Analysis Of Academic Article Dimension Of Individualism And Collectivism Business Essay

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Cultural Analysis

This essay is a reflection of a critical analysis of the academic article 'Dimension of Individualism and Collectivism: A Comparative study on Five cultures' written by Subodh P. Kulkarni, Tim Hudson, Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, Angel Marchev, Petia Georgieva-Kondakova and Vladimir Gorskov (2010). The article has critically analysed the recent cultural differences on seven dimensions of individualism and collectivism orientations in Bulgaria, India, Ireland, Israel and the United States. However, the article is in detail regarding the implications of individualism and collectivism in the five prominent countries from different continent and religious background. However, this essay look forward to the understanding of individualism and collectivism moreover, look into the overview of the implications of the two dimensions in the five countries stated.

According to the analysis of the author, these five cultures were no different from the perspective of individualism as well as collectivism dimensions these cultures when comparing individual welfare and self-reliance (Kulkarni et al 2010). However, a significant difference was found on the dimensions of competitiveness, solitary work preference, supremacy of individual interests and supremacy of individual goals, and lack of sacrifice for the group. To come with a good result the authors conducted a research and which reflected that Irish and American cultures were close to similarity and interestingly Indian and Bulgarian cultures were significantly matching with Israelis who expresses higher individualistic tendencies (Kulkarni et al 2010). The results ended up and the a good reason was identified in relation to the, multi-national organizations recruitment procedures or working in the same company but in a completely different culture. The multinational companies studied to write this article was found that the people on some multinational organisations find it difficult to resettle their home country managerial practices for example reward systems, performance appraisal systems, and team-based job design in a foreign country subsidiary which resembles a different cultural practice (Kulkarni et al 2010). Moreover it was interesting at the last outcome of the article which is the cultures existent in today's world are becoming convergent and there has been more similarities in culture due to globalization.

First of all the perspective of being individualism has been analysed. The authors reveal that, American culture is more individualistic than other cultures. The author expresses that "In Hofstede's study, the United States had a score of 91 out of 100 (ranked 1) on the individualism scale" (Hofstede 1980). The main reason for being individualistic would be that Americans are more hard workers moreover; Americans like to highlight their personal achievements and goals. On the other hand they have strong laws and Individual rights which allow them more liberty has been significant in the US society for a long time. The democratic laws and property rights also have encouraged individualism in the United States. However, today research has shown that due more migrant's entrants in the US society from different cultural backgrounds the rate of being individualistic is taking place by collectivism (Parker, Haytko & Hermans, 2009).

Considering the situation In Ireland the same Hofstede's (1980) study, shows that Irish people score of 70 out of 100, and has been ranked in the twelfth place on individualism (Kulkarni 2010). According to author "The Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism, and individual rights and freedoms is deeply rooted in Ireland. However, the Irish culture also values relationships and networking with people" (Kulkarni 2010). Several recent studies have found Ireland to be somewhat more collectivistic than previously thought (Ramamoorthy et al., 2007).

On the other hand the opposite of individualism which is collectivism is prominent in Indian Culture. The same study in US and Ireland shows that, India ranked 21st on the individualism scale with a score of 48 out of 100 (Hofstede 1980). In India collectivism begins from family, sense of relationship to community. There has examples of Indians being collectivism much more than US or Irish cultures. We all know that the family values, traditions are more important than individual rights and perspective in an Indian society. However, some studies have recently reported that Indians were more individualistic on the competitiveness dimension but more collectivist on preference for group work and supremacy of group goals than the Irish and Americans (Ramamoorthy et al., 2007). Therefore from the analysis we could say that in an Indian society there is presence of individualism in a lower rate and the reason that can be is globalization and the effect of western cultures and practices in the society.

