Cultures and Organizations

According to Geert Hofstede, for effective management to be realized one has to understand five basic relationships that occur in the workplace. He acknowledges the cultural differences in the workplace but affirms the fact they all follow the five basic dimensions. Slight variances may be realized in interpretation or occurrence according to the respective cultures. These are:

  • Relationship that runs from different power and authority levels, examples being management and subordinates.
  • The element of grouping in functions/ departments thus responsibility is collective as matched against individualism.
  • The gender sensitivity prevalence in making various organizational decisions.
  • Avoiding uncertainty.
  • Long-term orientation compared to short term.

It is clear that different cultures perform the same roles in the workplace, but the perception varies due to their unique values (Barak, 2011). How people on from the east perceive organizational structure is different from those of the west. The fifth dimension specifically highlights the order of preference through appreciating the efforts to balance short term and long term orientations. However, cultures from the east prefer long term orientation an example being a natural appreciation for saving (long-term) in order to have personal steadiness and stability (Short term). The reverse is substantially true in the west.

The current global trends in organizations have made it easier to understand and apply the different cultures at the workplace. Globalization and technological advancement have ensured that sharing of cultures and creating awareness is easier (Barak, 2011). Japan for example, has borrowed much from the west in terms of structural hierarchy in various departments to ensure supervision and productivity is increased. It is a common practice now for International Banks like Barclays to tailor their products in recognition to religion diversity. The Muslim Culture can access products with no interest charge but, other cultures still do with the conventional calculations (Mahajan, Banga, & Gunther, 2006). Likewise, gender sensitivity in terms of leadership has changed across cultures but Muslim cultures still uphold women submission. Therefore, multinational organizations have introduced more personal incentives that define promotions in respect of certain cultures and regions to avoid controversies.

In conclusion, the five dimensions are still relevant to date and globalization has ensured more people from different cultures develop an understanding of standardizations and are making compromises for uniformity. Therefore, the five dimensions can be substantially applied with minor adjustments across cultures in the future.

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