are presented.

40 41

Scholz (2000), p. 780. Triandis (2001), p. 18.

13 4.4.1 Early National Cultural Research

One of the first to analyse the reasons for the difference in management of different countries were Farmer/Reichmann in the 1960s.42 They based their findings on interviews with experts from 10 different countries and differentiated between three different types of environmental factors; the economic, the political-legal and social-cultural environment which influence the management process and eventually the success of a business.43 However the concept of culture was not explicitly an issue and thus the Farmer/Reichmann study is generally regarded as a country comparative and not as a cultural comparative study.44 Haire/Ghiselli/Porter undertook the second extensive study in 1963 and 1966.45 It is based on a questionnaire answered by 3 641 managers from 14 different cultures.46 The authors that are regarded as the pioneers of culture comparative research came to the conclusion that the behaviour of the managers shows several differences that arise because of the different cultures. Consequently, according to the cultural differences the following country clusters have been developed; Anglo-American, Romanic, Northern European, South-East Asian, Japanese and other developing countries. One point of criticism is that Haire/Ghiselli/Porter did not explicitly define the term culture in their research.


The Country Cluster Analysis

Examining clusters of countries that share similar values can be a useful approach for international managers. Extensive cluster research was carried out by Ronen and Shenkar.47 This was a synthesis of previous research and identified the following eight clusters of countries

42 43

Farmer/Richman (1965), p. 7. Farmer/Richmann (1965), p. 7. 44 Schmid (1996), p. 244. 45 Haire/Ghiselli/Porter (1966), p. 5; extensive summary in Keller. (1982), pp. 320. 46 Haire/Ghiselli/Porter (1966), p. 5. 47 Ronen/Shenker (1985), p. 435-454.

14 Cluster 1 Anglo Australia Canada New Zealand UK USA Cluster 5 Latin America Argentina Chile Columbia Mexico Peru Venezuela Cluster 6 Near Eastern Greece Turkey Iran Cluster Austria Germany Switzerland 2 Germanic Cluster 3 Latin European Belgium France Italy Portugal Spain Cluster 7 Far Eastern Hong Kong Indonesia Malaysia Philipines Singapore South Vietnam Taiwan Cluster 8 - Arab Bahrain Kuwait Saudi Arabia UAE Cluster 4 - Nordic Denmark Finnland Norway Sweden

Independent (not closely related to other countries) Japan India Israel Note: Countries within a cluster are considered similar with regard to their cultural values. Clusters are arranged in an approximate order of cluster similarity, that is, the Anglo cluster is more similar to the European cluster (Germanic, Latin European and Nordic) than it is to the American, Near Eastern, Far Eastern and Arab clusters. A major limitation of these clusters is that they are based on empirical studies, which, at that time, did not include Africa, much of Asia, and Eastern Europe. Asia has received more attention recently, but Africa and Eastern Europe still have not been studied extensively. Table 4.1: Country Cluster Analysis Results. Source: Punnett, (1989) p. 17.

The cluster country model may be helpful in identifying different cultural groups however the following limitations should be considered. Firstly not all geographical regions are considered in the study (e.g. Africa and Eastern Europe) and major countries are missing, for example Brazil in Latin America and China in the Far East. The cluster analysis is also dated as it was

15 carried out nearly twenty years ago. In the mean time political systems have been replaced and new countries have been established. Furthermore, clusters do not consider any interdependence between the cluster groups and clusters may overemphasize similarities within the cluster or dissimilarity among clusters.48

4.4.3 Kluckhohn and Strodtbecks Value Orientation Model Two anthropologists, Kluckholm and Strodtbeck explained cultural similarities and dissimilarities in terms of basic problems which all human societies face.49 Different ways of dealing with these problems show different cultures. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck identified the following five problem areas: Relationship to nature subjugation, harmony and mastery Societies view themselves as inferior to nature and are not masters of their own destinies; and are not able to influence it. Societies, which view themselves as living in harmony with nature, believe that people must change their behaviour according to nature. Societies that view themselves as able to master nature think in terms of the supremacy of the human race, and think that they can manipulate nature for their own purposes. Time orientation past, present and future Societies, which are orientated towards the past, look for answers in the past. How would their ancestors have solved the problem they are confronted with? Societies, which are presentorientated, consider the immediate effects of their actions; what is the consequence if I do the following? Societies, which are future-orientated, look to the long-term results of events today; what will happen to future generations if we do these things today? Basic human nature evil, good, mixed Societies, which believe that individuals are primarily evil, try to control behaviour by implementing specific codes of conduct. Individuals that do not comply with these rules will be punished. Societies that believe that people are essentially good show trust and generally rely on verbal agreements. Societies that see people as mixed probably also see people as changeable and would focus on means to control behaviour, encourage desired behaviour and discourage undesirable behaviour.

48 49

Punnett (1999), p. 57. Kluckhohn/ Strodtbeck, (1961), p. 20.

