CHAPTER 3 – HISTORY, CULTURE AND CLIMATE
HISTORY, ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE AND CLIMATE SHAPE BEHAVIOUR: TWO WORLDS
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
(Santayana, 1905, p. 82)
The Oxford Dictionary (2017) defines history as “the study of past events, particularly in human affairs” or “the whole series of past events connected with someone or something”. Within an academic discipline researchers often use history to study past events, with the aim of finding patterns of cause and effect to gain a clearer perspective on problems experienced in the present (Evans, 2001; Munslow, 2001; Tosh, 2015). Such studies can focus on specific contexts such as political history, the history of religion, or social, cultural, environmental and business history, to name but a few. Within the context of this study, political, social, cultural and business history seem particularly relevant.
Political history explores political events and movements, and focuses on how leadership and power influence societies and relationships (Wiener, 1973). In the Tanzanian context, Julius Nyerere’s tenure is a good example of this type of leadership. Social history, on the other hand, studies people’s lived experiences of the past, and considers topics such as gender relations, personal relationships and socio-political history (Stearns, 1994). Trevelyan (1978, p. i) believes social history to be the bridge between economic and political history: “Without social history, economic history is barren and political history unintelligible.” Fulbrook (2005, p. 17) views social history as “history with the people put back in”. Within the African context – particularly in the case of this Tanzanian study – people form an integral part of the social and political history.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, cultural history became more prominent and challenged social history with its emphasis on language, beliefs and assumptions, and the causal role of these factors in group behaviour (Hunt & Bonnell, 1999).
Cultural history explores people’s interpretations of the historical experiences they have lived within their social, cultural and political milieus, and within the boundaries of a particular group (Arcangeli, 2011; Burke, 2004). In the context of Tanzania, the Ujamaa principle, as introduced by Julius Nyerere, upholds the boundaries of such social, cultural and political milieus by presenting people’s lived experiences through history. (For more on the Ujamaa principle, see later.)
Lastly, business history explores the history of organisations; their strategies and regulations, how they maintain labour relations, as well as the influence or control which they exert on society (Amatori & Jones, 2003). Africa has an ancient history in trade and economic activity. Unfortunately, much of its economic and business growth has been hindered by past influences such as slavery, European colonisation, drought, poverty, governance deficiencies, mismanagement and corruption (Baten, 2016; Collins & Burns, 2007).
Culture, which is a socially constructed phenomenon (Ng & Ng, 2014), emerged as an important construct in this study, and therefore requires further exploration and conceptualisation. The Cambridge Dictionary (2017) defines culture as “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. As discussed in chapter one of this study, Hofstede (1994, p. 1) presents a more expansive definition of culture as collective programming of a kind which distinguishes the member of one category of people from another – the category of people can be a nation, region or ethnic group, women versus men, old versus young, a social class, a profession or occupation, a type of business, a work organisation or part of it, or even a family.
Even though the construct of culture originated from within the field of social psychology (Chiu & Hong, 2006; Smith et al., 2015), it overlaps with the domain and field of industrial and organisational psychology (Martins & Martins, 2010) having emerged, over time, as organisational culture in the context of business and within organisations (see Smircich, 1983). This concept implies bringing together a person’s culture (as it originated from its social roots) and an organisational culture.
According to Schein (2004), organisational culture emerged as a construct in the workplace to refer to “the climate and practices that organisations develop around their handling of people, or to the espoused values and credo of an organisation”. Brown (2014) defines organisational culture as “a system of shared meaning” which includes elements such as language, how employees behave and interact with one another, as well as their attitudes, feelings and values. Therefore, functional cultural norms are established to regulate employee behaviour towards achieving organisational goals. According to Brown (2014), such cultural norms can also be dysfunctional, if they impede organisations from accomplishing their goals.
Moving from organisational culture (which focuses more on an organisational level) to organisational climate allows for a better understanding (on an individual level) of employees’ perceptions of the organisation’s policies, procedures and practices which regulate their behaviour (Dastmalchian et al., 2015; Ng & Ng, 2014). According to Denison (1996), organisational climate refers to the study of behavioural patterns within the workplace. These behaviours are affected by organisational and external variables which influence both employee and organisational performance (Dastmalchian et al., 2015). Evidently, organisational climate is a complex construct which should be interrogated according to its various layers. These layers include, amongst others, a climate of risk management, whistleblowing, employee relations and customer service (Dastmalchian et al., 2015; Michelli & Near, 1985; Schneider, Bowen, Ehrhart & Holcombe, 2000).
