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Culture of Singapore

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Introduction
The culture of Singapore has evolved down the years since the island country itself represents a wonderful blend of cultures as diverse as Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European. Naturally, Singapore, which was once a fishing village under the British Empire, is a composite and cohesive portrait of various cultures.

Content
Part 1 (Appendix)
In Singapore, a lot of people have more interest in the heritage over the years. The traditional stuffs become the reminder that how the culture of old customs and practices have survived. What is obvious is that this interest is less about heritage being national and more about it being local. The heritage phenomenon is a measurement of cultural resilience, something that comes from living and caring for what is nature and familiar. This is very important in modern environment. History often ignored the latter, and records more about the latter than about the former. There is a gap between what was local and what provided the glitter and glory of life among the elites. This gap protected local culture precisely.
In modern nation-states, the culture becomes the way of tests of the new elites' patriotism and loyalty. In Western and Central Europe, this is a successful way of producing political unity. This strategy is less successful in elsewhere, for instance, the larger states, China, Indonesia and India. These countries which have own strong indigenous cultures. This is also a test for nation-states that consist of large numbers of immigrant people who brought their own cultures.
Under some special situation, Malaysia and Singapore have a similar colonial past. They have large numbers of immigrants. Local cultures were irrelevant as long as they did not stand in the way of civilizational progress. Therefore, the local cultures will not only be survived, they become badges of pride. Singapore and Malaysia contained Malay, Chinese, India and Arab communities, which have successfully developed their own cultures in response to the dominant West.
The goal of Malaysia is trying to achieve all the citizens to accept Malay-Muslim as indigenous, and to make sure this is the basis of a new national culture.
In Singapore, many local cultures are to be treated with equal respect, and expect that an enriched national culture will totally emerge.
In both cases, there is room for local culture to play a role.
In Malaysia, the cultures are being politicized, then the role will be always difficult. The result will be uncertain.
In Singapore, there is more room for local culture to play new roles. As the Chinese are the most numerous, they develop various new group, such as different clubs, societies and religious organization. Cultural retention and change might be a measure of the role local culture can play.
Chinese living in the Malay world thrived by focusing on the local cultures that their ancestors brought from villages in Fujian and Guangdong.
The newcomers in large numbers were part of a wave of migration that was a response to painful transitions in China. The newcomers were excited in discovery. These newcomers made strenuous efforts abroad to educate new generations to build a nation for modern China.
That included the idea of liberating the common people in their newfound land from established elite structures, something that appealed to immigrants who were predominantly working-class. The localized Chinese who lived in the three new nations, of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, had to confront new changes.A few remained proud of their heritage, but many adjusted to nation- building requirements, or turned elsewhere for a new life.
In Singapore, local-born Singaporean Chinese are developing local culture that not only draws on ancestral cultures in China but also incorporates the national, cosmopolitan and other local cultures that attract them.
They are experiencing the same challenges of their Peranakan predecessors, except that their encounters include a much wider range of national and global cultures. How they approach that mixed heritage is inspiring fresh interest. For a community to thrive, it is vital for each to defend the right to preserve what its members want.It may be true that ultimately all politics is local. But it is even more important to recognise that the most resilient and meaningful cultures are also local: grown on one’s land and close to home.