16 Activity orientation being, containing and controlling, doing Societies, which are primarily being, are emotional and the individuals act spontaneously according to their mood. Those, which are doing orientated, are constantly striving to achieve. The people are ambitious and enjoy accomplish difficult tasks. Societies that are containing and controlling focus on moderation and orderliness. People try to achieve a balance in life and in society. Human relationships individual, lineal, co-lineal Societies, which are primarily individual, believe that people should be independent and are responsible for their own actions. Those that are lineal are family orientated and accept hierarchies. Those that are co-lineal are group-orientated and emphasize group interactions and actions. The dimensions may have the following implications for management. 1. In a society that believes humans are subjugated by nature, planning is less effective because the future is preordained. 2. In a society that is present-orientated, rewards should be linked to present performance. 3. Societies that believe in the basic goodness of humans will generally work with the participative management approach 4. In a society that is primarily being-orientated, decisions are likely to be intuitive and less logical. 5. In a society that is hierarchical, the corporate structure might reflect this formal, authority-based hierarchy.

4.4.4 Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions Model The Swede Geert Hofstede at the beginning of the 1980s undertook one of the most extensive and well-known studies on cross-national comparison. This study was a valuable starting point for the development of culture typology because it was the first time that cultural sensibility was brought into the focus of research. Thus perhaps because it was the first inter-cultural model it has taken and continued to maintain a particularly important place in international management. Hofstede developed a standardized written questionnaire which included 60 items and was translated into 20 languages and sent to 117 000 employees of the co-operating corporate partner IBM. Hofstedes study is based on the underlying hypothesis that the company culture

17 is a homogeneous statistical basis and any differences that arise can be traced back to the different national cultures. The interview candidates were carefully chosen and came from different levels of the corporate hierarchy, representing both blue and white-collar employees from the international subsidiaries.50 The first study was carried out from 1967-1979 and was based on data from 40 countries. The study undertaken later (1971-1973) expanded to include 50 countries. In total Hofstede drew results from work-related issues and included more than 100 uniform questions that are divided into four major sections. Apart from demographic characteristics other questions concerning personal objectives, job satisfaction and individual perceptions concerning work and environment were asked. The answers are presented in an ordinal or nominal scale and evaluated using factor and variance analysis and correlation calculations. In addition to this the results were also interpreted qualitatively. Question type Satisfactions Content Personal evaluation of an aspect of the work situation. Perceptions Examples How satisfied are you with..? How do you like your job/the kind of work you do? expect a large amount of work from you? How important is it to you to have an opportunity for high earnings?

Subjective descriptions of an aspect How often does your manager or problem of the work situation included questions about job stress

Personal goals

Statements not about the job or Company as such but related to an ideal job or to general issues in industry.


Dealt with age, gender, years of

Education, years with the company Table 4.2 : Examples of Hofstedes Questions. Source: Hofstede, (2001), p. 48. In Hofstedes first study the following 4 dimensions shown in the diagram below were described and classified:

Individualism vs. collectivism

Power distance


Hofstede (2001), p. 41.


Hofstedes cultural model

original dimension

Masculinity femininity


Uncertainty avoidance

Graph 4. 5: Hofstedes Original Cultural Dimension Model. Source: Own Compilation. In a later study a fifth dimension, long-term orientation was developed. Every dimension represents an aspect of culture, which can be determined with regard to other cultures51 and is a good heuristic framework. The dimensions were originally on a scale from 0100, however some countries e.g. Greece have aggregated values that exceed this interval which explains some dimensions e.g. uncertainty avoidance are as high as 112.

Individualism versus Collectivism This first dimension describes the relationship between individuals and groups in society. Individualistic orientated countries expect the emotional independence of the individual from the organisation and in these societies the interests of the individual are more important than the interests of the group e.g. USA. Children learn to think in me terms and express their own opinion, which is regarded in society as a virtue. A collective orientation however is expressed by an importance of internal and external organisational relationships. One expects the members of the organisation to show moral devotion and appreciate the group decisions. A group determines opinions in a collective culture, and the groups loyalty is of the utmost importance.

For example according to Hofstede, Greece regards itself as a community that is based on

mutual sympathy and understanding and is prepared to fulfil the needs of its members. Individualistic countries generally have a high labour mobility, e.g. USA and Great Britain and a preference for individuals to make decisions. Collective countries however, tend to have a low

For an extensive analysis of the method see Hofstede (2001), p. 41. Hofstede (1993), p. 75, Rothlauf (1999), p. 22.


19 labour mobility and a dominant us-consciousness with a preference for group decisionmaking e.g. Guatemala, Venezuela and Columbia (Table 4.3). Romanic countries like Belgium and France have a great need for authority and hierarchy however the individuals also want to maintain their independence. Hofstede53 therefore describes them as independent individuals. A different pattern of behaviour is evident in Austria where there is little desire for authority but a great personal dependency to the group, thus Hofstede describes them as an independent collective culture.54 Hofstede also discovered that individualism is too a large extent influenced by economic, geographic and demographic factors. For example, there is a direct correlation between the individualism index and prosperity; measured using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) consequently rich countries is more individualistic orientated than poor countries. Geographically speaking, countries in colder climatic regions tend to be more individualistically orientated then countries in warmer regions55 and in a demographic context, countries in which the population is older tend to be individualistically focused.

