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LIBRARY

T o w a r d s

D e v e l o p i n g

FILIPINO
CORPORATE CULTURE
(Uses of Filipino Traditional Structures
and Values in Modern Management)

REVISED EDITION

F. L A N D A J O C A N O

PUNLAD Research House, Inc.

Cover Design by Liz JaOTffo,,.

Metro Manila/Philippines

yc.vm

**** *

TOWARDS DEVELOPING
A FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE
:
Revised Edition
Philippine Copyright 1999 .
by F. LandaJocano and PUNLAD Research House, Inc.

First Edition 1988


by F. Landa Jocano and PUNLAD Research House

All rights reserved.


This publication may not be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole
or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise, without the prior written
permission from the author
and the publisher.

Contents
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction

vii
1

P A R T 1: BASIC CONCEPTS
1

Management and Culture

Overview of Human Resource


Management

37

Sources of Contradictions
in Philippine Management System

53

23

ISBN 971-622-007-3

PART 2: SOCIOCULTURAL E N V I R O N M E N T
. Published by:
PUNLAD Research House, Inc.
P. 0 . Box 121 UP Post Office
Diliman, Quezon City 1.101
Philippines

4
5
6

Printed in the Philippines

Kinship and Family: Basic Structures


of Relations

73

The Family: The Inner Social World


of Filipino Life

95

Core Values: Heart and Soul


of the Filipino

107

P A R T 3: CORPORATE C U L T U R E
7

Corporate Culture

Enhancing Strong Corporate Culture:


Filipino Values in Management

Integrating Traditional Structures


into Modern Corporate Organizations

Bibliography

Preface to the Second Edition

I TT mis book is about culture and management. Specifically.,


it deals with the uses of traditional structures and values
in developing a Filipino corporate culture. Western
managerial concepts and practices still heavily influence the
management system in the Philippines. The result has so far not
been very satisfactory.
;

It is suggested that for management to be effective, i f


must have the support of the psychology of the people working
in the enterprise. This can be achieved by "fine-tuning" the
management style to the cultural values of the society wherein
the corporation operates.
Many managers overlook the fact that management is an
activity shaped by the interactions of people within the
organization and affected by the cultural tradition of the larger
society outside it. The hard facts of capital, technology, and
market are not the only elements of corporate life. The human
resource component of the company is just as crucial and
deserving of management's attention.
Incorporating Filipino cultural values in management
does not mean rejecting Western concepts and ideas. Instead, it
is retrieving from the dustbin of our colonial past the suppressed
and almost forgotten dynamics of Filipino culture and using
these to strengthen as well as enrich the foundation of corporate
life. In this era of rising national awareness, there is a need to
redesign our corporations, modify our management styles to suit
the temperament of its cultural environment. This means:
Western corporate structures, Filipino management style. As
an ideology of excellence and development: Western science,
Filipino values. These can merge successfully.

In updating this work and reaffirming my advocacy for


the use of Filipino traditional culture in management, I was
assisted by a number of institutions and individuals. First, I
wish to acknowledge the assistance of P U N L A D Research
House, Inc., for funding the publication of this revised edition,
and for M F C Printers, for accommodating our printing needs.
Second, I am also indebted to the following persons for
their invaluable assistance in preparing this book for
publication: Ms. Mary Juliet B. Jocano, for editing; and Mr. C.
O. Ricafort JL,, for book design.
Last, but not the least, I wish to thank my wife, Adria,"
and my children, Bot and Liz, for their love, patience, and
understanding of my extended stay in the field and relative
isolation when I was writing as well as updating this book.

F . LANDA JOCANO
Quezon C i t y
October 20 1 999
3

Preface to the First Edition


/ IT this volume contains the revised and expanded text of
I lectures delivered during management seminars, labor
- L . and management workshops, and training programs on
human resource development at various Philippine corporations
from 1981 to 1988, The materials presented here are the results
of my field research on Filipino, culture, values, and value
orientation for almost two decades (1963 to 1983) and on a fouryear (1982-1985; 1987-1988) intermittent study of Filipino
corporate organizations and cultures. Additional materials have
been culled from the works of my colleagues and other scholars.
My purpose in putting these lectures, in one volume is to
share my research findings and ideas with as many people as
possible. Each lecture is presented as a chapter and is linked
with other chapters by a common theme: the positive use of
Filipino traditional values and structures in enhancing effective
management and sustaining industrial peace.
I hope corporate managers, management educators,
union leaders, and students of business administration and
industrial relations will find these materials useful in developing
ways . of increasing.. productivity and enhancing managerial
effectiveness.
In preparing this work, I am tremendously indebted to
many people and institutions, especially to those companies that
initially involved me in their management seminars, and
consequently allowed me to study their organizations. For lack
of space, I cannot personally thank each one of them, but I
gratefully acknowledge their valuable help and generosity. Their
ideas and insights immeasurably heightened my awareness of
managerial difficulties and also stimulated my interest in
organizational behavior.

vi

vii

My special thanks go to the following institutions for


their support of the research and writing of this volume: the
Productivity Development Center for the Development
Academy of the Philippines, the Asian Productivity
Organization, the Asian Center, Japan Foundation, and the
Salesman Center.
To the following persons who assisted me unselfishly and
so well, I extend my deepest gratitude: Art Tolentino, Roberto
Vasquez, and Nadine Teodoro of the Productivity Development
Center of DAP, for involving me in many of their research and
workshop projects, Rollie Buencamino of San Miguel
Corporation, for'setting up the San Miguel lecture series, some
of which are included in this volume; Jun Garing of the
Salesman's Center, for organizing a series of seminars where
most of the ideas here were tested; Jose and May Gatchalian of
the University of the Philippines, for the many opportunities to
work with them in workshops on industrial relations and in
seminars on standards and quality control management.

Introduction
Uncritical transfer of management theories and
techniques' based on Western ideologies and value
' systems has in many ways contributed to organizational inefficiency in the developing country context
'
R. N . Kanungb & A. M . Jaeger,
in M a n a g e m e n t i n D e v e l o p i n g C o u n t r i e s ,
1990

My special thanks go to Ms. Carmen Aquino-Sarmiento,


Ms. Gilda Cordero-Fernando, Ms. Noemi A. Medina, Ms. Myra
V. Dizon, and Ms. Wilma Reyes, for their assistance and
encouragement during the preparation of this book.

After one has discovered where the buttons are


located, [one] begins to learn that many of them do
. , nof buzz at .the other end. Or, that the perceptions
, and conclusions of the immediate subordinates may

be completely different from and even more meritorious than those of the boss. .

But, most of all,,I thank my family who bore patiently


and stood by me faithfully through the rigors of research and
writing. This would not have been possible without them.

'

F. LANDA JOCANO

'

Ex-President Fidel V . Ramos,


M a n i l a B u l l e t i n , 16 July 1998

bviously, the quotations above are gentle reminders


to those Who wish to become managers or leaders
that there are certain realities in the workplacei.e.,
office or plantthat they need to recognize if they want to be
effective.
'

Quezon City
August 8,1988

viii

. '.. First, many theories, particularly the Western ones,learned in schools may not be applicable to actual Philippine
situations. Second, uncritical use of these theories contributes
not only to organizational inefficiency but also to miscommunication between management and labor. Third, managers
must remember that, when workers join the company, they

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

INTRODUCTION 3

bring with them, as part of their mindsets and emotional resources, their local cultural values. Fourth, these cultural values continue to influence their relationships with one another
even within the organization. And fifth, unless understood,
these values can cause a lot of unnecessary miscommunications, frustrations, and conflicts.
Thus, it would be helpful if managers go out of their
way to learn these cultural values and incorporate them as
part of their managerial style so that when the corporate buttons are located, they know which end does not buzz at all.
A cursory review of companies that did not fare well
during.the'1998-99 Asian financial crisis reveals that managers, in these, companies, particularly the multinationals, had
not fine-tuned their managerial leaderships to local cultural
environments. Thus, they found it difficult to communicate
with their colleagues or relate with their subordinates. When
a crisis finally, happened, they did not receive the support of
the workforce; instead, they got negative feelings and labor
problems.
,
.
.
On the other hand, there were companies that did not
only survive the crises but even thrived in the face of adversities. They bravedthe storms of economic, social, and political
turbulence' and succeeded in attaining their goals: making
profits in the midst of crises-. How did they do it?
'.. Research on this amazing phenomenon of success in
times of crises reveals a pattern: successful companies are
guided by proper.business.attitudes..They also shift their corporate gears, early enough from purely technical to substantially, cultural management style. While they keep their technological .-capabilities, at; par with the latest developments^ in
the field, they hold their management styles close to and in
tune with the cultural psychology of the workers. This knowledge enables them to redesign their business strategies, gain
the committed support of the employees, and affirm the patronage of the customers, before any disaster takes place.
:

Threatened companies,, on the other hand, are those


with conservative, textboofeorknted management styles. The
techniques they, utilize. to manage corporate activities are

often too bureaucratic as to allow immediate response to sudden environmental changes. Moreover, executives of these
companies see no need for cultural values being meshed with
"modern" management. They are of the opinion that "such a
venture will only lead to confusion and management problems." To them, a culture-bound perspective is not necessary
for making current management techniques work. Good
knowledge of business opportunities and better discipline of
workers' behavior are all that aire needed to achieve corporate
goals.
,''/
,
:

There can be no argument against this latter point of


view. Functionally, this is what business is fortaking advantage of business opportunities. But there are other aspects of
the business enterprise that managers ought to keep in mind:
business is people. In spite of modern technology, like the use
of computers and robots in offices and plants, business continues to be dependent on people., Automation has not replaced people. The corporation remains to be an organization
of human beings. Thus, it can be as good only as the people
who run it. No enterprise can be better than- the men and
women who direct its activities. Management must, therefore,
also aim at enhancing productive relations in the company.
... It needs to be stressed, i n this connection, .that management is not only a system of ordering activities but is also
a sociocultural encounter. People with.diverse social back-,
grounds, cultural orientations,. and educational training are
recruited and brought to one place for accornplishing certain
specific objectives.' .These backgrounds, orientations, and
training may not be supportive of corporate purposes nor ade-,
qua'te enough to meet effectively the adaptive: demands of the
corporate environment., But these people are supposed to work
together as a team. They are expected to perform their tasks
with the same level of competence, efficiency, and productivity.
,
The business managers are responsible for achieving
this end. It is their job to level these differences and mold
them into a commonly shared corporate sentiment that can
motivate the group to work toward a common goal. Thus, to
treat..the employees and workers,with detached objectivity, as

FID PINO CORPORATE CULTURE

scientific management requires, is to lose managerial impact


and effectiveness, especially in times of economic crises. Even
labor unions are not exempted from criticisms by the workers
themselves when labor leaders neglect the human side of the
enterprise in managing union affairs.

Managers have traditionally developed the skills in


finance, planning, marketing, and production techniques. Too often, the relations w i t h their people have
been assigned a secondary role. This is too important a'
subject not to receive first-line a t t e n t i o n . ' .

Comparatively, scientific management deals with what


is to be done on'the basis of empirical evidence, cultural management, with how best things can be done productively and.
with the least conflict. Scientific management has its merits,
but it represents only one aspect of the business reality. Cultural management is the other aspect of the enterprise. The
two approaches must be harmonized into one corporate orientation.
Scientific techniques must be tempered with a "cultural/humanist touch." Otherwise,'people are reduced to statistical figures and human behavior 'into cold, barren mechanical relations. Likewise, cultural techniques, while humanist in perspective, must be'derived from and supported by
empiricalreasoning. Otherwise, they are merely superficial"
fads'. It is only when these two complementary techniques are
properly utilized that management can mobilize the entrepreneurial spirit of the organization to greater productivity
or motivate workers to strive for quality, professionalism, and
excellence.
A company's human resource is its most potent and
only viable instrument for survival at all times. Without dedicated men and women, technology is useless; science, meaningless.,That is why it is sad to note that many companies take
good care of their machines but not their workers. In fact, machines are treated as assets, while workers are counted as

INTRODUCTION 5

wages and expenditures. Although machines can be used to


facilitate efforts and save valuable time, problems-are ultimately solved by people. Everything depends on how successfully the company harnesses and transforms the ordinary
abilities of managers into sterling qualities, of managerial
leadership and the detachedly complacent attitudes of workers into productive personal commitments.to the goals-of the
company,.It is through these processes that the company can
sustain its successes;and -insure its,survival: in times of economic difficulties.
, !.

