Comparison Of National Cultural Models Commerce Essay


Culture is a global phenomena, no society has ever and will never exist in this universe without a culture. Culture is derived from economic, legal, political, social and religious norms, values and traditions of the civilization. Culture is the obtain information that people use to understand knowledge and to produce social performance; culture is communal by members of a group, association or civilization. (Hodgetts, 1995). Culture shapes the behavior of individual act accordingly in different situation face by the individuals in all spheres of life. (cotgrove, 1978) stated that culture is the shared values, traditions and norms of a social system which are the most important aspect of the society. National culture distinguishes the similar type of people, organization and countries in the world. The concept of national culture is the idea that the people of a nation have a distinctive and enduring pattern of behavior and personality characteristics. In this work I mainly focused to the national culture of Pakistan, there education, values beliefs, religious and history as well. Additionally national culture analysis is done with the help of two popular models which are explained in following work. The theories of national culture that have gained importance above the last little decades have determined regularly on the learning of civilizing morals (Jackson, 1995). These include those of (Hall, Hofstede 1991) and more recently (Trompenaars 1993). Modern 1999 identify three categories of culture models:

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Single Dimension Model

Multi Dimension modes

Historical-social Models

i have take two of the models from above given the model both are multi dimensions Hofstede and trompenaars and hampden turner. Hofstede model explain national culture and based on four dimensions to differentiate among national cultures

Individualism versus collectivism

Large versus Small power Distance

Strong versus weak uncertainty avoidance

Masculinity versus femininity

Hofstede later added a fifth dimension:

5. Long versus short term orientation

Figure I: Geert Hofstede's - Cultural Dimensions of Pakistan


Figure 1 shows that in Pakistan national culture is having a high level of power distance, this can also witnessed through existence of different social classes in Pakistan society. There is much unequal wealth in Pakistan. Different type of lifestyle, education, medical, residential, facilities is enjoyed by different classes in the society. There is low level of individualism an high level of collectivism because people are generally recognized on the basis of their social class, religion and especially cast in Pakistan. High level of masculinity prevails in the society and also higher level of uncertainty avoidance. Finally culture of Pakistan contains short- orientation which can also be seen in hoc type of policies implemented by the government of Pakistan. There is also a lack of long term orientation and planning in Pakistan, which has resulted in sugar crisis, flour crisis, water crises, and gas crises and so on. The government arranges the rental power projects in one of the example of short-term orientation in Pakistan.

Trompenaars and Turner's cultural model

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner also devised a model based on the Onion model of culture. Instead of five dimensions as in Hofstede's model the Trompenaars and Turner used seven dimensions for their model. "Their form expands the center level of the very basic two-layered form, rather than the external level. In their vision, culture is made up of essential statement at the center level. These necessary assumptions are rather comparable to principles in the Hofstede form." The seven magnitudes are, (Ball,1985)

1. Universalism vs. Particularism

2. Individualism vs. Communitarianism:

3. Neutral vs. Emotional

4. Specific vs. Diffuse

5. Achievement vs. Ascription

6. Attitude to Time

7. Internal vs. External orientation

Analysis of Hofstede's cultural model

Hofstede's model bears a notion of "national culture". In order to understand his model it is important to understand his notion of national culture. Myers & Tan (n.d.) describe his notion as stated below,

"Hofstede defines national culture as "the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another" (Hofstede, 1991, p. 5). He suggests that people share a collective national character that represents their cultural mental programming. This mental programming shapes values, beliefs, assumptions, expectations, perceptions and behavior. We believe it is important to understand how Hofstede developed his particular model of national culture. Hofstede arrived at his conclusions about the importance of national culture without conducting any empirical research himself. Rather, the data he used had already been collected by IBM as part of two worldwide rounds of employee attitude surveys. (Hofstede et al., 1990, p. 287).

