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Masters of Collaboration

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‘Individualism’ and ‘Uncertainty Avoidance’ are the two main dimensions proposed by Hofstede which are mentioned in the text as influential factors in international collaboration. The text gives scores of the UK USA and Germany and Japan on these dimensions to illustrate the differences. a) Look up the scores of these same countries on the remaining cultural dimensions on www. eert-hofstede. com  | Power Distance | Individualism | Masculinity/Femininity | Uncertainity Avoidance | Long term orientation | US | 40 – Low which means equality and managers are accessible | 91 – Highly individualistic, look after themselves and close ones; are open and self-reliant | 62 – Masculine society, strive to be the best; talk freely about their achievements.

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Conflicts are resolved at individual level and the goal is to win | 46 – Uncertainty accepting, accept new ideas and initiatives; do not need rules and are less emotionally expressive | 29 – Low; short term oriented culture; focussed on traditions and fulfilling social obligations; businesses are measures on short term basis; need for quick results | UK | 35 – Low; Believes in removal of inequality between people | 89 – Highly individualistic and private people, Unique purpose and unique contribution, Personal fulfilment| 66 – Masculine society, Highly success oriented and driven; What is said is not always what is meant.

35 – Happy with what would come along, Happy to change, not many rules, | 25 – Short term oriented society, drives respect from history and tradition, short term quarterly goals and quick results | Germany | 35 – Highly decentralized, supported by middle class; direct, Participitative communication; control is disliked; leadership is challenged to show expertise | 67 – Truly individualistic society, Small families, strong belief in the idea of self-actualization, Most direct form of communication. 66 – Masculine society, Performance highly valued, people live in order to work, status is often shown off. | 65 – Highly uncertainty avoiding, systematic overview and planning, strong reliance on expertise. | 31 – Short term orientation, great respect for traditions, small propensity to save, impatient for quick results. | Japan | 54 – Mildly hierarchical, slow decision making processes, hard work is appreciated and seen as a tool to go ahead the hierarchy | 46 – Group harmony means more important that individual opinions, strong sense of shame for loosing face | 95 – Most asculine society, No assertive and competitive individual behaviours, but between groups| 92 – One of the most uncertainty avoiding countries in the world; Emergency plans and precautions are in place | 80 – One of the highly long term oriented societies, People live their lives guided by virtues and good behaviour | b) How could score differences on these other dimensions also influence collaboration between the four cultures mentioned? Give concrete examples, if possible. Power distance index (PDI): “Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. ” Cultures that endorse low power distance expect and accept power relations that are more consultative or democratic. People relate to one another more as equals regardless of formal positions. Subordinates are more comfortable with and demand the right to contribute to and critique the decision making of those in power. In high power distance countries, less powerful accept power relations that are more autocratic and paternalistic.

Subordinates acknowledge the power of others simply based on where they are situated in certain formal, hierarchical positions. As such, the power distance index Hofstede defines does not reflect an objective difference in power distribution, but rather the way people perceive power differences. * Individualism (IDV) vs. collectivism: “The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations.

In contrast, in collectivist societies, individuals act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organization (note: “The word collectivism in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state”). People have large extended families, which are used as a protection in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. * Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): “a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity”. It reflects the extent to which members of a society attempt to cope with anxiety by minimizing uncertainty.

People in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance tend to be more emotional. They try to minimize the occurrence of unknown and unusual circumstances and to proceed with careful changes step by step by planning and by implementing rules, laws and regulations. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance cultures accept and feel comfortable in unstructured situations or changeable environments and try to have as few rules as possible. People in these cultures tend to be more pragmatic, they are more tolerant of change. * Masculinity (MAS), vs. femininity: “The distribution of emotional roles between the genders”.