Country/Region IDV-index USA Australia GB Canada Netherlands New Zealand Italy Belgium Denmark Sweden France Ireland
53 54

Country/Region IDV-index Israel Spain India Japan Argentina Iran Jamaica Brazil Arabian countries Turkey Uruguay Greece 54 51 48 46 46 41 39 38 38 37 36 35

Country/Region IDV-index Hong Kong Chile West Africa Singapore Thailand El Salvador South Korea Taiwan Peru Costa Rica Pakistan Indonesia 25 23 20 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 14

91 90 89 80 80 79 76 75 74 71 71 70

Hofstede (1980), p. 214-221. Hofstede (1980), p. 222. 55 Hofstede (1980), p. 231-256.

20 Norway Switzerland Germany South Africa Finland 69 68 67 65 63 Philippines Mexico East Africa Yugoslavia Portugal 32 30 27 27 27 26 Columbia Venezuela Panama Ecuador Guatemala 13 12 11 8 6

Austria 55 Malaysia Table: 4.3 Individualism Index Values. Source: Hofstede (2001a), p. 215.

21 At an organisational level a low degree of individualism can suggest a strong collective feeling, a family orientated organisational consciousness. The interests of the employees are taken seriously and are considered as far as possible. Employee stimulation only comes from within and is orientated according to the seniority principle. Above all the employees are consciously part of their company, which they regard as their family that protects and influences them. In individual orientated countries one decides to work for a company because the job on offer appears interesting, however loyalty to the company is not an important issue and once the employee is offered a better job in another company, he will move on. This characteristic can be described as job hopping. Individualism may therefore create problems for the human resources managers because of the relatively high corporate fluctuation rates. The actual challenge of personnel management starts when the business decides to orientate its personnel management strategy according to the cultural dimension. In an individually orientated culture one can assume a higher rate of fluctuation. If an employee is unable to fulfil his personal objectives then he will leave the company. Thus all personnel management systems should be directly orientated towards the basic norm individualism .For example bonuses based on team performance will be less popular, whereas sales lists or a competition of the best employee of the month will be more readily accepted. Individualism Low dominance Emotional dependency concerning High dominance the Emotional independent from the business,

company, high moral involvement. Striving for calculated involvement, striving for leadership conformity and structure, security in the and change, autonomy is important for the position of the managers in the foreground. managers, preference for individual decision, Group decisions are preferred. Social norms Us consciousness, community orientation, Me social system as a basis for identity Consequences for human resources management consciousness, self orientation, individualism as the basis for identity universal thinking

The employees expect that the business One expects the employees to represent his

22 represent its interests. Promotion according to own interests, promotion according to

the seniority principle, the business policy performance; business policy should encourage should be orientated towards the loyalty and the initiative of the employees. consciousness of the employees. Table: 4.4 Characteristics of Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures. Source: Hofstede (2001a) pp. 215p.

Masculinity versus Femininity The masculinity index expresses how much a society is influenced by those characteristics that are attributed to masculinity for example self-assertion, performance, competition, and material success. Countries with a low masculinity index generally orientate themselves to those values, which are classified as feminine for example humble and sensitive, keeping social contacts, quality of life and a preference of job security. Hofstede56 found that countries close to the equator show a high tendency for masculine values and countries with a majority Catholic population are also more prone to masculinity than Protestant dominated countries. Furthermore German speaking countries, and Anglo-American countries also have very high values on the masculinity dimension. Romanic countries show a low value, and Nordic countries a very low value. Typical for a masculine culture circle is a strong career orientation, which also affects the private life. Typical for the feminine culture circle is the desire for harmony and avoidance of competition as well as an aversion to stress. This is expressed in the working environment being more casual and relaxed, the encouragement of group integration during periods of reorganisation as well as a higher percentage of women in qualified jobs.

Country/region MAS-index Japan Austria Venezuela Italy Switzerland 95 79 73 70 70

Country/region MAS-index Hong Kong Argentina India Belgium Arabian 57 56 56 54 53

Country/region MAS-index Spain Peru East Africa El Salvador South Korea 42 42 41 40 39


Hofstede (1980). p. 293.

23 countries Mexico Ireland Jamaica GB Germany Philippines Columbia South Africa Ecuador USA Australia New Zealand Greece 69 68 68 66 66 64 64 63 63 62 61 58 57 Canada Malaysia Pakistan Brazil Singapore Israel Indonesia West Africa Turkey Taiwan Panama Iran France 52 50 50 49 48 47 46 46 45 45 44 43 43 Uruguay Guatemala Thailand Portugal Chile Finland Yugoslavia Costa Rica Denmark Netherlands Norway Sweden 38 37 34 31 28 26 21 21 16 14 8 5

Table: 4.5: Masculinity Index. Source: Hosted (2001), p. 286.

Masculinity and femininity can also influence management. In traditionally masculine societies, strategic plans emphasize specific, measurable sizes e.g. increases in market share and profitability. Top management is responsible for making these strategic decisions. Operational decisions focus on accomplishing the task, and will decided on those who can accomplish the task best, e.g. men or women. Management in masculine countries should emphasis the hierarchy, competition and job motivation and challenges. In feminine societies management will consider the environment, the quality of working life, and concern for the less fortunate. For example profitability and market share will be defined within this context. Operational decisions will consider work satisfaction and the development of a congenial and nurturing work environment. Work is generally regarded as suitable for either sex, with more consideration given to assigning work according to individual abilities and preferences. Decision-making responsibility will depend on ability and will be shared between the sexes. Male values of achievement, money and performance will rank equally with female values of nurturing, quality of life and caring for the less fortunate.

