Conflict of Power Distance & Individualism

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Conflict of Power Distance & Individualism

between American expatriate - Vietnamese employees

TABLE OF CONTENT

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………....................................3

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANT……………...………………………………………………….4

LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………………...5

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD/ METHODOLOGY............................7

  1. Sampling design……………………………………………………………7
  2. Research design…………………………………………………………….8
  3. Data analysis methods……………………………………………………...8

INSTRUMENTS…………………………………………………………………..9

DATA ANALYSIS………………………………………………………………10

LIMITATIONS………………………………………………………………….12

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION………………………………….............13

REFERENCE……………………………………………………………………14

APPENDIX

INTRODUCTION

Due to extremely fierce competition between American companies, these companies try to survive by cost-reduction strategy. Thus, companies that pursue cost-reduction strategy want to reduce costs by offshoring noncore departments overseas such as Vietnam. However, these American companies are not aware of the culture differences in developing countries that can lead to expatriate failure. According to Mendenhall and Oddou report in 1985, American expatriate failure rate is about 25 to 40 percent in period 1965-1985 (Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985). Later on, few American companies started recognizing culture conflicts in these developing countries and had reactions. Therefore, in 1988, Tung’s research reported that American failure is vary from above 10 to 40 percent, since still not every companies recognized (Tung, 1988). Valuing the important role of culture differences, this research examines the differences in individualism-collectivism, and power distance between American expatriates and Vietnamese employees. To have a better understanding about the different culture and its impacts on the success or failure of a country in penetrating a new market, during the November of 2013, we have carried out a survey and collected information from a small group of Vietnamese students currently studying at Troy University, United States. This survey is a basis for us to explain the different culture between Vietnamese and American students.

Every year, offshoring companies must spend millions of dollars to build up overseas departments as well as costs to train and send expatriates and their families overseas. It provides expatriates, especially American expatriates, who will be sent to Vietnam, a better view about Vietnamese business protocols and leadership expectations. Thus, the successful probability of these American will increase, and offshoring companies can enjoy profits from offshoring plans.

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANT

Nowadays, due to the saturated of America market, the competition between American companies have become extremely conflicting. Most companies try to provide the most favorable prices to attract customers, so cost-cutting become survival strategy. These American companies try to offshore the noncore departments to emerging markets, such as Vietnam and China. Because the labor cost in Vietnam is cheaper than China, so some American companies such as Nike Company, recognize the potential benefits in Vietnam and offshore to this country. In order to train Vietnamese employees to perform the tasks, these companies sent expatriates. However, some American companies do not recognize Vietnamese culture is conflict with American culture. Culture is one of the main element that impact business protocols and leadership expectation. Therefore, many times, culture confliction leads to failure of expatriates that cause the offshoring companies sufficient lost. This research provides a source of reference that help expatriates from developed countries, who will be delegated to developing countries a view of how collectivism and high power distance countries’ business protocol. Therefore, expatriates can understand and have preparation to adapt to developing countries’ environments quicker and easier.

Specifically, this research will examine individualism of American and collectivism of Vietnamese. Americans support individualism, which means each individual is acting on his or her own, making their own choices and to the extent they interact with the rest of his group. In contrast, Vietnamese support collectivism, which means strongly orientated around family and community. Because of the Confucian roots, Vietnamese family and community comes before oneself, so they value the collectivism as a whole rather than the individual. Bringing pride to one family is the very important goal. The research also examines about the power distance of this two countries. Vietnam has high power distance, which means Vietnamese accept the unequal distribution of power, obey the order, and valuing hierarch, senior; while America is low power distance, which means the distribution of power is pretty equal, people can speak up what they think. (Ahlstrom, 2010).

LITERATURE REVIEW

Culture is commonly defined as “a set of shared values and beliefs that characterize national, ethnic, moral and other group behavior” (Faure and Sjostedt 1993; Craig and Douglas 2006; Adapa 2008). Different cultures can generate distinct negotiation styles and perception (Van, 2009; Gulbro and Herbig, 1994). When working in the global commercial environment, knowledge of the impact of cultural differences is one of the keys to international business success. Therefore, improving levels of culture awareness can help companies build international competencies and enable individuals become sensitive.

