Frame of reference
The aim of this chapter is to present the linkage between national and organizational culture. Furthermore, through this chapter the Hofstede’s cultural framework is being displayed with an emphasis to the dimension of masculinity versus femininity while this framework will be used for the analysis of the findings.
As Geert Hofstede supports in one of his articles, national culture is observed as a viewpoint that is placed earlier from the defined discipline of anthropology and had been firstly mentioned by scholars, such as Aristotle, Khaldun, Frederic le Play, Wundt who attempted to explain the different behaviors among the societies (Hofstede, 1984).
Hofstede defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or society from those of another ” (Hofstede, 1984). Thus, Hofstede et al. argue that in today’s era nations are the origin of a significant proportion of commonly mentally programming citizens (Hofstede et al., 2010). Culture as Hofstede et al. highlight is learned since it comes from the social environment and it is expressed through symbols, heroes, rituals and values (Hofstede et al., 2010). According to Lut, people are shaped by culture and form constantly their cultural perception which consists of values, mindset and hopes (Lut, 2016). Lut in her article about the influence of national culture on organizational culture supports that businesses look like individuals in the way of living and surviving: they follow and apply the same rules and present a set of beliefs and ideals, forming thus the organizational culture (Lut, 2016). Hofstede et al. had already supported that managers and the rest of the employees they work belong to national societies, therefore in order to acquire a deep insight into their behavior, there is a need for getting at the first place a deep understanding of the societies they belong to (Hofstede et al., 2010). Organizational culture is defined by Pompper as the way that employees interact and share specific perceptions, ideas, values and understandings (Pompper, 2014). Pompper further elaborates on that by stating that organizational culture has been identified as “the way we do things here” and organizations are being distinguished by obtaining a unique identity and thus, create a connection between organizational culture and working efficiency (Pompper, 2014).
Furthermore, Dumitrescu claims that organizational culture is being universally recognized as a competitive advantage and one of the main factors for success in today’s business landscape (Dumitrescu, 2012). Dimitrescu in her article highlights the importance of national culture on organizational culture since the values of national cultures forms individuals’ expectations and are being translated into specific attributes of organizational culture such as risk-taking, outcome orientation, a people orientation, stability, team orientation (Dumitrescu, 2012).
National and organizational culture connection
Luthans and Doh claim that there is a broader perception that organizational culture tends to decrease the expression of national culture (Luthans & Doh, 2012). However, the authors continue by supporting that rather the opposite fact takes place than this established belief (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Luthans and Doh point out that according to Hofstede’s research, the national cultural values of employees influence at a great extent their organizational performance, while “the cultural values employees bring to the workplace with them are not easily changed by the organization” (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The major difference between national and organizational culture according to Hofstede is that organization is a social system in which its members took a decision to be incorporated in it, are interacting with it during certain hours within the day, there is the capability to leave from the specific social system and lastly and the most important, the members did not grow in it alongside with their values (Hofstede et al., 2010). Moreover, the identifiable cultural dimensions are meant to be used in a useful manner for the better insight of the organizational cultures.
International companies and Organizational culture
According to Luthans and Doh, a significant factor that contributes to the form of organizational cultures of multinational companies is the cultural preferences of the leaders and employees (Luthans & Doh, 2012).
Luthans and Doh support that three features of organizational functioning are greatly important for shaping the organizational culture of a multinational company and those are: the relationship between employees and the company they belong to, the hierarchical system that implies the roles of managers and subordinates and the general perception of employees about the values and goals of the multinational company they work for (Luthans and Doh, 2012). The authors recognize Trompenaars for his suggestion for the use of two continua where one differentiates based on equity and hierarchy and the other investigates orientation to the person and task (Luthans & Doh, 2012). As the authors indicate, Trompenaars examines four types of organizational culture as the graph below shows: family, Eiffel tower, guided missile and incubator which actually contribute to examine the way of how individuals behave, think, and learn (Luthans & Doh, 2012).
According to the authors, Eiffel tower culture is a culture recognized by its gre at importance on hierarchy and orientation to the task while jobs and tasks are well defined and everything is managed from the top (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Moreover, the guided missile culture is referring to a culture that gives great emphasis on equality in the workplace and orientation to the task where job tasks are fixed and limited and employees do what is needed to get the job done (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The incubator culture main characteristic is its strong emphasis on equality and orientation to the person where the role of employees includes confirming, criticizing, developing, finding resources for, or helping complete the development of an innovative product or service (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Lastly, the authors present the family type culture which gives great importance on hierarchy and orientation to the person. Within this culture, employees give respect to the individuals who are in charge and look for both guidance and approval. In their turn, management adopts a paternal relationship with employees and gives an attempt to ensure that they are treated well (Luthans & Doh, 2012).
