Examine the Roles of Hierarchy and Power Within East and Western Enterprises

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TISHYA WICKREMESINGHE - WITND12

Table of Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 2 Culture............................................................................................................................................. 2 Eastern culture versus Western culture ........................................................................................... 3 Power Distance Index (PDI): Geert Hofstede ................................................................................. 4 Hierarchy and Equality: Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner ........................................................ 4 PDI and Educational level .............................................................................................................. 5 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................... 5 References ....................................................................................................................................... 6

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TISHYA WICKREMESINGHE - WITND12

Examine the roles of hierarchy and power within East and Western enterprises

Introduction

This report aims at studying cross-cultural differences in the roles of hierarchy and power within East and Western enterprises. Cross-cultural differences stem from the different backgrounds of each culture. Cultural varieties may be witnessed in the workplace, and there are other factors introduced such as reaching sales targets, meeting deadlines, working on tight budgets, which may cause conflict. Because of the differences in cultures, there might be some kind of misunderstanding among people working in the same organization due to their different values, beliefs, on hierarchy and power. This will be addressed by looking at culture, eastern culture versus western culture, the dimension of hierarchy and equality, dimension of power distance and other dimensions influencing these two dimensions mentioned above.

Culture

Many definitions have been proposed to explain culture. One definition that has been widely used states that the culture of a collective is formed by the norms, roles, belief systems, laws and values that form meaningful wholes and that are interrelated in meaningful ways (Schein, 1992; Triandis, 1972). Several studies have contributed to our understanding of culture. Four wellknown cultural value dimensions were first identified by Hofstede (1980) and received considerable attention from other researchers (e.g. Dorfman and Howell, 1988; Smith and Bond, 1993). In addition to these four dimensions (power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity and uncertainty avoidance), paternalism and Confucian work dynamism have been shown to describe cultures (Chinese Culture Connection, 1987; Hofstede, 1983; James et al., 1996).

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TISHYA WICKREMESINGHE - WITND12

Eastern culture versus Western culture

Following the difference in expressing cultures, let’s let Asia represent the East. Asians focus very much on respect and personal distance very strongly. For example, in Asian cultures people would bow or tilt their heads as a sign of “hello,” “thank you,” or “goodbye,” whereas in Western culture, a handshake or even a hug is considered to be normal. For example, in Asian cultures people would bow or tilt their heads as a sign of “hello,” “thank you,” or “goodbye,” whereas in Western culture, a handshake or even a hug is considered to be normal. Asian culture strongly values the hierarchy system in which they very much respect their superiors and anyone above them in the social hierarchy. Rank or status is evident especially in the business culture of Asian countries because the attitude of an employee to their employer shows the at most respect, loyalty, and politeness. Treating every person the same...
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