A t its best, human resource management is the


brain and nerve system for the brains, hearts, and bodies
of people w h o make an organization. W i t h o u t human
resource management, an organization cannot exist, as
.there will be no people, no unity of minds," no division of:
labor:, or more'simply stated, nobody to take care of anything. Human resource management, therefore, must be
the basis of management of any human organization, if
it needs .collaborative efforts of. two .or more .persons. 2

Corporate analysts often overlook the' fact that management is an activity, shaped by the interactions of people
within the organization and affected by the cultural tra'dition
of the larger society outside it. The hard facts of capital, technology, and market are not the only elements of corporate life.
The human resource component of the-company is-just as crucial and deserving of management's attention. ..'-.. >
Corporate managers must, therefore, be sensitive to
the psychological and cultural demands of the' environment.
These factors affect the nature of corporate life. But they do
not easily yield to numbers and accurate statistical predictions. They involve deeper human predispositionsprocesses
that even high-tech instruments often fail to uncover. In this
context, it is the "intuitive" ability-of-managers to assess the
unquahtifiable workings and the dynamics of the various en-,
vironmental factors that enables them to chart the course of

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

INTRODUCTION 7

the corporate ship through often dangerous and treacherous


business waters.
Methodically, there is no question that
... qualitative informationanecdotes, feelings, values,
hunches, opinions, and the likecomplicates decision
making. It does not yield easily to rational analysis, and
its usefulness is not always immediately apparent. But
. even when this kind of information cannot be precisely
understood, it can be absorbed. It can be especially v a l u - \
able in spotting problems before they get bad enough to
s h o w up the numbers (in coping with workers' discontent before it escalates into a costly strike, for exampie).
'

' '
3

'

The intuitive manager is not an anachronism in this


computer age. Although market trends and technological
needs of business enterprises cannot be analyzed, by sheer intuition, fitting the technology of production to market demands requires "intuitive insights," otherwise known as business acumen. By whatever name, .this/undefinable and unquantifiable something lies behind the skill to exploit new
ideas, to take advantage of situations, and to turn crises into
opportunities. This is the hidden dimension of corporate leadership whose dynamism and effectiveness rest on a deeper understanding of human psychology in its cultural context.

Intellectual strategies alone will not motivate people. O n l y a company w i t h a real mission or sense of purpose that comes out of an intuitive or spiritual dimension w i l l capture people's hearts, A n d y o u must have
people's hearts to inspire the hard work required to realize a v i s i o n .

It is often those intangible factors in human psychology, lying underneath the observable corporate structures,
that determine the success or failure of the enterprise. These

factors are not' easily noticed because they are difficult to


quantify. For example, business performance can- be statistically analyzed but not the strong drive to perform, market
trends can be quantitavely plotted and even predicted but not
the vision that underlies and influences their course; standards and qualities of products can be technically controlled
but not the creativity to design and to achieve them.
Drive, vision, and creativity belong to the realm of culture. These are abstract categories but powerful sources of energy that make the corporation move forward. They form the
bases of actions, of insights that enable successful managers to
transform potentials into realities.in an organization. Their
presence' or absence in a corporation is what makes the "vital
difference" between achievers and honachievers.

Belief in vision is a radically new precept in business


philosophy. It comes out of intuitive knowinglogic is
not eyerything; it is not all in the numbers. By envisioning the future one wants, one can more easily achieve
his goal. V i s i o n is the link between dream and a c t i o n .

The factors mentioned above, When reinforced by the


commonly shared cultural values in the environment where
the company operates, make an enterprise a living organization. This is so because cultural values are more attuned to
the way/people actually think, believe, feel,'and act than scientific theories of scholars.
In the Philippines, traditional values are so deeply
rooted in the hearts and minds of Filipinos that they remain
the "given constant" in an otherwise rapidly changing world.
These'values are the foundation of Filipino character. They
have been and may still be tapped to attain corporate ends
and'gdals. Managerial skill can be greatly improved by enriching it with'a "cultural/humanist" approach through the positive'and the best use of Filipino values and.practices. The case
of United Drug illustrates this observation.

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


,

INTR0DUCTI0N

mediate grasp. Most training techniques, developed as these


are in other cultures, do not stimulate their intellects or touch
their sentiments. That is why it takes a long time before the
desired ideas' and'skills become an integral part of their habits
and personalities. ,'The company cannot afford the luxury of
time if it has to. survive in the competitive world of business.

} United Drug was founded;by Jose


Campos. It
. i ; started as.a small street-corner drUgstbrein Sta. Mesa. It
. has since expanded to include other operations,- like
; -. ;drug;manufacturing. It n o w h a s some 2,000 people in its ,
, employ..; .;
....
;.
.-.-"-.'
; ,
., ,
:

'

Its founder was said to be the .'one who initiated the


b a y a n i h a n concept of employee-employer"relatipnships,
\
w h i c h in a .way, reflected the character of the man h i m , : ,
self, Campos, according to sources, came from a w e l l - t o , : .do family, but his father saw to it,that he would experi.
ence h o w it i s t o be a worker. That experience, it is said,
showed him the importance of a worker to an enterprise.
He believed that the human asset is "the greatest asset
of a business", and that, for the business to thrive,' a
spirit of brotherhood must prevail between employer
and employee.
Thus was born the b a y a n i h a n
U'nilab. B a y a n i h a n

-"

f
'..;

(we

help one another) system or a system of working together like brothers ariiJ sister" for the achievement of
the'goals of t h e company.'It means that all people, from
the president to the'last man in t h e c o m p a n y , will', work
together w i t h everything they got until the job is accomplished. It is accepted to mean the sharing of one's burden. Thus, the saying " b a y a n i h a n t a y o " is often invoked
When .there is work to be.done and the cooperation of
other units is needed, This way of life has been transmit- .
ted from generation to generation .of workers at the,

...

;.

Unilab. (Note: The system has been working effectively


for

20 .years with only one attempt to organize a un-

ion.)

Effective, innovation and creative: adaptation must,


therefore, begin with what people know and how they learned
what they know before they are taught to know what they are
supposed to know as part of. their corporate skills.-The value
sentiments of the what and the how in traditional learning
can be incorporated in the training process in-order to effect
positive responses to new ideas and skills. This is imperative
not only in training but also in management. '.
Any organization that does not fit into its cultural environment: is doomed to extinction. The survivalof the "fittest" is as much a law of the corporate jungle as it is of the
natural world'.'Hence, to meet the challenge of survival and
growth, especially'during difficult times, corporations must
include in their respective managerial styles the cultural psychology of the people who compose their organizations;

as a way of life in

... means " t u l u n g - t u l o n g . t a y o "

. Like the mythical ghost in the machine, culture is the


.most elusive part of the corporate environment. But it is the
most'powerful, instigator, of' action! Long hours are often
wasted in corporate'skills training programs because the approaches to attitude changes a.nd work values militate against
'the "cultural psychology of. the workers. Even the concepts
used as frameworks to learning are "beyond" the workers' im-

'. There has to be continuity, congruence, and'reinforcement'between corporate'management and corporate environment: We have'pointed this out in the preceding discussion in
order to stress the role of cultural values in management. In
fact, this study proceeds from two complementary'assumptions: First, effective management is the functions of the
congruence between the principles of management used in
the corporation and the elements of culture prevailing in
the environment where the corporation operates. Second,
within the corporation, effective management is the function of the f i t or m a t c h of the perceptions and expectations
managers, employees, and workers have of each other.
In,other words, it is'the perfect (or near-perfect) fit of
culture and.management that leads to excellence, productivity, and growth. In speaking of Japanese management style,
Prof. Ryushi Iwata said:

10

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


The so-called "Japanese-style management" Is one adaptive form of the management system that could only
have developed in the Japanese cultural and social environment and that has shown efficiency, in its own way,
in the Japanese social context. W h e n we are reminded of
this fact that a management system considerably different from the Western system has functioned effectively,
we cannot help entertaining the misgivings about rushing headlong into a quest for universality in managementi
theory w i t h o u t stopping to look at the "indigenous,
qualities" of the management system in each society.

Barriers to Change
In the Philippines,,many business schools do not emphasize the significance of Filipino culture in management
training. Cultural factorsi.e., values and normsare totally
ignored (or else listed in school catalogues as cognate subjects), if at all recognized, they are merely treated as residual
categories to quantitatively oriented courses. The same neglect is found in actual management practices. .This- indifference to or lack of appreciation of the importance of Filipino
culture to corporate management may be traced to the prevailing biases many business executives and business educators
have against existing Filipino traditional values. As one former official of the Bureau of Employment of the Department
of Labor said:
r

It's about time that we demystify the belief that there is


such an indigenous Filipino culture or traditional way to
.resolve conflicts. Labor management relations is a fact of modern, urban, industrial societies. In traditional rural
or upland communities, there are no labor-management
relationsonly father-son, landowner-tenant, or malefemale 'relations. These' are the different yet relevant
status relations impinging upon, yet not wholly related
to, production, unlike in the more specialized labor-

INTR0DUCTI0N 11
management relations that ariso In modern, urban, i n dustrial societies purely for production.
8

By the same token, many executives attribute lack of


initiative or responsibility among their employees to such cultural norms as b a h a l a n a , p a k i k i s a m a , h i y a , and so forth.
Public administrators also fault these norms for the peoples
seemingly lack of discipline, ethics, and morality in public
service.
3

Unfortunately, these derogatory perceptions of F i l i pino traditional ways have become self-fulfilling prophecies.
They are used as excuses or alibis for personal wrongdoings
and inadequacies. Even mass media have tended to bloat this
negative view of Filipino cultural norms and practices .and
have labeled many aspects of the culture as scapegoats for individual aberrations.
A newspaper report, such as the one below, exemplifies
the lack of appreciation of Filipino values in management.
The secretary of transportation and communications
wishes to run his department like he used to manage-the
IBM Philippines and in the same way the Zobels, Ayalas,
Sorianos, whose concern is EFFICIENCY, run their corporation.

'

':--..'. V

Unfortunately, he said, the main obstacles to this


objective are the two age-old Filipino virtues of u t a n g n a - l o o b and p a k i k i s a m a .
'.
He said, there is no reason why the government
cannot be run like an efficient and profitable corporation .
if those w h o run its departments and agencies would. ,
prevent these two virtuesinvaluable as they are for
family and personal relationshipsfrom Spilling into
thfeir professional lives...,
They (i.e., p a k i k i s a m a and u t a n g - n a - l o o b ) create a
class of incompetent privileged few w h o flourish at the
expense o f hardworking employees and hurt the citizens
of the country because they are incapable of delivering
' the service for w h i c h they are paid....

