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Many of us perform consistently with individuals from other societies and qualification. Every so often this goes well, and the social variations are exciting and enhancing. Nonetheless, sometimes factors can go incorrect, for factors that we may not comprehend. This is where it's essential to comprehend the variations between societies, so that we can perform with individuals more successfully, and avoid uncertainty.
This essay offers with determining the relationship between organizational and national culture. Likewise, this essay also offers with the problems coming up from variations in national cultures in leadership, and the difficulties confronted by worldwide companies, or companies employing workers with different national backgrounds and operating in a different national culture with regards to its head office organizational culture. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner's Seven Dimensions of Culture help us sort this out. We will look at the seven dimensions in this essay, and explore their functionality using actual life instances of worldwide corporations such as McDonalds, British Petroleum, The UpJohn Company, Pharmacia AB and Farmitalia.
Conceptual Development, Reasoning and Implications
In a managerial concept, culture is a generally investigated topic. A link is often attracted between a powerful organizational culture and supremacy in the industry. Culture is formed by a company's exclusive history and situational evolution. It can be described as the values, philosophies and objectives more or less common to the company's members. It impacts the way a company does business and makes known appropriate workers, clients, suppliers, and rivals. A top-notch manager is someone who is capable of implanting the organizations principles and norms into employees so they not only know what is anticipated of them, but are anxious to perform in such a way as to benefit the company and this helps him create means of significance and recognition by offering an environment that is fulfilling for its workers and clients. (Scott & Davis, 2007)
Similarly a country's culture comprises of the beliefs, traditions, and customs of the individuals living in that particular geographical region. How individuals interact with fellow people, how they act with their family, their language, their food and family traditions are all aligned with the standards and ethics of their country. Cultures usually vary in connections between the individual and community, different conducts of tackling issues, the extent of independence they get from the authorities, their demonstrativeness and their ideology of sects and gender. All of these things are much like organizational culture, just on a grander range.
These social principles can outline how individuals anticipate organizations to be run, and how relations between leaders and followers should be. Several times the cultural distance results in great variations that can cause serious problems for the management of the worldwide companies. Hence when organizations plan to flourish their organizations beyond the regional limitations of their country and also handle a diverse team of individuals, Trompenaars Seven Dimensions of Lifestyle is one of the cultural assessment models that come in handy. To understand the individuals from different social qualifications better, this model helps, which in turn decreases the possibilities of uncertainty and misunderstandings which can be confronted by organizations did they choose to function in a new country without completely knowing the national culture. (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997)
Trompenaars discovered the cultural immoderations and the incredulity that can occur when doing business across cultures, using preliminary analysis including 15,000 workers in 50 nations. Trompenaars arrived at seven unique dimensions of culture, which will be elaborated as we proceed, by using the questionnaire responses in his study. These dimensions can help organizations plan ahead by getting to know and analyze the national culture of the country that they plan to function in. Also these dimensions can be used as an indication to the challenges and troubles they might face in accomplishing their targets. (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997)
Universalism versus Particularism
In universalistic societies guidelines are applied in all situations, regardless of particular conditions or circumstances. However Particularism refers to flexing the guidelines according to the problem in hand, after judging it properly. According to Trompenaars' conclusions, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States are among the most Universalistic countries. Whereas Russia, Korea, and China sit on the particularistic section of the scale and are in fact are the most particularistic of countries. Hence it can be comprehended from this fact that if a company which is based in a universalistic country decides to expands its operations to a particularistic country, naturally it will go through a tough time managing and adjusting to the practices of the local employees. For a better understanding of this phenomenon let's consider the example of when the Italian style of management had clashed with the Swedes' own methods of doing things, following the takeover of Farmitalia (part of Montedison) by Pharmacia Ab, a Swedish drug organization, in 1993. Italians are used to a particularistic style of management. They also give their close relatives an improved value as in comparison to their profession and most commonly will leave work to attend to a sick family member or help with childcare, which the Swedes scowl upon. (Burton & Frank, 1997)
Individualism versus Collectivism
Collectivism refers to the tendency of people to stay in groups and help each other. It also puts a greater value on the welfare and unanimous agreement of the whole society, on key issues, as compared to the preferences and needs of an individual. Whereas individualism encourages the resistance of external influences, from the community, on achieving a person's objectives, encourages self-freedom and is typically denoted as a representative of a modern society. In a nut shell this dimension cores on whether singular rights and standards are superseding or secondary to those of the communal society. The most individualist countries are Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and the UK. Among the most collectivist are Japan, Egypt, India, Nepal and Kuwait. (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997)
