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Page history last edited by Renald George 4 years, 4 months ago

Santhosh - India Culture

Power Distance Index (PDI)

 

Rating: 77

               India scores high in this dimension, because there is high level of inequality in power & wealth within the society. To keep it simple, my country is an orthodox. We like to follow the set of rules prescribed & likely to follow those. In this type of society, managers count on the obedience of their team members and employees expect to be directed clearly in regards to their functions and what is expected of them. Mostly power speaks in India and also power is misused. I had a personal experience, one of my friend was in need of a signature from an authorized person to get his work done. We were in urge to get it fast within the day. But usually it will take a week to check all the documents by the concerned person. We requested the officer very badly but the officer was not convinced & sticked to the rules. My friend don’t know what to do. I know someone who also holds similar power like him & we just said a word to the concerned person. We got the work done on that day. For us, its good but its morally bad. What about the person who are all waiting in the order. Money, bribe, power misuse, political influence are common in my country.

 

INDIVIDUALISM VS COLLECTIVISM (IDV)

 

Rating : 48

India gives high preference for belonging to a larger social framework. People from older days like to live together as joint family. Now it is minimized but the living is based on the society and they will live accordingly. Even for one single decision, an individual has to think about the family, relationships & society. Even in working environment, employees work with expectation. For doing a job what will the superior think & how it will influence their promotion & increment. Staffs try to maintain a good relationship for their personal welfare both in the office and behind. I am a good example for IDV, I used to get help from my parents when i was in India for daily life. But here in US, I do all my personal work right from cooking, washing, cleaning. Kind of indivualism and independence was developed here.

 

MASCULINITY

 

Rating : 56

                         India is considered to be a masculine country. Even our law says 33% for women and its still a nightmare target to achieve. I agree that, Indian womens are stepping forward and are trying to emerge & many sources like media are helping them. But still the gap has there. Still the unwritten protocols like man is superior is there. Even my younger sister is not supposed to sit equally with me in chair. She has to sit down or to walk away if me or my dad or uncle comes in. Male dominance is very much there in my country. In working environment it is kind of mixed. n some places women are treated well. Even for their mistakes they are treated well whereas a men will face consequences. While in some, women was ill treated, harassed etc…

 

UNCERTAINITY

 

Rating: 40

      Traditionally, India is a patient country where tolerance for the unexpected is high.  People are not driven or compelled to take any actions. Mostly they dont like to take any initiative. There attitude will be like why should I bother about that.  Also people dont like to create or establish a new pattern and they feel comfortable with the prescribed rules and regulations. with questioning. Both the history & current scenearios reveal that India is a favourable destination for business relationship. Because, people seek to change instead of avoiding it.

 

LONG TERM

 

Rating : 51

India is a diverse country but with some unique features. In India, the concept of ‘karma’ dominates religious & psychological factors. People there prefer to maintain long term relationship. The relationships like marriage & all are for long term only, which is highly contrast to western culture. India is a developing country so they need long term relationship even the current scenario of Indian prime minister is a good example for that. He tries to build relationship among various countries, people, industrialist etc..

 

INDULGENCE

 

Rating : 26

India receives a low score since it is a culture of restraint. As per Indian culture, I never precedes we. Since from the birth happiness of family is called as happiness of self. It starts from sharing tv, even though there are hundreds of channel but one has to watch with the interest of rest of family members. Having an attached bathroom in a room seems to be western. No space for privacy even after grown up. Even if someone goes out of the home, the same sharing concepts exist in the hostel. One has to eat in the common mess, shared room, common tv etc.. Even after getting a good job & salary one has to pick up an apartment & share a common room, Social norms are always a big concern in India. For everything one has to make a decision based on the society.   

 

Pat - USA Culture

Power Distance Index (PDI)

Rating: 40

 

I see this rating play out in the way companies are run throughout the USA. I’ve been a part of two very different styles of company management: one corporate and one startup. In the corporate environment, there are very clearly those who have much more power than others. While all employees are aware of that power, they are not always happy about it and may complain about these people not deserving it. In the startup company, power is much more evenly distributed. This company runs their projects with Agile project management, which in its nature distributes power more evenly between each self managed team. There are still executives who clearly have more power in the company, but they are much more approachable and their power is less definitive. The rating of 40 tells me that Americans will accept that there are people who have more power than others, but they don’t necessarily like that fact. I could see this score dropping even lower in the future as more companies adopt Agile management and implement more flat corporate structures.

