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Lecture 4

COMM 222 Lecture 4: chapter 4.docx

Course Code
COMM 222
John Vongas

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I. What Are Values?
Values can be defined as a "broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others." Not everyone holds the same values.
Values may be classified into intellectual, economic, social, aesthetic, and political categories.
A. Occupational Differences in Values
Members of different occupational groups espouse different values. Salespeople rank social values less than the average person,
while professors value "equal opportunity for all" more than the average person. People tend to choose occupations and
organizations that correspond to their values.
B. Values Across Cultures
Cross-cultural differences often contribute to failed business negotiations. As well, research shows that anywhere from 16 to 40
percent of managers who receive foreign assignments terminate them early because they perform poorly or do not adjust to the
culture. At the root of many of these problems might be a lack of appreciation of basic differences in work-related values across
Work Centrality. Different cultures value work differently. People for whom work is a central life interest tend to work longer hours.
Thus, Japanese managers tend to work longer hours than their North American or British counterparts. This illustrates how cross-
cultural differences in work centrality can lead to adjustment problems for foreign employees and managers.
Hofstede's Study. Geert Hofstede, a social scientist, studied over 116,000 IBM employees in forty countries about their work-related
values. His results show that differences occurred across cultures in four basic dimensions of work-related values: power distance,
uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, and individualism/collectivism. Subsequent work resulted in a fifth dimension, the long-
term/short-term orientation.
Power distance is the extent to which an unequal distribution of power is accepted by society members. In
small power distance cultures, inequality is minimized, superiors are accessible, and power differences are
downplayed. In large power distance societies, inequality is accepted as natural, superiors are inaccessible, and power
differences are highlighted.
Uncertainty avoidance is the extent to which people are uncomfortable with uncertain and ambiguous
situations. Strong uncertainty avoidance cultures stress rules and regulations, hard work, conformity, and security.
Cultures with weak uncertainty avoidance are less concerned with rules, conformity, and security, and hard work is not
seen as a virtue. However, risk taking is valued.
Another cultural value that differs across cultures is known as masculinity/femininity. More masculine cultures
clearly differentiate gender roles, support the dominance of men, and stress economic performance. More feminine
cultures accept fluid gender roles, stress sexual equality, and stress quality of life.
Individualistic cultures stress independence, individual initiative and privacy. Collective cultures favour
interdependence and loyalty to family or clan.
Another cultural value that differs across cultures is known as long-term/short-term orientation. Cultures with a
long-term orientation tend to stress persistence, perseverance, thrift, and close attention to status differences. Cultures
with a short-term orientation stress personal steadiness and stability, face-saving, and social niceties.
C. Implications of Cultural Variation
Exporting OB Theories. An important message from the cross-cultural study of values is that organizational
behaviour theories, research, and practices from North America might not translate well to other societies, even the
one located just south of Texas .
Importing OB Theories. As well, not all theories and practices that concern organizational behaviour are
perfected in North America or even in the West. Understanding cultural value differences can enable organizations to
successfully import management practices by tailoring the practice to the home culture's concerns.
Appreciating Global Customers. An appreciation of cross-cultural differences in values is essential to
understanding the needs and tastes of customers or clients around the world.
Developing Global Employees. Given these differences in cultural values, it is important for managers to take
care when exporting or importing OB theories and appreciating global customers. An awareness of cross-cultural
differences in values can help managers better appreciate global customers and develop global employees.
Companies need to select, train, and develop employees to have a much better appreciation of differences in cultural
values and the implications of these differences for behaviour in organizations.
II. What Are Attitudes?
An attitude is a fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to some specific object, situation, person, or category of
people. Attitudes are tendencies to respond to the target of the attitude. Thus, attitudes often influence our behaviour toward some
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