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Culture and Congruence: The Fit Between Management Practices and National Culture

Autor:   •  December 10, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  1,753 Words (8 Pages)  •  626 Views

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Culture and Congruence: The Fit between Management Practices and National Culture

        National culture is a set of shared values, beliefs and assumptions that are learned through early years, which influences the attitude and behaviours of a group (Hofstede, 1991). National culture is contributed by the physical environment and the history of the nation. Tayeb (2003) stated that the culture of a nation have a manner on how an organisation operates. It is the fundamental principle that shapes employee’s understanding and behaviour towards their work task. It also shapes the way employees expect to be treated. Hence, it indicates the way of one acts or the one set of outcome that is preferable to another. For instance, when management practices are incompatible with national culture, employees are likely to feel uncomfortable, which will lead to lower business performance (Newman & Nollen, 1996). This is because employees are unlikely to adopt managerial approaches that are incompatible with cultural values they are deeply embedded with. Hence, management practices that are compatible with national culture are more likely to produce better performance outcome (Mishra, 1995). There are a variety of management practices such as leadership style, strategic decision-making and human resource management that differs in each country due to the different national culture (Newman & Nollen, 1996). Multinational corporations will need to adapt their management practices based on the national culture in the country they are operating in to be able to achieve better business performance.

        Hostede’s dimension had been used by many individuals to determine the differences in national culture and how it can have implications for management practices in the workplace.

        Power distance is the degree to which a society accepts and reinforces that power in an organizations is distributed unequally (Hofstede, 2015). In low power distance nation, work performances were higher when employees are more participative whereas in high power distance nation, work performances were higher when employees are less participative (Newman & Nollen, 1996).

        Based on Sweetman (2012), in many high power distance Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, senior-level individuals do not get feedback and believes they have nothing to improve on and junior-level individuals do not voice out ideas. Work task are done with employees receiving orders, accepting status differences and showing proper respect to superiors. Hence, global managers from different nations need to take note on this, as they will unlikely receive subordinate participation in decision-making. Global managers will need to adapt their strategies to the culture of high power distance nation in order to get work done efficiently. For instance, global managers would need to make decisions on their own and also give subordinates clear instructions on how to execute decisions. This will be able to speed decision-making process. However, based on Hofstede (2015), in the country with the low power distance such as Denmark, if employees were not given the opportunity to participate in decision-making, it will be an issue, as employees from that nation do not accept inequality. Employees are less comfortable with the differences in positions and are characterized by more participation in decision–making. Additionally, employee’s abhors close supervision and favor a participate superior (Mead, 2003). Thus, global managers in low power distance nation should always avoid supervising closely and always encourage employees for feedbacks and participation in decision-making. This can lead to a better working environment for employees and a more effective decision-making process. This is because by encouranging them to make decision making is giving them empowerment. people work harder because of the increased commitment that comes from having more control and say in their work; people work smarter because they are encouraged to build skills and competence; and people work more responsibly because more responsibility is placed in hands of employees farther down in the organization


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