 

Individualism vs. Collectivism (IDV)

Rating: 91

 

America is one of the most individualistic cultures in the world and this high score reflects that. I am able to see this individualism at play just about everywhere but I think this shows itself very clearly in American sports. All it takes is one viewing of Sports Center to see that the American culture almost always zeros in on one or two individuals from a team and reports on why that person is the reason their winning, why that person is going to lead their team to victory, and how if a team didn’t have that person they wouldn’t be nearly as good. Reports almost never focus on a team as a whole. Almost no one cares about the Bulls as a team in the 90s, but everyone can tell you that Michael Jordan was the greatest player of all time.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

Rating: 46

 

This is another rating I think could change in the near future. A rating of 46 would imply that American people are right in the middle of avoiding and embracing uncertainty. This manifests itself in the way the Baby Boomer generation views their career versus the way Gen Y and the Millennials view their career. The Baby Boomers tend to only change jobs or companies once or twice throughout their career. This provides the stability of a constant paycheck and avoids the uncertainty of changes that come along with joining a new company. Some of the younger generations, specifically Gen Y and the Millennials, are much more will to take risks of moving around during their career and are sometimes forecasted to switch jobs 15-20  times throughout their career (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-for-millennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/). As Gen Y and the Millennials make their way into the workforce I would expect to see the Uncertainty Avoidance Index drop.

Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS)

Rating: 62

 

The USA scores fairly high as a Masculine leaning country. This would imply that the company is competitive in nature and personal worth is determined by achievement and success. This is another thing I believe is pervasive throughout much of American culture and I actually would have expected this rating to be higher. A good example of how this mentality reveals itself is through the American school system. Starting in high school, everything about school is highly competitive. Your class rank, ACT/SAT score, amount of honors classes you’re in, all factor into how good your chances are at getting into a good college. Everything is a competition to prove that you’re better than the person sitting next to you. Once in college, this cycle starts all over again with things like GPA, research, academic awards, etc., all impacting the job you are able to get after college. This competitive nature continues itself all throughout the life of the American people.  

Long Term Orientation vs. Short Term Orientation (LTO)

Rating: 29

 

A low LTO rating of 29 implies that the American culture is highly conservative and slow to accepting cultural changes. This is visible in the USA’s view on hot-button issues of things like gay marriage, gun control, and abortion. These issues can be taboo in conversation because people have such strong feelings about them. More often than not, arguments over these issues will revert to someone referencing that this is “the way it always has been,” which is an argument that does not lend itself to the ability for change. With that said, I think the USA is beginning to make strides toward increasing this rating. Gay marriage is becoming legal throughout more and more of the country and culturally liberal politicians are becoming more popular with the younger generations.

Indulgence

Rating: 68

 

The USA scores as an indulgent country. To provide an example for this, I will again bring up professional athletes. While professional athletes make millions of dollars each year, which is more than most people will make throughout their entire career, athletes also have one of the highest bankruptcy prevalences of any group of people. This comes from the indulgent nature of the American people. When people are gifted with a large amount of money, rather than being conservative and restrained with these earnings, it is much more common to indulge in extravagances to the point where it is almost frowned upon not to do this. This is then viewed by the rest of the American society which further emphasizes the indulgent nature.

 

Indian Culture by Renald

Some points I’d like to mention before I go into the specifics is that most of the information mentioned below is true, however I think that there is a drastic change in the Indian mindset due to globalization. Having said that, the divide between the haves and the have nots is considerably huge in terms of lifestyle and mindset in India. Respect for hierarchy might mean totally different between a government employee and an employee working for a multinational organization.   

 

Power Distance - 77

 

Right from childhood the sense of hierarchy is driven into us as part of our culture. There is a hierarchy at home, school and workplace. Only among friends(mostly of the same age group), everyone is treated equal and even within friends, there are those that make the decisions and those follow creating a certain informal hierarchy and power distance. Some people are considered superior to others based on age, income, designation and even caste or tribe. Parents for example have the right to decide their child’s future. The system of arranged marriage still exists in India where an Individual has to obtain his/her parent’s consent to get married. Managers expect subordinates to take directions and not question their decisions or the organizational hierarchy most times.

