In view consequently dictates the group’s attitude

In the business management context, culture is viewed as a
crucial factor in effectively managing a multicultural team ( Hofstede, 1993)

Literature review

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1.    
Culture

1.1. Definition

Culture itself is a complex term
and can be defined in many ways. According to Varner et al ( 2005 ), culture
can be understand as the logical and mutual perspective of a group of people
based on their own  importance scale on
life aspects; this view consequently dictates the group’s attitude and
behaviours towards certain situations. Hofstede, being among the most
influential researchers in the field, has given the term a short definition as
“the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one
group or category of people from others” ( Hofstede, 1991).

1.2. National Culture

Hofstede’s study of members of
different national groups unveiled initially the 4 main dimensions of culture :
Power distance, Uncertainty avoidance,
Individualism versus Collectivism,
Masculinity versus Femininity. Afterwards, Hofstede has validated two more
dimensions, with the 5th one being Long Term versus Short Term Orientation ( based on the
Eastern-centered research of Michael H. Bond ) and the last one, namely Indulgence versus Restraint ( based on Michael
Minkov’s approach on the World Value Survey data ) ( Hofstede, 2011 ). The
basic definitions of the Hofstede’s dimensions are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions ( Hofstede, 2011)

Dimensions

Definition

Power Distance

The extent to which people are
comfortable with influencing upwards. The acceptance of inequality in
society, organizations..

Uncertainty avoidance

How comfortable are people in dealing
with unique situations

Individualism vs. Collectivism

How personal needs and goals are
priotized versus the groups/ organizations’ needs and goals

Masculinity vs. Femininity

Refers to the distribution of values
between 2 genders

Long term vs. Short term

The perservance values, future oriented
( Long term perspective ) versus the past and present oriented ( short term
perspective )

Indulgence vs. Restraint

Allowing the gratification of basic and
natural human desires versus regulating it through strict social norms

 

Another notable research in the
field initiated by Robert House is known as the GLOBE project. Based on the
data gathered from 17,300 middle managers in 951 organizations from industries
across 62 societies, House and other researchers established a different
version of cultural framework, eventually conceptualized 9 dimensions of
culture as shown in Table 2 ( House, 2004 ).

Table 2. GLOBE’s Culural dimensions

Dimensions

Definition

Performance orientation

The extent to which an organization
encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and exellence

Uncertainty avoidance

The extent to which a society,
organization, group relies on social norms, rules and procedures to mitigate
the unpredictability of future events

Power Distance

The extent to which members of an
organization agree that power should be unequally shared

Gender egalitarianism
 

Whether gender role differences and
gender discrimination is minimised

Institutional collectivism

The degree to which institutional
practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and
collective actions

In-group collectivism

The individual expression of  pride, loyalty and cohesiveness to other
members of the organization / group

Assertiveness orientation

The extent to which individuals of a
society are aggressive, demanding, and confrontational toward other members
 

Human orientation

The extent to which society /
organization encourages and rewards its member for being fair, altruistic,
generous and caring

Future orientation

The degree to which organization /
group encourages and rewards its members for carrying out future-oriented
activities like planning or delaying gratification

 

1.3. Organizational Culture

 If national culture is mostly seen as a
prevalent source of underlying value to manage priorities, organizational
culture is often referred to as having direct relationship with desired practices
and orientations ( Gibson, 2001). According to Schein ( 1992 ), organizational
culture is formed under several conditions :

·      
It is a set of shared beliefs, expectation built
on a group’s solution for internal and external issues

·      
It has to be validated as a working procedure

·      
It needs to be taught to newer members as a
correct way to respond to organizational problems

The layers of organizational
culture are categorized into 3 fundamental levels. The first level is observable
artifacts, including the organisation’s environment, visual structure and
processes. The next level is harder to observe as it belongs in the domain of
value, in which it can be generalised as the organisation’s goals, strategies
and philosophies. Beneath the espoused value lies basic underlying assumptions,
involving personal beliefs, unconscious actions and emotional approaches. These
assumptions, most of the time, are taken for granted and hard to identify.

 

2.    
Team and multicultural team

In terms of
organizational performance, working in teams is often considered superior to
other individualistic approaches through its ability to adapt, response to
different performance challenges and pressures for cost, speed, quality and
innovation ( Gibson, Katzenbach). Katzenbach et al ( 1993 ) coined the term “Real
team” as a small group of people that works interdependently to reach a common
goal. The members of this group have complementary skills and share the
responsibilities for the job results. “High-performance team” in particular is
a team that met all the prerequisite conditions of a real team, in addition to
a much higher level of members’ mutual commitment for growth and success. Even
though the high-performance teams can significantly outperform expectations and
other teams; its composition, however, is extremely rare ( Katzenbach ).