Ccompares the dimensions between the UK and Spain and we can see some significant differences. Spain has a higher power distance than the UK. This signifies that in Spain power and wealth is distributed unequally. It suggests a larger gap between managers and employees than in the UK. It is reasonable to propose therefore that UK managers dealing with a Spanish business might find this difference unsettling and potentially confusing. The UK has a higher individuality ranking than Spain which is slightly collectivist.
A Spanish person may find the UK’s lack of team players in the work place highly inappropriate, especially given the high UAI for Spain. In fact UAI could be the most important difference, the Spanish index being high and the UK’s low. This combination of opposites could make a business arrangement particularly difficult to reach a satisfactory outcome. The Spanish partner would expect a structured and familiar approach and might find the unemotional attitude of the UK to be cold and unfriendly. The UK has a high Masculinity index compared with a more feminine index from Spain.
The low index for Spain can be attributed to the importance of women in society, however they are still not recognised as equal in business. It is possible therefore that a Spanish male manager might not deal well with a female from the UK in the same position of power as him or higher. There is not a LTO index for Spain as this dimension is relatively new in Hofstede’s work. 1. 1. 3 Critique of theory Hofstede has been heavily criticised over the years, these criticisms are well documented, Hofstede (2001:73) himself lists the usual faults people find with his work.
Among those is included a prominent criticism that results gathered from only IBM employees cannot show the true national culture of a society. IBM employees might have a culture within the national culture that differs. Hofstede argues that “any set of functionally equivalent samples from national populations can supply information about cultural differences” (Hofstede 2001:73). Hofstede’s work is based on certain assumptions, McSweeney (2000) argues that these assumptions are, “fundamentally flawed,” and “therefore his national cultural descriptions are invalid and misleading.
” The first of these assumptions is that “every micro-location is typical of the national. ” McSweeney argues that there is no evidence that employees in IBM subsidiaries are representative of national cultures. He believes it is absurd to make generalisations about national cultures based only on a small number of questionnaire responses. The use of questionnaires is not deemed a suitable measure for cultural differences. Hofstede agrees that these should not be the only measure. The main problem with the questionnaires is that the questions are restrictive for the respondent.
A spoken interview would achieve more and produce more in depth and insightful responses. Many academics also wonder at the usefulness of the results now given the age of the data, “the fact that Hofstede’s data were gathered some 30 years ago and apply to a world that no longer exists seems to be generally ignored,” and further more, “it seems hard to imagine that the work values of 1980 – or rather the late 1970’s when the data was gathered – have not undergone significant shifts owing both to new pressures on individuals to ‘to deliver’ and new possibilities for self-development.
” (Holden 2002:34) However Hofstede argues that since then his data has been validated by subsequent replications. Many also find Hofstede’s work to be limited and that 5 dimensions are not extensive enough. He welcomes anyone to try and create more dimensions. 1. 2 Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampdon-Turner The studies carried out by Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner are in some ways similar to Hofstede’s work. They conducted surveys using questionnaires on managers around the world and from the results developed 7 dimensions.
These dimensions do not assume that cultures are different but that they are mirror images of one another’s values and they show reversals in the order and sequence of learning and looking. To measure each dimension they presented a dilemma to the respondent therefore forcing them to think hard about the options presented and make a choice. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner describe these 7 dimensions as follows: Universalism – Particularism
Universalism can be defined as “rules, codes, laws, and generalizations”, where “universalism searches for sameness and similarity and tries to impose on all members of a class or universe the laws of their commonality. “(Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner 2000:13, 14) Particularism is defined as “Exceptions, circumstances and relations” which, “searches for differences, for unique and exceptional forms of distinction that render phenomena incomparable and of matchless quality. ” (Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner 2000:13, 14)
According to their research most universalist countries are protestant with stable democracies like the UK where as catholic countries like Spain tend to be less universalist. Individualism – communitarianism Aspects of Individualism are classified as “competition, self-reliance, self-interest and personal growth and fulfilment,” which “seeks to locate the origins of value in the creative, feeling, inquiring, and discovering person who seeks fulfilment and is solely responsible for choices made and convictions formed. ” (Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner 2000:68, 69)
Communitarianism is defined as “cooperation, social concern, altruism, public service and social legacy,” which “seeks to locate the origins of value within the social discourse of the living society, which nurtures, educates, and takes responsibility for the spirit engendered among its members. ” (Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner 2000:68, 69) They have illustrated Spain and the UK as countries are fairly individualist. Achieved – Ascribed Status This dimension relates to the method success and accomplishments are obtained and which method is more accepted in a society.
