With growing modernization, cultures have merged that have created a major challenge for the organizations to meet the needs of both the external and internal environment. The concept of Hoftstede’s cultural dimension plays an effective role in understanding the way culture works. This study would be providing a reflective approach to explaining the challenges associated with these concepts and the ways to overcome them.
I was chosen for an internship program by Amazon, where various other candidates from different countries were also chosen. This program was directed towards fulfilling a project directed towards increasing the marketing capabilities of the company. We were working as a team but as virtual workers. The team members would have to connect through software technology. I belonged to the UK, while the other workers belonged to India, Japan, Australia, USA and UAE. The team contained 4 men and 2 women. While working with my team mates, I had to coordinate o a regular basis and though the goal was known to all of us, the approaches undertaken by each one of us were very different. There were a lot that we could learn from each other and each one of our cultures, although there were at times severe disagreements. Hofstede’s six dimensions have really been helpful for me to have a clear understanding of the situation.
Aims and objectives
The aim of the reports is to understand the significance of Hofstede’s six dimensions in intercultural business negotiation.
The objectives of the study have been listed hereunder:
Hofstede’s six dimensions and adaption in intercultural business negotiation
Professor Geert Hofstede had started researching around the year 1960s and ended in the 1970s, about the significance of national culture and determine the values that are specific to individual cultures (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010). The six dimensions are as follows:
Power Distance Index (PDI)
This dimension is associate with capturing the inequality that is existing between people with power and the ones that are without power. A high PDI score reflects that there is a high inequality when it comes to the hierarchy associated within the system. When the PDI score is low, it means that power is distributed widely and there is intolerance with respect to power imbalance (Obeidat et al., 2016). High PDI is generally noticed in centralized organizations and these organizations are consisted of complex hierarchies. Apart from the inequality in power, there is inequality in compensation and respect too, which is biased towards the people with more power. When the PDI is low, the supervisors and the common employees are not treated any different.
Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)
This dimension is associated with the identification of the connection of the individual with the larger community in terms of decision making process. When the value of IDV is high, people are not well connected with their community or family, and take responsibility of their individual outcomes only. When the IDV score is low, individuals tend to be more responsible and share responsibilities with each other. In a business context, for greater individualism, there is high importance for the individual time, freedom and privacy. Individualist approach is associated with rewards for individual hard work. For collectivist approaches, there is greater emphasis on the building of self and others and people are generally focused on the intrinsic rewards. The harmony of the collective is often given more importance than ethical aspects.
Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
This identifies the distribution of roles between males and females. In societies that are masculine, the roles played by a man are distinctively different from the roles that are played by women (Al Ariss & Sidani, 2016). This is just the opposite in feminine societies. In business environments, higher MAS implies that there would strong sense of pride and ego and the materialistic achievements are important. These work environments have longer work hours. Low MAS is associated with relationship oriented practice and people tend to focus more on the quality of life than the quantity of money. Workplace flexibility is more important in this case.
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)
This dimension reflects the anxiousness and apprehension associated with the members belonging to different societies. In societies with high UAI, there has been a tendency to have a lot of control over situations in order to avoid uncertainties (Al-Sarayrah et al., 2016). These systems are more structured. Whereas, in case of low UAI societies, there is no structure as such and they are more associated with flexibility and innovation.
Long term versus Short term orientation
This dimension identifies the importance of long term and short-term orientation for different cultures when it comes to setting targets. For the societies that are more long term oriented, people tend to be more pragmatic and thrifty. In societies embedded with short term orientation, people tend to be more focused on consistency and principles. In business contexts, modesty and education associated with and individual is given a lot of importance. There is a lot of room for values and people are more obligated to meet their task requirements. In case of short term orientation, people more concerned about the reason behind their allotted tasks. These people are generally associated with strong convictions and a lot of emphasis is given on values and rights of the individuals.
Indulgence versus Restraint (IVR)
The sixth dimension of Hofstede is associated with the permission or alliance given to the individuals of the society to enjoy life in their own terms. In countries with low IVR, the individual gratification of people’s emotions or interests is suppressed. In case of a business scenario where there is high indulgence, the people tend to be more optimistic and enjoy freedom of speech and personal happiness (Al Ariss & Sidani, 2016). High Restraint cases are generally associated with greater pessimism and there is greater rigidity and control with respect to organizational behavior.
The following are the challenges I identified that we had faced while working for the virtual team in Amazon.
Ways to overcome the challenges
In the present global economic era, it is very important to identify the needs that enhance the organizational behavior associated with in organization. This is because with growing competition, the expectation from each employee has been on the rise from the organizational point of view. The organizations, on the other hand are on the rush to perform better because the expectations from the customers’ end are increasing. This study has rightly identified the challenges associated with intercultural business negotiation. Different cultural dimensions as identified by Hofstede play different and significant role in understanding the challenges associated with different cultures and the ways to overcome them.
Al Ariss, A., & Sidani, Y. (2016). Comparative international human resource management: Future research directions. Human Resource Management Review, 26(4), 352-358.
Al-Sarayrah, S., Obeidat, B. Y., Al-Salti, Z., & Kattoua, T. (2016). The effect of culture on strategic human resource management practices: A theoretical perspective. International Journal of Business Management and Economic Research, 7(4), 704-716.
Browaeys, M. J. & Price, R. (2015) Understanding cross-cultural management, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited
French, R., (2015). Cross-cultural management in work organisations, London: CIPD
Hofstede G., Hofstede, G., Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: software of the mind: intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Obeidat, B. Y., Al-Sarayrah, S., Tarhini, A., Al-Dmour, R. H., Al-Salti, Z., & Sweis, R. (2016). Cultural influence on strategic human resource management practices: A Jordanian case study. International Business Research, 9(10), 94-114.
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