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MGMT5602 : Cross Cultural Management : Identity of the Citizens of a P

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Part 1: Singapore in the News  
For this part of the assignment, we ask you to search and select an item from the popular press that features Singapore. It should be a piece that was published in the past year (12 months). The item can come from any paper or electronic media source, published in Singapore or internationally as long as it is a factual news  piece (or analysis of news) from a reputable source. Be careful NOT to use internet media sources that are not associated with a reputable newspaper. The news piece you choose should have in it aspects that relate, refer or inform the reader about some aspect of Singapore culture. First you need to briefly summarise the item and then to respond to it. I want you to give your opinion on what is reported, to agree or argue with it and to write why and you should tell clearly how it relates to an aspect of the Singapore's culture. Please attach a copy of that news item (or screen shot etc) in the assignment Appendix. 

Part 2: Reflective Essay Reflective thinking is an important aid to adult learning. To that end, we ask you to write a reflective essay related to the topics covered in the course. You need to start the assignment at least a couple of weeks before the deadline. We ask you to conduct observations of your personal, study and work environments for several weeks, while taking notes for the assignment. When writing the essay, try to create a connection between the 'structured' academic materials presented in the course and in the reading materials with your own, more personal and spontaneous experiences. The main topic to contemplate and write about is how do you experience Singapore's culture and society. 

Part 3: Developing  Cross-Cultural Effectiveness  


The last part of Assignment 1 asks you to analyse a country you choose and compare it to your own culture. First, choose a country where you would be interested to work in. You are free to choose any country outside Asia. That is, you can choose a country in N. America, S. America, Europe, Australia/N.Z. or Africa. Next, we want you to choose one of the following three cultural frameworks to work with on your comparison: • Schwartz Values • Hofstede's five dimensions • GLOBE dimensions Present the comparison between your native country and the foreign country according to one of the above models. Then, discuss how these cultural differences would 

Answer:

Singapore Culture         

The culture of the nation of Singapore has formed a topic of much debate over the last few years (Chew 2017). The culture of Singapore has often called as the culture where the “East meets West”, “Easy Asia” and “Garden city” (Chew 2017). The culture of the nation of Singapore can be seen as a conglomeration of the cultures of Asia as well as Europe. It is significant to note that the majority of the population of the nation consists of the people who belong to the “Malay, South Asian, East Asian, and Eurasian cultures” (Chew 2017). Many scholars are of the opinion that particular factor has resulted in the mixed culture which is being followed in the nation currently (Tsui and Tollefson 2017). Furthermore, the various colonists who came to this particular nation at various point of time have also a deep imprint on the culture of this particular nation (Warner 2014). However, in the present times it is seen that the culture of the nation has undergone a drastic transformation and heading more towards the Western way of life (Warner 2014).

In the recent times it is seen that the many people are of the opinion that the culture of Singapore is one of the most boring ones of the world and is just trying to imitate the culture of the Western countries with no authenticity of its own. It is a reflection of this particular fact that only 66% of the people residing in the nation of Singapore enjoy living in this particular nation in comparison to the 78% of positive votes for the cities of Tokyo and Hong Kong (Time Out Singapore 2018). However, it is significant to note that 34% of the people of the nation are of the opinion that living in this particular nation is very expensive but it is worthwhile because of the friendly culture of the nation (Time Out Singapore 2018). Furthermore, the article also state that the people of the nation are very food loving and it is a reflection of this particular fact that the 42% of the people of the nation are of the opinion that “food here is amazing, offering unbeatable quality and choice” (Time Out Singapore 2018). Moreover, the nation is one of the safest places of the world and 98% of the people are of the opinion that they feel safe to travel even late at night (Time Out Singapore 2018). The article at the same time insists that music forms one of the key elements of the culture of the nation and thus most of the people are of the opinion that it is an indispensible part of their lives (Time Out Singapore 2018). Therefore, many people are of the opinion that even though the nation of Singapore is not like the cities of New York or Los Angeles which witnesses frequent live music concerts and shows yet music forms an important entity of the lives of the people of this nation (Time Out Singapore 2018).

I would like to comment here that the article only focuses on a few facets of the culture as well as society of the nation of Singapore and does not focus on the broader picture in general. Therefore, it is seen that only the eating habits, music, safety index and other factors have been covered in the article and other important attributes of the people of the nation like their love for travel, structure of the society and other entities have been omitted. Furthermore, I would like to mention here that the majority of the people I know in the nation of Singapore are happy with their lifestyles and also the facilities which they are getting. Therefore, the data of the article that only 66% of the people are happy living in the nation of Singapore is an exaggeration for me.