These types of cultural differences can pose enormous challenges to organizations, as cultures cannot be altered overnight. It takes strategic ahead of time planning to blend into some foreign country's culture efficiently. Otherwise the costs associated with the constant failures are huge. An example which is tailored to this type of a situation is when McDonald's had to deal with in Japan. Eating together at the same table is most important to the Japanese. One of the most important tasks of foods is bringing people alongside one another and establishing a communal feeling. Rice, which is sent to the table in a common platter, is the spirit of a food that ties family members and crafts social interactions. In contrast McDonald's burgers are intended to be self-sufficiently and cannot be shared. Not only does the foods, but also the actual arrangement of the dining areas in McDonalds's Japan falls short to include the attribute of commensality. McDonald's in Ginza, Japan was free from tables and seats. In fact there were counters in which customers were supposed to eat their foods on the go. So these elements acted against the will of McDonald's however As McDonald's grew in Japan, dining areas progressively involved Tables and chairs. (Varma & Doris, 2006) (Public Broadcasting Service of the United States, 1997)
Neutral versus Emotional
This implies as to what extent the displays of emotions are considered acceptable in the workplace. More meaningfully it indicates whether psychological or very subjective (rather than objective) forms of evaluation are believed to be the base for good making decisions in organizations. Some cultures place greater value on information based and systematic decision making by professionals. In contrast others feel that views, instinct, and gut emotions are credible or legitimate requirements. Understanding and acting in accordance to a community's emotionality poses as a huge challenge to Multinational companies. In addition the language barrier, which actually can be tackled to some extent, also plays its part very well. For instance on 27 July 2010 British Petroleum announced that, by mutual agreement with the BP board, British national Tony Hayward, who had been in charge of one of the world's largest organizations for the last three years, is to step down as group chief executive. He will be succeeded by fellow executive director Robert Dudley, an American Citizen.
This decision came forward as a result to the Mexican Gulf disaster which is considered the worst environmental mishaps ever. Hayward had been accused by American Journalists for lack of commitment, concern and apologies, when the incident took place. These allegations were unusual, because it is unlikely for a CEO to stay aren't bothered when his company is accountable for such a disaster. One of the key components of this case is the nationality and lifestyle of Hayward. As a British national, his interaction style differed from the People of America. He was less likely to show his feelings freely. English are well-known for their straight face and lack of emotional display - hence the reaction from the American public. (British Petroleum, 2010)
Specific versus Diffuse
This dimension focuses on the society's response towards the concept of work place relations extending outside the workplace. Societies that display diffuse relations have a tendency to extend the formal workplace relation and obligations, which also include hierarchical position, into social day to day situations, On the contrary societies displaying Specific relations, are the exact opposite. This certainly is a vital to be a sensitive aspect issue international managers, as a manager can only judge his employees, the biggest asset of a company, accurately when he is not expecting a lot out of them. If an international company functions in a society which, unlike its headquarters' culture, portrays specific relations, then it will naturally expect way more from its employees than they are ready to provide. This leads to misconceptions and poorer employer-employee relationship.
Achievement versus Ascription
This measurement denotes a person's position within organizations, contrasting those societies where position, reliability, authority, and ultimately power are mostly based on excellence (achieved) against those where class, sex, education, or age are generally the interpreting features (status is ascribed). Once again these contrasting cultural values can cause misconceptions and demoralization among the employees regarding clash between their and the company's concept of fair promotions or rewards. (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997)
Attitude towards time
Opinions of time usually associate with punctuality for meetings and work output deadlines. Swedes and other northern Western societies are generally punctual and plan according to precise schedules. Many southern European and Arabic societies see punctuality and date perfection as far less important. Also it is essential for a company to function in a foreign society, with people from different cultural background, to have minimum differences towards their and the society's attitude towards time. In 1995 after the merger took place, Upjohn Company of the United States and Pharmacia AB of Sweden (with operations in Italy), came to appreciate how substantial these dissimilarities were. Swedes take off most of the 30 days of July for their annual vacation, Italians take off most of August. Unknowingly, US professionals planned meetings in the summers, only to have to terminate many because their European counterparts were on a vacation. (Burton & Frank, 1997) (Thomas, 2000)
Attitude towards the environment
Societies operating business have established two main orientations towards nature. They either believe that they can regulate nature by commanding their will upon it, or they believe that man is part of nature and must go with its laws, guidelines and powers. Among the first of these orientations, the organization is comprehended of as a machine that submits to the will of its operators. The second have a tendency to see an organization as a product of nature, owing its progress to the nutrients in its environment.
Trompenaars' seven dimensions have been used in a variety of ways to gain insights into different kinds of problems that an international organization might face while functioning in a different National culture to that of its headquarters. In a broad-spectrum they specify the organizational characteristics we can presume from organizations founded in certain countries or controlled by certain populations. Each of the seven dimensions highlighted by Trompenaars must be given special importance as a guideline to understand variations in different cultures and for the challenges that they might face ahead. This in turn helps avoid undesirable situations, causing significant monetary and non-monetary losses to International Organizations functioning outside their Cultural scope.