Student’s ID: Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Management Theorists6

Management Theorists

Student’s ID:

1.0 Introduction

Hofstede work in 1980s ‘titled cultural consequence’ that was derived on pre-existing employee attitude survey of IBM employees in 1967 and 1973 gave birth to the concept known as national culture that has been widely utilised in management domain (McSweeney, 2002, p.90). The study identified principal parameters that define a nation’s culture such as power distance; individualism vs. collectivism; masculinity vs. femininity; assertiveness & competitiveness vs. modesty & caring (Minkov & Hofstede, 2011, p.12). The principal contribution of his work to management falls on the realisation that cultures can be a great source of conflict, disaster and nuisance thereby undermining synergy and ultimately organisational performance. The rationale for such observe is premised on the fact that Schemas, belief and stereotypes that individuals adhere to are highly shaped by their national culture (Dickson et al., 2003, p.730). Thus, managers should be aware of these trends, especially those managing multicultural and multinational companies so as to effectively undertake human relations process effectively.

Utilising the case example of Geert Hofstede as one of the management ‘thinker’, the ultimate premise of this discourse is to assess and outline his contribution to the development of management thought. To answer this thesis statement, the paper dissects four critical concerns. The first premise of the paper is to establish the management function or the topic that Geert Hofsteed works is related to. Secondly, the paper seeks to establish the theoretical contribution of Geert Hofsteed. Additionally, the expose seeks to determine how his study adds or link to other theoretical propositions of management. Finally, the paper aims at finding out the extent to which businesses presently utilises Geert Hofstede work.

2.0 Theoretical Contribution

The contributory role of the study was the delineation of national cultures into five categories. Out of his the study, Hofstede (1984, p.390) established that power distance relates to how those individuals who are less powerful embraces inequality and deem it as normal. For context of individualism and collectivism, he opines that those who are individualistic display tendencies of being concerned with their immediate families only while collectivists are concerned with the larger community. According to Hofstede (2001, p.235) individualistic tendencies are more common in developed nations as compared to developing ones. On the other hand, masculinity vs. femininity is premised on how men and women are gendered and cultured. In this regard feminism the gender role is blurred while in masculinity gender roles are clearly defined. Finally uncertainty avoidance is premised on the risk taking capability of individuals within a given community. This refers to how people are social confined to be nervous especially in relation to unpredictable outcomes (Hofstede, 1984, p.390).

3.0 The Topic that Geert Hofsteed Work is related to

The Hofstede’s work is related to cross cultural leadership topic. Culture is rooted on shared beliefs and how individuals are socialised or constrained to behave in a certain manner. Such behaviours are likely to be exhibited in the organisations by individuals and thus impacting on organisational culture (Kochan, et al, 2003, p.4). Cross cultural leadership is anchored on the ability to take cognisance and into consideration multicultural perspectives (Rentsch, Mot & Abbe, 2009, p.1). Johnson, Lenartowicz & Apud (2006, p.530) notes that being competent in cross cultural issues, one is able to work with diverse cultures in different setting. Thus, the whole concept is premised on appreciation that people differ and hence, it is the onus of managers to take into considerations such various for maximum organisational performance by finding appropriate leadership style effective for that given cultural context.

Dickson, Den Hartog & Mitchelson (2003) sums the whole observation by noting that apart from one’s individual traits, national culture highly influences the behavior of a manager, subordinates and the leadership style of the manager. Closely related to cross cultural leadership is the topic of intercultural communication. Cultural differences can create cultural barrier between two involved parties. Thus, a manager has to be aware of these cultural differences so as to be able to communicate effectively. This critical for multinational corporation that wants to venture into another market where cultural distance exist (Mulok & Ainuddin, 2010, p.27).

4.0 Present Utilisation of Hofstede’s Contribution by Organisations

4.1 Employee/ Organisational Behaviour

The one area that national culture concept has been utilised by organisations presents is within the domain of organisational behaviour/ employee behaviour and human relations. Within the organisation, people are likely to behave differently not only as informed by personal traits, but also the socialisation they received anchored on their national culture. As such it is prudent for a leader/ manager to be aware of the overriding national cultures. Indeed, Wu (2008, p.169), posits that “the diversity and complexity of cross-nation and cross-culture may result in strategy conflicts for multinational companies when they are implemented in international standardized approach”. This implies that multinational corporations or any other organisations with diverse employees from different nationalities have to suit their management styles appropriately for guaranteed organisational success.

For instance, Mockaitis (2005, p.59-60) found out that employees in Poland have high regard to leaders and thus, they offer them preferential treatment. As such, most employees prefer leaders whom engage them in participatory manner. On the other Hand, Estonia is the exact contradiction as they display high levels of individualism and thus, individual efforts are preferred. As such a management that prefers strategies that reward egoistic and individual tendencies is likely to succeed. Between Lithuania and Poland, it was established that in Lithuania, there is higher power distance, high masculinity and lower individualism and that employees are highly comfortable with participative decision making, but in a different form. The superior in most cases is expected to take the lead or determine when participation is requisite and offer guidance in the process. This is contrary to Poland where supervision and decision-making are inherent in the perking order and prerogatives of authority.