'

12

INTRODUCTION 13

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


[He further] said that for the country to progress,
leaders in government and private sectors must do away
w i t h these two v i r t u e s .

ler Corporation, once declared: "Management is nothing


more than motivating people." People involvement is necessary to achieve corporate goals. And as Andres Soriano III,
former chairman of San Miguel Corporation, pointed out:
11

This is a very strong indictment indeed. But many executives share this view. When cultural factors do come intd.
the corporate picture; managers generally consider them "barriers'to good management or public administration." The idea
of incorporating traditional values in management training dr
imoperational techniques of actual job supervision is considered not necessary or Unorthodox at best. The sentiments' expressed by- one executive probably echo those of the majority
of his colleagues.
*'
.':.': -.
.'
-:.:/, : ..-.-:.;
1

''

W h a t the hell do I need to know about these values

'

'

for? I have been practicing them not only- in my company


.

>:;.

but also in my home. Moreover, these people are paid to

, . dp a. job. That is all there is ]fco management; you work,


you get paid; y o u perform well, y o u get p r o m o t e d .

, ...

10

The use of cultural .-values-in management does not


mean an abrogation of the inviolable business maxim: NO
WORK,-NO PAY! Nor does it mean doing away with tested
managerial techniques. Contrary to common managerial fears
and misconceptions, understanding Filipino values and using
them to inspire and motivate workers towards better performance do not result in anarchy or breakdown in discipline. Instead, it encourages mutual respect and camaraderie that lead
to professionalism and excellence. Because of too much exposure to external cultures, the use of traditional values has to
be managed/supervised, and monitored well:
At pxesentj few managers and management educators
are willing to learn or are open to suggestions regarding the
positive uses of Filipino cultural values in corporate management. These'rare few are the executives and educators who
have realized that the essence of business is found in the ability of corporate leadership to direct and motivate workers to
peak performance. Technical competence is one thing, inspiring excellence is another. Lee Iacocca, the President of Chrys-

A n enterprise must involve its people, from top to bottom and bottom to top, in the total life of an organization. Its people must take part in the selection of goals',
in the development of purposes, in the analysis of obstacles, in-the generation of solutions, .in the design and
" implementation of strategies and-programs, and must be
rewarded w i t h the fruits of s u c c e s s .
12

'--''<
''.';'

' No matter how scientific management techniques'-are


sedulously applied and how technically competent the workers are,'if they, are not motivated to give their best performance, the quality and productivity are likely to suffer. Scientific know-how is one ..business -operation,, delivering, better
performance is another, Unless managers realize this, .management becomes a source of conflicts and divisiveness rather
than of direction and unity.
.'-.- The current failure of.the managerial system to create
a culture of excellence (in either private.or public enterprise)
is not due to the Filipinos' lack of abilities. Rather, it springs
from the unconscious-psychological resistance, of many managers toward- making a positive, if not the best, use of indigenous knowledge, values, norhiS, and practices.'There is an implicit rejection of Filipino traditional'ways and an explicit as
well as straightforward application of exogenous'Ideas, models, and'methods,' even, if these do not quite'"fit" the native
thought processes and sentiments. Traditional Filipino ways
of managing group activities or solving conflicts are, considered "backward" and contrary to what are accepted a,s sound
principles of modern management or public administration.
Total adoption of exogenous principles is deemed necessary to
advance corporate management. But as former University of
'dm-Philippines President Edgardo J. Angara noted: ,

14

INTRODUCTION 15

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


This experiment does not appear to have resulted in the
expected outcome, in view of the continuing tensions in
the Philippine industrial relations. I suggest that c o m pulsory arbitration and free collective bargaining did not
work, and their hybrid is not working because all are
based on an assumption which not only glosses over but
actually runs counter to the w a y Filipinos traditionally ,
resolve d i s p u t e s . '

.;

Colonialism is pointed out as the underlying historical


reason behind our people's rejection of .their indigenous culture. As wags put it, "Filipino history is 400 years in a convent, then 50 years in Hollywood." That was enough, they say,
to undermine the. cultural foundations of Filipino society.
Other critics say that we are -a people uprooted from our traditional roots. This is not quite accurate. Underneath the veneer
of alienation is a truly and uniquely Filipino tradition. We
have our roots deep in the native grounds. Although Filipino
political unity is a relatively recent and shaky achievement,
our cultural unity had long been achieved, hundreds of years
before the colonizers came. Whatever was borrowed from outside was modified to suit local needs. As anthropologist
Robert Fox pointed out: '<
'
:

Throughout the thousands of years of contact, direct

and indirect, with Asia and Southeast Asia, the Filipino


|

people selected and. elaborated trait-complexes, which


... . were part of the flow ("trickle" w o u l d perhaps be a better term) of traditions into the Islands. Cultural and social patterns were h o t ' b o r r o w e d in toto; then, as now,
specific external influences were borrowed and reshaped
to conform w i t h existing^ institutions, values, and beU l

cally elaborated, and locally developed ways of doing,


.

'

liefs, and in response to local needs. Thus, unique, lo. i believing, and thinking emerged.

'

14

The Filipino's experience with history and encounter


with modernization has him existing simultaneously with two
competing value systems: the native or indigenous and the exogenous, mostly Anglo-American. The former demands nationalist concerns, the latter modernization. This bipolar situation has resulted in a so-called "split-level" national bureaucratic management. Indigenous sentiments are openly derided
as counterproductive but are retained in individual interactions. Filipinos accept the Americans' objectivity as an ideal
model for interactions but reject their business'as an affront,
to Filipino sensitivity.
'
-, ;
1

This somewhat schizophrenic state of affairs is generally recognized and accepted. However, there has been no concerted and systematic effort to unify the two systems into a
single orientation. The tendency has been to discard or disregard indigenous Filipino cultural values if these-aire perceived
as contrary to modern (i.e., Anglo-American) management'
ideas and practices: The reverence for things-modern has oftentimes resulted in the unquestioning acceptance of naive
and outlandish management theories so, long as these are
couched i n Western academic jargon. It is seldom realized by
many'Filipinos that modern values-considered universal have,
in fact, a strong Western bias.
- -' '>- :

Managers have to "listen to'those bells" from Within


their storehouse of practical knowledge of the prevailing culture found in the environment Where the corporation operates. Insights into human behavior do not always appear in
statistical tables, People are different from each other not on
account of their being human but because of their cultural
orientation. Each culture has its own way of defining how
things Ought to' be done and why. Foreign managers working
in Asia will be happier if they take time to understand the
culture of the workers they are managing. As Paddy Bowie of
the E u r o - A s i a Business Review states:
W a y s of doing business are inextricably bound-up w i t h

*For detailed description, see F. Landa Jocano, F i l i p i n o P r e h i s t o r y :


Redisc o v e r i n g P r e c o l o n i a l H e r i t a g e (Quezon City: PUNLAD Research House, Inc.,

1998).

cultures. In the East, business is built on reciprocal associations between individuals....

16

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

The central value js harmony the Chinese w a , the


:. ability to get along, with .others. The Filipino has a w o r d

for it-^pqkUdsqma-which
is highly prized. To.be i r i s e n - ,
. ,
.. , sitive to the feelings of others is to, be a social d e l i n , , , , quen.t.' ;
.
. , ;
,,
.,;.., . ; .
:

li

i . / T h e contradictions and confusions in.the,Filipino.'perceptions of work and work habit are the result of ambivalence
as to which model to use in managing: men in. corporate organizations,-Managers reject,traditional.values as backward,
whereas workers hold these in high esteem. In almost all occasions, managers and supervisors operate on one set of assumption; workers, on another. To the former, to be bossy is part of
their.managerial role. To the latter, it.is ^managerial arrogance. . '
.'.,'.
.
>....; . Further, to correct mistakes publicly is constructive.
Qrri-sifiismto the supervisors; to the workers, it is,an affront to
t ^ U ^ p i p r p j f Q ^ i O ' (self-egteem). For workers, to be ordered all
t]iQ ftiimje is, in the view of many managers and supervisors, am^s-UiFQIto make up for lack of initiative; but to the workers,
ifisj^utACratioand unnecessary. In the process, the managers
ad, Supervisors become impatient and the workers frustrated
or resentful. They are talking but not listening.to, each.other.
It.js. as though they are transmitting on two wavelengths or
tfieir signals are crossed. The inevitable results: conflicts. , ,
;

But the same bossism, correction, and ordering be-,


come astute parts, of motivation when- communicated,,in
proper cultural context. A, manager can be bossy without raising his, voicepn a worker,, especially in frqnt of other workers.'
Criticism or even reprimand is well-receiyed if communicated,
as a concern over efficiency and-skill development. There are
many other examples on.how to manage and supervise..Filipino'workers .'without offending their sensitivity.'As one, s-trikf..
ing labor leader said:
,
...
, . ... . /
r

H i n d i sa h i n d i n a m l n a l a m a n g t r a b a h o . ' A t h i n d i r.ln sah i n d i sapat


a n g sahod.
A n g totoongdahilqn n g pag-alsa
n g m g a t a o ay a n g k a y a b a n g a n a t k a l u p l t a n , n i t o r i g
d a y u h a n a t n g k a n i l a n g P i l l p i n o n g g a l a m a y . K a h i t sa

INTRODUCTION 17

h a r a p n g m a r a m l n g t a o ay s l n l s l g a w a n k a n g p a r a n g a l i l a .
.Walang paklkipagkapwa a n g m g a iyan. Kaya napuno n a
a n g m g a t a o n a g k a s u n d o a t l u m a b a n . (It is not that we
.do not know our w.ork, It is not that we are not receiving
a good salary. The real cause of the strike is the rudeness,
and cruelty of t h e foreigners, apd their Filipino, under;
lings. Even in front of many people, they shout at you as
if y o u are a servant. They do not strive for good rela-.
tions. That is w h y people agreed to fight b a c k . )
16

Reconciliation

., - . , ,,.

' :\., ' .]]:.


;

i : ; i ,

The contradictory value system has exacted from the


national society a high price in terms of economic stagnation,
social corruption, moral decadence, and political dry rot. The
time has come for us to stop laying the blame for what, we
have become at the colonizer's door and to give up making excuses,for our shortcomings as a people.; The negative psychology of historical alienation that has estranged us from our.traditional culture for so long can be transformed. A positive;
psychology can turn around, perceived sociocultural inadequacies and capabilities. It .can regenerate our weakening moral
fiber and turn it into inner strengths that .can bear us through
the next millennium.
.. This does not mean that we Filipinos, should beqome
xenophobic and singularly insular and parochial on.the,other
extreme. We must be selective in borrowing, modifying, and
discarding cultural traits. Only the best in Western traditions,
as our perceptions guide us; must be borrowed and used; only
the'be'st'-in Filipino culture must be retained and emphasized.
What is best is.determined by the positive contribution a borrowed'idea or technique or an existing cultural trait has .given
to the growth and'well-being of an organization or of the
greater society. For example, Western science, technology,
and principles of management can -be borrowed selectively^
but these borrowed elements have to be modified to suit the
cultural characteristic of the Filipino people.
. ,
1

18

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

INTRODUCTION 19

Doing- this does not mean reinventing the wheel, so to


speak, or totally discarding cultural elements with those introduced by foreign sources, which may already be part of our
cultural heritage. Instead, it'is retrieving from-the dustbin of
our colonial past the suppressed and almost forgotten dynamics of Filipino' culture and using these to strengthen as well as
enrich the foundatioh'of our 'modern corporate life. In this era
of rising nationalism, we need to "redesign" our corporations,
modify our management style's to suit the temperament of
their cultural environmentthe Filipino cultural environment. This means: Western corporate structures, Filipino
management styles. As an ideology of excellence and, development: Western science, Filipino values. Tne'se cah'mef^ge
successfully.
1

Notes
'

' W i l l i a m . H a w l e t t , " T h e H u m a n ' S i d e o f Management," quoted f r o m

Praii Tarkenton, H o w t o M o t i v a t e P e o p l e (New Y o r k : Harper & R o w Publishers, 1986), 65:

'..-

- -

-'' S h m - i c h i Takezawa, ed. I n Quest

'

of H u m a n . D y n a m i s m ' ( T o k y o :

A s i a n P r o d u c t i v i t y ' O r g a n i z a t i o n , 1986), 3.