 

Individualism - 48

India I guess has changed a lot in recent time in this dimension. We used to be a collective society. People lived in joint families where parents and children lived in the same house even after the children are married and settled down in life, i.e. even after they are financially and emotionally independent and have kids of their own. Living under one roof with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins was the way of life until the late 80’s. Decisions such as investments, lifestyle, holiday and even celebrations were made in consideration with the extended family.

 

But now there is a paradigm shift. Influence of western culture through movies, multinational organizations and travel opportunities has had a role to play in the paradigm shift. People are moving towards what we call ‘a nuclear family’(me, my wife and my kids). Economic independence has enabled youngsters to follow their passion without the pressures of living up to others expectation and has helped them make individualistic decisions.

 

Masculinity - 56

India scores considerably high when it comes to Masculinity according to Hofstede. In a society where you are as good as your previous exam results, each one prides his/her achievements more than the efforts and experience. Even as children, competition is intense and thanks to the population, if you don't put your best feet forward, millions are in line to take the opportunity.

 

Work for an Indian is a means to make a living and not many parents encourage children to take up arts and music as their area of study as they grow up.  They teach you to remember and recollect things in school rather than help you understand and discover the beauty in each field.

 

Uncertainty Avoidance - 40

I remember a late evening drive with my Senior Vice President who was visiting us in India(he was heading the HR Division of an American Multinational). He said that the lines on the road was a waste of money as no one seemed to abide by the law, forget respecting it. This was in Bangalore, one of India’s developed, organized and well educated city. You could drive a little too fast and get away, you could get caught for a violation and let go with just a warning or by bribing someone.

 

Long Term Orientation - 51

Indians tend to invest in long term opportunities. Career, property, family planning all are considered with the bigger picture in mind. India as a country has not faced external adversities like large scale wars, lack of economic growth or large scale unemployment. Hence people are more long term oriented, they plan and organize their lives based on long term goals rather than short term gains. I left the comfort of my family, a secured job and the comforts of living a decent life in pursuit to learn something that will help me create a successful long term career and help me be a better individual for the rest of my life.

 

Indulgence - 26

This dimension has gone through a wave of change in the last 11 years(after the call center boom in 2004, though outsourcing started in 1980, it gathered momentum after the call center boom). Our social setup and cultural values dictated how each one should live his/her life even if he/she did not subscribe to that school of thought. Consensual sex among unmarried couples is still considered indecent in India, living-in with someone is still a taboo. Women suffer a little more than men as they are looked down in most places if they indulge in drinking or smoking.

 

The major cities in India are more accommodative these days to the fact that each one has the right to live his or her life based on their individual choice and preference.

 

Swedish Culture by Jimmie

Power Distance (31)

From all point of views, I would say that Sweden is a country with low power distance. In the family, in school and in the workplace, everyone is treated equally. Of course, sometimes there are some sort of hierarchical relationships but I would say that is very loose, and has low impact. One experience this especially when collaborating and working in groups. In Sweden a group always seek to find consensus and no one's vote is worth more that the others.  In the workplace your boss is your friend and has a coaching approach which leads decentralized organizations.

Individualism vs. collectivism (71)

Hofstede is describing Sweden as a country with fairly high degree of individualism. I don’t agree with him in this sense. Sweden is a welfare society that is focused more on the collective rather the individual. For example; Sweden prove a great health insurance system and school is free for everyone. The tax rate is high which has a financial equalization effect on the society.

Though, I think Sweden is moving towards a more individualist mindset where Swedes become more and more career focused and self centered. One have also seen that in the last couple of elections where the socialist parties lose votes from year to year.  

Masculinity vs. femininity (5)

Sweden is a very so-called feminine society. Achievements are focused on the collective and there is a mindset of solidarity. Life/work balance is highly valued for the inhabitants of Sweden, Sweden has the longest parental leave program in the world and is moving toward shorter work days. Another example that influence the grading toward a feminine society is the Swedish “Jante law”. The “Jante law” is deeply rooted in the Swedish culture and simply mean that no one should not think that you're better than someone else. Swedens tend to be satisfied with “good enough”.

Though, even in this case I think Sweden is trend to move to be more individualist and masculine where it becomes more and more socially accepted to aim high in your career and be proud of your achievements. However, I think Sweden will consist to have a ground of solidarity and equality even if self interest increases and the meaning of “Jante Law” decreases.