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We can see, therefore, that Hofstede did not study national culture directly, nor was the data collected with this in mind. Rather, as Tayeb (1994) points out, "culture was used as an explanation after the findings revealed interesting patterns. In other words, the study was not planned in advance as an investigation into effects of culture on organizations and their members." As comparisons across countries are controlled by matching respondents on age, gender, education, and percentage of the respondents who hold positions in higher management, it is assumed that systematic and stable differences between respondents from different countries can only be explained by the culture of the country (Huo & Randall, 1991). "Many researchers have critiqued Hofstede's model. An excerpt from Myers & Tan (n.d.) is quoted below, "A fundamental assumption of Hofstede's work is that there is such a thing as "national culture." The unit of analysis is deemed to be the nation-state, and each nation is assumed to have its own culture. It is argued that the VSM permits the culture of each country to be summarized across a limited number of dimensions. We suggest, however, that the fundamental assumption upon which Hofstede's work is based in questionable. Some of the problems with using "national culture" are as follows. First, the nation-state is a relatively recent phenomenon - it did not exist for the greater part of human history. (Encyclopaedia Britannica DVD, 2000). In fact, it is only in the last 100 years that most nation-states have been formed. Thus, there appears to be a mismatch between the nation-state (which is a recent phenomenon) and culture (which in some cases has existed for thousands of years, e.g., Confucianism). Second, the nation-state has continued to change in its form and makeup. For example, a host of new nation-states have been formed in recent years, such as those that were formed as a result of the break up of the Soviet Union after the Cold War, or those that we formed as a result of the Balkan wars. Also, many older nation-states have experienced dramatic changes in their population and ethnic composition. For example, many European nations now have significant numbers of immigrants from Asia. Thus, not only have the physical boundaries of many nation-states changed in recent years, but so has the ethnic and racial mix within them.

Fourth, Hofstede's view of culture - that culture is something which identifies and differentiates one collection or group of people from a further - is not a view that finds much support in the contemporary anthropological research literature. As Billing says, the view of culture expressed by the new cultural determinists such as Hofstede "tends to be the static, synchronic version beyond which anthropology has largely progressed" (Billig, 1994, p.659).

(Avison & Myers 1997) point out that the particular view of culture represented by Hofstede - which happens to be the predominant view of the culture in the IS research literature-is not significantly different from Ruth Benedict's formulation of the culture concept in her book "Patterns of Culture" published in 1934. Carrithers, in summarizing Benedict's view, says that Benedict thought of the human world as composed of separate, distinguishable entities. Each culture was thought to be a 'natural kind, just as entities of the physical world - kinds of plants, kinds of animals, kind of minerals - are natural kinds. Benedict's imagery was "something like that of exhibits in a museum, where one finds an array of distinct, separate, integral objects, each unique and yet each sharing some essential attribute with the others" (Carrithers, 1992, p. 17). However, in the intervening sixty years anthropologists have largely rejected the idea of culture as having hard and fast boundaries. Although there is much disagreement and there is a range of perspectives that operate concurrently, anthropology as a discipline has long since moved on from Benedict's museum-like view of culture (Avison & Myers, 1997). Contemporary anthropologists have moved away from a static view of culture to one where "culture is contested, temporal and emergent" (Kahn, 1989, p.13). Culture is seen as something that is interpreted and re-interpreted, and constantly produced and reproduced in social relations. Fifth, an increasing number of researchers have found that the relationship between "national" cultural values and culturally-influenced work-related values and attitudes is extremely complex and not well explained by Hofstede's model. Tayeb (1994) conducted an in-depth study of the societal culture and work organization in three "collectivist" nations, Japan, India and Iran. He found that people in India and Iran do not behave as Hofstede's model would lead one to expect.

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These societies are characterized by, among others, a strong sense of the group and the community. A typical Japanese, Indian or Iranian person is extremely faithful to his or her possesses collection or side, and places the attention of the collection before his or her possess welfare. On the face of it, one would anticipate to see this characteristic-collectivism-to have been carried over into their work organizations, in the form of, for instance, hard work and a high degree of commitment, dedication and emotional attachment to the company. However, a closer examination of societal cultures, employees' attitudes and values, and the management structure of work organizations in these countries (Tayeb 1979, 1988, 1990) reveal that it is only in Japan where the collectivism of Japanese culture has been carried over into its companies. The Iranians and Indians as employees are as detached from their work organizations and have as individualistic a relationship with their work places as any individualistic nation. There are, of course, several cultural and non-cultural reasons for this, but the reasons will reveal themselves only through a careful and detailed study of these nations and their organizations (Tayeb, 1994).