' ' '

P a t r i c i a O ' T o o l e , C o r p o r a t e M e s s i a h ( N e w A m e r i c a n L i b r a r y , 1984),
269.
.'.-..
4

"'

J o h n ' N a i s b i t t and P a t r i c i a A b u r d e h e , R e i n v e n t i n g t h e C o r p o r a t i o n
;

(New

Y o r k : W a r n e r Boolcs 'lncr., 1'985), 2 7 . ' ;

'

I b l d . , 25-26.

"

'

' '

'

"

'^

'
' .

;., M a r i e E d r a l i n - A g a n o n , " T h e B a y a n i h a n .System at U n i l a b : A Case


Study o f W o r k e r s ' P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n Management,". P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of
I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 1, no. 1 (1st Semester, 1978):8.
:

peats

'

R y u s h i I v / q t S i , J f l p q n p s e Style M a n a g e m e n t : I t s F o u n d a t i o n s a n d P r o s ' ( T o k y o : A s i a n P r o d u c t i v i t y O r g a n i z a t i o n , f98;2), 8. , ,


.
,

M a r y A n n F e r n a n d e z , " D e m y s t i f y the B e l i e f T h a t T h e r e ' I s a F i l i p i n o W a y to R e s . o i v ^ Q p f l M G t S i "


6, iios. 1-2 (1984)::125,.-

:;

..

P h i l i p p i n e J o u n i u l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s '
-.

.; - - ,

^ M a n i l a B u l l e t i n , 2l'Maffch 1988, 4 3 . ' '.-'.'

>V,<x>;-,-

'',;'

',

10

P e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w , 1987.

L e e Iacocca (with W i l l i a m N o v a k ) , I a c o c c a : A n A u t o b i o g r a p h y ( N e w

Y o r k : B a n t a m B o o k s , 1984), 53.
12

B e n j a m i n M a r t i n e z , " A Corporate Colossus on the T h r e s h o l d o f Its


C e n t e n n i a l , " Sunday
Times M a g a z i n e , 8 M a y 1988, 9.
13

Edgardo J. Angara, "New Dimensions i n Industrial

Relations,"

P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l o f I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 5, n o s . T - 2 (1983):27.
14

R o b e r t F o x , The
U N E S C O , 1959), 1.
15

Business
lfi

Philippines

i n Pre-Hispanic

Times

(Manila:

P a d d y B o w i e , " W h e n Silence D o e s n ' t M e a n Consent," E u r o - A s i a


Review
1, no. 1 (1988):34.
P e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w , F e b r u a r y 1988.

Parti
BASIC CONCEPTS
Management and Culture
Overview of Human Resource Management
Contradictions in Philippine Management System

Management and Culture


Every managerial act r.ests on assumptions, generalizations, and hypothesesthat is to say, on
theory. Our assumptions are frequently implicit,
sometimes quite unconscious, often conflicting;
nevertheless, they determine our predictions that if
we do a,,b will, occur, Theory and practice are i n separable.
tr.

-.-I

'

Douglas McGregor,
Author, I960

W i t h o u t exception, the dominance and cohere n c e of culture-proved to be an essential quality of


excellent companies.
Thomas J , Peters
& Robert H. Waterman Jr.,
Authors, 1982

hroughout this study, we shall continually use the


terms management and culture. For purposes of clar. ity, we shall define, and explain our use of these concepts.

Management
Management is a given in all social groupings, from
the most primitive societies to the most sophisticated organizations. Management directs organization activities and pre-

24

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

vents the wastage of materials and human resources. It is an


essential feature of human behavior at work, and it is necessary in order to achieve maximum cooperation and minimum
conflict among the members of a group.
Business management, both in big corporations and in
small enterprises, may be viewed as a special type of relationship that involves not only directing the behavior of people
but also utilizing capital and technology for the ultimate objective of making profits. Over the greater society, it shapes
attitudes, habits, and values through advertising and asserts
influence over the lives of people through the systematic control of their economic resources. By managing technology
through.research and development, management further determines" the level of sophistication science can reach and ultimately .the complexity and progressiyeness. of society.
Managing technology through science alone is shortsighted. Managing technology through people has more farreaching effects on corporate growth in terms of productivity
and profit than through any other method 'so far devised. This
way, management opens avenues for better understanding and
provides proper direction of activities intended for the realization of human potential in the'community or in the organization.

As used in this study, the term management refers to


the ability of managers to motivate people to participate creatively ^and productively in group activities so that the organization can achieve its goals. To motivate people is actually to
develop in them a collective sentiment, a moral consensus
that allows them to realize their potentials as individuals and
as members of a corporate group. If a manager cannot motivate, he is a failure in his role.

Management may also be viewed as the ability to


influence people to think, believe, feel, and act the way
one wants-them to think, believe, feel, and act for the
purpose of accomplishing or achieving certain ends or
goals.

Technology is more than work, more than material


. objects, .more, than, mere .applications of science,, more
than machines,, more than invention. It is also a set of
.attitudes and values-that bears, qualitative and emotional consequences. Technology provides important
cultural determinants that shape the primary institutions of W e s t e r n society, and potentially of n o n - W e s t ern society. A genuine technological revolution has occurred and is moving relentlessly on. It has brought the
emancipation of w o m e n , changes in the organization of
work and leisure, and a higher quality of life.
2

25

Structural relationships in the organization have contributed to perpetuate the popular view that management is
purely the official prerogative of managers. Managers are
hired to manage; that is their sole job. They have to discharge
their duties efficiently and objectively if they are to stay at the
helm of the enterprise. In this context, the rank-and-file workers are viewed as people who simply do their jobs as defined,
directed, and managed, and are totally removed from the decision-making process.
:

This view is changing. Management is no longer considered "primarily a matter of technique but of finding out
ways to reach objectives within an existing sociocultural system." Such development proceeds from the realization that
no business enterprise is an isolated entity but instead is
shaped by its social and economic environment. Thus, management is no longer guided solely by its impersonal organizational structures, but principally by the motivations of people.
It has become a humanist art. As such, it consists of work attitudes, drives, values, creativity, and innovation. It is a kind of
counterculture aimed primarily at developing a collectively
4

26

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

shared knowledge and sentiments at the corporate level of interactions.


Thus, when managers manage well, corporations realize more profits. "When workers are well managed, they perform optimally and professionally. Work is approached with
responsibility and dignity. For both workers and managers,
indifference is changed into creative interest, perfunctoriness
into eagerness, doubt into confidence, and mediocrity into excellence. The ultimate test of the successful manager is how
well he inspires performance and eliminates barriers to productivity. Crucial to this is the managerial ability to act accordingly and to recognize all the nuances and manifestations
of management as a cultural and behavioral process.

How Well managers manage and are managed determines whether business goals will be reached. It also
largely determines

how well -the

enterprise

manages

worker and work. For the worker's attitude


above all, the attitude of his management.
mirrors management's

reflects,

It directly

competence and structure. The

worker's effectiveness is determined largely by the w a y


he is being managed.

Elements of Management
Management as a cultural and behavioral process
means developing shared feelings and beliefs in the organization. This includes planning, organizing, implementing, and
controlling (evaluating) activities in order to provide a favorable climate for operation.
6

Planning is the first element of management. Planning, whether explicit or implicit, is necessary in order to attain organizational or corporate goals. This necessitates setting up objectives, clearing them, and developing strategems

27

in anticipation of future actions. It is at this point that conventional wisdom merges with scientific knowledge, insight
with rational thinking, vision with realistic decision making.
To plan is also to extrapolate from factual information ideas
for envisioning a course of action. This way, one may reasonably predict that, if nothing disturbs existing conditions drastically, the desired goal of the company can be achieved, perhaps even easily.
The second element of management is organization.
This involves the definition of tasks, the allocation of work to
people, and the integration of activities into a work system.
Beyond the tedious process of job recruitment is the challenge
of providing workers with a sense, of identity or belongingness
that will promote corporate unity and productivity.
The third element of management is direction or the
implementation of plans as envisioned and of work activities
as organized. Direction or implementation (labels are a matter of personal preference) includes leadership, motivation,
delegation, discipline, and cooperation. Managers must ensure that the proper environment for productive work exists
and must decide which tasks ought to be closely supervised
and which responsibilities may be delegated. In these contexts, they must not only implement policies Or direct activities; they must also create, innovate, motivate, and inspire.
The fourth and last element of management is control
or evaluation. Without any form of control, discipline is difficult to attain; without regular evaluation, group work loses its
direction. In production, standards and quality control must
be top priorities to avoid losses. Furthermore, costs, machine
cap-abilities, inventories, liquidity, and cash flows have to be
controlled in order to provide direction to the volumes of production and to further development. Work performance must
be continually evaluated to improve personal and group output. Activities related to the work cycle must likewise be
evaluated in terms of their contribution to the total effort in
achieving corporate goals. The overall purpose of evaluation
or control is to improve performance, thereby enhancing professionalism and maintaining excellence.

<fb\r

<c- a i ;

ffStpivintK

thin**.

28

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Management, as herein defined, has been criticized as


traditional. Lately, a preference has been expressed to define
management as the reactive organ of the business enterprise.
This latter view calks upon the manager to react to a variety of
problems with minimal attention to planning, organizing, and
controlling. Regardless of the merits of one- definition over
the other, the main duties of the manager are still to plan, organize, implement,-and control the activities Of the corporation.
7

29

harder in order to further satisfy their wants. All that management has to do is to provide benefits and strengthen the employees' dependence on the organization for their security and
satisfaction.
Supportive leadership,- on the other hand, is management that provides the proper climate for human resource der
velopment while achieving the ends and purposes of the enterprise, Collegial leadership is premised on' teamwork as the
key to responsibility and productivity. It is the task of management to build a better team if it aims for corporate excel,

11

...

lence.
Our ability to compete rests on our ability to organ- '
ize human beings in such a w a y as to geneca-te opportunity and results, rather than impasses, stagnation, bureacracy, and wasteful friction.

... . ;

Leadership is fast becoming a critical dimension of


interpersonal influence that must cpme to permeate the
management of any company, that intends to remain
successful in the new business environment. Consequently, managers must grow to embrace leadership as a
central component of their self-concepts and roles....
12

[Managers] must grow to become Leaders-Managers.

Managerial Leadership
The success,or failure of a. company is largely attributable to its managerial leadership. Some managers are merely
administrators who limit their activities to routine and formally prescribed tasks. Others are leaders who do not only
manage the daily affairs of the company but also harness the
potentials of employees so as to achieve company goals.'
There are four types of managerial leadership: autocratic, custodial, supportive, and collegial. Autocratic leadership is formal and founded on the delegated authority to
command and be obeyed by the people over whom leadership
is applied. It is based on the premise that management knows
best and that it is the obligation of the employees to follow accordingly.
10

Custodial leadership is based on the assumption that


by redirecting the employees' loyalties from the boss, as in
autocratic leadership, to the company (through rewards and
fringe benefits), the workers would be motivated to work

Culture
In defining culture, the layman is most likely to turn
to the dictionary for help.. Dictionary definitions emphasize
the applied meanings of culture: moral and aesthetic values,
development, training, and transmission ..of knowledge. Culture is thus a means of learning as well as of teaching ways to
becorpe an acceptable member of the group. Much of what an
individual is and the way he behaves are largely due to his
cultural upbringing.
,
.From a holistic point of view, .the classic, definition of
culture is that of Edward Tylor wherein culture is "the complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, laws,

30

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

31

customs, and any other capabilities acquired by man as a


member of society."

acts, and sounds account for the variations and differences in


cultures.