At the next graph given by Luthans and Doh, who in their turn had used Trompenaars findings, it can be clearly observed that Greece is a more person and hierarchy-oriented society whereas Sweden is an egalitarian and almost between a person and task-oriented society. Therefore, based on the four organizational cultural types of Trompenaars, Greece is characterized by a family type organizational culture where according to Luthans and Doh is strongly characterized by power, by a leader who is considered to be a caring parent and he/she has the knowledge for what is best for the employees (Luthans Doh, 2012). On the other hand, Sweden is considered to have an incubator type of culture which is placed significantly on the perception that “organizations per se are secondary to the fulfillment of the individuals within them” (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The building blocks of this culture is the belief that “the role of organizations is to serve as incubators for the self-expression and self-fulfillment of their members” (Luthans & Doh, 2012), therefore there is a lack of formal structure.
Hofstede cultural framework with an emphasis on femininity and masculinity
As Podrug et al. mention management implications that are suitable for one cultural environment may not be applicable to another and this is the reason that modern management leadership needs not only to be aware of the culture concept but also to pay the necessary attention to it (Podrug et al., 2006). In order to highlight the influence of national culture differences on management, Geert Hofstede conducted a research study in 50 countries around the world (Podrug et. al, 2006). In this research, it is crucial to mention that as Hofstede points out the survey data were gathered through a sample of employees of a multinational corporation in order to distinguish differences in the national value systems (Hofstede et al., 2010). Hofstede identified four dimensions that represent a different continuum: power distance, collectivism versus individualism, femininity versus masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance while long-term orientation versus short-term orientation was later added (Podrug et. al, 2006).
According to Hofstede et al., power distance is defined “as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally” (Hofstede et al., 2010).
Furthermore, Hofstede et al. argue that “individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him- or herself and his or her immediate family while collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty” (Hofstede et al., 2010).
Uncertainty avoidance is described by Hofstede et al. as “the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations” (Hofstede et al., 2010). One other dimension called “long-term orientation which stands for the fostering of virtues oriented toward future rewards while short-term orientation stands for the fostering of virtues related to the past and present” (Hofstede et al., 2010).
Masculinity and Femininity dimension
The dimension which will be given emphasis and used for this research is presented by Hofstede et al. and it is called masculinity versus femininity. By definition from Hofstede et al., “a society is called masculine when emotional gender roles are clearly distinct: men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success, whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life ” (Hofstede et al., 2010). In contrast, Hofstede et al. support that “a society is called feminine when emotional gender roles overlap: both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life” (Hofstede et al., 2010). Hofstede et al. had already previously noted that male achievement enhances the degree of masculine assertiveness and competition while female care comes to strengthen nurturance and support values as well as a more specific interest for relationships and for the living environment (Hofstede et al., 2010).
Actually, Janicijevic mentions that the masculinity–femininity dimension of national culture is connected to a society’s approach towards doing and being (Janicijevic,2014).
Masculinity Index has been recorded for 76 countries in the world based on Hofstede’s research where among them Greece’s index was noted relatively high (Index=57) and Sweden’s index was noted as the lowest from all the countries (Index=5) (Hofstede et al., 2010).
As Merkin highlights, masculinity seems to be the cause of the value that the working hours for the employees have (Merkin, 2018). Merkins elaborate on that by claiming that members of masculine cultures perceive work to be the main focus in their lives while for the members from feminine cultures work is expected to combine a high life quality and reasonable work hours (Merkin, 2018). According to Merkin, the values that connect femininity and masculinity with the workplace are displayed in terms of how many hours people spend at work each day, what happens when work and family life come into conflict and how much maternity leave people are entitled to have (Merkin, 2018).
Hofstede et al. have defined the main differences observed in the workplace for feminine and masculine countries as the table shows below. A deep insight about perceptions of the working members of feminine and masculine cultures is presented through this table.
As Luthans and Doh come to elaborate more on Hofstede’s cultural dimension of masculinity, the authors pinpoint that countries characterized by high masculinity index are greatly oriented on attributes such as earnings, reputations, challenge and within this masculine culture individuals are fostered with an independent decision-making approach while the workplace is related to high-job stress and managers believe that employees should be kept under control (Luthans & Doh, 2012). In contrast, countries in a feminine culture give a great emphasis on collaboration, friendly atmosphere, individuals are fostered with a group decision-making approach while the workplace is related to low job-stress and managers tend to boost their employees to be more responsible and free (Luthans & Doh, 2012).