Uncertainty avoidance (29)

According to Hofstede, sweden score low in uncertainty avoidance. That means that Sweden has a “relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles”. I don’t agree with him to hundred percent, Sweden has for long period of time been very liberal and open minded but I would say that social norms about how to behave are relatively strict. Swedes are generally pretty strict when it comes to schedules and how to perceive time, you should not entry late to meetings in Sweden.

Long-Term Orientation (53)

A score of 53 indicates that it is difficult to define if Sweden is long-term oriented or more short term. I would say that Sweden is short term in the sense of being relatively liberal, Sweden can be seen as a innovative county, open for change. At the same time some parts of Sweden still has nuances of conservatism, many companies are build on tradition and Swedes value tradition around holidays, for example midsummer. During these holidays, it shall be as it always been and any kind of change is taken negative.

Indulgence versus restraint (78)

As written in the section about masculinity versus femininity, Swedes are moving toward shorter work days and want to enjoy life and feel freedom. Swedes in general like to spend money and enjoy their spare time. Though, It is still not okay to stand out.

 

Cutural Dimentions.png

 

To distinguish the most significant differences in our country comparison between India, United States and Sweden we have calculated standard deviation (see appendix 1) based on Hofstede's country scores (figure 1). The top three dimensions that differed the most were, (1) Masculinity, (2) Power Distance, and (3) Long-term Orientation. In the next paragraphs we have elaborated with these differences, based on our own perceptions and examples.

 

Masculinity

Masculinity versus femininity was the dimension with highest standard deviation according to our findings. As one can read from figure 1, there is a distinct difference between Sweden compared both United States and India. Sweden scores extremely low, while United States and India scores much higher toward masculine society. Form the examples in the first section one can read that high competition from a young age foster the masculinity in the society. In both United States and India children face competition. In India, for example, children are taught “if you don't put your best feet forward, millions are in line to take the opportunity”. Children in United states have the same dilemma where the high school years is a race to set yourself in the first position for collage. Then it all starts over again in the search for the best jobs. On the other hand, in Sweden that doesn’t exist at all, the “Jante Law” characterizes the whole society and does not “allow” people to stand out from the mass, “one should not think that you're better than someone else”.

 

Power Distance

If we compare the differences between the Power Distance between the countries, United States and Sweden has relatively similar views with a low degree of power distance while India scores high. From the examples one can understand that the power distance mainly shows how equally power is distributed and how hierarchical the society is. India is the country with a high power distance. That is visible throughout the whole country with an inequality in power and wealth distribution. That can in many cases be a source for money, bribe and power misuse. In the United states, the power distance is higher than in Sweden but much lower than in India. From the examples, one can tell that strict hierarchical conditions still can occur in the workplace in the United States, but as business is moving toward implementing agile methodologies, the power distance has to decrease since agile methodologies require flat organization with distributed power. Since business is such a big part of our lives, it is reasonable to think that this shift might affect the whole country in terms of a decrease in power distance, even outside the workplace. Sweden for a long period of time been a country with low power distance and a huge contrast to the conditions described in India. Sweden has an almost, non existing power distance, no matter if it is in family, school or workplace situation. This behavior might have a connection to the low score in masculinity and the “Jante Law” in Sweden. Since no one should think they are better than someone else, the power relationship disappears. As in United States, Sweden is also moving toward agile thinking to be more flexible and responsible to changes in the business environment. Though, since the power distance is fairly low as it is, the agile movement might not affect the score.

 

One interesting thought that came out of this discussion is how India, with the high degree of Power distance, will be able to adapt agile thinking and flatter organizations. That is an example where the culture might come into conflict.

 

Long term Orientation

In Hofstede’s dimension of long-term versus short-term orientation, a low score implies that a country is conservative in their minds and they are relatively slow in terms of adapting new ideas or changes. In contrary, a high score implies that the country are open to all kind of change and adapt new standards. According to Hofstede's ranking, Sweden and India has similar liberal mindset while people from United States are more close to conservatism. In United States this is visible through the “view on hot-button issues of things like gay marriage, gun control, and abortion”. In these issues, americans tend to stay with traditions rather than adapt the changes. If one compare that to Sweden for example, Sweden has strict gun control and has adopted gay marriage and abortion for a long time ago.

 

Three ways our cultures could potentially come into conflict?

