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Hofstede Studies - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# An Analysis of Hoftstede within the Constraints of the Current Era The effect of globalization on the current world system has been a point that has been belabored by a host of authors, commentators, analysts, and pundits…
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Section/# An Analysis of Hoftstede within the Constraints of the Current Era The effect of globalization on the current world system has been a point that has been belabored by a host of authors, commentators, analysts, and pundits. However, regardless of whether or not we are particularly annoyed with having to hear about globalization and its perennial effects, the fact of the matter remains that this factor has had a profound on the nearly every sector of our modern world and therefore cannot be underestimated. For purposes of this brief paper, this author will consider Hoftstede’s 5 dimensions as a function of whether or not these are still relevant in our increasingly globalized and technologically linked culture/world. Firstly, in order to either refute or bolster Hoftstede’s thesis, it is necessary to briefly look at his 5 dimensions and classify/define them based upon their determinate meanings. Hoftstede ranks the following as his five dimensions of national cultures: 1) uncertainty avoidance 2) power distance 3) individualism versus collectivism 4) task orientation versus social orientation (masculine versus feminine) and 5) long term versus short term (Longston, 2011). With respect to the first two of these determinants, it can be clearly stated that the effects of a globalized world have fundamentally altered the way in which individuals approach these perspectives. Although it is possible to overemphasize the equalizing effect that globalization has had on given subsets of people from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds, it would be hard to claim that as a result of the rampant technological revolution that has swept the world within the past 30-35 years has served to stratify and tribalize the way in which cultures interact with one another; quite the opposite in fact. In much the same way, with reference to the 3rd of Hoftstede’s dimensions, it can be categorically noted (just as was noted with numbers 1 and 2 above) that the overall trend within the world community has been one of further collectivization and lesser individualization. Of course strong determinant metrics upon which to base such an observation on are difficult to come by; however, one can reasonably point to the fact that cultures are blending, English is becoming more and more widely spoken (oftentimes to the detriment of the native languages in question), and the collectivizing power that large multi-national corporations provide for all of their member nations of operation. However, the effect to which our current culture of technology and globalization has affected Hoftstede’s final two tensions within the organizational context is not nearly so clear or determinant as the ones that have been listed previously. It is this author’s belief that the main reason for this is due to the fact that whereas Hoftstede’s other 3 determinants have been based on culture the fourth is based upon more genetic factors that help to define the nature of how individuals and groups behave in non-learned ways. For instance, although there is exhibited a greater degree of task oriented objectives within our current system that individuals must necessarily work towards accomplishing, the most important determinants within this structure are still how involved parties view themselves; both as a function of their own past and as a function of their genetic makeup. For this reason, Hoftstede brings in the example of masculinity versus femininity into his understanding of this key concept. As such, these cross-cultural understandings of masculine and feminine roles are among the most difficult to mold and change as a function of the spread of greater technological integration and/or globalization. Due to the fact that understandings of gender are innately cultural and perhaps some of the first norms that an individual within a given culture becomes aware, the level to which the spread of technology an greater integration has been able to affect these determinants is severely hampered. Likewise, the fifth of Hoftstede’s determinants has inarguably been altered the most as a result of the spread of technology and globalization. Due to the fact that firms and employees are ever more and more mindful of the fact that a particular position or job will not define their lives, the fundamental dynamics of the entire world with respect to labor has changed. This of course has also had a profoundly negative impact as well. Due to the fact that degrees of loyalty oftentimes existed and were oftentimes rewarded between employee and employer, the employee was often able to differentiate their career with a single employer based upon years of dedication and service. However, due to the dynamics of globalization, employers have increasingly sought to find ways to rapidly and cheaply cover a host of entry level and mid-career positions by rapidly filling those positions once vacated with little to any thought of those below the position that might be eagerly awaiting such an opportunity. In this way the overall profitability (which has always been a primal concern) has been raised to an even higher level within the minds of both parties involved. Therefore, the shift has unequivocally been in favor of the short term gain as opposed to the long-term vision. References Longston, J. (2011, January 15). What are Geert Hofstede's 5 Cultural Dimensions? Business Management | Business Models | MBA Theories. Retrieved November 15, 2012, from http://www.businessmate.org/Article.php?ArtikelId=4 Read More
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