Textbook Notes - Chapter 4

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10 Nov 2010
MGTB27 / 01 Week 3
o recent generation, most schooled generation ever so they would like responsibility
early on in their career, more career and results focused
o baby boomers, believed that you must start from the bottom and work your way up,
during first meeting, your were not suppose to speak, just observe
- This story illustrates how generational differences in values and work attitudes affect
workplace behaviour
What Are Values?
- Values are broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others
- The preference aspect is what we consider good and bad. Values are motivational since it
attracts aspects of our environment that we seek avoid the unattractive aspects
- They also signal how we believe we should and should not behave
- Broad tendency means that our values are very general and that they do not predict behaviour
in specific situation very well (e.g. knowing a person who values family will not tell us how
they will respond to climate change)
- People tend to hold values structured around such factors as achievement, power, autonomy,
conformity, tradition, and social welfare
- We learn values through reinforcement processes reinforced by parents, teachers, and
representatives of religions
Generational Differences in Values
- In many contemporary organizations, there are often generations comprised of:
o Traditionalists: born 1922 ± 1945, 8% of workforce
o Baby Boomers: born 1946 ± 1964, 44% of workforce
o Generation X: born 1965 ± 1980, 34% of workforce
o Millennials: born 1981 ± 2000, 14% and increasing [generation Y]
- These generations are distinguished by their different growing socialization experiences (e.g.
baby boomers faced a vibrant economy since after the war)
- Value differences between generations may underlie the differential workplace assets and
preferences for leadership style (e.g. fair, treat as equals, direct, motivational)
- Stereotypes that may concern the generations are:
o Traditionalists ± respectful of authority and having a high work ethic
o Boomers ± optimistic workaholics
o Gen X ± cynical, confident and pragmatic
o Gen Y ± confident, social, demanding of feedback, and somewhat unfocused
- Accurate findings are that Gen Ys value autonomy and that Xers, compared to boomers, are
less loyal, more wanting of promotion, and more inclined to work-life balance
- All work generations share the same values but express them differently (e.g. most people
value respect, for older employees this means being referred to while for Gen X and Y this
means being listened to)
leads to positive work attitudes and behaviours (e.g. reduced chances of quitting)
- This means organizations must tailor job designs, leadership styles and benefits to the
generational mix of their workforces
Chapter 4 ± Values, Attitudes, and Work Behaviour (pg. 110 ± 137)
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MGTB27 / 02 Week 3
Cultural Differences in Values
- Business has now become global meaning Japan cars could be on North American roads
- Research shows that 16-40% of managers who receive foreign assignment terminate early
due to poor performance because they are not able to adjust to that culture
- Many failed business negotiations is attributable to a lack of understanding of cross-cultural
- Work Centrality
o Work itself is valued differently across cultures
o People with high work centrality perceive work as a central life interest and tend to
work more hours
o Ranging from highest to lowest: Japan, Belgians and Americans, British
o If someone won the lottery and continued working at their current job because they
enjoy it, they have high work centrality
o Cross-cultural differences in work centrality can lead to adjustment problems for
foreign employees and managers
British executive is posted to Japan and finds out that Japanese managers
often work late into the night and socialize with co-workers/customers
o Dutch social scientist Geert Hofstede discovered five basic dimensions along which
work-related values differed across cultures:
Power distance ± power distance refers to the extent to which society
members accept an unequal distribution of power
x In small distance power cultures, inequality is minimized, superiors
are accessible and power differences are downplayed (e.g. Denmark,
New Zealand, Israel, Austria, Canada, U.S.)
x In large power distance cultures, inequality is accepted, superiors are
inaccessible and power differences are highlighted (e.g. Philippines,
Venezuela, and Mexico)
Uncertainty avoidance ± uncertain avoidance refers to the extent to which
people are uncomfortable with uncertain and ambiguous situations
x Strong: stress rules and regulations, hard work, conformity, and
security (e.g. Japan, Greece, and Portugal)
x Weak: less concerned with rules, conformity and security, and hard
work are not seen as a virtue (Singapore, Denmark, Canada, U.S.)
x Masculine culture: support the dominance of men and stress economic
performance (e.g. Japan, Austria, Mexico, U.S.)
x Feminine culture: accept fluid gender roles, stress sexual equality, and
stress quality of life (e.g. Scandinavian countries)
x Individualistic societies tend to stress independence, individual
initiative, and privacy (e.g. U.S., Australia, Great Britain, Canada)
or clan (e.g. Venezuela, Columbia, and Pakistan)
Long-term/short-term orientation
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MGTB27 / 03 Week 3
x Cultures with long-term orientation tend to stress persistence,
perseverance, thrift and close attention to status differences (e.g.
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea)
x Cultures with short-term orientation stress personal steadiness and
stability, face saving, and social niceties (e.g. U.S., Canada, Great
- Values of power distance and degree of individualism tend to be related
o Cultures that are more individualistic tend to downplay power differences (U.S.)
o Cultures that are more collectivistic tend to accentuate power differences (Japan)
Implications of Cultural Variation
- Exporting OB Theories
o Cross-cultural study of OB theories, research and practices from North America may
not translate well to other societies
o Examples
North American managers tend to encourage participation in work decisions
accomplishment but Asian cultures devalue individual success and would
rather reward groups than individuals (collectivism)
o A good fit between company practices and the host culture is important
- Importing OB Theories
o There may be successes or difficulties when importing techniques from different
cultures into the organization
o Many of the problems stem from basic value differences between cultures
o Example ± Japan and North America
employee suggestions for improvement does not work well in North America
since Japan has a fairly high degree of employment security. When working in
a fast pace and providing suggestions for improvement, workers will not be
put out of work. This differs in North America
o Understanding cultural value differences can enable organizations to successfully
- Appreciating Global Customers
o The appreciation for cross-cultural differences in values is essential to understanding
the needs and tastes of customers or clients around the world
o Example ± French response to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris theme park was less enthusiastic than Disney management
lifestyle, and entertainment
- Developing Global Employees
o Success in translating management practices to cultures, importing practices
developed elsewhere, and appreciating global customers can be achieved when
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