The authors suggest their results indicate that the relationship between culture and behavior strength be additional complex than investigate to date suggest (Winch et al., 1997). Harvey, who compared the designs of geographic information systems (GIS) in a German and a US county in order to evaluate Hofstede's cultural dimensions, found that "Hofstede's dimensions of national culture are a good basis for understanding the influence of national culture on organizations' self-representation, but miss the actual practice of social activities." He recommended an ethnographic based reconsideration of Hofstede's framework with "an emphasis on negotiations and the web of relationships between cultures, institutions, and disciplines in practice (Harvey, 1997, p. 145). Lastly, Yeh and (Lawrence 1995) found that the simple model presented by Hofstede and associates did not allow for an understanding of the complex interrelationships that link culture and economic growth. In their review of studies looking at the relationship between economic growth and Confucianism, they concluded that "the findings from these studies do not greatly enhance our understanding of the relationship between culture and economic growth and may actually mislead us."

Analysis of Trompenaars and Turner's cultural model

Trompenaars and Turner's attempted to define culture using seven dimensions.

("Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner 1997) classified cultures along a mix of behavioral and value patterns. Their research focuses on the cultural dimensions of business executives.

In their book "Riding the Waves of Culture" (1997), Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner identify seven value orientations. Some of these value orientations can be regarded as nearly identical to Hofstede's dimensions. Others offer a somewhat different perspective.

The seven value dimensions identified were:

1. Universalism versus Particularism.

2. Communitarianism versus individualism.

3. Neutral versus emotional.

4. Defuse versus specific cultures.

5. Achievement versus ascription.

6. Human-Time relationship and.

7. Human Nature relationship

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner's other dimensions seem to focus more on some resulting effects of underlying value dimensions. For example, their neutral/emotional dimension describes the extent to which feelings are openly expressed, i.e. a behavioral aspect rather than a value in itself.

Human-Time relationship is closely related, if not identical, to Hall's polychromic and monochromic time perceptions. The Human-Nature relationship appears to be closely related to the Human-Nature relationship in (Strodbeck & Kluckhohn's 1969) Value Orientations." (Intercultural Research Chairt, n.d.)



While I was working at AL-ABID textiles in Pakistan in the capacity of Production manager I came across a very serious and sensitive issue pertaining to racism and ethnicity. The unskilled labor is all Pashto speaking, whereas skilled force mainly comprises people who migrated to Pakistan after the fall of Dacca in 1971. The two communities had a tense relationship and to carry them together was an arduous task for the management. Due to law an order disturbance because of clashes between two communities the absence rate was alarmingly high and quiet often managers had to operate the machinery themselves. As a result the production schedules were disturbed and we were not able to meet our commitments.


The management followed Particularism approach because despite all rules and regulation the two communities were becoming more and more hostile in their behaviors. The management decided to deal with the issue in a very authoritarian style that suited the culture and traditions of Pakistan. Who so ever was found guilty was dealt with very strictly by the management and many workers were terminated with immediate effect. That high handed attitude was the need of the hour because the workers had the fear of losing their jobs and that put them right. The firing out policy helped the matters and the workers refrained themselves from clashing on ethnical or any other issues in future. From that time onwards the workers are focused on their job responsibilities.


I joined Ahmed Food Industries as manager operations. When I joined them the organization was running very effectively under the leadership of Zameeruddin Ahmed in a very centralized manner. He was the one and only authority. From production and fiancé to selling and marketing his word has taken as law. But when Zameeruddin Ahmed was past away, the slump in their business started. His sons (Zafar and Zia) took charge but they were behind their father in business and administrative skills. Their father had resisted the pressure of the worker and never allowed a labor union in Ahmed Foods. But his sons could not with stand the pressure of the workers and succumbed to their demands. For the first time since its inception a labor union formed in Ahmed Foods. From that point onwards the management became weaker and employees gained power.


The labor union got power to the extent that situation was beyond the control of the management. Strikes, absences, clashes and unreasonable demands from the union were becoming a matter of routine. To put the things the right the management hired a retired colonel as in-charge operations and management. The colonel at the time of his hiring demanded complete autonomy in his domain. The colonel handled the situation in a very deft but authoritarian way. He formulated certain rules and policies and communicated them very clearly to all those who were concerned. He accepted some of the demands of the workers where they were justified but he made it sure that union can no longer harass the management through un -fair means. The union was put down to its size. The management didn't interfere in his decisions. This is clearly a case of individualism and authoritarian style of effective management.

CONCLUTION: Management Style In Above Incidence

After going through the two incidences we can conclude that in our country like Pakistan authoritarian style of management is best suited. The above mentioned two situations and their respective solutions are a reflection to the style of management that is most effective in this country and its respective culture.


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