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Chapter 4 Questions

1. What is meant by the term culture? In what way can measuring attitudes about the following
help differentiate between cultures: centralized or decentralized decision making, safety or
risk, individual or group rewards, high or low organizational loyalty, cooperation or
competition? Use these attitudes to compare the United States, Germany, and Japan. Based
on your comparisons, what conclusions can you draw regarding the impact of culture on
Culture is the set of acquired attitudes, ideas, beliefs and values with which people interpret
experience and generate social behavior.
a. Centralized decision-making: top managers make all organizational decisions.
Decentralized decision-making: decisions are diffused throughout the enterprise; middle
and lower-level managers actively participate and make key decisions.
Attitudes vary because of cultural differences. In the U.S. both are common and is
dependent on the organizations philosophy of management; the more proactive is the use
of a decentralized approach. Germany has a more centralized bureaucratic and formal
organization control. Japan is more group oriented in making decisions, also a
decentralized approach to management.
b. Safety vs. risk. In some societies, organizational decision makers are risk-averse and have
great difficulty with conditions of uncertainty. In others. risk-taking is encouraged, and
decision making under uncertainty is common.
U.S.: attitude regarding safety vs. risk varies from one firm to another.
Germany: because of labor unions safety and risk are main concerns.
Japan: safety and risk will be an important concern of the group and the group standards
will influence the decision-making of management.
c. Individual vs. group rewards. In some countries, personnel who do outstanding work are
given individual rewards in the form of bonuses and commissions. In others, cultural
norms require group rewards, and individual rewards are frowned upon.
U.S.: companies traditionally focused on individual rewards, in recent years there has
been a shift toward group rewards and self-managed teams.
Germany: a combination of individual and group rewards that is based on the corporate
Japan: the focus is on group rewards. Quality circle applications are commonly used to
reward groups for new cost-saving techniques.

d. Organizational loyalty. In some societies people identify more strongly with their
organization or employer while in others individuals identify with each other based on
their occupation.
U.S.: management has to earn and then maintain employee loyalty. Many firms
experience a low degree of individual loyalty to the organization.
Germany: many firms have a low degree of loyalty from individuals.
Japan: firms enjoy a high degree of organizational loyalty derived from the groups. A
high degree of organization loyalty is extremely important.
e. Cooperation vs. competition. Some societies encourage cooperation between individuals
for the benefit of the organization while in others competition is the driver to
U.S.: Competitiveness ranks very high. Employees and labor unions are displaying more
cooperation and still remain extremely competitive in the work environment.
Germany: varies from organization to organization. Labor unions and operating
employees are extremely competitive.
Japan: cooperation and a commitment to the job until the task is complete are important
operating norms. The work group will attempt to be more cooperative with management
to achieve company objectives.
2. What is meant by the term value? Are cultural values the same worldwide or are there
marked differences? Are these values changing over time, or are they fairly constant? How
does your answer relate to the role of values in a culture?
a. The principles people have regarding right and wrong, good and bad, etc. We learn our
values from the culture in which the individual is raised, and they help direct and guide
b. Just as the culture varies from one country to another, its values will also be slightly or
markedly different. The attitude towards bribes is a good example, in the U.S. they are
culturally unacceptable and unlawful, in other countries they might be frowned upon but
still overlooked while in others they are openly accepted and actually expected.
c. It seems that while our personal, individual values have remained fairly constant,
globalization and technology are inducing some changes in managerial values. The latter
is more evident in managers that relocate to countries that have significantly different
culture that the one they grew up in.
d. Values and behaviors drive culture; culture drives employee fulfillment; employee
fulfillment drives customer satisfaction; Customer satisfaction drives shareholder value.

5. What are the characteristics of each of the following pairs of cultural characteristics derived
from Trompenaars's research: universalism vs. particularism, neutral vs. emotional, specific
vs. diffuse, achievement vs. ascription? Compare and contrast each pair.
Universalism vs. particularism
A universalistic culture believes that ideas and practices can be applied everywhere without
modification. A particularistic culture believes that circumstances and situations force
practices to be modified. I.e.: Formal business contracts; some cultures will tend to enforce
contracts ''to the letter'' (universalist), while in other cultures more flexibility is allowed
Neutral vs. emotional
These contrast how emotions are expressed. A neutral culture will tend to hold in feelings
while in an emotional culture an open, natural expression of feelings is typical.
Specific vs. diffuse
These distinguish how individuals view their space. A specific culture highly regards private
space and guards it closely. In the United States, for instance, we usually dont mind people
freely walking into our office, but would be offended if somebody went through our desk
drawers or showed up unannounced at our home, a good example of a specific culture. A
diffuse culture doesnt separate as strongly the public and private space; you may not be
invited into another's office or home in a diffuse culture as quickly sometimes giving the
impression of unfriendliness.
Achievement vs. ascription
These refer to how status is defined. Achievement cultures assign status by how well an
individual performs his/her functions; i.e.: the high status given to certain athletes and artistic
performers in the U.S. In ascriptive cultures status is bestowed based upon factors, such as
age, gender, or social connections.
6. How did project GLOBE build on and extend Hofstede's analysis? What unique
contributions are associated with project GLOBE?
The GLOBE project extended and integrated earlier analyses of cultural attributes and
variables, representing every geographic location in the world. Since it was conducted by a
multicultural team, a more rigorous collection of data and better definition and
conceptualization of the constructs was achieved.