Culture is the collective prog…

11 November 2018

    Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values (Hofstede,1997). People with little understanding of cross-cultural competency tend to use the term interchangeably with race and ethnicity. It is “a way through which a group of people solve problems and reconcile dilemmas”. The patterns of behaviour are learned. People are naturally introduced to a culture, and through the process of socialisation and vicarious learning they begin to imbibe the values, norms, rules and rituals practiced in that culture. The successful use of cultural diversity has become an important area of management. Despite the fact that this territory is as yet developing, it is a zone of imperative significance to the administration of individuals and procedures in the corporate world; of specific significance to the global managers who work for multinational companies situated in various nations.
    Cultural diversity influences many processes functioning in the everyday working of the organisations, and thus it is quite important to manage it adequately in order to get the best results. Behaviour of the employees are respectively linked to cultural values of the country and this association is based on the framework of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions Different cultures usually weigh life domains differently because culture shapes individual attitudes, values, and the types of goals individuals pursue (Hofstede 1991; Kim 1994). The following passages outline the concept of culture, Job Satisfaction, Work Motivation, Work engagement, Happiness and Well-Being, Affect, Life Satisfaction, Compassion and Emotional Intelligence that have paramount importance in understanding organisational behaviour.
    CULTURE

    Culture is a set of beliefs, rules, institutions, practices and customs that distinguish members of one group or category of people from others. The word ‘culture’ comes from the Latin cultus, which means ‘care’, and from the French ‘colere’ which means ‘to till’. The comprehension of the word culture has transformed from its root meaning as an action to an action of being developed or cultivated. It is how we think, act, feel and behave which have been imbibed in us or we have learnt from our society that can be recognised in actions or structures.
    Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values shared by almost all members of some social group (Kroeber and Kluckholm, 1952).It forms the basis of rules for a society, sets its norms, shapes their values and has a great influence in forming the personality of the individuals by influencing their attitudes, beliefs and opinions towards life.
    Culture is an integral part of our existence yet it differs from people to people or group to group. The various important characteristics of culture include:
    1) Culture is learnt
    It is not genetic or biologically passed from generation to generation but rather learnt through one’s experiences as they grow up.
    2) Culture is shared
    Each culture is shared by a group of people that belong to the same community or geographical area.
    3) Culture is Social
    It is learnt through interactions and experiences that one goes through. The norms, values, beliefs, rituals and traditions of the culture help in shaping the individual
    4) Culture is integrated
    The various parts of culture have an intimate interconnection. All the parts of culture (rituals, practices, beliefs, traditions, customs, norms, language) are interlinked and are thus, influenced by each other.
    5)  Culture is based on symbols
    Language, art and money all are symbols. These symbols help in easily identifying and distinguishing one culture from the other.
    6) Culture is dynamic
    Cultures undergo gradual change but this change is necessary. Change is what helps the culture to survive and further help its members to adapt to the changing environment.
    Although culture normally serves as the collective memory of a society, it may in certain situations be necessary for younger generations to generate new patterns of thinking and acting. The development of technology or specific historical events can serve as examples of factors that can lead to differences between generations in terms of symbols, heroes, and values (Hofstede 1991).
    CULTURE AND ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR
    A culture is learnt and absorbed as the various activities, rituals, values, customs and norms it possesses, influence the upbringing of an individual and play a role in shaping the personality of that individual. It helps in giving them a unique identity in the society. So, when an individual enters an organisation they will also make an effort to conform to the wider social norms within the organisation, and if they are not able to do so, they might feel awkward or uncomfortable about it. If an individual is works in an organisation in which he/she is not familiar with the values and beliefs, then they may have trouble in adjusting and working efficiently.Indicating that it is vital for the culture of the organisation is compatible with the culture of the society in which it is established, and thus it is important that the cross-national organisations take into consideration that how different cultures influence different patterns of behaviour.
    Adler (1997) and Adler, Doktor and Redding (1986) set out four very critical predispositions with respect to this matter:
    1.Patterns of behaviour in organisation are likely to differ as wider social cultures in different parts of the world result in different attitudes and values.
    2.Factors like different standards of living can account for some of this variation in behaviour, but wider social culture also plays an essential role as a major influencing factor.
    3.Organisations in distinctive cultural settings have a tendency to become increasingly similar in terms of organisational design and technology, their employees can still differ in terms of culture, but a person who moves from a different cultural setting to another may need to change his or her behaviour to match the cultural norms of the new location or cultural setting.
    Consequently, it is not safe to assume that the same motivational techniques, job designs and reward systems will be equally successful everywhere, and so cross-national firms need to formulate global strategic approaches while dealing with a diverse workforce. Cultural norms of a society can influence people to behave in many ways that are different from other cultures. These are propensities and not inevitabilities. Around the world, people have different personalities which can temperate the effect of cultural beliefs and values. Some cultural characteristics that can give rise to differences in behaviour include: People’s relationship to their world, religion, the individual and society, Social protocols, the perceived importance of time, orientation to activity and language and proxemics.
