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Team Cultures

Page history last edited by Laura Schroeder 6 years ago

Power Distance Index

 

America

High power distance. Supervisors are responsible for giving work assignments to their staff and ensuring the work gets done. It is a top-down approach, in most cases there is not a lot of collaboration between the two. Reviews tend to be given to staff members by their boss. In most traditional companies, employees do not have the opportunity to review their boss.

In society, certain professions are given authority. This includes police, clergy, and teachers. Within companies, managers are given authority.

 

France

High power distance. There is a separation and hierarchy in France that permeates the culture. In French companies, schools, and even the local convenience store the subordinate is expected to speak formally to the superior. In the French language there are two ways of saying “You.” One is familiar (Tu) and the other is formal, but also plural (Vous). A student would use “Vous” when addressing a teacher. An employee would use “Vous” when addressing a boss. It is unacceptable for a subordinate to speak in the familiar with a superior, but the superior can address the subordinate familiarly. For example, teachers will will address their students using “Tu.”

I took my friend Biergit to the local Tabac—a store where you can buy newspapers, postcards, lottery tickets, and tobacco products. She was a German exchange student and wanted to buy some postcards. She addressed the shopkeeper behind the counter in the familiar and the shopkeeper looked at me as though I had brought her a dead rat. I and another friend took Biergit outside and explained the social hierarchy. We went back in, Biergit used “Vous” and the shopkeeper helped her with a smile.

 

India

High power distance. The society in general appreciates a top-down structure. Historically, caste system at its outset, divided society into four different classes based on their profession in a hierarchical manner. One usually adopted a profession that they were born into. Whilst this changed over times, it still perpetrates in the modern society. At workplaces, it is typical for the boss or people in managerial positions to call the shots. In educational institutions, students including me, address our teachers with their name followed by 'sir' or 'ma'am/madam'

 

Mexico

High power distance. There are perceived difference among people depending on their social status and even their appearance. Classism and racism thinly veiled. Authority is not questioned and people cant easily shift up to a higher social circle. business and society work the same way. My grandfather was a lawyer and a politician and I witnessed first hand the arrogance of the ruling class and the disdain they had for the poor

 

Individualism vs Collectivism

 

America

Individualism. Few Americans remain at a single company for their entire career. There is little long-term loyalty to companies. If someone is offered an opportunity to increase status or income, they will switch companies. On the flip side, even if an employee has been at a company for several years, that doesn't guarantee their job. Staffing needs are based on the financial bottom line, not employee loyalty.

 

France

Individualism. Most French college/university-aged students live at home. The school you attend after high school is based on the field you wish to study and where you live. If you are pursuing a technical school, you will attend the one closest to your home. If you are pursuing medical sciences, it is the same. The family unit is a staple of French culture where the family takes care of its members. The French are very private people with smiles for friends and family, but not typically in public with strangers.

 

India

Individualism and collectivism. Indian culture attempts to maintain a balance between individualism and collectivism. This is because of the general mindset to adhere to societal norms and to be accepted. The employer expects loyalty from the employees and the employees expect almost familial protection by the employer. Thus there is a strong collectivism attitude. In addition, there is a strong individualistic attitude as the largely predominant Hindu society believes in karma and rebirth.

 

Mexico

Individualism for the rich, collectivism for the poor. People from wealthy backgrounds do what they can to keep and expand their wealth with them and their family. They are pragmatic and unsentimental in pursuing the bottom line of their businesses.

People or more modest backgrounds are more concerned in their "community." This many times translates in advocating higher taxes and social services and is interpreted as leftist socialism

 

Masculinity vs Femininity

 

America

Masculinity. My company only offers a standard 6-8 weeks off for maternity leave and no paternity leave is available. This makes it feel like work is considered more important than family. Additionally, most Americans do not take all of their vacation days each year. There is a worry that if an employee is away from the office, their work duties could be assumed by someone else or they could be looked down on by being unavailable.

 

France

Masculinity and femininity. Grades in France are a perfect example of the masculine dimension of culture. Most grades are given using a 20-point scale. An “average” score would be around a 12-14 with better than average scores ranging 15-18. Within this scale, 19 is said to be rare and 20 is for God.

Universal health care and working conditions are a perfect example of the feminine dimension of culture in France. Everyone has access to health care—even foreign students. The minimum maternity leave granted is four months (16 weeks) with wages covered at 100% for the duration. A full-time work week is 35 hours. Lunch is expected to be at least an hour and can extend to two. “Les vacances” is a period in August where many establishments are closed because France is on vacation. The minimum vacation days allowed in France is 5 weeks paid vacation each year. This can be more depending on when you take your vacation and how much extra PTO you have earned by working over the 35 hour work week.