A close analysis of the above definition further tells us


that: firstly, culture, as a complex whole, is composed of different elements that are ideational and behavioral in nature;
secondly, central to this composition is the interrelatedness
and interdependence among the elements that constitute the
whole; and thirdly, culture is acquired through membership
in a group or in a society.
-

It is also the meaning or significance human beings attach to things or events that accounts for their ability to reason and to draw "valid conclusion from formulated premises."
As one anthropologist argued:

13

Tylor's holistic definition of the dynamics of culture is


of special significance to corporate management. A holistic
view of organizational behavior allows for the integration of
the different divisional "subcultures" into one functioning
whole. Structurally, a corporation is divided into parts or divisions, each one with a specialized set of knowledge, rules, and
practices (e.g., accounting, engineering, sales). Each division,
however, must relate its activities to the other divisions and to
the total objectives of the corporation.
In this way, the workers are able to see each other not
only as specialists in their respective fields but also as members of the total organization. It is the interrelatedness of the
different units that is crucial to management. The holistic
perspective is necessary for decisive planning and innovation
because it allows for a common interpretation of situations,
for flexibility in solving common problems, and for the development and maintenance of corporate identity.
From a more specific point of view, culture is the system of symbols and meanings people use to (1) organize their
ideas, (2) interpret their experiences, (3) make decisions or
pass judgments, and (4) guide their actions. These ideational
aspects are manifested through each culture's use of symbols.
A symbol refers to any object, idea, sound, or act to which the
observer's attributed meanings specify what is intended, signified, indicated, and understood when using the object,
sound, or act. I n this context, symbols differ from signs. The
meaning associated with sign is intrinsic to the object, sound,
and act; in symbols, the meaning is inferred. The inferred attributes and meanings of universally shared objects, ideas,

14

Men could not act and feel as they do if they could not
form concepts and make judgments, but neither could
they make use of concepts and engage in the ideal activity of thinking if they had not developed their innate capacity for the "idealized" modes of behavior and feeling
characteristic of human beings. "
1

In other words, it is from the symbolic perspective of


culture that we can grasp clearly the nuances or subtleties of
human behavior in the community or m the corporation. It is
from these intangibles that we can find clues to why people
behave in a particular way and not in another, why they are
what they are!
Culture is both explicit and implicit. The explicit aspects are those that are observable, like behavior and material
objects; the implicit ones are those that are nonobservable,
like values and norms. It is the implicit part of culture that
deals with themes and patterns of everyday life. That is why
culture is often elusive.
Even if culture is abstract, it is real. 'It is also the
dominant instigator of behavior. Governments, for example,
are not concrete entities, but they have tremendous powers of
coercion and control. Religion is another abstract but a powerful shaper of ideas and actions. Similarly, physical movements
become actions as soon as they are used to symbolize certain
predispositions, like greetings, partings, friendships, hostilities, love. Sometimes, we are not even aware why we think, believe, and act the way we do. This is because we have been
trained to do things (and think them out too!) in standardized
and acceptable ways during childhood.

32

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


From birth, the child is surrounded with a world of
conventionalized objects. He is handled and fed, clothed
and cared for in culturally approved ways. N o matter to
w h a t kind of a group he may belong, he learns to eat
standardized food of traditional kinds, procured and prepared in standardized ways. If he is brought up in one
culture, he acquires a taste and a physiological tolerance
for foods that an individual of another culture might well
find disgusting, or even unassimjlable. Nor is this a matter of mere habituals such as occurs, in domesticated
animals, although sheer habit plays its part. It is often
the idea of w h a t a dish is or h o w it is prepared that
whets the appetite or disgusts or even nauseates.

Culture provides the symbolic and material links in


human relationships.,.The link may be expressed or manifested in the nuances of customary practices, work ethics, and
conventional understandings. It is in these nuances that we
find barriers to cross-cultural relations in about the same way
that it is by virtue of recognizing these same nuances that we
can . achieve cooperation. Technology transfer may be extremely needed for economic development among, the Third,
World countries. However, it may find difficulty in gaining
"roots" if the cultural milieu within which it is intended to
operate and thrive is not properly understood or considered
before the process of transplanting. As one businessman cautioned:
Even the transfer of technology carries a certain "transr '
plant" risk where the receiving tissue, i.e., entrenchedattitudes and cultural, constraints, proves rejecting. The
- East will be more receptive to an American w i t h a new,
chemical process than if he tries to innovate a new style
of managing. However valuable and desirable the transfer of technology may be, we have to acknowledge this
other dimension of b e h a v i o r . '
7

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

33

Culture is learning. It is also learned. Learning is facilitated by language, which is the.bearer of culture. Once language is learned, the ideas, contained in its vocabulary become
precepts that guide behavior. It is in this way that culture becomes embedded in our conscious and unconscious minds.
The power of behavior was aptly expressed by one writer who
said:
.
A s soon as we learn to talk, w e become captives of articulate speech; as soon as we learn h o w t o read and'
write, we become slaves of the printed p a g e . '
18

Culture is initially learned from and transmitted


through adult members of the group (generally members of
the immediate family, neighbors, -and friends), who in turn
also learned their cultural orientation from others while they
themselves were growing up. This results in a continuity of
knowledge and values from generation to generation through
the learning process. At birth, the infant has no culture; he acquires one as he grows up to become an active member of the
group.
Once internalized, cultural ways become forms of rationality. They provide the individual and the group with a
common point of reference for behavior and enhance the sharing of values, norms, beliefs, and practices. When held in
common, these elements of behavior become established into
patterns that form the bases of the people's ways of reasoning,
feeling, and acting. This rationality then serves as the motivating force to form groups and societies, to establish institutions, to create rules and standards of behavior, and to enhance the achievement of goals and fulfillment of life.
Culture plays a tremendous role in the patterning of
human behavior and institutions and in the shaping of group
life. It constitutes the vital force that holds human organizations together, whether these are viewed in terms of the total
society or of its subunits, such as the corporation. The basic
cultural beliefs and values that the people share, adhere to,

34

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

MANAGEMENT AND CULTURE

and cherish provide the very basis for integration, cohesion,


and stability of group life.

'35

F . L a n d a Jocano, " C u l t u r e a n d M a n a g e m e n t , " lecture delivered before executives of P H I L A C O R , 28 M a y 1988.


4

G e e r t Hofstede, C u l t u r a l P i t f a l l f o r D u t c h E x p a t r i a t e s i n I n d o n e s i a
( D e n v e r : T G International M a n a g e m e n t Consultants, 1982), 7.
Man

''makes himself" in making the world he lives.

The type of building he builds, the tools and machine he '


constructs, the plants he cultivates, and the animals he

P e t e r D r u c k e r , op. cit., 379-380.

John H u n t , M a n a g i n g P e o p l e a t W o r k (London: P a n Books L t d . ,


1981 ed.), 146.

hunts or domesticates, as well as the language he speaks

I b i d . , 177. '

Ibid.

R i c h a r d T . Pascale a n d A n t h o n y G . A t h o s , The A r t of Japanese


( N e w Y o r k : W a r n e r B o o k s , 1981), 33.

and the rites and ceremonies he celebrates, -all. corre-,


spond to culturally determined ways of acting to be
learned by each child, and w h i c h constitute patterns of
behavior in conformity to which his o w n activities are
molded and through

which

agement

his o w n needs and impulses

1 0

must find satisfaction and release. The ends he seeks are


his

(New

ends, but he can adopt them as his o w n only if he

also discriminates them as having a place in the cultural


19
nexus.

K e i t h Davis, H u m a n B e h a v i o r a t W o r k :
Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l , 1981 ed.), 110-16.

Man-

Organizational Behavior

I b i d . , 116.

12

J o h n N . W i l l i a m s o n , ed., The L e a d e r - M a n a g e r
W i l e y & Sons, 1984), 75.

(New Y o r k : John

13

In, its corporate setting, it is likewise the culture of the,


enterprise that defines the fundamental character of the corporation, the attitudes of the workers, and the commitment
they have to the goals of the company. If successful management is "a matter of style," as Walter Goldsmith and'David
Clutterbuck have emphasized, then it is a matter of wisdom
for the corporation to "Style its management" to' conform with
the dominantly shared cultural values of the people'within
and with'those in the larger society wherein the company operates.
20

E d w a r d T y l o r , The O r i g i n of C x d t m e ( N e w Y o r k : H a r p e r T o r c h B o o k s , 1958), o r i g i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d as P a r t I of P r i m i t i v e C u l t u r e ( L o n d o n :
1981), 1.
14

F . L a n d a Jocano, " M a n a g e m e n t and C u l t u r e : A N o r m a t i v e A p p r o a c h , " paper read d u r i n g the P e r s o n n e l M a n a g e m e n t A s s o c i a t i o n o f


the P h i l i p p i n e s C o n v e n t i o n , 1981.
15

G r a c e de L a g u n a , " C u l t u r e a n d R a t i o n a l i t y , " A m e r i c a n A n t h r o p o l o 51, no. 3 (July-September 1949):380.

gists

16

Ibid.,381.

17

P a d d y B o w i e , " W h e n Silence D o e s n ' t M e a n Consent," E u r o - A s i a


Review
1, no. 1 (1982):32.

Business
18

Notes
'Cf.
(New

(New
Peter D r u c k e r , M a n a g e m e n t :

Tasks,

Responsibilities,

Practices

Y o r k : H a r p e r & R o w , 1985 ed.).


2

D a l t o n M c F a r l a n d , The M a n a g e r i a l I m p e r a t i v e (Cambridge, M a s s . :

B a l l i n g e r P u b l i s h i n g C o r p . , 1986), 200.

A t t r i b u t e d to James M c G r e g o r B u r n s .

19

De

20

W a l t e r G o l d s m i t h a n d D a v i d C l u t t e r b u c k , The W i n n i n g
Y o r k : R a n d o m H o u s e , 1984), 6.

L a g u n a , op cit., 382.
Streak

Overview of Human Resource


Management
No theory or plan or government policy w i l l
make a business successful; that can only be done
by people.
Akio Morita,
Businessman, 1987
Business success is far more than the science of
managing scale and cutting costs. It's the art of
leading people, nurturing them, challenging their
creativity, so they will figure out what customers
really need and want.
D o n a l d K. C l i f f o r d Jr.

& Richard E. Cavanagh,


Authors, 1985

ilipinos have shown in the past.a propensity for borrowing and using exogenous techniques to solve indigenous
II
organizational problems. Based on the assumptions that
there are elements of universality in corporate structures and
problems, .the question remains: Can organizational theories
and management techniques developed out of experiences
in Western cultures be applied in non-Western ones? Will
these still have the same functional efficiency in the host
culture?
Before taking a stand on the Philippine situation, let
us first review the theories on human resource management
most commonly applied in the Philippine setting. Most of the

38

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

39

materials herein examined are of American and of Japanese


origin, as the management theories from these two developed
nations have proven to be the greatest influence on the development of management education in our country.

to increase their rate of production. Mayo and Roethlisberger


thus declared that a corporate organization, being a social system, might increase production through proper management
of human relations among the workers.
,
,

Early Theories

The scientific management approach has deeply influenced the thinking of the Filipino business community for
several decades, following.the end of the Second World War.
Even today (1999), it continues to attract ardent followers
among businessmen. Many executives are convinced of its rationale and effectiveness in managing corporate affairs.

