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Theories of National Culture - Essay Example

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Theories of national cultures although helpful are often criticized because they over generalize characteristics of culture and ignore individual differences between employees and organizational choice of structure. In this paper, we will attempt to find whether this criticism is valid or not…
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Theories of National Culture
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"Theories of National Culture"

Download file to see previous pages Some of the famous theories of national culture include Hofsdete’s national culture theory, Hamden-Turner and Trompenaars model, and Edward Hall’s theory. It is important here to understand the link between national culture and organisational or corporate culture. Globalisation has reduced boundaries all over the world and this has led to highly diverse organizations. Employees belonging to different cultures and nationalities are working together in pursuit of the same goals. Employees are greatly influenced by their national cultures and their behaviour is an extension of their cultural values. Managers have to handle diversity and create a corporate culture that is flexible enough to accommodate people from different backgrounds. This is the link between organisational culture and national culture.Hofstde’s national culture theory has 5 dimensions and each explains a specific characteristic of national culture (Hofstede, 1983). All the dimensions can help us better understand the cultural values and beliefs of people who belong to those cultures. Most of the relevant information required is given by these 5 dimensions. The factors that distinguish national cultures from each other are grouped into 5 clusters. The first dimension of the theory is power distance that explains the distribution of power in a particular culture (Hofstede, 1983). More specifically this dimension is concerned with the degree of equality or inequality that exists in a culture. The second dimension is of individualism that is related to the extent to which individual or collective interests are pursued in a culture. The third dimension is uncertainty avoidance which explains the degree to which ambiguity is tolerated in a culture or a society (1983). The fourth dimension is masculinity which refers to the degree to which traditional masculine roles are accepted in the society. Initially Hofstede came up with four dimensions but later on he added another dimension of long term orientation or Confucianism (Hofstede, 1994). This dimension refers to the long term focus on traditions and values. All these 5 dimensions help us understand a particular culture better as this theory equips us to evaluate a culture on specific dimensions. Hamden-Turner and Trompenaars also gave a model of national cultures that included 7 dimensions (Hamden-Turner &Trompenaars, 2000). Universalism and pluralism is the first dimension that refers to the degree to which law or personal relationships are considered important in a society. The second dimension is individualism vs. communitarianism which is similar to the dimension of individualism of Hofstede’s model. The third dimension is called ‘specific or diffuse’ which explains how responsibilities are assigned in a society. The other dimensions include affectivity vs. Neutrality, inner directed vs. Outer directed, achieved ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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