National and Organizational Culture

Understanding the Influence of National and Organization Culture on the Adoption of Cross Cultural Management Skills

With the advent of globalization, cultural influences in organizational processes and practices have become an important element that needs to be learned by a global manager to acquire cross cultural management skills.

Organizational culture is defined as the deeper level of fundamental beliefs and assumptions that are commonly shared by individuals of an organization that is operated unconsciously and defined in a “taken for granted’ manner as an organization’s aspect of itself and also its environment. National culture conveys deeply held values such as good vs. evil, safe vs. dangerous, rational vs. irrational and normal vs. abnormal.

Geert Hofstede’s concept of this cross cultural impact is described in five dimensions.

Power distance informs about the dependence relationships in a particular country. In small countries, there is restricted dependence of employees on superiors and greater preference for consultation. This results in smaller emotional distance where it might result in contradicting superiors. In larger countries, there is always considerable dependence of employees on superiors. The emotional distance is larger and employees are unlikely to contradict or approach their superiors.

Individualism stands for society where stronger ties between any individuals are not usually emphasized. Organization with high individualistic culture is expected to care for themselves and their families’ interest only. An individualistic organization would focus more on visible tasks rather than considering potential impact on organizational harmony and chemistry. Organizations with low individualism achieve higher total quality management as group/team work is largely encouraged.

Feminity and Masculinity defines the genders duality, such as social and emotional roles. Masculine traits include assertiveness, success, performance and authority whereas feminity traits include quality of life, personal relationship, and welfare and service .Mangers with masculine traits are result-oriented and view work outcomes as important.

Uncertainty avoidance refer to the way individuals deal with their future, whether in control or beyond their control. Individuals in low uncertainty avoidance organization display more  tolerance for structural ambiguity, deviant ideas, encourage motivation and less standardization .Mangers with high uncertainty avoidance avoid uncertainties in decision making processes and prefer clear rules.

Long-term orientation gauges the level to which the society adopts long-term devotion. The impact of these cultural differences is that the organization would set long-term goals and would encounter difficulty in adjusting with dictating conditions.