The initial set of concepts that was used as framework


in management education and practice in the Philippines was
the so-called "organization development theories." These concepts were-based on studies of workers' behavior in American
factories and industrial plants. Proponents of these views were
unanimous in pointing out that conflicts in corporate organizations were largely due to the managers' lack of information
about the workers' abilities and time to do industrial jobs; on
the part of the workers,- it was lack of proper orientation to
corporate goals and motivation to undertake production
tasks. Out of these concepts emerged different approaches to
organizational development and management.
1

Scientific management. The first of these early


theories to receive a good deal of attention in Philippine management education and industry was the so-called "scientific
management." Its foremost advocate in the United States was
F. B. Taylor who contended that the first task of the manager
was to discover the most efficient way to finish a job with the
least input of time and energy. This required the detailed
study of job components and of the corresponding financial
incentives that would motivate the workers to perform well.
Taylor's view was challenged by the findings of''Elton
Mayo and F. J. Roethlisberger on the physical component of
productivity at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric
Company. Their experiment showed that economic motive
alone was inadequate to explain either excellence in job performance or poor production output. Workers were found to
set limits to their individual productive potentials because of
the collective sanctions of the group on those who attempted
3

Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Bolstering the popularity of scientific management among educators and businessmen today is the hierarchy of needs theory by A. H . Maslow. In several studies of factory workers, Maslow found that
human motivation for job performance is based on the hierarchy of needs of people: physiological, safety, belongingness
and love, esteem, and self-actualization. The people's desire
to satisfy these needs propels them to pursue work activities.
Thus, through the proper understanding, modification, and
reinforcement of these needs, motivation for increased productivity may succeed.
4

Maslow's needs hierarchy theory has influenced management practitioners to focus their attention on the human
side of the business enterprise. Management is responsible for
the coordination of production inputscapital, technology,
and personnel. The.personnel input, however, further needs to
be controlled, modified, directed, and motivated to serve the
goals and ends of the company. Without this managerial intervention, workers tend to veer away from the real purpose of
the organization, resulting in low productivity and high wastage.
. Theory X and theory Y. One of the prominent proponents of the human approach is David McGregor, who advanced two theories, aimed at improving managerial skills in a
business enterprise. One theory, which he calls Theory X , assumes that workers are lazy, irresponsible, not very intelli5

40

OVERVIEW OF H U M A N RESOURCE M A N A G E M E N T

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

gent, and as a whole, will avoid work if possible. Thus, the


best managerial approach is coercion, a rigid control system,
and reward and punishment. These techniques are believed to
provide the proper climate for motivating that sort of workers
to collaborate with others of their kind.
:

The other theory, which McGregor calls Theory Y ,


takes an entirely different perspective. It sets forth the view
that people are not inherently lazy; that work is as natural as
rest and play; that workers become what they are because of
experience; and that they have all the potentials for collaboration and production. A l l that management has to do is to provide-the condition by structuring the organizational units in
such a way as'to allow the workers to realize their potentials
and to'support the workers' enthusiasm for productive and cooperative endeavors.
6

Motivation theory.' Closely adhering to McGregor's


humanist approach to management is the motivational theory.
The assumption here is that all people have basic internal
needs or preferences. It is therefore the job of managers to activate, satisfy, and reinforce these needs in order to achieve
the goals of the enterprise. Under this premise, a business organization is not a mere aggregate of related job assignments
but is a "cooperative motivation system." Productivity is
achieved through the proper motivation of workers in terms of
reinforcing and integrating into the work situations their basic internal needs, such as those for economic and personal security, and their desire for new experiences. A l l this can be attained by communicating, by modifying the environment, and
by enlisting the participation of workers in decision making.
7

41

or encourages employees to exert more effort to achieve their


goals. A l l that the management has to do is to reinforce these
expectations with proper working conditions, better systems
of rewards, and good opportunities for professional growth.
The major criticism of theories based on motivation is
that it is difficult to subject their assumptions to precise scientific measurement and observations. For this reason, industrial researchers argue that more reliance should be placed
on what is measurable.
12

The principal model presented as an alternative to


managerial theories based on motivation is behavior.modification, patterned after B. F. Skinner's operant conditioning.
Behavior modification through operant conditioning takes
place when the results of certain behavior favorable to the employees are strengthened; otherwise, the tendency to repeat
that particular behavior is weakened. This may seem like an
oversimplification of the complex Skinnerian psychology, but
it will serve our present purpose. The model has been used effectively in business management. A l l that the management
has to do, given this tool for behavioral modification, is to reinforce the favorable consequences of behavior in order to further weaken the negative ones, thereby increasing the. positive
factor for- productivity, '
13

Expectancy theory. Related to the cooperative-motive system of management is the expectancy model, also
known as'the expectancy theory. The underlying premise is
that motivation is a product of how much a person wants
something'and the degree of probability, in his estimate, that
he may obtain it. Motive is also seen as an expression of
one's desires to achieve certain ends. This expectation propels

Job satisfaction. Complementing the behavioral


modification model is that of job satisfaction. This model is
based on the assumption that the "favorableness or unfavorableness with which workers view their work" influences their
efficiency and productivity. That is, the greater the agreement between the employee's expectation of the job and the
rewards he receives from it, the better is his performance.
Thus, it is. the task of the management to create the conditions supportive of and conducive to job satisfaction.
14

15

10

11

Management by objectives. Taking all these factors


into consideration, Peter Drucker has suggested another approachmanagement by objectives. That is: "the goal of
each manager's/job must be defined by the contribution he
16

42

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

OVERVIEW OP HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

has to make to the success of the larger unit of which he is a


17
part." ' The success of the enterprise is dependent on how
well the managers integrate their respective units with others.
In other words, it is the duty of management to build a team
of men and women dedicated to a common effort and goal.
Misdirection of efforts and resources arises when,each manager limits his concern mainly to his own task and specialized
interests. He has to align and synchronize his efforts'on behalf
of his team with the larger efforts of the entire organization.
To accomplish this, he should first spell out clearly the objectives of his unit in relation to the total objectives of the enterprise. Management objectives should include both the tangible and the intangible aspects of organizational behavior.
Anything else, Drucker warns, is shortsighted and impractical.
1

18

Managers face changes in the nature of their work of


a thoroughgoing kind, and a wider perspective will make
these upheavals more comprehensible and perhaps more
acceptable. Managers have a positive right to understand
the context in w h i c h their work is executed, w h i c h is
typically frustrated in practice; and this deprivation of
the instruments of analysis is even more pronounced
amongst other employee g r o u p s .
19

New Directions

43

cultural orientation, which people bring into the company


upon recruitment, continue to influence their work habits, interpersonal relations, job satisfaction, individual and group
aspirations, and concept of teamwork. The focus of analysis
has always been on individual needs and the mechanisms of
control within the business enterprise. Experts (mostly industrial psychologists) apparently assume that human beings
have the same hierarchy of needs, the same motivation for
work, the same level of satisfaction, and the same logical
frame of mind. This implies that industrial structures and
technologies, being fundamentally similar, would encounter,
wherever they are located, patterns of work attitudes and aspirations; therefore,-management principles workable in one
setting would also be applicable to another.
But field studies do not support this view, particularly
in cross-cultural situations. Even i n ' industrialized coun-.
tries, like Japan and the United States, there are fundamental
differences in work organization. Some enterprises are hightechnology companies, like those in Silicon Valley in California or in Japan. Some are service companies, like Sears Roebuck and McDonald's. The work values in these companies
are different. Managementwise, James O'Toole asked:
20

W o u l d most Americans desire to work in companies


that require Japanese-like conformity and regimentation?
No matter how great a company might be, can it serve
as a model of excellence for most Americans if they
would :h,ave to abandon their individuality or significantly alter their personal values in order to succeed in
their careers? Based on the persistence of traits of independence in the American national character, I think
not.
,
21

In the studies we have reviewed, the role of traditional


culture in modern management is not considered at all. The
business in modern management is not viewed as a social system, a subculture with its own clearly defined structure, organization, and work ethics..It,is an. enterprise organized to
earn profit. Whatever concern is placed on people is generally
anchored on their psychological and safety needs as plain individuals. No emphasis is placed on how shared patterns of

There are three common factors that make each corporation unique and different from other corporations. These
are:, cultural environment where the corporation is found,
type .-"of industry in which the enterprise, is engaged, and corporate history. A management style that is successful in one
company may not be a success, in other companies because of

44

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

these factors. Typical examples are companies engaged in the


manufacture of the same product lines, say electronics, as are
found in Japan and in the United States. The difference in
cultural environments, nature of businesses, and corporate
histories would make management styles different. Comparatively, '
... if one ignores the first, one may be led to advocate'
inappropriate Japanese practices for American companies. If one i g n o r e s t h e second, one may be led to advocate high-tech practices for low-tech industries. If one
ignores the third, one may be led to advocate smalltown American practices that are likely to fail in big-city
corporations.
22

The more successful enterprises are those which utilize the conventional wisdom of the culture wherein they operate, as well as the types of industries they are. engaged i n , as
part of their .management system. This integration enables
them to be "especially adroit at continually responding to
change of any sort in their environment." As authors Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos have stated, "the best firms
link their purposes and ways of realizing them through human values as well as through economic measures, like profit
and efficiency." Employees are not seen as mere items in the
organizational chart but as active participants in their environment and are treated as such.
23

24

Approaching management through corporate culture,


in relation to the larger national culture, has gained much
ground since the beginning of the 1980s. Management pundits, including Peter Drucker, have recognized the influence
of culture in creating a cohesive workforce within the corporate organization. By understanding the cultural environment
of the corporation and its people, successful companies are
able to rigorously regulate the few variables that count, to give
them meaning, and to imbue the employees with "a mission as
well as a s;ense of feeling great." In this humanist context,
25

45

... every man becomes a pioneer, an experimenter, a


leader. The institution provides a guiding belief and ere- ,
ates a sense of excitement, a sense of being a part of the
best, a sense of producing something of quality that is
generally v a l u e d .
,
26

Understanding the employees in the context of their


cultural backgrounds enables successful companies to develop
unique corporate cultures that transform run-of-the-mill
workers into creative and highly productive personnel. Management becomes not only a coordinator of activities- but a
transformer of values, a maker of leaders. Thus, it can solve
one pressing problem that plagues corporate leaders, which is
how "to articulate, teach, embed, and in other ways get their
assumptions across and working in the System."
27

As stated earlier, finding a common cultural orientation enhances communication.and understanding. The roots
of many managerial difficulties are not to be found in lack of
organizational abilities; rather, they are, .to paraphrase Pascale and Athos, in the "limitations of.our managerial culture." -Many successful Filipino .managers find themselves in
trouble when they- join government establishments where an
entirely different managerial culture prevails. The converse is
equally true. As one successful Filipino manager turned government official admitted:
28

I have been accused of being un-Filipino for attempting


to professionalize, our department and for my refusal to
honor the age-old Filipino maxims u t a n g - n a A o o b and ,v
p a k i k i s a m a on official m a t t e r s .
29

Because of this approach, he said, "the patrons of incompetents and crooks/are employing every foul means" to stop.him..
. S o

instead o f spending my time doing, my job,, I am


forced to spend it defending myself against lawsuits and
black propaganda.
30

- ,,

46

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

This is an interesting incident wherein personal competence is denied performance by the existing managerial culture. Perhaps the problem here is the inability to use the traditional norms positively and effectively to solve normative
problems in the office. This is reinforced further by the legal
culture of the bureaucracy, which limits or even denies efficiency in solving human resource problems. As one bureaucrat said, "How can you operate? Panay bawal (All is prohibited). Your kinship loyalties are nepotism, your gift giving is
bribery, your friends are cronies. How can you harness the human potentials of your office?"
On the other hand, some executives are able to professionalize bureaucratic behavior by "strictly observing civil
service rules" but communicating human relations in the context of Filipino traditional culture. As one official said:
By invoking the other person's sense of p a k i k i s a m a and
by establishing a feeling of u t a n g - n a - l o o b to me and
what I stand for, I was able to get my subordinates to
cooperate efficiently. These norms can be used to
counter the very practices that we say they cause. It is a
matter of using them to your advantage than condemning and throwing them a w a y .
31

