HRER 800 - Orr Article
Geert Hofstede is considered a pioneer in the area of cross-cultural social sciences with a study he began performing between 1967 and 1972 where he passed out over 100,00 questionnaires throught IBM employee’s in nearly 60 countries. The study was so ground breaking that it has been referenced in every publication looking to explain the correspondences and distinctions between cultures (IRC online 2002). The end result of Hofstede’s study was the development of four (4) dimensions that according to Briscoe, Schuler, and Tarique (2012) focused on identifying country differences and regional similarities on the basis of a series of work related factors. The following provides a short summary of the factors identified in this research (p. 119): Power distance.
Of the four (4) dimensions listed there are two the best helped me understand how cultural differences can cause difficulties for systems from the parent country to be implemented and rolled out to many if not all of the multi-national subsidiaries. The two dimensions are individualism and uncertainty avoidance.
In Hofstede’s study he associated the degree of individualism and collectivism with 15 different items listed in no particular order. The questions posed by Hofstede focused on such thoughts and cultural thinking including whether or not it is better to work in a group or alone. I would think that many employee’s in eastern region, primarily in Asia, would list that it is better to work in groups over individually as they are more of a collectivist society. On the reverse it would not shock me that employees in the more western region, primarily the United States, would view working individually more important. Additionally in his study the cultural differences between the east and the west would should a difference emphasis on whether the group accomplishment is more favorable over the individual or...
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