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Cultural differences in organisations

Having discussed the impact of culture on planning and strategy in the previous step, in this step we will go into more detail and look at how cultural dimensions affect management activities.

The diagram below shows how culture can affect management in different ways, such as time focus, space, structure, action, time orientation, power, communication and competition.

For example, people with different cultural backgrounds may have different attitudes to their working space; whether they prefer a public working area or private working area.

This diagram shoes various elements that have an impact on the model of culture: 1. Time focus: monochromic/polychromic, 2. Space: public/private, 3. Structure: individualism/collectivism, 4. Action: doing/being, 5. Time orientation: present/past/future, 6. Power: hierarchy/equality, 7. Communication: high-context/low-context, 6. Competition: competitive/co-operative

Adapted from Walker et al. (1992).

Now we are going to examine the cultural value dimensions in business and management, together with business operations: planning.

In the table below, you can see a summary of the different attitudes towards these eight dimensions in organisations:

Different cultural dimensions and business planning activities

click on the image to open a screen-readable PDF

Adapted from Browaeys & Price (2019, p. 119-125), click to enlarge.

Your task

We are going to use Facebook as a case study for this task:

  • Spend some time reading through the table, which has introduced you to the eight cultural dimensions and 16 attitudes.

  • Create a table with three columns using Word or another appropriate medium.

  • In the first column, include the eight cultural dimensions.

  • For each cultural dimension, select the attitude that you believe fits best for Facebook and put this in the second column.

  • Use the third column to justify your answer.

Save your table where you will be able to share a link to it, for example, Google Docs or OneDrive. Make sure that you have set the privacy setting for your document to ‘public’ so that your fellow learners can view it.

Add a link to your finished table to the Facebook: cultural dimensions padlet.

Look at the tables of your fellow learners, have they reached the same conclusions? Choose a couple where they have reached a different conclusion and share your thoughts.


References

Browaeys, M. J., & Price, R. (2019). Understanding cross-cultural management (3rd ed.). Pearson Education. https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/permalink/f/1r06c36/COV_ALMA21117620230002011

Walker, D. M., Brake, T., & Sullivan, K. (1992). Doing business internationally: The cross-cultural challenges. Princeton Training Press.

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures

Coventry University