Masculine cultures’ values are competitiveness, assertiveness, materialism, ambition and power, whereas feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life. In masculine cultures, the differences between gender roles are more dramatic and less fluid than in feminine cultures where men and women have the same values emphasizing modesty and caring. As a result of the taboo on sexuality in many cultures, particularly masculine ones, and because of the obvious gender generalizations implied by Hofstede’s terminology, this dimension is often renamed by users of Hofstede’s work, e. . to Quantity of Life vs. Quality of Life. * Long term orientation (LTO), vs. short term orientation: First called “Confucian dynamism”, it describes societies’ time horizon. Long term oriented societies attach more importance to the future. They foster pragmatic values oriented towards rewards, including persistence, saving and capacity for adaptation. In short term oriented societies, values promoted are related to the past and the present, including steadiness, respect for tradition, preservation of one’s face, reciprocation and fulfilling social obligations.

Putting together national scores (from 1 for the lowest to 120 for the highest), Hofstede’s six dimensions model allow international comparison between cultures, also called comparative research: * Power distance index shows very high scores for Latin and Asian countries, African areas and the Arab world. On the other hand Anglo and Germanic countries have a lower power distance. For example, the United States has a 40 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Guatemala where the power distance is very high (95) and Israel where it is very low (13), the United States is in the middle.

In Europe, power distance tends to be lower in northern countries and higher in southern and eastern parts: for example, 68 in Poland and 57 for Spain vs. 31 for Sweden and 35 for the United Kingdom. * Regarding the individualism index, there is a clear gap between developed and Western countries on one hand, and less developed and eastern countries on the other. North America and Europe can be considered as individualistic with relatively high scores: for example, 80 for Canada and Hungary. In contrast, Asia, Africa and Latin America have strong collectivistic values: Colombia scores only 13 points on the IDV scale, and Indonesia 14.

The greatest contrast can be drawn comparing two extreme countries on this dimension: 6 points for Guatemala vs. 91 points score for the United States. Japan and the Arab world have middle values on this dimension. * Uncertainty avoidance scores are the highest in Latin American countries, Southern and Eastern Europe countries including German speaking countries, and Japan. They are lower for Anglo, Nordic, and Chinese culture countries. However few countries have very low UAI. For example, Germany has a high UAI (65) and Belgium even more (94) compared to Sweden (29) or Denmark (23) despite their geographical proximity. Masculinity is extremely low in Nordic countries: Norway scores 8 and Sweden only 5. In contrast, Masculinity is very high in Japan (95), and in European countries like Hungary, Austria and Switzerland influenced by German culture. In the Anglo world, masculinity scores are relatively high with 66 for the United Kingdom for example. Latin countries present contrasting scores: for example Venezuela has a 73 point score whereas Chile’s is only 28. * High long term orientation scores are typically found in East Asia, with China having 118, Hong Kong 96 and Japan 88.

They are moderate in Eastern and Western Europe, and low in the Anglo countries, the Muslim world, Africa and in Latin America. However there is less data about this dimension. * There is even less data about the sixth dimension. Indulgence scores are highest in Latin America, parts of Africa, the Anglo world and Nordic Europe; restraint is mostly found in East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Muslim world. 2. The text mentions that within the same organization wider cultural gaps can exist between, say, R&D and finance as between the R&D teams of two partners.

To what extent can Hofstede’s cultural dimensions be used to explain such cultural gaps? 1. Power/Distance (PD) According to Hofstede’s model, in a high PD country, you would probably send reports only to top management and have closed door meetings where only a select few, powerful leaders were in attendance. | Characteristics| Tips| High PD| * Centralized companies. * Strong hierarchies. * Large gaps in compensation, authority, and respect. | * Acknowledge a leader’s power. * Be aware that you may need to go to the top for answers. | Low PD| * Flatter organizations. Supervisors and employees are considered almost as equals. | * Use teamwork * Involve as many people as possible in decision making. | 2. Individualism Hofstede’s analysis suggests that in countries with low scores, a marketing campaign that emphasized benefits to the community or that tied into a popular political movement would likely be understood and well-received. | Characteristics| Tips| High IDV| * High valuation on people’s time and their need for freedom. * An enjoyment of challenges, and an expectation of rewards for hard work. * Respect for privacy. | * Acknowledge accomplishments. Don’t ask for too much personal information. * Encourage debate and expression of own ideas. | Low IDV| * Emphasis on building skills and becoming masters of something. * Work for intrinsic rewards. * Harmony more important than honesty. | * Show respect for age and wisdom. * Suppress feelings and emotions to work in harmony. * Respect traditions and introduce change slowly. | 3. Masculinity (MAS) According to Hofstede’s analysis, in countries with high masculinity, you might have greater success if you appointed a male employee to lead the team and had a strong male contingent on the team.