In theme one, the focus lies within exploring the effect of both the historical culture of Tanzania, the organisational culture of the business, as well as the organisational climate and the influence thereof on the behaviour of the people involved in risk management. Three sub-themes emerged, namely historical culture embedded in society through tradition, organisational culture influences behaviour, and the organisational climate as a social system (see Table 3.1). These three sub-themes, their related categories and the properties of each of these categories are explored in more detail in sections 3.1.1–3.1.3. In this chapter, participants’ responses are presented. These responses are all presented verbatim and unedited.
Historical culture embedded in society through tradition
Karenga (2010, p. 1) articulates the African culture as follows:
Our culture provides us with an ethos we must honour in both thought and practice. By ethos, we mean a people’s self-understanding as well as its self-presentation in the world through its thought and practice […] It is above all a cultural challenge. For culture is here defined as the totality of thought and practice by which a people creates itself, celebrates, sustains and develops itself and introduces itself to history and humanity.
The importance of tradition is emphasised in most African societies (Ranger, 2010; Zoogah & Beugré, 2013). Yet, such traditions might be regionally distinctive and are operationalised within a specific context to varying degrees through norms and values (Gulliver, 2004). In a society, tradition is typically used by certain groups, ruling aristocracies and chiefs, as well as elders, as a mechanism to establish norms, which they then primarily use to dominate others and gain control over them (Ranger, 2010).
As in African societies and their traditional culture, organisations are also a social entity, which forms and operates according to its own unique culture. Most people from central, eastern (Tanzania) and southern Africa choose to work in accordance with the principles of group solidarity and relationship building in their interactions with one another – socially and in an organisational setting (Newenham-Kahindi, 2009). During this interaction, culture is used as an instrument to prescribe appropriate behaviour, by providing employees with a system of shared meaning through norms and values (Brown, 2014; Potgieter, 2016). Even though African organisations often adopt Western structures, traditional elements of culture remain present in their organisational culture systems (Zoogah & Beugré, 2013). During a merger and acquisition, employees interact with one another through social processes in which cultural elements are transmitted (Sacek, 2012). This socialisation facilitates orientation and serves to convey behavioural patterns, values and beliefs, as embedded in cultural elements, and can also be conveyed through stories stating principles and ethics, to ensure responsible management and healthy labour relations (Newenham-Kahindi, 2009; Zhu & Huang, 2007; Zoogah & Beugré, 2013). The effectiveness of transmitting these cultural elements has to be questioned within the African context – and more specifically that of Tanzania – if one considers the findings of studies conducted by Kiggundu (1989) and Mapunda (2013). Both authors found African organisations in Tanzania to be lacking clear mission statements, a sense of direction or purpose, as well as clear results and objectives – all of which are the outcomes of effectively transmitting the abovementioned aspects through culturally embedded socialisation.
Consideration will be given within the first sub-theme of the historical culture embedded in society through tradition, and two primary categories which emerged, namely the Tanzanian culture and history, and, more specifically, the history of the banking sector in Tanzania. These two categories as well as their properties are discussed in 220.127.116.11 together with literature related to these constructs.
The Tanzanian culture and history
The Tanzanian history and culture emerged as a strong category in this research, and incorporates five properties, namely the local history of Tanzania, the socio-cultural formation, the concepts of cooperative economics, a cash-based economy and the informal financial culture. When considering the Tanzanian culture and history, it is important to note its complex and diverse nature. There is a great deal to be learned from the socio-cultural formation of this country and how it influences and even sometimes dictates behaviour. The Tanzanian economy functions according to the principle of Ujamaa, which is also referred to as ‘cooperative economics’ (see Nyerere, 1968). Ujamaa villages is an example of this socialist concept and used to develop the Tanzanian economy especially in the rural areas and within the agricultural environment, yet this concept also displayed capitalist characteristics in practice (Lofchie, 2014; O’Neill & Mustafa, 1990).
Participants portrayed a somewhat intricate picture of the diverse cultures, tribes and languages found in Tanzania. Participant 8AMHO elucidated that Tanzania appears to have approximately 130 different cultural tribes and more or less 120 different languages are spoken. However, “Swahili is our national language.”