Reflection

I personally believe that the best way to gain information about the culture of the nation of Singapore is to experience it firsthand. The various festivals of the nation of Singapore like “Chinese New Year, Buddhist Vesak Day, Muslim Eid ul-Fitr (known locally by its Malay name Hari Raya Puasa), Hindu Diwali (known locally by its Tamil name Deepavali), Christmas Day, Good Friday, and New Year's Day” and others which the nation is known for celebrating a pertinent insight into the diverse as well as the liberal culture of the nation (Tsui and Tollefson 2017). I personally believe that the nation of Singapore can be seen as a conglomerate where it is possible to find people from all the countries of the continent of Asia. Another significant way to experience the culture of the nation of Singapore is to watch the various movies as well as short which have tried to portray Singapore on the celluloid screen. Some of the best known movies which gives an adequate representation of the culture of the nation of Singapore are “Singapore Dreaming”, “Untracing the Conspiracy”, “Ilo Ilo”, “To Singapore With Love”, “Fundamentally Happy”, “7 Letters” and others (Tsui and Tollefson 2017). I would like to say in this particular context that these movies as well as short films might not necessarily have Singapore as their central theme yet during the course of the movie or the story which they are trying to show they have succeeded in capturing the different facets of the culture of the nation in an adequate manner.

I would also like to add here in this particular context that for me the culture of the nation of Singapore is the best one and the diversity of the nation which is seen by the majority of the individuals as an impediment to the prospects of the nation in my opinion is one of the key factors which renders not only beauty but at the same time meaning to the culture of the nation. The various festivals related to the diverse kinds of religions which forms an important part of the culture of the nation is the thing which holds the maximum amount of appeal for me. In the likewise manner the above mentioned movies which tried to portray the different facets of the culture of the nation are of special value to me. However, I would like to say here that different people have different views about the cultures and it is solely molded by the experiences which they have. Therefore, I would like to comment in this particular context that the things which I consider to be the most important parts of the culture of the nation of Singapore might not be so much appealing to the others.

Developing Cross-Cultural Effectiveness”    

The “Hofstede’s Model of Culture” is one of the most commonly used models of natural cultural analysis and gives an overview of the culture of a particular (Hofstede Insights 2018). An analysis of the culture of Singapore on this particular model would reveal the following facts-

                                                               Figure 1: “Singapore on Hofstede’s Cultural Model”

                                                                              Source: “Hofstede’s Cultural Insights”

The people of Singapore score very low on the masculinity index which means that the people of the nation are not very much motivated by the concepts of “success, achievement and competition” (Hofstede Insights 2018). Furthermore, the above figure indicates that the people of the nation like to indulge in collective kind of work rather than on the individual kinds of work (Hofstede Insights 2018). The people of the nation of Singapore are more likely to follow the power divisions within the workplace in an ardent manner in comparison to the other nations of the world (Hofstede Insights 2018). The high score on the “long term indulgence” section is a reflection of the fact that the people of the nation judge the success or the failure of a particular depending on its overall performance not on its recent performance (Hofstede Insights 2018). The low “uncertainty avoidance” score indicates that the people of the nation of Singapore generally like to avoid uncertain situations within their workplace (Hofstede Insights 2018). Finally, the average indulgence section score indicates that a section of the people of the nation likes to control their desires as well as impulse within the workplace whereas others do not (Hofstede Insights 2018).

                                                                Figure 2: “Australia on Hofstede’s Cultural Model”

                                                                             Source: “Hofstede’s Cultural Insights”

The above graph gives an overview of the national culture of the country of Australia. The people of the nation of Australia like to work in an individual manner and therefore the organizations of this particular nation do not try to foster a collective work environment (Hofstede Insights 2018). Furthermore, the people of this particular country are more likely to be motivated by the concepts of “success, achievement and competition” than the other countries of the world (Hofstede Insights 2018). In addition to these, it is more likely that the people of the country of Australia are more likely to judge the performance level of a particular business organization on their current performance rather than on their past history (Hofstede Insights 2018). Furthermore, the various workplaces of the nation do not have stringent power divisions and the people of the higher authority are generally accessible (Hofstede Insights 2018). Moreover, it is seen that the people of the country of Australia generally like to segregate their personal and professional lives (Hofstede Insights 2018).

