Values differ across cultures. Therefore, we need to understand these differences in order to explain and predict employees behavior from different countries. Some cultures value group decision, whereas others think that the leader should take charge. For an example, meetings in Germany usually start on time, whereas they might be half an hour late in Brazil or Malaysia without much concern. We need to be sensitive to the fact that cultural differences exist and although often subtle, can influence decisions, behavior and relations among employees. One of the most ambitious studies of cultural differences as they relate to organizational issues was undertaken by Geert Hofstede, a Dutch scholar which involved data on more than 116,000 employees of IBM representing forty countries.
Hofstede’s framework for assessing cultures provides five value dimensions of national culture which are:
a) Individualism and Collectivism
Individualism is the extent to which we value independence and personal uniqueness. Highly individualist people value personal freedom, self-sufficiency, control over their own lives and appreciation of the unique qualities that distinguish them from others. Collectivism on the other hand, is the extent to which we value our duty to groups to which we belong, as well as group harmony. Highly collectivist people define themselves by their group membership and value harmonious relationships within those groups.
These definitions might give insights that high individualism is the same as low collectivism and vice versa. However, research indicates that the two concepts are actually unrelated. Some people and cultures might have both high individualism and high collectivism. For example, someone who highly values duty to his or her group does not necessarily give a low priority to personal freedom and...