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Chapter 4


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University of Ottawa

Chapter 4I What Are ValuesValues 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 Crosscultural 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 workrelated values across cultures 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 crosscultural differences in work centrality can lead to adjustment problems for foreign employees and managers Hofstedes Study Geert Hofstede a social scientist studied over 116000 IBM employees in forty countries about their workrelated values His results show that differences occurred across cultures in four basic dimensions of workrelated values power distance uncertainty avoidance masculinityfemininity and individualismcollectivism Subsequent work resulted in a fifth dimension the longtermshortterm 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 masculinityfemininity 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
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