 

Way one: Having a team leader from India

For this particular mix of cultures, having a team leader who comes from an Indian culture could potentially cause conflict within the team. The United States and Sweden both have a relatively low Power Distance Index (PDI) while India has a high PDI. If the team were to have a leader from an Indian culture, that individual would likely have very different expectations for their power over the team than the non-indian team members. Any attempts to exercise power over the American and Sweden team members would likely be met with resistance since the American and Sweden team members expect most people on a team to have the same level of power. The team leader from India may in fact be a fantastic leader, but the culture differences would still create the potential for conflict.

 

Way two: Discussing topics surrounding progressive social ideas

India and the Sweden are very similar in their short versus long term views in that they both tend to be more long term. On the other side of this, those of American culture have a highly short term view. Because of this short term view, those from American culture are likely to be skeptical and not immediately accepting of progressive social ideas. This difference in social views has a possibility to clash with India and the Sweden’s more long term and progressive views. While Sweden and India may not lean strongly toward Long Term Orientation when looked at as just those two countries, when compared to the USA their Long Term Orientation seems vastly different.

 

Way three: Highly competitive activities

Activities that have a clear winner or loser and enable the winners to feel a sense of achievement are preferred my Masculine cultures. India and the United States both tend toward being masculine cultures while Sweden scores as a highly feminine cultures. If a team with these three cultures had to participate in highly competitive activities, it is possible that those team members from Sweden would not understand the competitive nature of their teammates. When also looked at the other way around, the American and Indian team members may be easily frustrated by the Swedish teammate’s lack of competitive drive. This has the potentially to quickly cause strife in a team.

 

Two approaches the meeting planner would use to sidestep these risks

 

Focus on team-building activities rather than competitive activities

In order to promote team cohesion, while not increasing the possibility of causing internal team conflict, the meeting planner could plan events focused on team building within each team rather than activities that would be one team versus another. Focusing on team building would allow the company to achieve the desired benefit employees becoming closer and more understanding of each other while not exposing the Masculine/Feminine culture differences. This would keep all team members in a positive atmosphere where there is no achievement or prize to strive for and get in the way of building employee relationships.

 

Have set conversation topics for teams to discuss

Team building can come in many different forms but one way is to have a moderator lead team members through discussions on set topics. Having set conversation topics allows the meeting planner to specifically avoid certain issues that team members would likely have strongly different views on and allows conversations to focus on how these team members relate to one another. The more the meeting planner knows about each employee’s culture, the more tailored these discussions can become.

 


Appendix 1

 

Standard Deviation between United States, India and Sweden

 

 

United States

India


Sweden

India v/s US


US v/s Sweden


India v/s Sweden

Power Distance

40

77

31

26.1629509

6.363961031

32.52691193

Individualism

91

48

71

30.40559159

14.14213562

16.26345597

Masculinity

62

56

5

4.242640687

40.30508653

36.06244584

Uncertainty Avoidance

46

40

29

4.242640687

12.02081528

7.778174593

Long Term Orientation

26

51

53

17.67766953

19.09188309

1.414213562

Indulgence

68

26

78

29.69848481

7.071067812

36.76955262

 
 
 
 

112.4299782

98.99494937

130.8147545

 

Top Three Dimensions that are different based on Country

 

India and USA

US v/s Sweden

Sweden & India

Individualism

Masculinity vs. Femininity

Power Distance Index

Indulgence

Long Term Orientation vs. Short Term Orientation

Masculinity vs. Femininity

Power Distance Index

Individualism

Indulgence

 

 

  • Masculinity - India and USA have similar views while it’s different with Sweden.
  • Power Distance - Sweden and USA have similar views while it’s different with India.

  • Long Term - Sweden and India have similar views while it’s different with USA.

 


 

References

Meister, Jeanne. 'Job Hopping Is The 'New Normal' For Millennials: Three Ways To Prevent A Human Resource Nightmare'. Forbes.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.

 

Carl Jimmie Bjorling

Pat McGuire

Santhosh Ashok Kumar

Renald Maria George

 

 

 

Comments (1)

Danny Mittleman said

at 9:37 pm on Dec 3, 2015

Discussing topics surrounding progressive social ideas: I agree with what you say about long-term orientation. But I think the masculine/feminine dimension would have even more impact here. Social views being so "progressive" in Sweden is tied to this dimension. The other two countries load very differently.

Really? You got all of this material from just one reference?

Grade is A- (92)

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