Participant 13AMHO further explained that the problems encountered as a result of the large number of cultural tribes and languages, were addressed under the leadership of President Julius Nyerere, and unity was achieved through the establishment of one common language, Swahili. President Nyerere’s vision of African socialism, also known as Ujamaa (see Nyerere, 1968), appeared to have united chiefdoms and kingdoms and created an environment in which regrouping and collectivism were encouraged. As Participant 12AFHO asserted, “That’s why we don’t have chiefdoms; we don’t have kingdoms”. Swahili united Tanzanians and tribal issues no longer appeared to be significant. Participant 13AMHO explained this union as –We have this Swahili language all people and actually I can stay with somebody working together closely or communicating for even a year or two years or three years without knowing the ethnic group, the tribe the person is coming from. It’s not like Kenya for instance. The tribe comes first and then other things follow. For here [Tanzania], it is not an issue. The tribe issue.
Everyone speaks Swahili as a first language, and then have a native language dependent on where they were born. Participant 8AMHO indicated, [A]utomatically you’ll speak Swahili and then you have your native language. Which most of the time, you speak in the village. But if you are born and raised here, like my dad speaks a different language, my mother speaks different language. I was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, so I speak Swahili and English. I understand a little bit of language from each parent but I don’t speak them fluently.
For some Tanzanians, English might be a second language, if born and raised in Dar es Salaam, but for most English appears to be a third language. Participant 18AMHO indicated, “English, for some of us, is a third language.” Participant 38AMHO agreed and reminded us “remember, we have a language problem, we speak Swahili. English is not our first tongue. English, for some of us, is a third language.”
As explained by the above participants, Swahili became the first language of most Tanzanians, especially those situated in the bigger cities such as Dar es Salaam. To most, English is only a third language, perhaps a second language if located in the larger centres. From a socio-economic point of view, wanting to conduct business with international organisations or even with cross-border acquisitions and not being well versed in the English language, appeared to be becoming a barrier.
In an attempt to eliminate possible barriers, such as language, as well as threats to national cohesion and to overcome economic disparity, President Julius Nyerere introduced the concept of Ujamaa in Tanzania during the 1960s to 1970s (Fouéré, 2014; Kumssa & Jones, 2015). Ujamaa is a Swahili word referring to ‘extended family’ and proclaims a person to only become a person through the people or community (Kumssa & Jones, 2015; Pratt, 1999). The concept of Ujamaa was introduced in President Nyerere’s Arusha Declaration (see Nyerere, 1977), which outlined his vision for the development of Africa and which also formed the foundation for African socialism (Nyerere, 1968; Pratt, 1999).
President Nyerere attempted to bridge the gap created by the diverse number of cultures, tribes and languages in Tanzania with his Ujamaa and to establish a close unity between not only Tanzanians, but all of Africa. In Ujamaa – essays on socialism, Nyerere (1968, p. 12) explains this as follows:
We, in Africa, have no more need of being ‘converted’ to socialism than we have of being ‘taught’ democracy. We are rooted in our own past—in the traditional society, which produced us. Modern African socialism can draw from its traditional heritage the recognition of ‘society’ as an extension of the basic family unit. But we can no longer confine the idea of the social family within the limits of the tribe, nor, indeed, of the nation. For no true African socialist can look at a line drawn on a map and say, ‘The people on this side of that line are my brothers, but those who happen tolive in the other side of it can have no claim on me’; every individual on this continent is his brother.
It was in the struggle to break the grip of colonialism that we learnt the need for unity. We came to recognize the same socialist attitude of mind which, in the tribal day, gave to every individual the security that comes of belonging to a widely extended family, must be preserved within the still wider society of the nation. Our recognition of the family to which we all belong must be extended yet further—beyond the tribe, the community, the nation, and even the continent—to embrace the whole society of mankind. This is the only logical conclusion for true socialism.
Reading and pondering on the words of President Nyerere, one gets a sense of the strong socio-cultural formation present in Tanzania. Participant 38AMHO appeared to agree and spoke at length about the socio-cultural formation. Participant 38AMHO was of the opinion that, “unlike many other places, Tanzania has a very strong culture […] But also, in a group, where we come from, I think there’s some kind of social fabric that we are connected”. Matters are dealt with in a group or community, which includes the extended family. According to Participant 38AMHO, people take care of one another and share each other’s issues, We don’t have a funeral benefit here. When you have a wedding you contribute, people contribute, support each other. When you have a problem with all of those extended families – which I’m sure some of us will know – you need support.