    “Culture can thus be also defined as the “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov 2010).
    According to Hofstede (1997) people within in the same culture may carry several layers of mental programming within themselves. Different layers of culture exist at the following levels:
    • The national level is related with the whole country.
    • The regional level is related with ethnic, linguistic, or religious differences that exist within a nation.
    • The gender level is related with gender differences (female vs. male)
    • The generation level is related with the differences between grandparents and parents, parents and children.
    • The social class level is related with educational opportunities and differences in occupation.
    • The corporate level is related with the particular culture of an organization. Applicable to those who are employed.
    In 1980, the Geert Hofstede, a Dutch management researcher conducted one of the earliest and best-known cultural studies in management. His original research was based on a sample of more than 100,000 IBM employees in 40 countries between 1967-1973. Based on his research findings Hofstede proposed Cultural dimension model consisting of: Power Distance (PDI), Individualism/Collectivism (IDV), Masculinity/Femininity (MAS) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI). This model has been refined since. In 1991, the fifth dimension called Long Term Orientation (LTO) was added based on Michael Bond’s research (Tervonen 2012) and later in 2010, Hofstede added a sixth dimension, indulgence versus self-restraint based on Minkov’s research.
    1.Power-Distance Index (PDI)
     According to Hofstede, “power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” In high Power Distance countries, there is an unequal distribution of power, steep organisational hierarchies and everybody has a place in the system which needs to be followed without any questioning. For example, in Latin American countries, most of African and Asian countries power is usually centralized and considered an essential part of the society. (Hofstede & Hofstede & Minkov 2010). Socities with Low Power Distance value equality, democracy and people are free to question or challenge authority thus there is more open communication. Eg UK, USA. Such societies are most likely to be egalitarian (Gudykinst & Ting-Toomey & Nishida 1996, p. 179.)
    2.Individualism vs. Collectivism (IDV)
    In individualistic societies, everyone is expected to look after him or herself and their immediate family. Collectivism whereas involves societies in which people are integrated from birth onward into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005) In individualistic societies, chief importance is given to an individual’s initiative, personal time, freedom and privacy. There is a lot of focus on personal achievements and individual rights. A person’s identity is derived from his or her uniqueness.eg USA, Canada, UK.
    In collectivistic cultures, the group is more important than the individual and there is a much tighter social framework. They have a value for training, physical conditions and use of skills. (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005; Deal & Prince 2007.) The rights of the family are important and conformity is expected and perceived positively (Gudykinst & Ting-Toomey & Nishida 1996, p. 177). Eg Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico.
    3.Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) It is the extent to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous situations. Rules are in order to maintain precision, time and help to minimize the uncertainties they might arise (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005). Such countries have more formal laws and informal rules for the employers and employees so that order is maintained and any unknown event is avoided. Thus this dimension reflects the acceptance of risk taking in a culture. Thus, in such countries risk is usually avoided while doing buisness.eg Greece, Portugal, Japan. Countries characterised with low uncertainty avoidance the rules are not inviolable, ambiguities are more readily accepted and risks are embraced. Workers can be more flexible or open in their approach to new ideas. (Gudykinst & Ting-Toomey & Nishida 1996, p. 178.)
    4.Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
    Masculinity-the tendency when emotional gender roles are clearly distinct. Femininity-the tendency when emotional gender roles overlap. (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005, p.120.) In countries with high masculinity, demonstration of achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success are epitomised. The social gender roles are also clearly defined. eg Germany, Italy, UK. However, in the feminine cultures more importance is given to having good interpersonal relationships, being caring and having a happy family and healthy life. People have a value for modesty. At the workplaces people work to live, that means longer vacations and flexible working hours. (Deal & Prince 2007; Kirmanen & Salanova 2010.) Eg Netherlands, Sweden, Norway
    5. Long-term orientation versus Short-term orientation (LTO)
    Long-term orientation means the fostering of virtues oriented toward future rewards-in particular, perseverance and thrift. Short-term orientation indicates the fostering of virtues related to the past and present-in particular, respect for tradition, preservation of “face”, and fulfilling social obligations. (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005, p.210.) In Long-term oriented societies people are more future oriented, perseverant, respect of circumstances and have sustained efforts towards slow results. Whereas in short-term oriented societies people are concerned with protecting one?s “face”, personal stability, social and status obligations. (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005, p.212.)
    Long-term oriented are East Asian countries, followed by Eastern- and Central Europe. A medium term orientation is found in South- and North-European and South Asian countries. Short-term oriented are U.S.A. and Australia, Latin American, African and Muslim countries.
    6. Indulgence versus Restraint (IVR)
    Hostede (2010) defines that an indulgent society allows relatively free satisfaction of basic and natural human needs such as spending money, consuming. While a restrained society suppresses these and regulates them by strict social norms; people can enjoy lives less and live under the pressure of conservative society. Indulgence is mainly prevalent in South and North America, in Western Europe and in parts of Sub-Sahara Africa. Restraint can be found in Eastern Europe and Asia. Mediterranean Europe takes a middle position on this dimension.

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