24 Uncertainty Avoidance Uncertainty avoidance explains the extent to which people within a culture are made nervous by situations that they consider to be unstructured, unclear or unpredictable and () try to avoid such situations.57 Avoiding uncertainty is generally a basic human desire but members of culture belonging to high uncertainty avoidance will try to develop a structure in which certain situations can be clearly interpreted and predicted.58 Creating laws and codes of conduct with the objective to control and influence the future can do this. Abnormal behaviour or diverging ideas or opinions are generally not accepted in these societies. One the other hand, countries with low/weak uncertainty avoidance is generally the source of innovation.59 The members of this society are generally more tolerant concerning other opinions and show a greater willingness to accept risk. Countries with high/strong uncertainty avoidance are e.g. Greece, Belgium, and Japan. Countries with a low/weak uncertainty avoidance index are Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain.

57 58

Hofstede (1984), p. 30. Hofstede (1993), p. 136. 59 Hofstede (1993), p. 143 and Rothlauf (1999), p. 24.


Country/region UA-index Greece Portugal Guatemala Uruguay Belgium El Salvador Japan Yugoslavia Peru France Chile Spain Costa Rica Panama Argentina Turkey South Korea 112 104 101 100 94 94 92 88 87 86 86 86 86 86 86 85 85

Country/region UA-index Israel Columbia Venezuela Brazil Italy Pakistan Austria Taiwan Arabian countries Ecuador Germany Thailand Iran Finland Switzerland West Africa Netherlands 67 65 64 59 59 58 54 53 52 81 80 76 76 75 70 70 69 68

Country/region UA-index Australia Norway South Africa New Zealand Indonesia Canada USA Philippines India Malaysia GB Ireland Hong Kong Sweden Denmark Jamaica Singapore 51 50 49 49 48 48 46 44 40 36 35 35 29 29 23 13 8

Mexico 82 East Africa Table: 4.6: Uncertainty Index. Source: Hofstede (1993), p. 133.

Hosted also considered the historic development in his analysis and concluded that countries like Austria, Germany and Japan, where democratic governmental reforms were undertaken in the First and Second World War showed a greater striving to avoid uncertainty than the Old Democracies like England, the USA or Switzerland. Furthermore Romanic countries have inherited the Roman System and the effective formal control, which is characterised by a definite striving for uncertainty avoidance. The consequences for management are that generally low uncertainty avoidance indicates the necessity for few written rules, regulations, standardisation and specialisation. Planning is flexible and relatively short-term. Uncertainty is seen as inevitable, and therefore the

26 organization must be able to change direction quickly. Planning is accepted as provided guidance but not constraints. Formal planning is most likely to take place at top level and be, at least partially, based on a subjective evaluation of opportunities. Personal preferences are likely to be evident in strategic directions. A certain degree of risk taking will be encouraged. Individuals are likely to accept the risk of individual decision-making, and the need for making decisions quickly is emphasized. In contrast to this high uncertainty avoidance implies a need for a high standardisation and job security (job description, determining objectives). Furthermore the advice of experts is likely to be important in formulating plans and making decisions. Planning provides security and is well accepted. Plans are likely to be detailed and complex, including priorities and contingencies. Strategic planning is as long-term as it is practical. Checks and balances ensure that performance is at the planned level, and allow for correction before a major departure occurs. Decisions are made carefully and slowly. If responsibility is shared, then group consensus is important for the planning process. In the case that a powerful individual make the decisions, then these are imparted to subordinates as absolutes. Disagreement is discouraged. Power Distance Hofstede describes the power distance as the extent to which the less powerful person in a society accepts inequality in power and considers it as normal.60 Society with a high power distance index regard power as a fundamental fact and accept the unequal distribution of power between members of society. In businesses one encounters an authoritarian or fatherly leadership style as well as a strong hierarchical organisational structure with a tendency for centralisation and top-down communication. Countries with a high power distance are Malaysia, Guatemala and Panama. Societies with a low power distance try to avoid inequality. Everyone, regardless of their status should enjoy equal rights and the implementation of power has to be given by legislation. Examples of countries with a low power distance are for example Denmark, Isreal and Austria. Hofstede found the power distance to be related to the geographic position, the population density and the prosperity of a country. It is higher in southern and tropical countries than in colder climates and countries with a high population density show a higher tolerance towards power concentration. The prosperity of a country and the power distance are negatively correlated, although there are some exceptions e.g. France and Belgium which have a relatively high power distance tolerance and a high prosperity, see the following table for details.

Hofstede (1984), p. 390.