Further, Furmańczyk (2010, p.77-78) while comparing German and Poland established that the duo exhibit medium level towards uncertainty avoidance. Despite of the earlier observation, in comparative analysis it emerged that German enterprises show higher levels of uncertainty avoidance and that dictates that leaders in Germany should expect reliability, punctuality as they are most inclined to plan future actions more in a careful and detailed manner. Under collectivism/ individualism, German workers are more of collectivist as compared to Poles who depict more individualistic. As such German staffs will highly turnout to be followers, believers in common purpose and shared vision of organisation while poles are likely to appreciate effort that soothes their individualistic aspirations through individual reward schemes.

4.2 Entry Mode for Multinational Corporations

The second arena that presently utilises the concept is the entry mode into foreign markets and operations by multinational corporations so as to leverage on the existing opportunities while limiting possible negative effects. Case example that would become interesting as informed by national culture is the comparison between Australia and China. For instance, in China owing to the concept of Guanxi, multination corporations cannot directly venture into local markets without local intermediaries who can give them the local connections (Brennan, 2010, p.652). Gellerstam & Wiesner (2011, p.18) observes that under Guanxi principal, ‘business transactions in China will possibly involve meeting obligations with individuals who have no direct connection to the matter at hand’. On the other hand, So & Walker (2006 cited in Gellerstam & Wiesner, 2011, p.18) corroborates the same observation by noting that ‘in the collectivistic Chinese culture the decision-maker may be the network as a whole, not just one single person’. As such an international organisation willing to venture in Chinese market have to give consideration on how to develop local networks.

The above experience of Chinese business environment is the exact opposite of Australian market. In Australia, Youssef (2007, p.4) observes that there are numerous entry modes for multinational corporations without relying on personal networks might entail wholly owned Greenfield subsidiary, partial acquisition or a joint venture. As such, Kumarasinghe & Hoshino (2009, p.3) notes that certain section of the research has proved that ‘wholly owned subsidiaries would perform as the best, followed by joint ventures and acquisitions’ in Australia as opposed in China where joint venture is the most plausible option.

6.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, the paper has analysed Geert Hofstede who was one of the management ‘thinker’. The focus of the paper was to find out Hofstede’s contribution to management thought. The paper established that in his study, he brought out the issue of cultural differences. The existence of cultural difference have been utilised in various management topics such as cross cultural leadership and intercultural communication. As such the paper appreciates that currently, businesses and management appreciates that this cultural difference is significant as it impacts on the operations of the organisation and thus, its success. For instance, national culture impacts on the entry mode for multinational corporations, cross cultural leadership and employee behaviour. The Hofstede theoretical contributory role of the study was the delineation of national cultures into five categories or aspects including power distance, masculinity vs. femininity, individualism and collectivism.


Dickson, M. W., Den Hartog, D & Mitchelson, J 2003, Research on leadership in a cross-cultural context: Making progress, and raising new questions, The leadership quarterly, vol. 14, no. 6, p. 729-768.

Gellerstam, M & Wiesner, J 2011, The impact of guānxì in Chinese business-A study of Swedish SMEs in Beijing, New York.

Hofstede, G 2001, Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and Organisations across Nations, Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.

Hofstede, G 1984, The Cultural Relativity of the Quality of Life Concept, The Academy of Management Review, vol. 9, no. 3, p. 389-398.

Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T & Apud, S (2006, Cross-Cultural Competence in International Business: Toward a Definition and a Model, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 37, p. 525-543.

Kumarasinghe, S & Hoshino, Y 2009, Entry Mode Strategies and Performance of Japanese MNCs in Australia and New Zealand: the Role of Japanese Employees, Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 21-67.

McSweeney, B 2002, Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith-a failure of analysis, Human relations, vol. 55, no. 1, p. 89-118.

Minkov, M & Hofstede, G 2011, Cross Cultural Management: The Evolution of Hofstede’s Doctrine, An International Journal, vol. 18, no. 1, p. 10-20.

Mockaitis, I 2005, A cross-cultural study of leadership attitudes in three Baltic Sea Region countries, International Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 44-63.

Mulok, D & Ainuddin, R 2010, Foreign Entry Mode, Cultural Distance and Subsidiary Performance of Malaysian Mnes, International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 26-31.

Rentsch, J.R., Mot, I & Abbe, A 2009, Identifying the core content and structure of a schema for cultural understanding. (Technical Report 1256). Arlington, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences.

Wu, J 2008, An Analysis of Business Challenges Faced by Foreign Multinationals Operating the Chinese Market, International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 3, no. 12, p. 169-174.

Youssef, K 2007, An analysis of entry mode strategies and international performance: learning from Japanese investment experience in Australia and Europe, London, Springer.