Professor Tryna Hamilton
23 February 2013
Which of the cultural value dimensions that we discussed (from Hofstede, Trompenaars and the Globe Project) do you think best describe Silicon Valley’s unique culture?
The Silicon Valley culture has many different aspects; therefore, it’s hard to define strictly one cultural value dimension from the three different ones we talked in class. It is more efficient and informational to look at a few different characteristics that each one of those cultural value dimensions have, and discuss how the Silicon Valley relates, or does not relate to them.
We can see that the Silicon Valley culture is highly collectivistic. The reasons for that are how the Valley’s “community” is friendly and cordial outside work, regardless of all the competition they have during work hours. A writer from the “Fortune” magazine even described them as the “technological community” in the early 70’s, and found a “ surprising degree of cooperation among companies, almost Japanese in its closeness, had added further to impress Santa Clara’s ascendancy”. They have also came to develop a very informal relationship between companies, going as far as competitors calling each other to ask if they have ran into an issue that the other was facing through at the moment, and asking for advice with no hesitation (Saxenian 1996, page 32).
However, that may also be a sign of low Future Orientation and Power Distance. Since the companies are so close together (geographically and socially), and sudden advantageous job opportunities in a different company happen often, quickly switching from one job to another has become something common. A colleague might become a costumer or a competitor, today’s boss could be tomorrow’s subordinate. (Saxenian 1996, page 34/36). Looking for new challenges is also viewed as a “norm” in the Valley, even if they have a stable job in their company, which is a risky characteristic that makes it hard for a