Israel ranked 19 basis on the score of 54 out of 100 on individualism in the Hofstede study. The study and also agrees that, Israeli culture is moderately collectivistic. During the 1990's Israeli society was more social interests, collective action, and shared responsibility. The Author came up with some examples such as the kibbutz movement which has promoted equality and contribution to society and group welfare, and concern for interpersonal relationships (Kulkarni et al 2010). Moreover , the Israeli labor movement which is known as Histadrut, has institutionalized collectivistic values and emphasized social relationships (Kulkarni et al 2010). But from the article we have seen that the author could not provide any such information that reflects that Israeli society is individualistic however the only information that has a touch of reflection regarding individualism is that the Israeli's did inherit some business practices from the western culture which does not clearly mean that they are individualistic in this context of discussion). Finally the last country according to Hofstede study was not found in the article moreover the author has suggested according to some interviews and research on Bulgarian culture that that Bulgarian culture is more collectivistic than Western Europe or other Western cultures (kulkarni et al 2010).

However, previously we have analysed the article comparing the countries that has individualism and collectivism in practices due to different reason. This part of the essay reflects on the managerial practices of individualism and collectivism in business and in organisations in these five countries. Today the trade between countries has been in place in a large volume than ever before. The author considered that Indian and Bulgaria has Trade Organization and liberalization economy (Kulkarni 2010). Moreover the main reflection of the article in managerial perspective is that, today we are having more multinational companies operating in different countries of the world. These multinational companies are basically form US and Israel who has two distinct types of cultures such as individualism and collectivism which we have explained earlier in the essay. The author expresses that "the effect of such a shift has not only seen the US multi-nationals expanding operations in countries like Bulgaria and India for example Boston Consulting Group, Ford, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, KFC, and McDonalds but the reverse has also been occurring. For example, many companies like Toyota and Nissan from Japan, and Mercedes-Benz from Germany have opened manufacturing plants in the USA. There has also been an acquisition of Tetley by the Tatas from India, and a merger of Chrysler with Daimler of Germany. Similarly, many other software companies from India such as Tata Consulting Services, Wipro, and Infosys have set up operations in the United States" (Kulkarni et al 2010). Due to such kind of growth in multi-national businesses has created an effect in cultural values and managerial practices in both the individualistic society as well as in the collectivism society. Therefore the author expresses that, this kind of Transition of cultural values may have had an effect on people from different cultures being interested and open to adoption of values and attitudes from other cultures and being sensitive to the management practices of foreign cultures (Kulkarni et al 2010).

As the globalization is increasing due to more and more multinational companies, one of the major problems organisation today are facing is to shift the managerial practices of home country on the subsidiaries in foreign countries. A great barrier to such implementation of home country practices on the foreign subsidiary has been the role of the national culture itself. If cultural values are found similar in the operating country, the author suggested that the organisations can embrace the same managerial practices they have in that country. However, If they are not similar, the implementation tends to be difficult For instance, Ramamoorthy & Carroll 1998 reported that "individual-focused job design, employee selection based on ability to do the job, incentives and rewards based on individual performance, promotions based on merit and ability, and equitable reward systems are predominantly found in individualistic cultures such as the United States and Ireland" and the opposite such as, team-based job arrangements, rewards based on equality and need principles, promotions based on loyalty to the organization and hiring employees based on fit with the organizations are hallmarks of collectivistic cultures like India and Bulgaria" (Ramamoorthy & Carroll 1998).

Therefore the outcome from the author's point of view is, if companies in the USA or Ireland want to implement their management practices of rewards and incentives based on individual achievements or performance appraisal practices that evaluate an individual's performance in Bulgaria, India or Israel, it might be possible for them to do so. The author expresses that "these patterns are suggestive of the co-existence of competitiveness tendencies and sacrifice for the group. It would be too much of a generalization to suggest that individualism as a cultural pattern tends to emphasize competitiveness; and collectivism as a cultural pattern tends to emphasize cooperation" (Kulkarni et al 2010)

Finally, in this essay we came to know two most important cultural perspectives of individualism and collectivism as well as the management perspective of the practices. But from the article it can be clearly identified that United States practices individualism more than any other country that we have compared. However, on the contrary other society is changing their perspective of culture due to familiarise with the wide spread and effects of globalisation. The theory laid down by the author definitely reflects the recent cultural pattern and the prominent change that is effecting. However, the values of perspective culture still remains embedded in the collectivism society rather than the individual society.

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