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Five Major Dimensions to Culture

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1 Five Major Dimensions to Culture
Power distance Extent to which individuals expect a hierarchical structure that emphasizes status differences between subordinates and superiors. Individualism Degree to which a society values personal goals, autonomy, and privacy over group loyalty, commitment to group norms, involvement in collective activities, social cohesiveness, and intense socialization. Uncertainty avoidance Extent to which a society places a high value on reducing risk and instability. Masculinity/femininity Degree to which a society views assertive or “masculine” behavior as important to success and encourages rigidly stereotyped gender roles. Long-term/short-term orientation Extent to which values are oriented toward to future (saving, persistence) as opposed to the past or present (respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligation). It may be obvious that culture is important to HRM practices, but the relevance of this may be lost in a country like the United States, where many of the best-known theories of management practice are firmly rooted in Western culture. Shown here are five dimensions of culture set forth by Geert Hofstede.

2 Organizational Theory
TABLE Organizational Rites Type of rite Example of rite Purpose of rite Rite of passage Induction and Learn and internalize basic training norms and values Rite of integration Office Christmas party Build common norms and values Rite of enhancement Presentation of annual Motivate commitment to award norms and values Rite of degradation Firing of top executive Change or reaffirm norms and values Note that “rite of degradation” not included in 4e/5e/6e

3 Organizational Theory
Organizational culture develops from the interaction of four factors: FIGURE 7-2 Where an Organization’s Culture Comes From Organizational culture Characteristics of people within the organization Organizational structure Property rights system Organizational ethics

4 Final Shuttle Report Cites ‘Broken Safety Culture’ at NASA
Report indicated mngt techniques unknowingly imposed barriers that kept at bay both engineering concerns and dissenting views Program mngrs required engineers to prove that debris strike created safety-of-flight issue – engineers had to produce evidence that system was unsafe, rather than prove it was safe Reliance on past success as substitute for sound engineering practices (such as testing to understand why systems were not performing in accordance w/ requirements) Organizational barriers prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion Lack of integrated mngt across program elements Evolution of informal chain of command and decision-making processes that operated outside NASA’s rules

5 Final Shuttle Report Cites ‘Broken Safety Culture’ at NASA
Ultimately helped create ‘blind spots’ that prevented NASA from seeing danger that foam strike posed Replacing managers would not solve problem unless NASA’s culture also changed In addition to structural changes outlined previously, report called for organizational culture “that reflects the best characteristics of a learning organization” Source: New York Times, 8/26/03

6 “Secretive Culture Led Toyota Astray”
Toyota had known about problem w/ gas pedals for more than a year before revealing issue in closed-door meeting in January 2010 w/ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Instead of physically connecting to engine w/ mechanical cable, 2001 redesigned Camry pedal used electronic sensors to send signals to computer controlling engine Growing rift btwn Co and NHTSA Heart of problem: secretive corporate culture in Japan clashed w/ U.S. requirements that auto makers disclose safety threats NHTSA can do own testing, but generally relies on Cos to supply technical data In 2009 Toyota’s European unit found problem w/ plastic part in gas pedal mechanism also widely used in U.S., redesigned pedals for newly-assembled cars, but didn’t issue recall in Europe, notify U.S. regulators, or Toyota North America Toyota still very much run by Japanese HQ; top leadership doesn’t include U.S. executives, officials responsible for recall process are in Japan Source: WSJ, 2/10/10

7 Organizational Theory
An organization with a narrow stance on social responsibility believes it is being responsible as long as it acts within the law and plays by the rules of the game. An organization with a broad stance on social responsibility views itself as a moral agent and examines every situation from a moral perspective.

8 Identifying Cultural Norms
List classroom norms List three ‘rules’ that influence your decision to speak, or not to speak, in class discussions How are these norms formed? Situational forces Actions of key individuals Critical incidents Changing unproductive norms

9 The Ethical Dimension #7
What steps can a company take to prevent this problem, to stop its values and norms from becoming so inwardly focused that managers and employees lose sight of their obligations to their stakeholders?

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