27 Country/region PD-index Malaysia Guatemala Panama Philippines Mexico Venezuela Arabian countries Ecuador Indonesia West Africa Yugoslavia Singapore Brazil France Hong Kong Columbia El Salvador 78 78 77 76 74 69 68 68 67 66 Uruguay Greece South Korea Iran Taiwan Spain Pakistan Japan Italy Argentina South Africa 61 60 60 58 58 57 55 54 50 49 49 GB Switzerland Finland Norway Sweden Ireland New Zealand Denmark Israel Austria 35 34 33 31 31 28 22 18 13 11 104 95 95 94 81 81 80 Country/region PD-index Turkey Belgium East Africa Peru Thailand Chile Portugal 66 65 64 64 64 63 63 Country/region PD-index Jamaica USA Canada Netherlands Australia Costa Rica Germany 45 40 39 38 36 35 35

Table 4.7: Power Distance. Source: Hofstede (2001a), p. 87. The consequences of this dimension for corporate organisations means that cultures with a high power distance accept strong hierarchies and a powerful management. Planning and decisionmaking is done at the top. Input is accepted from those in powerful positions, but is not expected from those at lower levels. Long-term plans are treated confidentially. Operational decisions are made on a daily basis by superiors, and work assigned to subordinates. All decisions are referred to the superior, and subordinates are discouraged from taking the initiative and making decisions. Subordinates accept assigned work and carry out tasks as instructed. Those in positions of power are respected; those in inferior positions expect that more powerful individuals will take the responsibility for decision-making. Consequently, status, qualification and payment differences are accepted in the type of a cultural environment. However, cultures with a low power distance have a tendency to avoid differences in status. The working environment favours a consultative manner that limits the dependency of employees to superiors. Everyone is seen as being capable of contributing to the planning

28 process, and input from a variety of organizational levels is sought in developing strategic plans. Decision- making in general is participative, and long-term plans are likely to be shared among organizational members. Operational decisions incorporate the views of those who must carry them out. The people involved in particular tasks are expected to make the routine decisions necessary to complete the task, and decisions are only referred to the superior when they involve unusual circumstances. Power differences exist, but are minimized, and friendly relationships between superiors and subordinates are normal.

Low Dominance

High Dominance education, autocratic or

Anti-authoritative education, decision-making Authoritative viewed negatively content by with

in consensus with employees, strong control paternalistic decision-making. Strong control employees. viewed positively by the employees. Managers participate more content with autocratic management. managers. Management with managers.

managers, little fear of employees disagreeing Employees are afraid of disagreeing with their


Society norms Minimization of societal imbalance. Societal imbalance is the basis for society. Hierarchies are seen as portraying inequality. Hierarchies represent an essential difference; Everyone is equal. The same rights for all. employees and management are different types Striving for rewards, expertise power Consequences management Decentralisation, flat hierarchy, small Centralisation, a steep hierarchical structure, percentage is management, slight differences large amount of management, big differences in payment, good qualifications even at lower in payment, low qualification on lower hierarchical level, no difference in status hierarchical level, high status of white collar between white-collar and blue collar workers workers. Table 4.8: Characteristics of Cultures with High and Low Power Distances. Source: Hofstede (2001a), pp. 87. for human resources of people, privileges for the powerful, striving for power.

Long-term Orientation In 1979 Michael Bond developed the so-called Chinese value study the fifth dimension of national culture, the Confucius dynamic.61 This cultural dimension was concluded after undertaking questionnaires on students from 23 different countries and creating an index of long-term orientation. The long-term orientation stand for values that are concerned with the future and will guarantee them a constant benefit in the future, in particular thriftiness and perseverance. Countries with a long-term orientation are for example China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. In the contrary, cultures with a short-term orientation encompass values that are concerned with the present and past, for example respect for tradition, maintaining ones face and fulfilling social duties. Examples for these types of cultures are Pakistan, Canada, Great Britain and the USA.


Hofstede (1993), p. 188. Hofstede (1993), pp. 188, Weidmann (1995), p. 50.


30 At a corporate level, corporations working in cultures with a long-term orientation can expect their employees to be able to follow long-term business objectives. Corporations working in short-term cultures can expect their employees to be working primarily for their own status.

Short-term orientation Tendency to entire truth Normative Impatience, short-term success what to do. Tradition is maintained.

Long-term orientation Lots of different truths(Dependent on time, location and occasion) Pragmatic Patience, long-term goals goals Tradition is adapted pragmatically

Own goals dominate, rejection of being told Acceptance to put group goals above own

High investment for quick development (debt) An economic approach to secure the future (saving) Table 4.9: Long- and Short-term Orientated Characteristics. Source: Weidmann (1995), p. 50.

Hofstede initiated in his study a sensibility for culture rather than culture ignorance. Some academics strongly criticise the IBM study carried out by Hofstede.63 One critical point is the source of data used to determine the cultural dimension. The study was carried out using only IBM employees which can be expected to have a their own specific corporate culture. Thus critics raise the question if employee statements from a specific corporate group can be used to determine differences in culture.

Hofstede defends this point and claims that apart from the

difference in national culture the employees chosen as the IBM statistical basis are very similar. Thus this enables the differences in answers to be traced back to culture.65

4.4.5 Schwartzs Value Survey The psychologist Shalom Schwartz66 carried out an empirical study in the form of a questionnaire to discover the basic values of individuals in different countries. The study can be regarded as a crucial further development and extension of previous approaches to comparative
63 64 65 66

Schmid (1996), pp. 256 for extensive criticism. Forstmann (1994), p. 29. Hofstede (1993), p. 28. Schwartz (1992), p. 100.

31 inter-cultural research with respect to methodology and theory. Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) contains 57 items, which represent 10 value types on an individual level and 7 value orientation on the cultural level. The survey involved more than 60 000 individuals in 64 nations on all continents.