In countries with low masculinity, on the other hand, you would aim for a team that was balanced in terms of skill rather than gender. | Characteristics| Tips| High MAS| * Men are masculine and women are feminine. * There is a well defined distinction between men’s work and women’s work. | * Be aware that people may expect male and female roles to be distinct. * Advise men to avoid discussing emotions or making emotionally based decisions or arguments. | Low MAS| * A woman can do anything a man can do. * Powerful and successful women are admired and respected. | * Avoid an “old boys’ club” mentality. Ensure job design and practices are not discriminatory to either gender. * Treat men and women equally. | 4. Uncertainty/Avoidance Index (UAI) Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions imply that when discussing a project with people in countries with high UAI score, you should investigate the various options and then present a limited number of choices, but have very detailed information available on your contingency and risk plans. | Characteristics| Tips| High UAI| * Very formal business conduct with lots of rules and policies. * Need and expect structure. * Sense of nervousness spurns high levels of emotion and expression. Differences are avoided. | * Be clear and concise about your expectations and parameters. * Plan and prepare, communicate often and early, provide detailed plans and focus on the tactical aspects of a job or project. * Express your emotions through hands gestures and raised voices. | Low UAI| * Informal business attitude. * More concern with long-term strategy than what is happening on a daily basis. * Accepting of change and risk. | * Do not impose rules or structure unnecessarily. * Minimize your emotional response by being calm and contemplating situations before speaking. * Express curiosity when you discover differences. 5. Long Term Orientation (LTO) According to Hofstede’s analysis, in countries with low LTO scores, you can pretty much expect anything in this culture in terms of creative expression and novel ideas. The model implies that people in the U. S. and U. K. don’t value tradition as much as many others, and are therefore likely to be willing to help you execute the most innovative plans as long as they get to participate fully. | Characteristics| Tips| High LTO| * Family is the basis of society. * Parents and men have more authority than young people and women. * Strong work ethic. * High value placed on education and training. * Show respect for traditions. * Do not display extravagance or act frivolously. * Reward perseverance, loyalty, and commitment. * Avoid doing anything that would cause another to “lose face. “| Low LTO| * Promotion of equality. * High creativity, individualism. * Treat others as you would like to be treated. * Self-actualization is sought. | * Expect to live by the same standards and rules you create. * Be respectful of others. * Do not hesitate to introduce necessary changes. | There are various requirements which should form the minimal standards for employees who work in foreign environments.

The first is the ability to embrace organizational change and adapt to the environment. Employees should be open minded and ready to embrace change if they are to effectively work in foreign environments. The management should ensure that employees sent on foreign assignments are open minded and they are not opposed to change. This will ensure that they adapt to the new working environment faster and with little conflict. Another requirement for a multicultural environment is tolerance. This is a personal value which many people do not possess. Tolerance ensures that one is able to embrace differences between themselves and others positively.

Tolerance entails accepting that the world has diverse cultures and that each should be respected. Employees who are not tolerant of others’ cultures should not be sent on expatriate duties since they are likely to cause organizational conflict as a result of disrespecting the culture of foreigners. This is likely to harm the organizational performance. Finally, employees working in multicultural environments should be willing to learn. There are many new practices and cultures which are inherent in foreign business environments and one should be keen to learn them if he or she is to work effectively.

One should readily embrace such cultures and learn from the foreign employees, especially if such cultures ensure a smooth working environment. For instance, in China the managers may view advice by lower cadre employees as inferior while in Western countries such as France such advice may be readily embraced by the management. Employees should accept the culture present and learn from it as opposed from trying to influence the foreign employees to embrace their individual culture.

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Masters of Collaboration. (2016, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/masters-of-collaboration/

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