The influence of national culture on processes
Considering the influence of the national culture on the models and methods of company management, let us turn to the question of how culture influences organizational processes: procedural, planning and control, organizing information flows, making managerial decisions.
The order and rules for the implementation of operational actions adopted by certain companies may be related to the influence of cultural parameters such as tolerance for uncertainty, the presence of high or low-context communications, as well as the attitude to the company as an instrumental or social organization . At the same time, this influence is quite difficult to identify, because it is not obvious and in some cases can be leveled by other national features of doing business.
Consider how the procedural processes in American, British, German and Japanese companies are carried out.
US companies. In US companies, there are quite formal reporting systems, a large number of written regulations and procedures that are developed in a centralized manner. This may seem somewhat unusual for a country with a low level of avoidance of uncertainty and a high degree of individualism. However, the proliferation of standard operating procedures can be explained by the fact that in this cultural environment the instrumental view of the company prevails, and communications are low-rate. Together with the practice of hiring under contracts and the great historical influence of a scientific school of management, the impact of these factors leads to the desire of leaders to achieve high clarity of the operations required to perform operations. Job descriptions are often created in writing, the operations are described in detail, taking into account that each new employee clearly knows what is expected of him. It is believed that it is universality and standardization of procedures that allows individuals to move quickly along the career ladder and easily change their job place.
Companies in the UK and Germany. In one study, in which a comparative analysis of procedural processes performed by managers of 30 British and 30 German firms was carried out, it was noted.
1. Most of the surveyed companies in the UK had detailed job descriptions, while among the German firms in the sample, clear job descriptions had only one. At first glance, this contradicts the influence of such a cultural parameter as the avoidance of uncertainty: in Germany there is a high degree of avoidance of uncertainty, in the UK - low. However, since German firms most value specialist managers, rather than generalists, it is believed that they are well aware of how to perform operations and there is no need to detail job descriptions.
2. Since British managers are often jenralists, they are more likely to change jobs. The study noted that in the UK firms surveyed, 25 out of 30 managers changed jobs in four years, while in German firms - only 10 out of 30. Since German managers stay longer on one job, job descriptions are well mastered. Detailed formalized job descriptions in English firms serve as a basis for transferring information about the company's general rules to new employees.
3. British managers have a higher tolerance for contradictions between written directions and actual duties and therefore do not feel bound by job descriptions. The resistance of German managers to written prescriptions stems from the desire to maintain flexibility in the implementation of procedures. Unlike the British, German managers feel uncomfortable with any discrepancy between formal procedures and practice, which is precisely due to the high degree of avoidance of uncertainty.
The companies of Japan. Japanese firms are characterized by the following features.
1. The highly contextual communications inherent in Japanese culture are one of the reasons that procedures and job descriptions are less precise when work is closely related to relationships between people and situations.
2. Japanese managers often have broad general knowledge about the company that are acquired through observation and work experience, rather than being presented to them in writing.
3. The low degree of formalization of procedures is often associated with the fact that tasks are not assigned to individuals, but to groups in which individual responsibility is blurred.
4. Specific knowledge of the company, the lack in many cases of formalization of processes, the need to solve many issues by the team create strong ties between people, the group and the company and thereby reduce career mobility outside the organization.
In the practice of negotiations conducted by representatives of the countries of South-East Asia, business proposals begin with a general description of the project, as well as the circumstances that are associated with its implementation, and only after that proposals are formulated to the partner. The same logic can be traced in presentations of French businessmen. Representatives of the Anglo-Saxon countries adhere to a different approach: business letters and presentations begin with a clear formulation of the proposal to the partner with the subsequent justification and detailing.
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