Not being part of the group or community leaves a Tanzanian fragile and appears to be greatly feared. Participant 38AMHO emphasised the importance of not being alienated from the group which supports you by saying,
so much so that it’s difficult for you to disappear in the group because you know, being alienated especially if you’re fragile, if you need that support. So you cannot afford it [alienation], you need support; you can’t afford it unless you’re really stupid. So really, that puts people together.
The above appears to fit in well with Tanzania’s national slogan of Uhuru n Umoja (Swahili), which means ‘Freedom and Unity’. Encapsulated in this unity are the concepts of collectivism and extended self. These two concepts point towards the extension society becomes of the basic family unit. Participant 22AFHO explained, “Because the way our culture is, we have a lot of extended family and you’re always expected to kind of take care of each other.” Participant 36AMO described how taking care of each other is structured into their life through the act of sharing, “we have so many issues which we share in as a community. It can be a funeral; it can be a wedding; it can be something.” Participant 36AMO further pointed to how he perceived the African way of doing things to be different from the rest of the world by stating, Like the issue, of course, in mind people say, ‘that man or that family or the husband and wife’ […] you [non-Africans] create some sort of an island, isolated lifestyle […] we as Africans, as in most of the tribes, share when there’s some sort of happiness or something, that’s a death or whatever.
Within this socio-cultural formation, the breaking down of relationships appeared to be a real fear. This fear of being cast out of the community and other spheres of life should you ‘blow the whistle’ on someone who engages in wrongful acts appeared to be quite discouraging. Participant 3AFHO explained this fear as follows:
Actually the culture itself is the fear that is within an individual. Ok. He sees something which is not right being done, but he feels telling somebody that there is somebody doing something wrong, you know. Fear in the sense that: If I talk about this person, maybe I will be chased out of the work and I don’t have a place where I should go. Fear about breaking down the relationship with that particular person that he has lived for quite some time. Fear about now going back to the public and him being said, ‘Ha, you know that is the guy who went and mentioned my name to this people’. You know, because Tanzanians are people that have lived together, doing things together. That is the culture and that confidence of coming up front and holding one’s head and saying what is not right that is not there. And when you don’t have that in peoples mind, the risk becomes very difficult to manage.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE RESEARCH
1.2 BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE OF THE RESEARCH
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 FOUNDATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
1.6 THE PARADIGM PERSPECTIVE
1.7 CONSTRUCTING THEORY
1.8 CONTRIBUTIONS OF THIS STUDY
1.9 CHAPTER LAY-OUT
1.10 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
2.1 BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH SETTING
2.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
2.3 THE RESEARCH METHOD
2.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3 – HISTORY, CULTURE AND CLIMATE
3.1 HISTORY, ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE AND CLIMATE SHAPE BEHAVIOUR: TWO WORLDS
3.2 CONCLUDING HISTORY CULTURE AND CLIMATE
3.3 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4 – DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
4.1 DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT: BRIDGING DIFFERENCES TOWARDS MANAGING RISK
4.2 CONCLUDING DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
4.3 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5 – TRANSACTIONAL FUNDAMENTALS
5.1 TRANSACTIONAL FUNDAMENTALS INFORMS BEHAVIOURAL INDICATORS OF RISK
5.2 CONCLUDING TRANSACTIONAL FUNDAMENTALS
5.3 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6 – DISCUSSION
6.2 RISK AND RISK MANAGEMENT
6.3 PRIMARY COMPONENTS OF AN OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT MODEL
6.4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: PSYCHOSOCIAL COMPONENTS IMPACTING ON ORM IMPLEMENTATION
6.5 THEORETICAL MODEL OF PSYCHOSOCIAL COMPONENTS IMPACTING ON OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION
6.6 PSYCHOSOCIAL COMPONENTS PRESENT DURING IMPLEMENTATION OF AN OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT MODEL
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE PSYCHOSOCIAL COMPONENT OF AN OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT MODEL: RISKY BUSINESS IN TANZANIA