Case study Essay Example

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Case Study

Case Study

Question 1

Hofstede carried out a research study concerning the effect of culture on the value in the workplace. He researched how diverse people interact with regard to six different groups of cultural dimensions (McSweeney, 2002). The first dimension is power distance which highlights the extent to which cultures and societies accept that power is unevenly distributed in the community. The second category is individualism versus collectivism. Individualist cultures portray a preference for an individual rather than a group. On the other hand, collectivist cultures value the loyalty to a group rather an individual. Uncertainty avoidance category is based on the extent to which individuals are willing and ready to accept ambiguous and risky circumstances (McSweeney, 2002). For instance, cultures with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance prefer predictability and established structure which brings about strict rules and behaviours.

On the other hand, cultures with low uncertainty avoidance prefer unstructured circumstances and ambiguity bringing about innovation and favours risk-taking (McSweeney, 2002). The fourth category is masculinity versus femininity whereby the masculine cultures show a dominance of tough norms and values like assertiveness, achievement and material success, whereas feminine cultures show a dominance of tender values like care for others and personal relationships. The next category is long-term versus short-term orientation (McSweeney, 2002). A society with a long-term orientation searches for virtue while short-term orientation society has a strong concern based on establishing the truth.

In the case study, the managers are faced with cultural issues demonstrated by Hofstede. Some societies love working alone while others prefer working in groups. Caroline is from an individualist society while Marie and Ilisha are from a collectivist societies. Caroline is comfortable working alone and the other managers often complain about her behaviour of alienating herself from the rest of the people and making decisions without consultation. Ding and Ilisha are from high power distance cultures where they believe that superiors are expected to be given respect. This is why they demand to be heard and be shown respect by Caroline. Ding is a manager who supports the delegation of work and shows tough value of hardworking and competition which is associated with male roles. This shows that he is from a masculine culture. On the other hand, Eric is from a feminine culture. This is attributed to the fact that he shows tender values such as his commitment to his family and personal relationships. Caroline is from a masculine culture as shown by her commitment to lead as a team leader. In addition, Ding is from long-term orientation society due to his search for virtue as seen in the way he disapproves Eric’s habit of being absent in the evenings. Ricky is from a high uncertainty avoidance culture since in his work, he has shown that he is not ready for ambiguity and wants facts about everything. On the other hand, Eric and Ding come from low uncertainty avoidance cultures since they prefer unstructured work frameworks which bring about innovation.

Operating in a manner that tends to go hand-in-hand with cultural contexts of everyone improves business performance (Hofstede, 2001). It is wrong to ignore the cultural differences that beset organisations. Managing adaption to cultural differences should involve ways that limit the need for variation. One way of reducing poor performance brought about by cultural variations is to focus on similarities of cultures. Another method of reducing cultural differences is enhancing strong organisational culture by cultivating a group of employees that are drawn to organisational culture (Minkov, 2007). Investing in cross-cultural training allows different people from different cultures to be flexible and understands and respects each other.

Question 2

Examples of employee motivation theories are the Maslow Hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory. According to Maslow Theory, people have five fundamental needs, including basic needs, physical, security needs, social, self-esteem and self-fulfilment need (Forster, 2013). According to the theory, our behaviours are driven by different needs where the lower needs should be satisfied first before other needs are satisfied. In the Herzberg’s two factor theory, two factors influence the motivation of employees; intrinsic factors including achievement and recognition and extrinsic factors like pay and working environment. If these factors are not satisfied, employees cannot be motivated. Herzberg and Maslow agree with each other that some factors are not sufficient when it comes to satisfying employees such as safe environment and good salary (Forster, 2013). Employees are instead motivated by satisfaction of upper-level needs like sense of achievement, responsibility and recognition. According to the theories, in order to improve motivation of employees in the working environment, managers are required to recognize all factors of motivation.

One example of a company that uses motivation theory is Tesco Company. The company utilizes the Herzberg’s two factor theory to actively motivate its employees. Tesco takes into consideration factors that leads to satisfaction and dissatisfaction of employees (Davies and Hertig, 2008). In the company, employees are motivated by timely and appropriate communication and are involved in decision making (Davies and Hertig, 2008). Another company that uses motivation theory is Virgin Atlantic that offers good salaries to its employees in addition to promoting delegation of work, team work, and recognising the employees who do well in their work.

One way in which an employee can be motivated is through tying compensating incentives into work performance objectives in order to push the employees to achieve their goals. Giving bonuses to the employees who perform well coupled with intangible rewards such as recognition and appreciation can allow managers reach an individual at a deeper level which will enable deeper commitment to the organisation (Davies and Hertig, 2008). According to Maslow Theory, employers should not just aim at satisfying the basic needs through pay, but should satisfy the social needs that enable the employees feel appreciated and have sense of belonging. Another way of motivating employees is through the establishment of employee development programs, open corporate culture and employee recognition programs in order to tap into all the needs of the employees. Maslow theory argues that different people have different needs that they need to satisfy (Forster, 2013). Therefore, employee recognition programs and an open company culture can boost employee’s feeling of achievement and confidence. Also, a welcoming organisational culture enables employees develop long lasting relationships while development programs give an opportunity for hard working employees to move to leadership positions which fulfils their ambitions and therefore their needs effectively (Forster, 2013).


Davies, S. & Hertig, C. (2008). Security supervision and management the theory and practice of asset protection. Amsterdam Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier.

Forster, E. (2013). Howards End. Lanham: Start Classics.

Hofstede, (2001). Culture’s Consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

McSweeney, B. (2002). Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: a triumph of faith – a failure of analysis. Human Relations, 55(1), 89-117.

Minkov, M. (2007). What makes us different and similar: A new interpretation of the World Values Survey and other cross-cultural data, Sofia, Bulgaria, Klasika y Stil Publishing House.