According to Hofstede (2001) Culture can be defined as a way of life in a society, the belief and the way they do things, culture is not innate is learned and shared, culture is not programmed into your genetic structure, you learn most intensively in the early years of life, by age five you were already expert in using your language, you learn how to communicate different language function appropriately, how to interact with member of you family and society , your behaviour, attitude distinguish you from others in any society. This assignment is to critically discuss the concept of national culture with a particular reference in my country Nigeria.
The aim is to critically review data from any two models plus one study, which I have chosen Hofstede Model in his four dimensions and later to five dimensions, Hall in his two model of High context and low context of communication and Trompenaars that has seven dimensions and later narrow it to three dimensions.
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Culture in the view of Edward Hall (1976) came to the field of cultural analysis argued that people in the same culture interpret and create message in reference to share information, which includes value, attitude, norms in the culture, which link member of the culture group and influence how they refer to their contexts when marinating relationships, which mean experience of the context will influence how they communicate, and different culture respond to their contexts differently (Richard and Tim 2009).
Trompenaars is Dutch a anthropologist who defined culture as way in which group of people solves problems and reconciles dilemmas, who argued that culture can be individualism or collectivism which management are seriously affected particularly in the area of decision-making, negotiation even motivation (Fred and Jonathan (2009). In my country individualism is the most paramount culture in decision making in most of the organisations
This course work is divided into four parts; the introduction about national culture, the second aspect is to critically review two models and other models, reconciling any conflict data of validity, age and sampling of the models and the concepts of management style in my country and the conclusion. The third part is my experience related to two models as a manager to a typical management style in Nigeria. The final aspect is conclusion based on the two models.
National culture can be defined as a way of life in a society their thinking, feeling, belief , attitude and reacting, constitute to achievement of groups, it consists of traditional, ideas, beliefs, value, attitude, roles, behaviour which control individual response to environment Hofstede (1980). Cultures can be shared among particular people, group, society or organisation, it's about human and personality within an environment, learned not inborn and you can learn how to do certain thing in the society. From the inception of culture they are not written down but the people belief in it and practise it as their way of life.
"Culture can be seen as acquired knowledge that people use to generate their social life, culture is learned, shared cumulative in development and passed down from one generation to another, symbolic patterned and adaptive, it dictates what to do in the society" (Michael, et.al 1997). National culture varies from one nation to another, and a lot of thing constitute to cultural differences: Language, religion, climate, economic system and technology even political boundaries.
Concept of national culture in Nigeria with Hofstede model
According to Hofstede definition about culture is a "collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of the group or category of people from another (Hofstede 1991). Nigeria was formed with different groups of people as far back as Stone Age, in different location indicating the great age of these cultures (Toyin 2001) these migration and population movement development to form a collective programming of mind which distinguishes Nigerian culture from other culture.
Hofstede first research was on a particular organisation (IBM) which shared the same corporate culture, policy and same kind of work, likewise Nigeria as nation share the same culture, policy, political ideology, business investment, values and ideas etc. For example Nigerians operate most power distance and individualism i.e. the power belongs to some certain set of people and these set of people believes in themselves. So that the power will be rotating within their families or groups, the generation of people in government still remain the same till date. This contribute to why many things has not change in Nigeria since independent, i.e. same culture, policy, people and their ideology still remain the same. They hold on to power and use the power in their favour all the either the nation like it or not they have the absolute control of everything because they are control of the all nation resources, this is why it's possible for a single family that belong to power cycle can feed the all whole nation. Presently the power is tend to shift in term of feminists and masculinity but those who are able to make are still within the same power cycle and few of such is possible.
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Data review of Hofstede, Schwartz and Trompenaars
Hofstede initial data were gathered from two questionnaire surveys with over 116,000 people respondents from over 70 different countries around the world making it the largest organisational based study ever conducted. The individuals in these studies all worked in the local subsidiaries of IBM as the research was focused on just one company, hence employees of a specific corporation like IBM cannot serve as a sample for discovering the culture of a country as a whole and this cannot form representative from national population. IBM employees are a narrow sample and age of the data is too long with the present change of culture with technology advancement, the survey is only one method which is questionnaire, which cannot be an appropriate unit of analysis, there are many replication of the data and his four dimension cannot always expressed the nature of national culture. These doubt the validity and reliability of the data because it was taken in one location of each country in the same company IBM and by carefully selected employee.
Schwartz culture-level dimension has surveyed value preferences of about 60,000 individuals in 63 countries, many countries provided two samples, secondary school teachers and students separate individual-level and country level data analyses were conducted. The 7 country level value orientations he identified the appropriate ones to use in the present, culture-level study (Tim & Edward 2009)
Having first established that 45 values have similar meaning across the cultures sampled used multidimensional scaling of the country means for these values to validate these 7 value type and identify national differences. He summarised 7 country-level types to 3 dimensions. The assumption of the national group as an appropriate unit of analysis is unreliable two samples cannot form the whole culture of a nation. The research was conducted within teachers and student which does not form the overall population in a country, the sampling is small survey and the validity is not realistic. The survey was also expressed in a particular national culture like Hofstede (Tim & Edward 2009)
Trompenaars also surveyed more than 11,000 organisation employees in 46 multidimensional scaling to identify two reliable country-level dimensions within the Trompenaars.