The purpose of this chapter is to present the philosophical background of this research and its research strategy. Moreover, the data analysis takes place where the interviewees and case selection are being explained and justified. This chapter further includes the data analysis where the research technique is being displayed. Lastly, the research quality is being referred to the actions that took place in order to ensure it throughout the study as well as the ethical principles that were applied.
Philosophical stances of the research are the ground of understanding how we are going to design our research and what methods we are going to use (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009).
Firstly, our ontological stance on how we view the world is greatly reflected by social constructivism. It underlines the meanings of the context and the understanding of the personal position of each individual within the context (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). Since our topic states that we are interested in how culturally different organizations perceive change management in the project context, we need to understand what meaning the change management has in different cultures.
Therefore, our epistemology stance is reflected by interpretivism. To serve the purpose of understanding and to reach our research aim, we need to understand people and their differences as social actors rather than objects and that leads to an interpretive nature of the research (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009).
By defining the philosophical background of the study, we were able to define the appropriate research approach for our study. Generally, two research approaches are defined: inductive and deductive (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009).
As it is mentioned above since we would concentrate on understanding the meanings that people give to certain phenomena and how they vary in different contexts, deductive research with an explorative nature of study would enable us to understand insights, collect and analyse rich qualitative data.
The research strategy is about how we did setup and managed our research activities during the study (Easterby- Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2015). The problem, that we defined to investigate, aims at understanding the cultural behavior of people in a social context, therefore qualitative methods would help us to collect in-rich textual data.
We chose a case study because it gives an in-depth understanding of the topic from different views and describes people experiences with a sort of reflection on the given meanings. As Thomas and Myers mention, case study is connected with the word of singleness. The reason for that as the authors state is that the purpose of the case study is the examination and analysis of a single phenomenon whether this phenomenon concerns a person, a group, a country, an event or a specific period of time (Thomas & Myers, 2015). This comes to suit our study since the authors further elaborate and mention t hat the case study is about studying something from many different perspectives in its entirety by taking a close look at its different components (Thomas & Myers, 2015). Moreover, generalization according to Myers and Thomas is not a concept that belongs to case study but at the same time it is not a requirement for an inquiry; what is necessary about the case study is the analytical insight and the rich picture regarding the under examination phenomenon (Thomas & Myers, 2015). In our case, since the main purpose was to examine which cultural factors influence the change management process and the study was conducted in Greece and Sweden, singleness and no-generalization were the main characteristics of our study. The rich picture as well as an analytical insight had to be gained in order to address this research question, therefore the multiple case study (conducted in two countries) would be considered best to be adopted and used as a research method. Since we aimed to study the cultural factors, which required extensive description and in-depth understanding, the case study was the most suitable strategy for the chose research purpose and questions. Moreover, in our study we went for holistic multiple case studies to reconnaissance different angles of the chosen area. In order to fulfill the purpose of the study, we needed to collect data in organizations that belong to different national cultures, and therefore holistic multiple case study provided us with the ability to analyze data in culturally different environments thus to gain empirical evidence and understanding of the problem. We focused on two companies to have in-depth understanding about the topic and thus more value to our research, however, we limited our case study to the three challenging areas within change management.
We built our research based on the comparative structure (Yin, 2018), as we replicated data collection and analysis about the same obstacles within change management in a culturally different environment, which enabled us to see the variety of the meanings that on the surface belonged to the same statement. While having generalized models in change management, we examine the understanding of each participant reflecting their perception, a fact that allows us to understand how change management processes fit into different cultural perceptions. In a comparative research structure we were able to map the meanings for each statement and reflect the national culture influence on the provided meanings and thus contribute with empirical evidence to the problem defined in our research.
Table of Contents
1.3 Research questions
2. Literature review
2.1 Openness and resistance to change
2.2 Communication in the change management process
2.3 Leading the change
2.4 Change management and national culture
3. Frame of reference
3.1 National and organizational culture connection
3.2 Hofstede cultural framework with an emphasis on femininity and masculinity
4.1 Research Strategy
4.2 Literature review
4.3 Data collection
4.4 Data Analysis
4.5 Research Quality
4.6 Ethical Guidelines
5.1 Company A
5.2 Company B
6.1 Cultural factors in the Change Management process via Hofstede’s framework
6.2 Cultural Factors influencing Resistance and Openness in Change Management.
6.3 Cultural factors influencing Communication in Change management.
6.5 Masculinity and Femininity in cultural factors effecting change management
8.1 Results discussion
8.2 Framework and method discussion
8.3 Implications for research and practice
8.4 Future research
9. Reference list
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Cultural effect on Change Management Comparative case study