One of the biggest elements that leads to the failure of American expatriate in Vietnam is the conflict in leadership style. Since Vietnam is high power distance country, our traditional leadership style is Paternalism leadership. In this leadership type, leaders are viewed as “fathers” (Northhouse, 2013). Leaders are more willing to tolerate mistakes, emphasize harmonious, social relationship, and taking care of employees not only in workplace but also in private-life (Cheng, Chou, Wu, Huang, and Farh, 2004). In exchange, employees just obey the order of leaders. Employees do not have any discussion or question in leader’s decisions and orders. Asking employees to involve in decision-making is considered as leaders’ weakness. American leadership is reversed. Because America is low power distance country, American managers are more supporting and delegating employees. Each employee will have the right to make decisions that relate to the employee’s tasks as well as responses for it. Employees value being empowered, respected, fair treatment, and trusted. It will be demotivating if employees could not participate in companies’ decision-making and receive close social relationship in work experience, (Raymond Loi, 2012). Thus, if the American expatriate adopts American leadership in Vietnam, it might lead to failure.

Second conflict element is difference in communication. Since American managers come from low power distance and individualism country, they are more opening for having conversations. They also make mistakes by assuming that each employee knows what to do, understand the purpose of employee tasks, and ask if that employee have questions. However, Vietnamese employees are familiar with obeying orders. They just do what they have told without questioning or discuss, so many times, they do not understand the purpose behind the orders. They do not dare to question or discuss about their managers’ orders because are afraid the managers would think that employees may want to lead or unrespect the managers (Kirkman, 2009). They want to avoid getting punishment. Therefore, American managers should ensure that employees really understand the purpose of the order in order to limit mistakes. For example, new manager worked in a company. He asked an employee whether or not the bus station would be in front of the company. The employee just answered no, but he did not tell his manager that there were just short-walks from the company to the bus station (Ahlstrom D. &., 2010). Imaging that, not understanding the purpose of the leaders’ orders may lead to the failure of the tasks and in the worse scenario it might lead to sufficient losses.

Vietnamese employees do not have high motivation to perform their best because Brett (2000) reported that normative behavior of people with low status in a high power distance culture is to minimize challenges to high-status members. Thus, there is no discussion between managers and employees. “Subordinates in high power distance countries are typically more reluctant to challenge their supervisors and more fearful of expressing disagreement with their managers” (Sage references). Employees just simply listen and do the assigned tasks from the managers, and sometimes even cannot understand the purpose of the tasks. In addition, managers’ decision making sometimes is affected by the emotional, or depends on their close relationship. That describes how the employees have low motivation. Different from that, in low power distance countries, each employee perform and response for their task by oneself. Managers just give motivation based on individual performance. Managers open the pay raise, and promotion fairly for every employee. Thus, employees have high motivation and try to perform as their best.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD/ METHODOLOGY

1. Sampling design

The target population of this research is all Vietnamese students currently studying abroad. Then we choose a sampling frame, which is students who study at Troy University. It means that students who study at other colleges will be excluded from the sample. The sample size of this study is 30 current Vietnamese students studying at Troy University, Alabama. Samples are chosen randomly, from the Vietnamese students we know in Vietnamese community at Troy University.

2. Research design

To collect the data, we use survey methodology – a technique that involves verbal/written communication and seems to be the most effective to collect the data. We will print out the survey questions, then directly give them to students.

This survey content is designed in a nice format and easy to understand. The survey includes 8 questions presented in one page divided into 2 parts. The first part is the questions about power distance (PD). The second part is the one about individualism (IND). In the survey, the Likert scale (from one to five), with ranging from “1 = of utmost importance” to “5 = of very little or no importance” was used for all of the questions. This is really convenient for respondents to reveal their answers. All the questions in this survey may require no longer than 5 minutes for participants to complete. All these answers will be collected immediately after the students finish.