Achieved status, is status that has been worked for and obtained by an individual’s merit and performance. Ascribed status is status that is obtained by privilege or perhaps connections. Ascribed status could be awarded to people who are perhaps wealthy, attractive or those from esteemed families. The results show that the United Kingdom is split half achieved status and half ascribed status. Inner – Outer Direction This division deals with where a society believes virtue comes from.
“Inner direction conceives of virtue as inside each of us – in our souls, wills, convictions, principles, and core believes – in the triumph of conscious purpose. Outer direction conceives of virtue as outside each of us in natural rhythms, in the beauties and power of nature, in aesthetic environments and relationships. ” (Trompenaars and Hampdon-Turner 2000:234) Inner direction assumes that the most powerful tool is within us and thoughtful consideration and perceptive approaches are the best way. An outer direction approach uses the outside world as a resource to find information and make decisions. Specificity – Diffuseness
Specificity describes the small part of a whole with minute attention to detail. It assumes that analysis is the key to success. Diffuseness describes the opposite, it relates to looking at the whole picture in order to reach true understanding. The results show the UK to be relatively Specific while Spain is more Diffuse in its outlook. They also showed that in the UK their exists a lack of group responsibility Sequential – synchronous Time Sequential time describes time that is continuous, seconds run to minutes, minutes to days, days to weeks and so on. Synchronous time is circular and events and opportunities repeat themselves.
Equality – Hierarchy Equality suggests that all people are equal, with equal rights irrespective of birth or wealth. Hierarchy suggests that all people are not equal and that some are superior to others. 1. 2. 1 Critique of Theory A lot of the examples Trompenaars used to describe the dimensions are based on ancient history. Interesting though this is one finds it hard to relate their relevance to the subject matter. It makes Hofstede seem positively futuristic in comparison. The data is not easy to use, the dimensions make little sense and in all the theory has little practical use.
There was a tendency throughout the book (Trompenaars and Hampdon-turner, 2000) to focus a lot on the United States. The theory had few practical purposes and despite being one of the leading theorists in this field there wasn’t much to help distinguish Spanish and English business culture. However for a manager interested in using their theory in a cross-cultural situation, for a small fee, ‘Trompenaars Hampdon-Turner Intercultural Management Consulting’ may be able to help. 1. 3 Nigel Holden The previous two theories focus on the traditional concept that cross-cultural management is the management of cultural differences.
Nigel Holden however believes this view to be restricted, and in his book (Holden 2002) he begins to develop and construct a new way of approaching cross-cultural management from a knowledge management perspective. Holden is very much “concerned with putting management back into the expression cross-cultural management,” which he defines as, “The core task of cross-cultural management is to facilitate and direct synergistic interaction and learning at interfaces, where knowledge, values and experience are transferred into multicultural domains of implementation.
” (Holden 2002:59) Holden used four detailed company case studies which were; Novo Nordiski (Denmark), Matsushita Electric Industrial Company (Japan), Sulzr Infra (Switzerland) and LEGO (Denmark). Holden investigated and analysed the four informant companies to show their cross-cultural activities from a knowledge management perspective. It is important to understand Holden’s methodology before attempting to understand his ideas. Knowledge management is concerned with organisational knowledge not scientific knowledge gathered from books.
According to Nymark (2000) there are two types of organisational knowledge, the first is the paradigmatic mode the second is the narrative mode. The paradigmatic mode is more suited to large scale surveys while the narrative mode focuses more on the individual. It is the latter mode which Holden utilised to analyse the informant companies. Organisational Knowledge includes areas such as; technologies, practical experience and managers capabilities. Knowledge management is generally seen to be the key to competitive success. The aim of knowledge management is to promote and encourage the distribution and development of knowledge.