The person is viewed as embedded in a collectivity, finding meaning in life largely through social relationships and identifying with the group. A cultural emphasis on maintenance of the status quo, propriety, and restraint of actions or inclinations that might disrupt the solidarity group or the traditional order. (social order, respect for tradition, family security, wisdom)

Intellectual Autonomy

The person is an autonomous, bounded entity and finds meaning in his/her own uniqueness, seeking to express own internal attributes (preferences, traits, feelings) and is encouraged to do so. Intellectual autonomy has a cultural emphasis on the desirability of individuals independently pursuing their own ideas and intellectual directions (curiosity, broadmindedness, creativity)

Affective autonomy

The person is an autonomous, bounded entity and finds meaning in his/her own uniqueness, seeking to express own internal attributes (preferences, traits, feelings) and is encouraged to do so. Affective autonomy promotes and protects the individuals independent pursuit of own affectively positive experience (pleasure, exciting life, varied life).


A hierarchical, differential allocation of fixed roles and of resources is the legitimate, desirable way to regulate interdependencies. People are socialised to comply with the obligations and rules and sanctioned if they do not. A cultural emphasis on the legitimacy of an unequal distribution of power, roles and resources (social power, authority, humility, wealth).


Individuals are portrayed as moral equals, who share basic interests and who are socialized to transcend selfish interests, cooperate voluntarily with others, and show concern for everyones welfare (equality, social justice, freedom, responsibility, honesty). People are socialized to as autonomous rather than interdependent because

32 autonomous persons have no natural commitment to others (equality, social justice, freedom, responsibility, honesty). Mastery Groups and individuals should master, control and change the social and natural environment through assertive action in order to further personal or group interests. A cultural emphasis on getting ahead through Harmony active self-assertion (ambition, success, daring, competence). The world is accepted as it is. Groups and individuals should fit harmoniously into the natural and social world, avoiding change and self-ascertain to modify them (unity with nature, protecting the environment, world of beauty). Table 4.10: Categories of Value According to Schwartz. Source: Schwartz, S. H: (1999) pp. 23.

4.4.6 Trompenaars and Hampden-TurnersCultural Factors Along with Hofstede, Trompenaars is also frequently quoted in inter-cultural management literature.67 Similar to Hofstede, Trompenaars also attempted to separate culture with the help of dimensions and to analyse its implications for management. His research database is made up of 15 years of training program material, and 3068 companies, with subsidiaries in 50 different countries. In order to gather comparable samples, a minimum of 100 people with similar backgrounds and occupations were taken in each of the countries in which the companies operated. Approximately 75 percent of the participants were in the management (managers in operations, marketing, sales and so on), while the remaining 25 percent were general administrative staff (typists, stenographers, secretaries). The database is permanently being updated and expanded and presently includes approximately 30 000 participants. Trompenaars study concluded with the following 7 dimensions that enable an extensive classification of culture and by which cultural differences and similarities can be explained:

67 68


Individualism communitarianism


particularism Hoeckin (1994), pp. 40, Schmid (1996), p. 246.

E.g. AKZO, AMD, AT&T, Baan, Software, Elf Aquitaine, SGS/Thomson, CRA, Glaxo, Heineken, ICI, Applied Materials, Mars, Motorola, Philips, Royal Dutch Airlines KLM; the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Sematech, TRW, Van Leer, Volvo and Novartis to name a few.


Attitude environment


Trompenaars and Hampden-Turners cultural factors

Neutral vs. emotional

Specific vs. diffuse Achievement ascription vs.

Attitude to time

Graph 4.6 : Trompenaars Cultural Model. Source : Own Compilation.

Universalism versus Particularism This first dimension describes the forms of relating to other people. The Universalist complies with standards that are universally agreed to by the culture in which the individual lives. What is good and right can be defined and always applies.69 For example, crossing the street when the light is red in a very rule-based society e.g. Switzerland or Germany. Even if there is no traffic, you will still be frowned at. Particularist cultures pay far more attention to the relationships and unique circumstances. X is my dear friend, so obviously I would not lie to him or steal from him. It would hurt us both to show less than kindness to one another.70 Trompenaars found the North Americans and most north Europeans are almost totally universalist in their approach. While South Korea, Nepal and Venezuela represent particularist cultures.

Universalist 1. Focus is more on rules than relationships. 2. Legal contracts are readily drawn up 3. A trustworthy person is the one who honours their word or contract
69 70

Particularist 1. Focus is more on relationships than on rules 2. Legal contracts are readily modified 3. A trustworthy person is the one who honours changing mutualities

Trompenaars (1998), p. 8. Trompenaars (1998), p. 31.

34 4. There is only one truth or reality, that which has been agreed to. 5. A deal is a deal 6. Decisions made on the spot by representatives. Table: 4.11: Universalism versus Particularism. Source : Trompenaars (1993), p. 45. 4. There are several perspectives on reality relative to each participant 5. Relationships evolve 6. Decisions referred back by delegate to Organisations

