Cross-Cultural Concerns in South African Organisations. Personality Incorporated with the Topic

Topics: Culture, Psychology, Anthropology Pages: 6 (1552 words) Published: September 6, 2011
Title of Assignment: Cross-cultural concerns in South African organisations. Personality is incorporated into the topic.

There are many concerns in the organisation – most of which have some relation to cross-cultural issues. Cross-culture is concerned with the “systematic study of behaviour and experience as it occurs in different cultures, is influenced by culture, or results in changes in existing cultures” (Trandis and Lambert, 1980, p.1). Kroeber and Kluckhohn, (1952, p.181) proposed a definition of their own, “culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements”.

Personality may be defined “as the scientific study of psychological forces that make people uniquely themselves” as said by Friedman & Schustack(2002, p.2). Another definition may be “the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others” (Robbins, Judge, Odendaal & Roodt, 2009, p.92).

Every organisation has cross-cultural issues. It is inevitable. Issues and concerns of cross-culture will be discussed with specific reference to the influence of personality in this essay. This essay also questions to which extent personality may be culturally determined. The extent to which personality and culture influences the actions of individuals and what is the relevance of this topic to the organisation.

Personality acts as a guideline to understand what makes certain individuals to act differently when presented with the same situation. Personality helps to better understand the behaviour of the individual. With reference to the organisation the way in which individuals make decisions are influenced by their personality and values, which are instilled by their culture. For instance a person who is always willing to take risks should be a great entrepreneur. Even though risks can backfire the benefit is larger. This type of individual would be an asset towards the organisation with regards to making them a larger profit.

However personality may also be a weak predictor to behaviour as the situation is sometimes so strong it overrides our tendencies (Friedman and Schustack, 2002). An example would be in the case of a fire, it would not be surprising if a cool and calm person acted rash and scared when everybody is rushing towards the exit. The individual’s basic instinct is survival and that will override their tendencies.

The poet Whitman (1871) wrote, “it is native personality, and that alone, that endows a man to stand before the presidents or generals, or in any distinguished collection, with aplomb – and not culture, or any knowledge or intellect whatever”. What this statement implies is that individuals are born and raised in a certain culture, which contributes to their personality of today. However as said before individuals have the ability to adapt to their environment and other cultures.

A simplistic example of how inbred culture influences the individual’s behaviour is provided. In this example we have two men, each from a different culture, one Afrikaans and one Zulu. The Afrikaans gentleman allows for a lady to walk though a door first, in his culture this shows his manners. However the Zulu gentleman walks through the door first, in case of danger on the other side of the door. A clear-cut example of how the upbringing influences their personality and thus their actions.

Gender differences in personality relates to cross-culture. The question one needs to ask is whether physical differences show evidence of psychological gender differences. This is an important question because the gender differences are physical and physiological which often leads to a simple justification for personality differences between men and women (Friedman and Shustack, 2002).

There are a few areas in which reliable gender differences in psychological abilities have been found. With regard to the cognitive domain, men have...

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Carnerio, R.L. (1970) Scale analysis, evolutionary sequence, and the rating of cultures. In R. Narloll and R. Cohen. A handbook of method in cultural anthropology. New York: Columbia University Press.
Eagly, A.H. (1987). Sex differences in social behaviour: A social role interpretation. Hillsdale: L.Erlbaum Associates.
Friedman, H.S., Schustack, M.W. (2003) Personality: classic theories and
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Halpern, D.F. (1992) Sex differences in cognitive abilities. (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: L. Erlbaum Associates.
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