Research was conducted by way of interviews held with managers of different countries and areas for each of the four companies. The managers were encouraged to talk freely and interviews were conducted over a two year period between 1998 and 2000. The interviews were not standardised and questions depended on the research area chosen for each company. Holden analysed the cross-cultural knowledge management activities of the four companies and used the information to develop a conceptual framework. Diagram 1 illustrates part of this framework.
Interactive translation is described as the process of combining varieties of common knowledge in a company. Common knowledge can either be known throughout the organisation or only by a few. Interactive translation is a task of cross-cultural management. It can also be defined literally as a “practice that involves interlingual translation: the cognitive movement of knowledge, ideas and experience among different languages. ” (Holden 2002:228) In an international company, participants of interactive translation work in multicultural groups in order to learn how to work together in that team.
They must resolve common meanings and understandings and use participative competence to aid organisational transfer of knowledge, values and experience. Participative competence is the ability to join in with team work in multicultural group even if using a second language. It is very important to be able to share knowledge and stimulate group learning. Combating noise relate to constraints faced by a translator on the international transferability of knowledge. One of these constraints is ambiguity which is a problem if there is confusion in the original text.
Interference occurs when errors are introduced from one’s own linguistic and cultural background. Lack of equivalence occurs when it is not possible to find an exact matching word in the target language. Diagram 1: Process model of cross-cultural management and knowledge transfer Source of Diagram 1: Holden 2002:274 Holden also adds an extension to this model and that is of atmosphere in cross-cultural communication, as illustrated in diagram Atmosphere is an important concept for the manager to understand.
It is the ability to “create and sustain a conductive, collaborative atmosphere. ” (Holden 2002:275) Diagram 2: Concentric model of cross-cultural knowledge transfer wit atmosphere at the core Source: adapted from Holden 2002:277 1. 3. 1 Critique of Holden’s Work Unlike Hofstede Hampdon-Turner and Trompenaars academic criticism for Holden is hard to find. The most likely reason for this is that his work is fairly recent and also that his ideas are not as fully developed as the other two theories. Nor does he make concrete large scale claims.
The theory is at its early stages of development and as Holden (2002:284) freely admits, “By developing the notion of culture as an object of Knowledge management, I have attempted to show how culture can be understood as an organizational resource. But I am only to aware of making a few tentative steps and I hope others will take up the intellectual challenge. ” Holden’s conceptual framework like culture is complicated and might not lend itself well to the common manager. 2 Methodology The aim of the research was to conduct an investigation which would show the differences in culture in the workplace between the United Kingdom and Spain.
The results from such a study could be used to aid cross-cultural managers in understanding the values of the two countries. The method of obtaining the results was the Values Survey Model 1994 which was designed, developed and used by Hofstede in his research. There were several reasons for replicating his research. The first was to assess if any different and interesting results could be obtained. There was sadly never a possibility that the investigation could be bigger or better than Hofstede’s due to the size of the project. However the hope was that any results found could be confirmed and validated by Hofstede’s intensive research.
Other reasons for using Hofstede’s method of research are that quantifying of data is not complicated and therefore lends itself well to the average manager. A sample size of 50 employees from each country was first chosen but as the investigation began it was clear that this target was going to be difficult to obtain and the sample size was reduced to 31. The sample in Spain was obtained from employees in a 112 emergency call centre in Murcia. The call centre was chosen primarily for the importance of obtaining the information in one site of research only and by having a contact on the inside. The questionnaire is of course in Spanish.
(Appendix 1) In the United Kingdom the research was conducted on employees of the Lands End Factory in Rutland. This company was chosen for its reputation for openness which proved to be true as the author was given easy access to conduct the investigation. The Value Survey Model 1994 shown in table 3 shows the array of questions asked. For the purpose of this investigation questions 1-20 are the most important. The purpose of the questionnaire is to collect data which can be quantified to form an index. The index is categorised according to Hofstede’s dimensions which have been previously discussed in the literature survey.