Individualism versus Communitarianism This dimension is concerned with if people see themselves primarily as individuals or primarily as part of a group. Furthermore, is it more important to focus on individuals so that they can contribute to the community as and if they wish, or is it more important to consider the community first since that is shared by many individuals?71 Parsons and Shils, describe individualism as a prime orientation to the self72 and communitarianism as a prime orientation to common goals and objectives. Trompenaars discovered that the Romanians, Nigerians and Canadians were the highest scoring individualists, closely followed by the Americans, Czechs and Danish. France, China and India were some of the countries with the lowest score, showing a communitarian characteristic.73 Furthermore Trompenaars also discovered that there was a correlation with religion. Whereas Calvinists had contracts or covenants with God and with one another for which they were personally responsible, Roman Catholics approach God as a community of the faithful. Thus research has found that Catholics score higher on group choices and Protestants significantly lower. Hofstedes research also confirms this. Individualism 1. More frequent use of I form. 2. Decisions made on the spot by representatives. 3. People ideally achieve alone and assume personal 4. Vacation taken in pairs, even alone. Communitariansim 1. More frequent use of We form. 2. Decisions referred back by delegate to Organisations 3. People ideally achieve in groups which assume joint responsibility. 4. Vacations in organized groups or with e Extended family.

Table 4.12: Individualism versus Communitariansim.

71 72

Trompenaars (1998), p. 9. Parsons/Shils (1951), pp 20. 73 Trompenaars (1998), p. 51.

35 Source: Trompenaars (1993), p 61.

Neutral versus Emotional This dimension explains how people go about with their emotions. In emotional cultures showing ones feelings e.g. smiling, laughing, grimacing, scowling and gesturing is socially acceptable, whether in corporate or private life. However, neutral cultures do not exhibit their feelings, but keep them carefully controlled and subdued.74 Trompenaars set the question in a workshop how the participants would behave if they were upset about something at work. According to Trompenaars findings it is least acceptable to show ones emotions in Ethiopia and Japan. Within Europe there is however a considerable variance, Austria is the most neutral (59 percent) and Spain, Italy and France (19 percent, 33 percent, 30 percent) the most emotional.


Trompenaars (1998), p. 70.


Neutral 1. Do not reveal what they are thinking or feeling 2. May (accidentally) reveal tension in face or posture. 3. Emotions often dammed up will occasionally explode. 4. Cool and self-possessed conduct is admired. 5. Physical contact, gesturing or strong facial expressions often taboo. 6. Statements often read out in monotone. Table 4.13: Neutrality versus Emotion. Source: Trompenaars (1993), p. 70.

Affective 1. Reveal thoughts and feelings verbally and non-verbally. 2. Transparency and expressiveness release tension. 3. Emotions flow easily, effusively, Vehemently and without inhibition 4. Heated, vital, animated expressions Admired. 5. Touching, gesturing and strong facial Expressions common. 6. Statements declaimed fluently and dramatically.

Specific versus Diffuse The fourth dimension analyses to what degree individuals get involved in areas of life with other people. Do people strive for a specific relationship, for example segregate out the task relationship and insolate this from other dealings, or is the culture more diffusely orientated and every level of life space and every level of personality tend to permeate all others. This relationship can be illustrated using the following example An American company was trying to get a contract with a South American customer. They made an impressive but down-to-the-point presentation, which emphasized the good product and low price, they had on offer. Its competitor, a Swedish company however used a different strategy. They spent five days with their customer and spoke about everything but the product. Finally on the last day the product, which was less competitive and higher priced than the American counter product was introduced. The result: the diffuse strategy of the Swedish company got them the contract. The Swedish company had learned that to do business in particular countries and share life space with them. Although this may be time consuming it paid of eventually.75


Trompenaars (1998), pp. 70.

37 Specificity 1. Direct, to the point, purposeful in relating. 2. Precise, blunt, definitive and transparent. 3. Principles and consistent moral stands independent of the person being addressed. Table: 4.14: Specificity versus Diffuseness. Source: Trompenaars (1993), p. 89. Diffuseness 1. Indirect, circuitous, seemingly aimless forms of relating. 2. Evasive, tactful, ambiguous, Even opaque. 3. Highly situational morality depending upon the person and context encountered.

Achievement versus Ascription This cultural dimension explains how status and power are regarded in different societies. In socalled ascription orientated societies the status of an individual is attributed to birth, kinship, gender or age, but also to connections (who you know) and your educational record (which University did you graduate from). Achievement orientated means that the individual is regarded on what he/she has accomplished, thus the question would be what did you study.76 Trompenaars measured the difference between achieved and ascribed status by presenting the following dilemma to respondents and graphing the results: a)The most important thing in life is to think and act in a manner that best suits the way you really are, even if you dont get things done. b) The respect a person gets is highly dependent on their family background. This statement describes a sense of self worth, which is independent of what society around you believes one ought to achieve. Those individuals disagreeing with the statement give priority to achievement or getting things done. Those who disagree give priority to an authentic sense of being. Achievement is about what you have done. Ascription is about who you are. The results concluded that in English-speaking and Scandinavian countries a majority is in favour of getting things done, which shows an achieving culture. Ascriptive cultures are for example the Czech Republic, Argentina and Uruguay. Furthermore Trompenaars also analysed the influence of region and discovered that there was a positive a correlation between Protestantism and achievement orientation whereas Catholics, Buddhists and Hindu cultures were more ascriptively orientated. However, Trompenaars

Trompenaars (1998), p. 10.