3. Data analysis methods

In order to examine the survey objectives and describe its characteristics we conduct several statistics to analyze the collected data. To have a better understanding of each research variable and its characteristic, descriptive statistical analysis is used to illustrate the mean, proportion, standard deviation and confident interval for the means and proportion of each research variable. From the responses received, we continue to summarize and use Histogram to represent the collected data.

INSTRUMENTS

Survey

Please give the score for each question:

1 = of utmost importance

2= very importance

3= of moderate importance

4= of little importance

5= of very little or no importance

APPENDIX J. HOFSTEDE DIMENSIONS BY QUESTION

Power Distance (PD)

Q3: Have a good working relationship with your direct supervisor

Q6: Be consulted by your direct superior in his/her decisions

Q14: How frequently, in your experience, are subordinates afraid to express disagreement with their superiors?

Q17: An organization structure in which certain subordinates have two bosses should be avoided at all costs.

Individualism (IND)

Q1: Have sufficient time for your personal or family life

Q2: Have good physical working conditions (good ventilation & lighting, adequate work space, etc.)

Q4: Have security of employment

Q8: Have an element of variety and adventure in the job

DATA ANALYSIS

Descriptive Statistics

N

Range

Minimum

Maximum

Sum

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

Skewness

Kurtosis

Statistic

Statistic

Statistic

Statistic

Statistic

Statistic

Std. Error

Statistic

Statistic

Statistic

Std. Error

Statistic

Std. Error

PD_Q3

30

3

1

4

51

1.70

.119

.651

.424

1.188

.427

3.919

.833

PD_Q6

30

4

1

5

58

1.93

.185

1.015

1.030

1.201

.427

1.552

.833

PD_Q14

30

3

1

4

58

1.93

.172

.944

.892

.666

.427

-.492

.833

PD_Q17

30

4

1

5

86

2.87

.142

.776

.602

.242

.427

1.546

.833

IND_Q1

30

4

1

5

49

1.63

.169

.928

.861

1.940

.427

4.780

.833

IND_Q2

30

3

1

4

54

1.80

.147

.805

.648

.815

.427

.363

.833

IND_Q4

30

3

1

4

64

2.13

.184

1.008

1.016

.149

.427

-1.339

.833

IND_Q8

30

3

1

4

71

2.37

.189

1.033

1.068

.183

.427

-1.050

.833

Valid N (listwise)

30

FIGURE 1

FIGURE 2

Figure 1 shows the summary of individualism-collectivism and power distance from the Hofstede Center. Comparation between Vietnamese students studying abroad and Vietnamese students, we can easily see the differences through the results of the survey. The figure from the Hofstede website shows that Vietnam has high scores on power distance dimension (score of 70) and low scores in individualism (score of 20). However, according to the survey, Vietnamese students are extremely low in power distance (-20.83) and very high in individualism (85.83). There are many reasons that explain for this contrast. Firstly, the data from the Hofstede Center is outdated compare with our recent survey. Secondly, our survey sample is limited only students at Troy, while Hofstede Center is wide spread to whole nation. Last but not least, all of the sampling units are studying in America for more than a year, so they already got impact from American culture.

LIMITATION

The survey is conducted within a small sample size (30 Vietnamese students) and received 30 responses of students currently studying at Troy University in Alabama, United States. Therefore, this study may not reflect exactly results of the target population. Another limitation of this study is the unwillingness of respondents to answer the questions. It maybe some students think this survey is not necessary or important for them or they do not have enough time to fill in the survey.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION

Every year, there are a great percentage of expatriate have failures that causes sufficient lost for offshoring companies. Therefore, it is important to train and prepare for expatriate to be able to adapt in the new environment. Conflict of Power Distance & Individualism between American expatriate - Vietnamese employees is a useful reference for expatriate, who will be sent to work in high power distance and high collectivism culture. Through the survey from Vietnamese student studying at Troy University, we can understand about different culture between Vietnamese and American students, which help us to know the impacts on the success and failure of a country in penetrating new market.