The various organizations of the present times have become more diversified in terms of the workforce they have at their workplace (Crane, Kawashima and Kawasaki 2016). Therefore, it would be apt to say that culture inevitably plays a significant role within the framework of the modern day workplaces. For example, a personal from the nation of Australia within a particular Singaporean organization would try to work in an individual manner although the national culture of the nation favors collective kind of work. Thus, it can be said that the role of the various managers as well as the leaders becomes very important in this particular context as they need to take into consideration these differences in the national cultures of the different nations of the world which indirectly affects the way business is being conducted in those nations (Crane, Kawashima and Kawasaki 2016). Furthermore, the manager is also required to create an environment where the different entities related to the organization would find a congenial place to work (Chiu and Hong 2013). It is significant to note that the problem of “cross cultural miscommunication” and conflicts have become an important part of the various workplaces of the world (Chiu and Hong 2013). The role of a manager becomes very significant in this particular conduct as he or she is not only required to act as a mediator in the conflict or also try to resolve the conflict in the most effective manner (Tan 2012). It is significant to note that these conflicts not only affects the positive environment of the workplace but directly affects the performance level of the individuals who are related to the workplace (Tan 2012). Therefore, it becomes all the more important for the managers as well as the bosses of the organization to take initiative and effectively resolve the various conflicts which have become a common part of the various workplaces.

The effective consideration of the differences in the national cultures is important not only for the resolution of the conflicts which arise on the score of the differences in the national cultures of the different nations but also for enhancing the performance level of the employees (Tan 2012). For example, an individual from the nation of Australia but working in the nation of Singapore would obviously try to work trying to follow the culture in which he or she had been brought. Thus, the national culture of Singapore which is different from national culture of Australia would act as an impediment to him or her. Therefore, in order to improve his or her performance the organization will have to take into consideration the national culture of Australia and make allowances for that in the workplace.

Conclusion:

The factor of culture plays a very significant role not only in the personal lives of the individuals but also goes a long way in shaping the identity of that particular person. Furthermore, in the recent times it is seen that the concept of national culture has also gained significance and it used to define the cumulative culture of the nation. The factor of culture also plays a very significant role in the business world as well and therefore it has become very important for the organizations to take into effective consideration the factor of culture.

Introduction:

The concept of culture forms an important part of the identity of the citizens of a particular nation and to a large extent determines the behavior as well as the lives of the people of that nation (Crane, Kawashima and Kawasaki 2016). The concept of culture can be seen as the accumulation of all the ideas, social behavior as well as the belief of a particular set of people which they have derive from their ancestors (Crane, Kawashima and Kawasaki 2016). The famous expert Hofstede defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others” (Hofstede Insights 2018). Furthermore, the factor of culture not only to a large extend determines the behavior of the individuals but to a large extend determines the way business is being conducted in that particular nation (Henderson 2014). Therefore, in a way it can be said that the concept of culture not only determines the individual identity of the individuals but also to a large extent determines the identity of the various nations of the world (Henderson 2014). Thus, in the present times it is seen that the various nations of the world have evolved their own particular set of cultures and it is a reflection of this particular fact the way of doing business of the one nation is different from the way of doing business of the other nations (Henderson 2014). Thus, the various business organizations of the present times need to take into consideration the factor of culture along with the other factors which influence the business world.

References:

Catherine Henderson, J., 2014. Food and culture: in search of a Singapore cuisine. British Food Journal, 116(6), pp.904-917.

Chew, P.G.L., 2017. Remaking Singapore: Language, culture, and identity in a globalized world. In Language policy, culture, and identity in Asian contexts (pp. 83-104). Routledge.

Chiu, C.Y. and Hong, Y.Y., 2013. Social psychology of culture. Psychology Press.

Crane, D., Kawashima, N. and Kawasaki, K.I. eds., 2016. Global culture: Media, arts, policy, and globalization. Routledge.

Hofstede Insights. 2018. Australia - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country/australia/ [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Hofstede Insights. 2018. Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/singapore/ [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Li, T.M., 2018. Constituting capitalist culture: The Singapore Malay problem and entrepreneurship reconsidered. In Market Cultures (pp. 147-172). Routledge.

Tan, K.P., 2012. The ideology of pragmatism: Neo-liberal globalisation and political authoritarianism in Singapore. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 42(1), pp.67-92.

Time Out Singapore. 2018. Time Out City Index 2018: apparently Singapore is boring?. [online] Available at: https://www.timeout.com/singapore/news/time-out-city-index-2018-apparently-singapore-is-boring-013118 [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Tsui, A.B. and Tollefson, J.W. eds., 2017. Language policy, culture, and identity in Asian contexts. Routledge.

Warner, M., 2014. Culture and management in Asia. Routledge.

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