Part two
Business is normally conducted in English in Singapore, particularly British English. As many Asian countries do, Singapore has a formal business culture with quite a few rules concerning etiquette. The etiquette itself can vary between the different Chinese, Malay and Indian members. Because the Chinese form the greatest part of the population in Singapore, most of the cultural aspects of the business world are influenced by the Chinese.
Networking is an essential part of conducting business in Singapore, as is cultivating personal relationships with co-workers and potential business associates. Workshops, conferences, training events, and even luncheons are all popular networking venues in Singapore.
It is also important to show respect to elders and those in senior management since status and hierarchy are very important. Business decisions are usually reached by a consensus and in the overall scheme of things, the group’s interests are more important than the individual’s.
Business attire is important and will depend on the occupation itself. In most cases, regular business attire includes long sleeved shirts, dark trousers, and ties for men. Women tend to wear blouses, skirts, or dressy slacks.
It is very important to be punctual. If you’re unsure of what to do in a certain situation, following the lead of the senior member can be helpful. Most greetings are met with a light handshake although you might find that not all women wish to shake hands with men. If they cross their hands in front of their chests then the protocol is to shake your head slightly in acknowledgement.
In Singapore, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns. This may include involvement in their family, housing, health, and other practical life issues. Singapore’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Singapore is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
In contrast, majority of Singaporeans and local firms practise group-centredness, that is, the traditional value of cooperation amongst group members to maintain group harmony. In a workplace, teamwork and group efforts (cooperation) are seen as the main means of achieving company goals (group harmony). Anti-group-centredness behaviors such as disagreeing with the group’s decisions, putting individual wants above the group’s needs and boasting about individual efforts are frowned upon as these behaviours jeopardize group harmony. This Collectivist culture has a preference to work together and share rewards more than to strive for individual recognition; sharing responsibilities, helping each other and learning from each other. The younger generation of Singaporeans exhibits more individualistic traits than the older generation.
Singaporean work culture seeks rules appropriate to every situation as opposed to abstract universal principles. Singapore is a bit famous by really strict rules for everything. Majority of the local firms don’t actually want too many employees running around with too many crazy ideas, nor do they want unfocused fragmentations of the core businesses managed by over-enthusiastic entrepreneurs. It’s often thought that mass Singaporeans cannot innovate because they are conditioned to be followers rather than creative idea generators. In the name of creativity, employees may often be encouraged to be "as creative as possible", however, with tonnes of boundaries and restrictions.
While the idea of nurturing selective few ‘innovators’ and the rest of the population to be the ‘followers’ worked beautifully for Singapore’s initial development, the city-state has now realized that to compete in the new global economy, it needs to scatter the seeds of creativity more widely among its population. A number of initiative are being implemented at all levels, however, it won’t change overnight and will more likely be a slow and gradual process.

Part 3
Step One
Self-awareness is the key to success. The only way to constantly be successful in achieving our goals is to make distinctions along the way, become aware of what is working and not working for us and become aware of why we have been doing these things, or just as importantly, why we have not been doing them.

Figure 1

Figure 2
Figure 1 and 2 show my cultural profile.
Step Two

Figure 3

Figure 4
Figure 3 and 4 show the comparison of cultural profile between USA and I.
I decided to choose America as I have interest to work in. America is the leader of the free world. No other nation has played a bigger role than the U.S, and no other great power in history has enjoyed as much global influence as the U.S. does now, without assuming direct political control over vast territories.
From the analysis above, my cultural profile is not exactly similar with USA’s cultural profile. As an Asian, we have a lot of different working and living styles compare with western, but this is not a barrier. We are able to adapt their environment.
The time focus, time orientation, power and structure are the main differences. Time focus and time orientation may cause the problems of working with colleagues. Therefore, the communication skill with colleagues will be important. We should communicate with our colleagues to avoid conflict and try to achieve working target together.
Because of the difference between Eastern and Western culture, the power and structure are totally different. As I said above, we could try to adapt their environment, and use the similar culture to arrange our working plan.

Step Three
Management has been described as a social process involving responsibility for economical and effective planning & regulation of operation of an enterprise in the fulfillment of given purposes. It is a dynamic process consisting of various elements and activities. These activities are different from operative functions like marketing, finance, purchase etc. Rather these activities are common to each and every manger irrespective of his level or status.
I would like to work in Google, about 2.5 million people send their resumes to the high-tech giant every year, and, as CBS News learned, human resources at this company is also a science.
The Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., is considered the good life for employees. The company offers comforts, privileges and perks to its employees that worker at most other companies can only envy. But what may seem like luxuries are actually good business and Google can prove that because the company studies everything it does.
Planning
It is the basic function of management. It deals with chalking out a future course of action & deciding in advance the most appropriate course of actions for achievement of pre-determined goals. Planning is deciding in advance - what to do, when to do & how to do. It bridges the gap from where we are & where we want to be. A plan is a future course of actions. It is an exercise in problem solving & decision making. Planning is determination of courses of action to achieve desired goals. Thus, planning is a systematic thinking about ways & means for accomplishment of pre-determined goals. Planning is necessary to ensure proper utilization of human & non-human resources. It is all pervasive, it is an intellectual activity and it also helps in avoiding confusion, uncertainties, risks, wastages etc.
People management is forward looking at Google. As a result, it develops predictive models and use “what if” analysis to continually improve their forecasts of upcoming people management problems and opportunities. It also uses analytics to produce more effective workforce planning, which is essential in a rapidly growing and changing firm.
Organizing
It is the process of bringing together physical, financial and human resources and developing productive relationship amongst them for achievement of organizational goals. To organize a business is to provide it with everything useful or its functioning i.e. raw material, tools, capital and personnel’s. To organize a business involves determining & providing human and non-human resources to the organizational structure.
One of the few firms to approach recruiting scientifically, it developed an algorithm for predicting which candidates had the highest probability of succeeding after they are hired. Its research also determined that little value was added beyond four interviews, dramatically shortening time to hire. Google is also unique in its strategic approach to hiring because its hiring decisions are made by a group in order to prevent individual hiring managers from hiring people for their own short-term needs. Under project Janus, it developed an algorithm for each large job family that analyzed rejected resumes to identify any top candidates who they might have missed. They found that they had only a 1.5% miss rate, and as a result they hired some of the revisited candidates.
Staffing
It is the function of manning the organization structure and keeping it manned. Staffing has assumed greater importance in the recent years due to advancement of technology, increase in size of business, complexity of human behavior etc. The main purpose o staffing is to put right man on right job i.e. square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes. Managerial function of staffing involves manning the organization structure through proper and effective selection, appraisal & development of personnel to fill the roles designed un the structure.
Unlike most firms, analytics are used to solve diversity problems. As a result, the people analytics team conducted analysis to identify the root causes of weak diversity recruiting, retention, and promotions. The results that it produced in hiring, retention, and promotion were dramatic and measurable. Rather than focusing on traditional classroom learning, the emphasis is on hands-on learning (the vast majority of people learn through on the job learning). Google has increased discovery and learning through project rotations, learning from failures, and even through inviting external speakers like Al Gore and Lady Gaga to speak to their employees. Clearly self-directed continuous learning and the ability to adapt are key employee competencies at Google.