 

India

Masculinity. Indian society is a masculine society with money, power and material success being the driving factors. It is ostentatious, where one's status and class in the opinion of others is a major concern. I grew up in a generation where most of the parents expect their kids to become engineers or doctors.

 

Mexico

Masculinity. People are driven in their careers and business and materialistic (you are what you are worth) while people are perceived to be warm to tourists (Americans or Europeans with money) - being a South American (indigenous and poor) immigrant in Mexico is rough

 

Uncertainty Avoidance Index

 

America

Low uncertainty avoidance index. I think this helps with innovations coming out of places like Silicon Valley. People strive to push the envelope. We don't tend to settle for good enough. Many people want to be leaders.

 

France

High uncertainty avoidance index. Housing projects are mostly populated by French immigrants and second generation immigrants. While some of the Habitation à Loyer Modéré (HLM; fixed-rent housing) are giant blocks of buildings (i.e. Clichy-Sous-Bois outside of Paris where the 2005 riots took place) similar to America projects, the majority are smaller apartment complexes or even private homes. HLM are not all public housing. They are low-rent housing populated by immigrant families which is representative of an intolerance of new ideas and peoples.

 

India

Low uncertainty avoidance index. The society can be viewed as very relaxed in its acceptance of the unknown. There is a culture of tolerance and acceptance. People learn to adjust to circumstances and situations which are not predictable but come in their way anyhow.

 

Mexico

Low uncertainty of avoidance index. When living or investing in Mexico you need to have a high tolerance for risk and be ready for whatever rolls your way. Industry has been privatized then taken away by the government many times, the currency has historically plummeted every six years, you can get kidnapped or extorted by criminals, there is no rule of law to speak. Yet it is one of the fastest growing economies right now and expected to continue to grow. Individuals and companies thrive but you have got to be comfortable with risk

 

Long-Term Orientation vs Short-Term Orientation

 

America

Short-term orientation. I'd say I'm personally mid-term on this one, though the US is labeled as short-term. People have strong opinions on what they consider good or evil. This very much bleeds into our political scene. People tend to choose a side or team. In many cases, people are very pro or con on matters. This can result in debates, protests, and fights.

 

France

Long-term aspects lean toward short-term orientation. Software was born in the U.S. and popularized so quickly that the Académie Française (group in charge of preserving the French language; founded in the 1600s by Cardinal Richelieu) had not created the French word for software “un logiciel” before the term “un software” had already been popularized in the mainstream. The older French have a fierce pride in their language. The younger generation is more interested in quick communication with other cultures than waiting for an approved list of words.

During World War II the French hid their fine art throughout the countryside in castles and farmhouses so that it could not be stolen by invading forces. This ability to adapt to circumstances is an example of short-term orientation where the focus was on saving the country’s fine art. The Resistance is another example that focuses on perseverance to reach a goal of saving individuals’ lives.

 

India

Long-term orientation. Indians have preference for a long term pragmatic culture. Again this is because of the predominant hindu culture which is considered a way of life rather than a religion. People make efforts to save up for the future.

 

Mexico

Short-term orientation. Tradition is very important, saving face crucial for people. There is a sense that individuals and families must preserve their good name. Social obligations are a must. In this regard it is hard for people to break the mold. Peoples standing with tehir social circles is of crucial importance. People are in a never ending all important struggle to "keep up with the Jones"

 

Indulgence vs Restraint

 

America

Indulgence. Even if they can't really afford it, people tend to enjoy buying clothes, purses, shoes, etc. Also people tend to overspend on cars and homes. I see this particularly with younger people (millennials). There is a high level of debt, especially for those just graduating college.

 

France

Indulgence with restraint. The woman I lived with in France had champagne and desserts every Sunday with her children and their children. The indulgence was in time and delicacies, but the restraint was in one bottle of champagne shared by the adults. This is typically French. While you may have a five-course meal, each serving will seem small. However, after five courses of small servings you are full. French culture has found a balance with indulgence in luxurious things in a capacity that reflects restraint. This contributes to the nation’s low overall rate of obese people.

 

India

Restraint. There is not much emphasis on leisure and enjoyment but more on work, culture and upholding traditions. People control their desires and feelings of instant gratification is suppressed. However, this is beginning to change.

 

Mexico

Indulgence. There are a lot of holidays, people party hard, they spend a lot of money shopping, on houses, on cars (even today many car and real estate sales are cash) The notion of saving for retirement or planning for the future is not very strong. You see this for the whole country too. When oil prices have been high the government has spent it all and invested little. When oil prices fall the government struggles to meet its financial commitments.

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