As our world becomes increasingly globalized, a term used by marketing guru Theodore Levitt to depict extensive developments and advancements in communications and technology, resulting in an emerging worldwide cultural homogeneity (N. Asgary and A. Walle, 2002, The Cultural Impact of Globalization: Economic Activity and Social). With the diversification of our workforce, in terms of culture, gender and ethnicity, the argument of whether organizational culture is more crucial than national culture, or vice versa, in our current period of rapid globalization arises. In this essay, I shall discuss this argument by giving my points coupled with supporting evidence.
Firstly, according to Lysons’ (2000) paper, organizational culture is defined as the system of shared beliefs, values and habits within an organization that interacts with the formal structure to form behavioral norms. (K. Lysons (2000). Concerning Corporate Culture.) National culture is defined as the joint psychological indoctrination of people originating from any particular country (T. Morden (1999) Model of National Culture). This mental programming shapes the values, perceptions, behaviors and beliefs perceived to be of importance by people of that nationality.
To a certain extent, I believe that with increasing globalization, organizational culture has more importance than one’s national culture. With globalization, there’s an influx of foreign talents, employees and staff from other countries into a company. For example, when a Mainland Chinese migrates or is transferred to another branch of his American-based company located in America, he would be exposed to a new American culture that is completely different from what he is used to back at home. According to Hofstede’s framework for assessing culture, the Chinese and Americans are very different in terms of their national culture. For instance, the Chinese society is largely collective compared to the highly individualism of American societies and organizations. This means that the Chinese expect others in their group to look after and defend them while the Americans tend to look after the interests if themselves and their immediate family (S. Robbins, R. Bergman, I. Stagg, M. Coulter (2006) Management 4th Edition, Pg 141). However, if the Americans were to insistent on their national culture of individualism, the foreign Chinese is bound to experience a culture shock, where he may be feel uncomfortable and is unable to adjust to the different working environment. This may in turn lead to conflicts and fiction between the Chinese and his American colleagues due to a stark disagreement in cultural beliefs and values. Furthermore, national culture and ‘accepted behavior’ may also differ from state to state, within one country. Hence, without a strong organizational culture, there’s no shared vision and common organizational goals. Employees may see themselves as people from different countries and cultural background who just happen to work in the same company, instead of equally capable, fellow colleagues with the same company aims, regardless of their nationality and racial background.
In this case, an organizational culture of strong team and people orientation is beneficial in instilling cooperation, trustworthiness and teamwork amongst employees. This is increasingly important with increasing globalization where the workforce is rapidly becoming diversified and varied. A strong organizational culture will allow employees from various cultural backgrounds to share common values, ideas and behavior that would promote understanding and harmony, thus negating the effects of stark differences in national culture that may serve to distinct foreigners more apart from the locals. This may help avoid possible friction, misunderstandings which are...