38 denounced the hypothesis that either orientation belongs to a higher level of economic development.77 Achievement-oriented 1. Use of titles only when relevant to the competence you bring to the task. Ascription-oriented 1. Extensive use of titles, especially when these clarify your status in the organisation. 2. Respect for superior in hierarchy is based on how effectively his or her job is performed and how adequate their knowledge. 3. Most senior managers are of varying age and gender and hove shown proficiency in specific jobs. Table: 4.15: Achievement versus Ascription. Source: Trompenaars, (1993), p. 105. 2. Respect for superior in hierarchy is seen as a measure of your commitment to the organisation and its mission. 3. Most senior managers are male, middle-aged and qualified by their background.

Attitudes to Time Trompenaar also examined the way that societies look at time. In particular Trompenaars examined how time is regarded and if it has its own consequences. The group was divided into two sub-groups, sequential, which regards time as a series of passing events and synchronic, where past, present and future are all interrelated so that ideas about the future and memories of the past both shape present actions. In cultures, which share the sequential time factor, past, present and future follow linear to one another and every divergence from this result in insecurity for the individual. These cultures are generally not accustomed to doing more jobs simultaneously and thus plan their day precisely and try to be punctual, e.g. waiting in line in Britain. In synchronic cultures however, people may do various activities at the same time. Trompenaars compares them to a juggler with six balls in the air with each being caught and thrown in rhythm.78 They also tend to schedule very tightly and see punctuality more relaxed. Past 1. Talk about history,


Future 1. Activities and enjoyments 1.Much talk of prospects,

Trompenaars (1998), p. 110. Trompenaars (1998), p. 127.


39 origin of family, business and nation. 2. Motivated to recreate a golden age. 3. Show respect for ancestors, predecessors, and older people. 4. Everything viewed in the context of of tradition or history. of the moments are most Important (not manana). 2. Plans not objected to, but rarely executed. 3. Show intense interest in present relationships, here and now. terms of its contemporary impact and style. Table: 4.16: Attitude to Time. Source: Trompenaars (1993), p. 122. potentials, aspirations, future achievements. 2. Planning and strategizing done enthusiastically. 3. Show great interest in the youthful and in future potentials. 4. Present and past used, advantage. even exploited, for future

4. Everything viewed in

Attitude to the Environment This last dimension is concerned with how people assign to the environment. Trompenaars divided society into two major groups. The inner-directed, those that believe that they can and should control nature by imposing their will upon it and the outer-directed that believe they are inferior to nature and must follow its rules. This attitude is illustrated clearly in the following example by Trompenaars: Another obvious example is the use of face masks that are worn over the nose and mouth. In Tokyo you see many people wearing them, especially in winter, When you inquire why, you are told that when people have colds or a virus, they wear them so hat will not pollute or infect other people by breathing on them (outer-directed). In London they are worn by bikers and other athletes who do not want to be polluted by the environment (inner-directed).79 The empirical research carried out be Trompenaars come to the following conclusion concerning how we relate to nature. In response to the following questions: a) What happens to me is my own doing. b) Sometimes I feel that I do not have enough control over the directions my life is taking.


Trompenaars (1998), p. 11.

40 The USA and the French score highest and can be classified as almost completely internalised (82 percent and 76 percent respectively). Most European countries score high, in fact, though not the Russians, on whom 45 years of Communism may have had some effect. Similarly the Chinese now rank much lower that the Japanese, although in Japan as in Singapore managers are far less likely to believe in internal control than they are in North America or Europe. Internal control 1. Often dominating attitude bordering on aggressiveness towards environment. 2. Conflict and resistance means that you have convictions. 3. Focus is on self, function, own group and own organization. 4. Discomfort when environment seems out of control or changeable. Table: 4.17: Attitude to Nature. Source: Trompenaars (1993), p. 136. 2. Harmony and responsiveness, that is, sensibility. 3. Focus is on other, that is customer, partner, colleague. 4. Comfort with waves, shifts, cycles if these are natural. External control 1. Often flexible attitude, willing to compromise and keep the peace.

4.4.7 The World Values Survey (WVS) At the beginning of the 1980s a European Value Systems Study Group was created, its members came form the association of social scientists from numerous countries80 and it aimed to find out about the cultural values of the members of society and compare the attitudes and basic values of members of different cultures and analyse any changes over time. 81 Research has been undertaken in different stages starting in 1981 with only nine European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Great Britain, Italy and Holland) and has continued to increase over the years and presently includes 65 nations and represents 75 percent of the world population. The questions that the participants have to answer are on all areas of life, family, religion, work, social and political activities, attitude to life etc.82 The evaluation of the WVS delivered two


For World Survey see cf. Hofstede (2001), p. 33. 82 Hofstede (2001), p. 33; for the questionnaire see World Values Survey website

41 value dimensions, survival and comfortableness and traditional and rational-legal authority which enable a division in to different country clusters.83

Graph 4.7: The World Values Survey Dimensions. Source: Inglehart (2000), p. 127. The results show that the basic values in all countries of the world have changed dramatically in the last decades. This change on value is related to the economic and political development. It has been proven that as the prosperity of a country increases so does its demand for individual values (self fulfilment), freedom and environmental consciousness.84 However is however the time aspect. Similar to Hofstedes research the question remains open as to how many decades are sufficient to determine the amount of cultural change.


Inglehart (1998), pp. 464.: Hofstede has been able to prove that these dimensions correlate with the value indices of his IBM study, Hofstede (2001), p. 265. Inglehart (2000), p. 219.


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