Egalitarian commitment vs. conservatism, those favouring egalitarian commitment endorse abstract principles of what is right and just believe that jobs should be filled on the basis of impersonal criteria such as qualification. Those favouring conservatism prefer their immediate circle to outsides. This includes values such as loyalty to one's boss and job appointment based on connection or family relationship. The second dimension was defined as utilitarian involvement vs. loyal involvement. This contrast involvement in the organisation that is contingent on meeting one's individual goals with involvement is based on a long-lasting identification with the organisations' goals as one's own. These two dimensions incorporated several that proved closely correlated with one another form among the larger number of dimension. (Marie & Roger (2008)
Trompenaars data are based on quantitative with excess of participants of which larger percent belong to the management and 25 percent to general administration which cannot give predictive value of the data.
Secondly questionnaire data is not valid to all culture especially in a country like Nigeria where you cannot guarantee accurate data in questionnaire because of bias and prejudice.
Concept of management style in Nigeria in relation to Hofstede Dimensions
Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members of institution or an organisation accept that power is distributed unequally. Nigeria is High power distance in which people blindly obey the orders of their superiors. The effect of this dimension can be measured in a numbers way in high power distance countries power tend to be centralised and have tall organisation structures. Organisation in high power distance countries will have a large proportion of supervisory personnel and the people at the low level of the structure often will have low job qualification. This later structure encourages and promotes inequality between people at different levels and low productivity which is affecting my country Nigeria that why Nigeria still remain under developing nation.
Uncertainty avoidance: is the extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations and have created belief and institutions that try to avoid these. Nigeria is populated with people who do not like uncertainty tend to have a high need for security and a strong belief in experts and their knowledge, the effect of this dimension can be measure in a number of ways high uncertainty avoidance cultures have a great deal of structuring of organisational activities more written rules, less risk taking by manager, lower labour turn over and less ambitious employees, Nigerian organisations do not encourages personnel to use their own initiative and assume responsibility for their actions.
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Individualism: Nigeria organisation has the tendency of looking after them and their immediate family, the effect of individualism tend to have greater support for the protestant work ethic, greater individual initiative and promotions based on market value.
Masculinity is a situation in which the dominant values in society are successful, money and things countries with high masculinity such as Nigerian place great importance on earnings, recognitions, advancement and challenge, individual are encourage to be independent decision makers and achievement in terms of recognition and wealth, the work place is characterized by high job stress, the school system is geared toward encouraging high performance young men expect to have careers, few women hold higher level job although this is changing in some aspect Nigeria but such women still belong to families of people in high places within the government cycle.
Trompenaars Dimension: Universalism - Particularism: In Nigeria good and true supposed to be applied universally, but belief that unique circumstances determine what is good and right.
Individualism and collectivism: Nigerian supposed to benefit collectively but the benefit of the Nation is individualism.
Neutral - affective: Nigerian is neutral in nature emotion is check or held while affective is natural.
Specific diffuse: In Nigeria Managers separate their task responsibility from subordinate and all other responsibilities influence others.
Achievement - ascription: Nigerian recognises people based on their achievement while other culture is known on the basis of their age, gender, family background.
Time: Nigerian managers are more sequential about the past event, present and the future, while some cultures try to live entirely in the present.
Environment: Nigerian manager beliefs that they are primary influence of their lives.
Schwartz Dimensions: All the Schwartz dimensions have been highlighted in the first two dimensions above which also explained the concept in my country.
Conclusively with the Hofstede four dimensions Nigerian culture is more related to high power distance in nature, mostly people tends to be autocratic and bureaucratic, individualism and self-centred, high uncertainty avoidance managers are not ready to take any risk for organisation. Masculinity is the nature of Nigerian and very few women are active in political and professional arena, women rarely make it into higher level of management. Although, they allow playing significant role in rural area, men are dominant over women in virtually all areas (Toyin 2001).
