How does culture and environment affect institutions and their management?
Define the Problem:
What went wrong during Ms. Myers tenure from your point of view? Ms. Myers was a smart individual that got caught up in the hype of a new and promising job. Like many people these days the sound of an executive position is tempting and wanted by many, however most do not have the skills or the knowledge needed to survive and be a part of that new environment. It is great to want to invent the wheel again, but it’s not great to step on toes while trying be inventive. Ms. Myers started out good but failed in what her objective was. “When Linda Myers accepted a human resources position at SK Telecom in South Korea, she thought it was the opportunity she'd long been working toward. Not only would she break ground as one of the first American female executives at a Korean company, she would also lead an initiative to make the organization more global. For someone who'd spent years consulting on expatriate transitions, this seemed like a dream job.” Green 2011. If she had made a few changes, her objective would have been achieved, making a stand for women around the world and getting a foot hold for Asian women in Korea.
Analyze the Cause:
Explain the problem Ms. Myers is encountering using Hofstede's five dimensions of culture to compare Korean and American assumptions about interpersonal relationships and management. 1. Power/Distance (PD) – This refers to the degree of inequality that exists – and is accepted – among people with and without power. On the ground in Seoul, Myers quickly realized just how far she was from her native Baltimore. One early shock was the homogeneity of not only her office but also the city: Government estimates indicate that foreigners account for 2.4% of the population. That’s compared with just over 18% for Singapore and 27% for New York and London, according to the Migration Policy Institute. (Green) Because Mrs. Myers was used to being in the states and was not acclimated to the Asian environment, she felt that she was far from comfort. Also, early on, she asked employees to dispense with calling her “Sang Mu Linda,” her title at the company, and to use Linda, the norm in a U.S. company, to create a less formal environment. “But by removing the label, I plummeted in their eyes,” she recalls. What she regarded as a “participative leadership style” looked wishy-washy to the people at SK. (Green) Power can be seen as a position that you have gained by promotion. Because she was already in a position of management, she had the power over many people. How she used that power was her downfall. In the Korean environment she was the “Sang Mu” which was a management position. Once she tried to associate with the workers as equals she fell from that role in the eyes of the workers.
2. Individualism (IDV) – The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups". In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations. In contrast, in collectivist societies, individuals act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organization. People have large extended families, which are used as a protection in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.
3. Masculinity (MAS) – This refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles. Myers was constantly aware of being female. Aside from secretaries, she was almost always the only woman in the room. She was also unprepared for the company’s rigid hierarchy. But as Myers saw it, “there were basically four levels: VP, director, manager, and worker bee. You only talked to people at your level.” (Green) Not all societies have equalized the field of female and male relationships. In the Asian cultures the roles of male being dominate and Females are the...
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