There is no doubt that American is the most powerful country, also their language- English, is the standard to use and to be learnt by all the countries to communicate. There are lots of available information about American can be found in all types of media as well as books, papers, … throughout the world. Therefore, it’s easier for the other countries to find information and understand American culture. In Vietnam, children have chance to learn English at school from the young age, that’s the way how Vietnamese students approach to American culture. In contrast, it is hard for American to look for information about others country due to difficulties in the available sources, which is most displayed in the country’s own language. Their media do not display other countries news, and American is not train to learn about other countries such as foreign langue from early age. That explains why Americans do not familiar with other countries and less open with other culture and Vietnamese can adapt better than American even both countries get culture-sock.

REFERENCES

Ahlstrom, D. (2010). International Management Strategy and Culture in the Emerging World. South-Western Cengage Learning.

Northhouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership Theory and Practice. Sage.

Cheng, B.S., Chou, L.F., Wu, T.Y., Huang, M.P., and Farh, J.L. (2004). Paternalistic Leadership and Subordinate Response: Establishing a Leadership Model in Chinese Organizations. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 7, 89–117

Loi, R., Lam, L. W., & Chan, K. W. (2012). Coping with job insecurity: The role of procedural justice, ethical leadership and power distance orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, 108(3), 361-372. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-1095-3

Kirkman, B. L., Chen, G., Farh, J., Chen, Z. X., & Lowe, K. B. (2009). Individual power distance orientation and follower reactions to transformational leaders: a cross-cultural examination. Academy of Management Journal, 52(4), 744. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199815819?accountid=38769

Tung,R.L. (1988). The New Expatriates: Managing Human Resources Abroad. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger

Mendenhall, M. and Oddou, G. (1988). The Overseas Assignment: A Practical Look. Business Horizons, 78-84

Faure, G. O. & Sjostedt, G. (1993). Culture and negotiation: An introduction, Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Van, D. T. T. (2009). A comparative study of Vietnamese and American customers' behavior in negotiation style and implications for global pricing strategy, Journal of Global Business Issues, 3(2), 25-33

The Hofstede Centre. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://geert-hofstede.com/vietnam.html

APPENDIX A: INPUT

Sample size

Power Distance

Individualism

Have a good working relationship with your direct superior

Be consulted by your direct superior in his/her decision

How frequently, in yourexperience, are subordinates afraid to express disagreement with their superior?

An organization structure in which certain subordinates have two bosses should be avoided at all costs.

Have suffcient time for your personal or family time

Have good physical working condition

Have security of employment

Have an element of variety and adventure in the job

1

2

2

2

3

1

3

2

2

2

1

1

2

2

3

1

2

2

3

2

3

1

2

1

1

3

2

4

2

1

2

3

1

2

3

1

5

2

1

2

3

1

2

3

2

6

1

1

1

3

2

1

1

2

7

2

1

2

1

2

1

1

2

8

2

2

1

3

2

2

1

1

9

1

1

3

2

1

3

2

4

10

2

1

1

3

1

2

3

1

11

1

2

1

2

2

3

1

3

12

2

2

1

3

2

1

3

4

13

2

1

1

3

2

2

1

4

14

1

1

2

2

1

2

1

3

15

1

2

1

3

2

2

3

3

16

2

2

1

3

1

2

3

4

17

2

2

3

3

1

2

3

4

18

2

1

1

3

1

2

3

1

19

1

2

1

2

2

1

3

2

20

2

2

2

4

1

1

4

2

21

2

1

2

2

2

1

3

1

22

2

3

3

3

1

2

2

3

23

4

4

4

3

5

4

4

3

24

1

5

3

5

3

1

2

3

25

2

3

4

3

1

1

1

2

26

2

2

1

3

1

2

2

3

27

2

3

2

4

1

2

1

3

28

1

1

3

4

3

3

1

1

29

1

3

3

3

1

1

1

1

30

1

2

2

3

1

1

1

2

1

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.