The role of .cultural values in creating a corporate environment conducive to teamwork and productivity is central
to Japanese management strategies. Cultural valuessuch as
the emphasis placed on one's household/family, the premium
on seniority, consensus decision makingare absorbed as
part of the corporate ethos. Also embedded in this corporate
ethos are moral codes governing the rituals of interaction, like
the use of subtleties in communication and in behavior. The
strength of Japanese management techniques rests on the
Japanese ability to allow the workers to interact "intimately"
and positively, using as philosophy one that finds echoing
resonances in their value sets. As Shin-ichi Takezawa has
pointed out:

OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

47

Sensible managers limit their approach to h a l a r a k i g a i


(work-related i k i g h a i ) on the ground that i k i g a i is a
sanctuary inviolate to business. The whole argument has
served--as has the broad concept of alienationto clarify the limitation of such conventional concepts as job
satisfaction and morale, opening the eyes of the materialists to the existence of nonmonetary values. A s a result,-the present trend in the analysis of the quality of
working life issues in Japan emphasizes an integrated approach, in which heither psychological variables nor material conditions have to be reconsidered, and the time
span or the career perspective must not be forgotten.
32

Such holistic approach enables Japanese companies to


take risks, innovate, and control the direction of the company's growth and development. As William G. Ouchi, in his
book Theory Z, has pointed out, this holistic view is spelled
out in many companies' basic management philosophies and
communicated in the form of symbols, , ceremonies, and
myths. For example, when the value of cooperation is expressed "through the ritual r i n g i , a collective decision making
in which a document passes from:manager to manager for
their official seal of approval, then the neophyte experiences
the philosophy of cooperation in a very concrete way." Furthermore,
33

... because managers have passed through many and the


same functions over the years, they can refer to a large
array of common experiences, tell stories, and remember
symbolic events that remind each of them of their common commitment to certain values and beliefs.
34

Because of this common point of reference for all


workers, each one acts accordingly even without elaborate or

* Meaning, "reason for living.

48

OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

detailed instructions and wasteful meetings. The common


sentiments create a backdrop of coordination that facilitates
the pursuit of corporate activities and serves as a basis for
self-discipline and teamwork.

49

sole responsibility In decision making and therefore .


workers should accept and implement decisions made by
management in exchange for wages. O n the other hand,
all of the labor leader respondents, indicate, that workers' .,,
participation is desirable so as to reflect the views in
. running the f i r m . ' ' . ' 7 '
36

The Big Question Mark


Thus far, we have reviewed the major developments in
the study of human resource management, which are being
used to understand Filipino organizational behavior and manage Philippine corporate activities. Have these theories and
concepts worked? I asked 200 managers in Metro Manila this
question. The answers.were almost unanimous: It depends. At
the managerial level of interaction, 20% said that "these are
useful, straightforward, and efficient"; 65%.found these theories "satisfactory"; and 15% said that "these.are inadequate."
But at the shop-floor level, all managers agreed that "these
theories do not work at all." In fact, most conflicts in the
workplace are "interpersonal ones." As'one manager observed:
"Often supervisors and laborers do not see eye to eye."

Implicit in these'views are difference's in perception


and interpretation by,management and labor of each other's
role in the corporate organization. The differences .arise only
when the management of human resources in the .company is
based, on theories developed out of experiences of peoples in
other cultures, like the Western culture. Or-when exogenous
theories are not modified, to suit local ways .of thinking, believing, and doing things. Western theories and practices are
good, but these.are meant to deal with problems encountered
only in Western societies. Intrinsically, they are not meant to
explain or to resolve problems in other sdcieties except insofar
as they are applicable at the universal level of behavior as human beings.'As Angara said:
'.'"'
t

35

In the broader context of industrial relations, the same


problem exists. Managers and'labor leaders have different
ways of defining relationships and of managing corporate activities. The study of Prof. Jose C. Gatchalian of the UP
School of Labor and Industrial Relations (formerly Institute
of Industrial Relations) reveals this:
Many management respondents (38.5%) hold the opinion that management should treat the worker as if he
were a member of the family and pay full attention not
only to his work but also to his daily life. In comparison,
a great majority of the labor leaders (60%) are of the
opinion that the relationship between management and,
workers is after all based upon the legal contract between employee and employer and therefore management need not go beyond the legal framework in the
treatment of workers. A majority of the management respondents (53.9%) believe that management holds the

I suggest that labor and management educators, as well


as union and management practitioners, will probably
find it more in keeping w i t h our .culture.npt to have t o ,
"shift gears," as it were, in industrial, relations, regarding
it as an entirely different situation.from other areas of .
their concerns. W h y , for example, cannot familial relations govern management decisions? W h y , along the
same line, cannot a worker regard the company .as a conc e r n whose survival is as much to his.interests as it is to
management's?
.
;

37

Indeed, why not? THIS IS T H E BIG QUESTION


M A R K , The future of corporate growth and pf industrial
peace and harmony rests on the answers corporate managers
have to it.

50

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

OVERVIEW OP HUMAN'RBSOURCE MANAGEMENT

Notes

51

P a u l M a l i , M a n a g i n g by O b f m i v s s : A n O p e r a t i n g G u i d e t o F a s t e r a n d P r o f i t a b l e R e s u l t s (New Y o r k : J o h n W i l e y & Sons, Inc., 1972).

J . M . Kassarjian and R o b e r t A . Stringer J r . , T h e M a n a g e m e n t of


( M a n i l a : S o l i d a r i d a d P u b l i s h i n g H o u s e , 1971), 8-9.

Men

17

P e t e r D r u c k e r , op. cit.j 159,

18

I b i d . , 157.

1 9

Michael

Cf. F . B . T a y l o r , T h e P r i n c i p l e s of S c i e n t i f i c M a n a g e m e n t ( N e w Y o r k :
H a r p e r a n d R o w , 1991); see also the 1947 e d i t i o n .
3

Cf. E l t o n M a y o , T h e H u m a n P r o b l e m s of a n I n d u s t r i a l C i v i l i z a t i o n
( C a m b r i d g e , M a s s . : H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1935); F . J . Roehlisberger
a n d W . J . D i c k e n s o n , M a n a g e m e n t a n d t h e W o r k e r (Cambridge, M a s s . :
H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1954).
4

A . H . M a s l o w , " A T h e o r y o f H u m a n M o t i v a t i o n , " P s y c h o l o g i c a l Rev i e w 50 (1948):370-396; A . H . M a s l o w , M o t i v a t i o n a n d P e r s o n a l i t y ' ( N e w


Y o r k : H a r p e r a n d R o w , 1954).
5

D o u g l a s M c G r e g o r , T h e H u m a n S i d e of t h e E n t e r p r i s e ( N e w Y o r k :
M c G r a w - H i l l , 1960).
;
' - '"

Rose, I n d u s t r i a l B e h a v i o r

<
'

, >"'

(Harmondworth, Middlesex:

P e n g u i n B o o k s , L t d . , 1975), 10.
20

G e e r t Hofstede, C u l t u r e ' s Consequences:


I n t e r n a t i o n a l Differences
in
W o r k - R e l a t e d V a l u e s (Beverly H i l l s , C a l i f o r n i a : Sage P u b l i c a t i o n s , 1980).
21

James O ' T o o l e , V a n g u a r d M a n a g e m e n t

(New Y o r k : Berkeley Pub-

l i s h i n g G r o u p , 1985), 17-18.
22

I b i d . , 18-19.

23

P e t e r s , T . and R . W a t e r m a n , I n S e a r c h of E x c e l l e n c e

(New York:

H a r p e r a n d R o w , 1982), 12.'

I b i d , , 45-57, 61-76; see also Kassarjian, op. cit., 17.


7

V k t o r H . V r o o m , , W o r k a n d M o t i v a t i o n .(New Y o r k : J o h n W i l e y &
Sons, 1961).
'.' "
-

S e e Kassarjian, op, cit., 19.

10

R i c h a r d Pascale a n d A n t h o n y B . A t h o s , T h e A r t of J a p a n e s e M a n a g e m e n t : A p p l i c a t i o n f o r A m e r i c a n E x e c u t i v e s (New Y o r k : W a r n e r C o m m u nications C o m p a n y , 1981), 332.


25

P e t e r s and W a t e r m a n , op. cit., 323.

26

Ibid.

R'ensis L i k e r t , N e w P a t t e r n s of M a n a g e m e n t ( N e w Y o r k : M c G r a w H i l l , 1961); see also Rensis L i k e r t , T h e H u m a n O r g a n i z a t i o n : I t s M a n a g e m e n t V a l u e (New Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l , 1967).


s

2 4

27

E d g a r H . S h e i n , " T h e R o l e o f the F o u n d e r i n C r e a t i n g O r g a n i z a t i o n a l C u l t u r e , " O r g a n i z a t i o n a l D y n a m i c s (Summer, 1982): 14.


28

Cf. V r o o m , cited i n D a v i e s , 76.

K e i t h Davis, H u m a n B e h a v i o r a t W o r k :
(New Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l , 1981 ed.).
-

Pascale and A t h o s , op. cit., 325.

Organizational

^ M a n i l a B u l l e t i n , 21 M a r c h 1988, 43.
Behavior

Personal interview, 22 J u l y 1987.


" P e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w , 22 J u l y 1987.

!2

I b i d . , 76.

. "'

'
3 2

1 3

B . F . S k i n n e r , S c i e n c e a n d H u m a n B e h a v i o r (New Y o r k : . M a c m i l l a n
C o m p a n y , 195.3); see also B . F . Skinner,, C o n t i n g e n c i e s a n d R e i n f o r c e m e n t
(New Y o r k : A p p l e t o n - C r o f t s , Inc., 1969).

S h i n - i c h i Takezawa, " C h a n g i n g W o r k e r s ' Values a n d I m p l i c a t i o n s


of P o l i c y i n Japan," i n Q u a l i t y of W o r k i n g L i f e T h e C o n t e x t of C h a n g e
( T o k y o : 1972), 331.
3 3

M i c h a e l G r e n b e r g , J o b S a t i s f a c t i o n ( N e w Yofck; J o h n W i l e y & Sons,

Inc., 1976).' ,

'

W i l l i a m G . O u c h i , T h e o r y Z : H o w A m e r i c a n Business
J a p a n e s e C h a l l e n g e (New Y o r k : A v o n B o o k , 1981), 34-35.

the

- :
3 4

Can Meet

Ibid.

1 5

'
Edward Lawler III and J. Richard Hackman, B e h a v i o r i n O r g a n i z a t i o n (New Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l , 1975). ''
..::<
16

P e t e r D r u c k e r , T h e P r a c t i c e of M a n a g e m e n t ( L o n d o n : P a n B o o k s
L t d . , 1968), 50-68; see also J o h n H u m b l e , ed., M a n a g e m e n t by O b j e c t i v e s
i n A c t i o n ( N e w Y o r k : M c G r a w - H i l l P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , L t d . , 1970);

35

P e r s o n a l interview; see F . L a n d a Jocano, " H o w A p p l i c a b l e A r e E x ogenous M a n a g e m e n t M o d e l s to P h i l i p p i n e Situations?" [ U n p u b l i s h e d


lecture delivered before business executives at the P h i l i p p i n e P l a z a , 7
J u n e 1988].

52

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


36

Jose G a t c h a l i a n , " T o w a r d s a M o r e P a r t i c i p a t o r y P h i l i p p i n e S o c i ety," P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 7, nos. 1-2 (1985):53.


37

Edgardo J. Angara, "New Dimensions i n Industrial Relations,"


P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 5, nos. 1-2(1983):29.

Sources of Contradictions
in Philippine Management System
The dilemma for the organization operating
abroad is whether to adapt to the local culture or to
try to change it.
.

