Critically evaluate the contributions of two cross-cultural management theorists in understanding and resolving international management issues. Relate your answer to two cultures which are not your own - identify and concentrate on significant differences between the two cultures which arise from the theories.
Make your choice of theorists from: Geert Hofstede; Nancy Adler; Edgar Schein; Fons Trompenaars; Edward Hall; House et al; Marie-Joëlle Browaeys and Roger Price.
Choice of theorists:
1 Geert Hofstede
2 Fons Trompenaars
Choice of cultures:
1 United States
The business world is affected by globalization. For this reason, a good manager needs to understand the differences and similarities between different countries in order to operate with the opportunities and deal with the threats (Punnet, 2004:6-7). This shows the importance of the concept of culture.
Various researchers such as Hofstede (1980), Schein (1990), Trompenaars (1993) and Hall and Hall (1990) have tried to categorize different cultures using relational and extensive dimensions in order to compare them. Using these dimensions, it is possible to know the characteristics than define persons of a particular culture. This would facilitate the “understanding of culture and management in an international environment” (Browaeys and Price, 2008: 5).
Hofstede (1980) was the first to research differences across national cultures of different countries in the field of the management. His studies allowed him to know to what extent dissimilar cultural clusters can affect an organisation (Browaeys and Price, 2008:21). Trompenaars’ (1993) shares Hofstede’s opinion that “much of management behaviour is culturally determined” (Needle, 2004:151). Hofstede’s dimensions are different to Trompenaars’ dimensions. Their studies should be considered as an addition to one another, not as a replacement. Nevertheless, some dimensions can be compared on account of their similarity (Gooderham and Nordhaug, 2003:144).
This paper will analyse the United States and India, based on Hofstede’s (1980) and Trompenaars’ (1993) dimensions. According to House et al (2004:190) these countries belong to different clusters, where similar cultures have been grouped. The United States is one of the countries compose the Anglos and India is among the cluster of Southern Asia (House et al, 2004: 190).
The concept of culture
There are different ways to define culture. According to Hofstede (1980) culture is defined as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (2005:4), while Trompenaars and Hampder-Turner (1998:6) determine culture as “the way in which a group of people solves problems and reconciles dilemmas”. Both definitions share the meaning of culture referring to the behaviour of different groups when they respond to environmental issues (Perkins, 2006:55).
Hofstede (1980) developed a dimensional approach to compare various cultures to explain the extent of influence in management. He based his research on IBM, a multinational company, with subsidiaries located of different countries and later confirmed the dimensions of national culture differences with a variety of other studies (Hofstede, 2002). These dimensions are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individual versus group orientation, masculine versus feminine orientation and short-term versus long-tem (Browaeys and Price, 2008:21).
Using Hofstede’s rank, India is a country whose power distance is high, above international average. According to Hofstede (2003), India is characterized as a society with high inequality of wealth and power. The workplace is a good example of this inequality. The manager’s offices are roomy and equipped with comfortable furniture. In contrast, an ample office area is...