Human resources assignment essay: Cultural dimensions and frameworks of Hofstede model
Geert Hofstede has proposed five cultural dimensions. These dimensions set a generalized framework triggering the more evident and prominent facts of cultural relativity. The dimensions briefed by Hofstede illustrate the effect of a society or business’ culture on its members’ values and moreover how these values link to behavior. He initially made research on more than 35 countries and then extended it to around 55 countries and more than 2 different regions (IBM 2012). He identified and analyzed that there are systematic differences in different national cultures based on four key dimensions of culture. These dimensions are power distance, individualism/collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity and long term orientation. Last aspect of Hofstede model was added in order to cover the cultural values which are not discussed in original standard.
Furthermore, power distance index refers to the degree to which less potent members or employees of the organization accept and anticipate that power is distributed unevenly. Cultures endorsing low power distance accept power relations which are more democratic and advice-giving. Similarly, another dimension presented by Hofstede is about individualism and collectivism. According to Hofstede, individualism refers to the extent to which individuals are incorporated into groups. Therefore in such organizations, stress is mainly put on personal accomplishments and rights of an individual (Hofstede, 2005). On the other hand he differentiated collectivism by describing that focus is made on groups rather than an individual. Likewise, uncertainty avoidance index was clarified him by the definition that it refers to the society or organization’s tolerance for vagueness and uncertainty. It was noticed by him that people those who are in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance hold a tendency to be more emotional rather than less uncertainty avoidance. Next, masculinity and femininity dimensions were discussed in relation to the emotional roles’ distribution between the genders. Finally, last dimension demonstrated by Hofstede described the time horizons of organizations in long and short terms (Hofstede, 1984).
Subsequently, this paper has analyzed Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions for parent and host countries of IBM which is an American multinational company. Its parent company is America and Host Company is China. IBM is a technology and consulting organization with headquarters in New York (Payne, 2010). The company manufactures software and hardware of computer and also offers hosting, consulting and infrastructure related services in areas mainly ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. There are a number of cultural differences in both parent and host countries of IBM. In addition, research dictates that western culture is followed in American countries and China follows its tradition culture in doing business (Glassdoor, 2009). Hofstede model can be applied to make most of both countries’ cultural differences. In America, IBM faces only 24% organizational challenges due to its widening opportunities for business with other partners. On the basis of personality test of Hofstede for both these countries, it can be said that power distance in china is high as compared to America. Similarly, China focus on collectivism aspect within its organization and IBM in America has a tendency to focus on personal achievements and rights of the individuals in the company. Moreover, the number of feminine in China is high in comparison to America. In sum, uncertainty avoidance is high in China and low in America. Lastly China seeks long term orientation of its business and America seeks short term orientation on the other hand (Barboza, & Stone, 2010).
Consequently, Hofstede’s model can be used to develop effective HR policies in both China and America. Powers is considered as a basic fact within the organizations that may affect it as a whole. Therefore, to develop an effective environment around the business, IBM should lessen the power distance up to an extent in America, so that power can be distributed effectively and equally among the staff. In this context, subordinates should also be consulted equally because it will help reducing the amount of corruption cases, scandals and political framework of the organization. Uncertainty avoidance in organizations may cause to continuous threat that would create a problem for the organization (Hilton, 2012). Therefore, IBM should include the levels and degrees for tolerance of uncertainty avoidance. According to Chinese culture, IBM can make clear and transparent policies for employees on account of not working properly and avoiding uncertainty continuously. In addition it would lower the stress, emotionality, anxiety and neuroticism. A structure should be prepared to take action against the employees those who are deviant, incompetent and are threat to the company. On the other hand, American based IBM has low stress, anxiety and self-control and ease at workplace as they have low uncertainty avoidance within their premises. To make it more effective for their organization, there should be reward system for the employees who have high scores on their subjective health and well-being (IBM 2011).
Furthermore, Chinese workers in IBM focus on the achievement of collective group rather than an individual. They are taught to work in a group therefore they have no right to privacy and appraisal. In this context, Hofstede model is applicable because HR management can introduce individualism at their workplace as it would give more productive results to the organization. Individuals will start understanding their personal potential and capabilities in contributing to the organization and increasing its efficiency (Macanufo, 2010). Similarly, IBM can make its little focus on group working as it will help out in maintain the harmony for the organization. There would be less stress on an individual where work has to be done in a group or a team. From business point of view, it is understood that men have that capability, competency and skills to give effective results as compared to women. This create a difference between the values of men and women form both society and organizations’ perspective. China has high femininity because it gives same modest, caring values to the women as to men (Lather, Jain & Shukla, 2010).
On the other hand, America has high masculinity factor in its culture because they seek men as most assertive and competitive asset for the company. The model of Hofstede presents the clear difference between masculinity and femininity that can be used by IBM to implement it in both the countries to make its HR policies more effective and successful. Therefore, IBM should create a policy including the number of female and male workers in the organization resting upon the percentage of requirement. In china, it has balance between the roles and values of men and women at workplace (Axelrod & Johnson, 2005). Finally, Americans look for short time horizons that can cause slow economic growth and opportunities in the organization. The difference illustrated by Hofstede can be taken by IBM to seek high level of opportunities and competitive advantages. America should include guidelines in their HR policy that will set an agenda for their long term perspective and time horizons of business activities. Similarly, China should also focus on short term horizons of its some business activities which require quick development and response from the client. This will in turn make China more adaptive to the circumstances and dynamic in this modern business world (Hofstede, 2011).
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