Moreover nations differ on myriad factor including economic development, ecology, political institutions history, institutional environment and demography, organisational contexts, individual characteristic including values motivation and perception of the Management (Smith, Peterson &Thomas 2008)
2. Management model and Cultural Model
Management take a broad view that encompass all functional areas of directing, formulating planning, organising and controlling in active or proactive way to achieve the organisation objective. For the management to achieve the organisation objectives there must be efficient and effectiveness of the employees. There are different models of management, but I will limit my model to two in this assignment which are Autocratic (dictatorship) and Democratic (participative). According to Hofstede (1980 2001) four dimensions later to five dimensions namely: Power distance, Collectivism/individualism, uncertainty/avoidance, and Masculinity/Feminism. Power distance refer to the degree of interpersonal influence and control one individual exerts over another individual to direct and control the behaviour and the extent to which people tolerate power inequalities, the power distance among individual within a culture is often manifest in the socio-political structure. (Manson and Myers 2009) High power distance is our culture in my country (Nigeria) which is hierarchical socio-political, resulting in top down communication. Similarly Individualism culture is widely practice in Nigeria which weak interpersonal connection between the top management and the employee, uncertainty avoidance is when management are avoiding risk, which is also common practice in Nigeria, the managers are not ready to take any risk in business, they are uncertain of the future and they are less open to change. Nigeria management model is autocratic (dictatorship) which belief that employee cannot contribute to the decision-making, they dictate without consulting the employee and the decision must be established
High context and low context culture, Nigeria is low context in business get down to business first value the performance reach agreement by specific, legalistic contract and like to conduct negotiations as efficiently as possible while other culture like US which is high context establish social trust first, value personal relations and goodwill make agreement on the basis of general trust and like to conduct slow and ritualistic negotiation in business transactions. (Rodrigues 2009)
Long term orientation is the fifth dimension of Hofstede which talked about preparing for the future, in most developing countries like Nigeria they belief in immediate gain project not waiting for the future and long span of the project, for example in Nigeria if one government starts a project and left without completion either good or bad instead of the new government to continue where he stopped the new government will abandoned the project and start new one which is time consuming and wasting of resources.
Trompenaars dimensions (1998): Universalism - Particularism: Universalism means good and true applied universally, Particularism is a belief that unique circumstance determines what is right and good. In Nigeria Particularism is our practice which the situation determine the relationship of obligation a manager failed to report for an appointment because his wife is sick and he can be excused (Richard and Tim 2009)
I was working as a retail marketer in one of the banks in Nigeria my job description is to bring large of money into the bank as a deposit my CEO Francis Atuche will tell all the marketer of the bank that I quote "just go out there and bring the money whichever way you get I careless about it just bring the money" and the level of communication is top to down and is one way communication which is not effective, according (Northhaft 2010) said communication management coordinates organisation performance by planning, organising, controlling also institutionalize certain concern in the organisation and the employee, organisation without effective communication will be in shambles my CEO is less concern about the employee, because is a dictatorship all he wants was result and the line of communication is top down to the bottom the subordinate are not participating in any decision made. Lack of effective communication with the top management destroy the morale of the employee, I was not empowered to develop my ability, which (Hamrefors 2010) talked about effective communication develops certain knowledge and skills in an organisation, give time to change from traditional communication activities and build communication ability to develop it total communicative effectiveness (Hall 1976) which also describes high -context and low context, people on high - context cultures rely on non-verbal communication more than on verbal or written communication, Nigerian is high - context communication do not speak openly, but they expect to be understood, less detail in terms of instructions, job descriptions and responsibilities are implicit, even the method of recruitment, selection, pay and firing are not explicit nor appraise process. The day I was sacked there was email which is explicit to the effect and the message was my performance was not good enough hence my service will no longer be required. Unlike US which has a low context country because the messages conveyed generally in business in particular are usually clear and explicit (Browaeys and Price 2008)
Another experience is motivation. According to Maslow theory of motivation is an internal state that causes people to behave in a particular way to accomplish goals and purposes of the organisation, people are motivated to behave in ways that will satisfy their needs. I was working as a Secretary in one private Oil companies in Nigeria, where I was not receiving wages for three month because of low turnover in the company which is contrary to Maslow theory of hierarchy of motivation which are physiological needs such as basic need of life, safety needs love needs, esteem needs then self-actualisation/achievement, in most Nigeria businesses there is no motivation. (Denhardt, Denhardt & Aristigueta 2009) said motivation is critically important in achieving organisation success, it create a positive working relationship with the boss, lot of freedom on the job, serving the customer and make the organisation a better place to live. By not paying my salary for three month has negate the theory of Maslow in meeting their needs to serve the organisation better. Maslow theories are physiological needs: basic needs of life food, shelter air and water then to safety needs when basic is met, then to safety that is security and freedom from danger, love needs once the physiological and safety is met then love, sense of belonging and social need will emerge and esteem needs such as recognition and attention from others that support positive esteem and a positive self-image finally after all these four then self-actualization is the highest level needs.
The management style in my country Nigeria is autocratic where management is rigid, decision are taken without involving the subordinate and expects strict compliance, this affect the morale although tasks would be accomplished but not with right mind and attitude, employees are neglected, communication is mainly downward from top to the subordinate, autocratic management seems to achieve his objectives but the employees are not motivated because most Nigeria Manager are not proactive.
Avoid risk taken is another cultural model in most developing countries like Nigeria, which Hofstede called uncertainty avoidance, this differentiate the developing Nations from Western countries and put their development at risk.