Cultural Comparisons of India and China

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1.Increased business globalization, emergence of new economic hubs like BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as well as more intense competition among organizations at the domestic and international level alike over the past two decades, have necessitated the need for studies in the comparative Human Resource Management (HRM) (Budhwar & Sparrow, 2002a). As a result, a growing number of conceptual (Aycan, 2005; Edwards & Kuruvilla, 2005) and empirical studies (Bae, Chen, & Lawler, 1998; Budhwar & Sparrow, 2002b; Easterby-Smith, Malina, & Yuan, 1995) have addressed the configuration of HRM in different national contexts.

2.The literature has developed different frameworks to analyze and explain how historical evolution, social institutions and different national cultures can influence firm behaviour in general and HRM in particular. One of the research based on path dependency arguments claims that the administrative heritage leads an organization to adopt specific structures and behaviours (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1998). Another view point focuses on an institutional perspective and investigates the social and institutional determinants that underlie the logic of organizing business enterprises and their competitive behavior in different national contexts (Lane, 1994) and (Whitley, 1991, 1992).

3.On the contrary, the cultural perspective has focused its attention on the cultural distinctiveness of practices, beliefs and values shared by a community. Culture and values are associated with the national culture of a country as boundaries that allow interaction and socialization within them. Scholars have analyzed the influence of these national cultural values, attitudes and behaviours on business and management styles (Hofstede, 1980; Laurent, 1986; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997). At the same time, the movement of people across national borders and the preservation of particular groups with specific idiosyncratic customs, together with differences in social and economic experiences, highlights that subcultures can coexist in many countries.

4.However in this study of Chinese and Indian culture, my focus will be limited to the cultural differences in the perspective of HRM, and examining how cultural values and norms shape managerial choices across their national contexts and how these may, in turn, explain differences in HRM.

The Role of Culture in Human Resource Management

5.The study of the effect of culture on the design, implementation and experience of HRM policies and practices is not only limited to national cultural differences but also encompasses individual (Stone, Stone-Romero, & Lukaszewski, 2007) and organizational (Aycan et al., 2000) cultural variation. However, in this assignment I will focus on the role of national cultural differences. In the following paragraphs, I will first define the concept of culture and review major cultural frameworks that have been adopted to examine national cultural in the perspective of HRM. Subsequently, national cultures of China and India will be compared in the context of its impact on the design and implementation of HRM policies and practices.

Defining Culture

6.Implicit to the concept of cultural effect is the notion that societies are considered to vary in terms of the arrangements which their institutions and organizations are composed of, and that these variations reflect their distinctive traditions, values, attitudes and historical experiences. In this regard, culture can be defined as the “crystallisation of history in the thinking, feeling and acting of the present generation” (Hofstede, 1993). Bartlett and Ghoshal (1998) also suggest that the history, infrastructure, resources and culture of a nation state permeate all aspects of life within a given country, including the behaviour of...
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