Leading
It is that part of managerial function which actuates the organizational methods to work efficiently for achievement of organizational purposes. It is considered life-spark of the enterprise which sets it in motion the action of people because planning, organizing and staffing are the mere preparations for doing the work. Direction is that inert-personnel aspect of management which deals directly with influencing, guiding, supervising, motivating sub-ordinate for the achievement of organizational goals.
Its “project oxygen” research analyzed reams of internal data and determined that great managers are essential for top performance and retention. It further identified the eight characteristics of great leaders. The data proved that rather than superior technical knowledge, periodic one-on-one coaching which included expressing interest in the employee and frequent personalized feedback ranked as the No. 1 key to being a successful leader. Managers are rated twice a year by their employees on their performance on the eight factors.
Controlling
It implies measurement of accomplishment against the standards and correction of deviation if any to ensure achievement of organizational goals. The purpose of controlling is to ensure that everything occurs in conformities with the standards. An efficient system of control helps to predict deviations before they actually occur. Controlling is the measurement & correction of performance activities of subordinates in order to make sure that the enterprise objectives and plans desired to obtain them as being accomplished.
The PiLab is a unique subgroup that no other firm has. It conducts applied experiments within Google to determine the most effective approaches for managing people and maintaining a productive environment (including the type of reward that makes employees the happiest). The lab even improved employee health by reducing the calorie intake of its employees at their eating facilities by relying on scientific data and experiments (by simply reducing the size of the plates).
Google is a “talent magnet” firm and that is its primary driver of success. It is wildly successful because it attracts and retains extraordinary talent, and it can expand and grow because it can attract that talent in any new field or job family. As a result, the primary reason to copy and learn from Google is that if we could successfully attract and retain the same caliber of top talent and innovators that it does, other firms would also dominate not just current industry but any industry or product line that they chose to go into. We should also consider the distinct possibility that their firm’s low-capability people management practices are actually restricting their firm from producing higher-margin products and services.
Look at the extraordinary success that both Google and Apple produced after they made the shift to become “innovation companies” and talent magnets. Both have moved from literally nowhere in the competitive landscape to market cap and product domination within the last decade. We could assume that their success was based on their buildings and equipment and try to duplicate them. However it wouldn’t take long for us to figure out that rather than buildings or equipment, it is their ability to attract and manage innovators. The game has changed, and it is no longer the largest or oldest firms that win. Instead, it is the firms with the most innovators that win. And in the future, that need for innovators will only increase.

Conclusion
Most companies take an adversarial role to their employees. All the data in the world won’t solve that issue, because it’s an attitude problem, plain and simple. The culture of the company and employees might be totally different. The management should consider carefully to ensure that the efficiency of the company. The new generation of culture is changing day by day, even though it is not that striking. Company should accept the changes and prepare for it.

Reference
Huff, W. G. The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century , 1994.
Wang Gungwu. (2014) The Power of Local Culture, Straitstimes.com [Internet] 25th January 2014, Available at http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/case-you-missed-it/story/the-power-local-culture-20140128 [Accessed 25th January 2014] http://www.ehow.com/about_6672748_business-etiquette-america.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_the_United_States http://www.google.com.sg/about/company/facts/ Appendix

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