'

Geert Hofstede,
Management consultant, 1980

. T h e crucial question is h o w to .translate w h a t


we sense t o be Asian values into industrial relations
practice.

i.

Johannes Schregle,
Labor consultant, 1987

ultural borrowing is a part of the dynamics .of accul-.<


turation or cultural growth. An awareness of the consequences of cultural borrowing enables decision makers to determine what to borrow and,how to use borrowed con-'
cepts and traits.-Borrowed ideas and practices can either enrich or undermine the .efficiency of a management system: -.

The successful transfer,of exogenous management concepts and practices,, theories^ of industrial psychology, and:
even labor unionism to another culture depends on whether
these borrowed/ideas andvpractices are copied in.toto or. modi-.
Tied accordingly to confofm to the cultural: climate of the soci*
ety wherein the corporation operates. '
,-.,,..,-':. .
The assimilation of new ideas is facilitated and enhanced when cultural incompatibilities and contradictions are
first taken into consideration and accounted-for. Using exoge-

54

ftCHJiUGBfl OP CONTRADICTIONS

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

nous structures and concepts to uproot those that are indigenous will most likely result in an unconscious rejection of
what has been summarily imposed. There is no need for a total transplant; instead, a graft of a healthy branch that will be
allowed by the indigenous stem to grow, blossom, and bear
fruits may be needful.

55

Western corporate organization. Then, they reworked these


concepts and made them congruent with Japanese 'cultural
tradition. The resulting synthesis is the Japanese management
style. In his study of Japan's managerial system, N . Y.
Yoshino has pointed out that,
...

initially, the Meiji

leaders almost blindly accepted

W e s t e r n technology as well as social and economic i n stitutions. But they soon became highly discriminating

Modes of Borrowing

'

and selective in borrowing W e s t e r n methods and ideas,


and developed a capacity to fit them to the conditions
and needs of Japanese society.

A l l cultures borrow from one another, linguistically or


in some other way. The Philippines."borrowed" Anglo-American management concepts and practices. /The Japanese*did the
same, particularly in technology. The Indqnesians and Malaysians "accepted" the Dutch and the British management
styles respectively. The major difference between Southeast
Asian and Japanese borrowings is in the ways concepts and
traits are borrowed and incorporated into local corporate
practices.
In the case of the Philippines, for example, American
management theories and practices, as well as industrial psychology, have been borrowed and applied to local conditions
without significant and relevant modifications to suit the local environment. The works of Maslow, McClelland, Herzberg, and Alutto, to name a few, continue to form the bases of
work-related motivation techniques sin most corporations.
Training programs' (e.g., audio-visuals) in salesmanship are
also Anglo-American. So are.the textbooks, research instru-
ments, and workbooks in classrooms and laboratories. :. . .
1

The result'of this kind of borrowing'technique has


been the integration of cultural values rather than their fragmentation into functional compartments of the body corporate. This unity .provided a fertile ground for nurturing a
Japanese management system that'is uniquely Japanese, without being narrowly parochial. The Japanese management style
has become so famous that .many, countries, including the
United States, are borrowing it, hoping that it will achieve for
them the same economic miracle that made an industrial giant out of an archipelago with few natural resources.
1

Again, we stress caution. Unless thoroughly understood and suitably adapted-to local conditions, the Japanese
management style may not work efficiently and effectively in
another cultural setting'. As Prof. Ryushi Iwata pointed but,

.,
And here starts the problem. These materials are
rarely, if'ever, questioned.' They- are accepted-as doctrinal'
truths' about modernization.) Few Filipino scholars have' attempted to'..synthesize a uniquely Filipino: strategem from
Western theorems.'Tremendous efforts though have been.continually exerted to make Filipino reality conform to the Western experience. The results :have so far been unsatisfactory.

. . . t h e so-called Japanese style management is one adap--

t i v e f o r m of management that could only have developed


in the Japanese cultural and social context.

The. Japanese did'the reverse. They - borrowed the


structure, mechanism, and certain-'selected concepts Of the-

". . Applying any management system to another culture


without adapting, it to local conditions can only compound
managerial problems. There are established institutions and
patterns'of behavior- that contradict foreign ways of thinking
and doing things. In Indonesia,'Geert Hofstede, director of
the Institute of Research on Intercultural Cooperation (IRIC)
ih the Netherlands, has noted: ,

56

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

SOURCES OF CONTRADICTIONS

The differences in functioning between Indonesia and


Dutch work organizations ... limit the transferability of
.Dutch management methods i n , Indonesia.... Managers
do not freely choose their behavior. Like all of us, they
are constrained by the national context and by the values of their families and of the people they deal w i t h at
work, particularly their subordinates. Whatever will
change Indonesia will remain Indonesia.
5

Furthermore, as Paddy Bowie, editor of E u r o - A s i a


Business Review, has .pointed out, ,
..
:

ous, the company suffers in terms of both low productivity


and financial loss.- At times, the effect is so adverse that the.
business is closed. Both investors and laborers are the losers.
Thus, harmonious relations between management and labor
are needed to sustain growth. But. this can be achieved only
when labor and management, share the same corporate ideology of mutual concern and not of .mutual animosity. Again,
the bases of harmony or conflicts are the assumptions underlying labor and management relations;

... different norms and perceptions apply in different cultures. W h a t is, kinship loyalty in Malaysia may be,seen
as nepotjsm in, the W e s t . Small gifts sternly rejected by,
the expatriate as the "thin edge of the wedge of corrup. t i o n " a r e ' t o k e n s ' o f esteemindispensable in creating .
cordial business relations based on mutual indebtedness
and a. necessary ritual of granting and receiving favors....
Business in the East is conducted along an elaborate
network of family and personalities where ""contracts,"
'' '
the c o m p a d r e and go-between (be it in marriage o r b u s i - ' '
' -' ness), and "Godfather" patronage all have their place.

Industrial relations in Southeast Asian countries differ from that of Western countries. One of the fundamental differences lies in the concept of enterprise. In
many Asian nations, the enterprise tends to be regarded
as a community of people, w h o ' a r e bound by bonds of
' r e c i p r o c a l moral' obligations and a sens'e of sharing a
common d'estiny. T h e sarrie Is nbt so in W e s t e r n enter--.''prises where people a r e ' generally considered to be
,
bound b y ' c o n t r a c t s / .
, '::.
j

57

'
''

There are'limits to the efficiency of transferred management styles as there are limits to the productive output of
transferred technology. Unless what is tansferred or borrowed
js remodelled or "acclimatized" to the-.cultural environment
where the business operates, new ideas and new structures
cannot hope to gain deeper and firmer roots, nor can these be
nurtured into productive-systems that can affect corporate
growth, sustain prosperity, and ensure survival. -.
This need to "indigenize" foreign ideas, models, and
methods, including political ideology, and legal systems, becomes'especially pressing from the context of management
^nd labor relations, Often these two components of a corporate system determine the competitive edge, the capacity for
excellent performance, and the very survival of the company,
industrial peace is necessary for,productive business and economic growth. But when industrial relations are not harmoni 1

Impact on Philippine Experience


The culture clash internal to the management system
in the Philippines is an illustrative case of the need to harmonize management and labor relations and to create a corporate
culture that can bridge the gap. The relationship between labor and management in many corporations in the country is
generally adversarial,,particularly, in the definition of rights,,
obligations, privileges, protection, and productivity of workers. .Confrontation, between these.two forces has always been
counterproductive; communication.breaks down and results
in ..either a strike or .a lockout. In .either instance, the enterprise .suffers,,and, in-case the business collapses, the laborers
suffer greatly. Unemployment inevitably follows. Edgardo J.
;

56

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

8QUHCES OF CONTRADICTIONS

The differences in functioning between Indonesia and


Dutch work organizations ,,, limit the transferability of
.Dutch management methods in,Indonesia.... Managers
do not.freely choose their behavior. Like all of us, they
are constrained by the national context and by the y a l ues of their families and of the people they deal w i t h at
work, particularly their subordinates. Whatever will
change Indonesia will remain Indonesia.

Furthermore, as Paddy Bowie, editor . of, E u r o - A s i a


Business Review, has pointed out,.,
,
.
:

57

ous, the company suffers in terms of both low productivity


and financial loss. At times, theeffect is so adverse that the*
business is closed. Both investors and laborers are the losers.
Thus, harmonious relations between management and labor
are needed to sustain growth. But this can be achieved only
when labor and management, share the same corporate ideology of mutual concern and not of mutual animosity. Again,
the bases of harmony or conflicts are the assumptions underlying labor arid management relations;
'
'"-'

i;

... different norms and perceptions apply in different c u l . tures. W h a t is^kinship loyalty in Malaysia may be.seen
as nepotism in. the W e s t , Small gifts sternly rejected by,
the expatriate as the "thin, edge of the wedge o f corrupt
. t i o n " are tokens of esteemindispensable in creating
cordial business relations based on mutual indebtedness
and a necessary ritual of granting and receiving favors.,..
Business in the E a s t ' i s conducted along ah elaborate
network of family'and personalities where'"contracts,"
" " ' ' the c o m p a d r e and go-between (be it in marriage or busi
ness), and "Godfather" patronage all have their place.

Industrial relations in Southeast Asian countries differ from that of W e s t e r n countries. One of the fundamental differences lies in the concept, of enterprise. In
many Asian nations, the enterprise tends to be regarded
as a ' c o m m u n i t y of people, w h o are bound by bonds of
'"'reciprocal 'moral' obligations and a sense of sharing a
common destiny. T h e same is not so in W e s t e r n enter prises where people a r e ' g e n e r a l l y ' C o n s i d e r e d to
, . bound by Contracts.
"
:<:.:

be

' There are. limits to the efficiency of transferred management styles as there are limits to the productive output of
transferred technology. Unless what is tansferred or borrowed
is remodelled or "acclimatized" to the cultural environment
where the business operates, new ideas and new structures
cannot hope to gain deeper and firmer roots, nor can these be
nurtured into productive systems that can affect corporate
growth, sustain prosperity, and ensure survival.
This need to "indigenize" foreign ideas, models, and
methods, including political Ideology, and legal systems, becomes especially pressing from the context of management
and labor relations, Often these two components of a corporate.system determine the competitive edge, the capacity for
excellent performance, and the.very survival of the company.
Industrial peace is necessary for,productive business and economic growth. But when industrial relations are not harmoni^-

Impact on Philippine Experience


The culture clash internal to the management, system
in the Philippines is an illustrative case of the need to harmonize management and labor relations and to create a corporate
culture that can bridge the gap. The relationship between labor.and management in many corporations in the country is
generally adversarial,.particularly.in the definition of rights,,
obligations, privileges, protection, and productivity of workers. .Confrontation, between these two forces has, always.been
counterproductive; communication.breaks down and results
in either a strike or a lockout. In.either instance, the enterprise suffers and, in case the business, collapses, the laborers
suffer greatly. Unemployment inevitably follows. Edgardo J.

58

80UnCE8 OF CONTRADICTIONS

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

agement, problems characterized by strikes and costly litigations.

Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines,


commented on the gravity of this confrontation in 1983:

The above cases show that unless corporations integrate into one corporate sentiment the diverse elements of
cultural values that workers and managers bring into the organization, there will always be strain in the relations between
labor and management. Industrial peace and harmony cannot
thrive in the midst of conflicts. They can be nurtured only by
goodwill, by sharing responsibilities and obligations. The sentiments of the Filipino moral rules of pagbdbahala
(responsibility) and m a l a s a k i t (solicitous concern), answer this need.

A total of 155 strikes involving 53,632 workers took


place in 1982 compared to 260 strikes in 1981, w h i c h
involved 98,585 workers. Although there was a>decrease
in t h e number of strikes last year, however, t h e s e strikes
.:
cost 1.0.6; million man-hours,, compared to 6.4 m i l l i o n ,
man-hours lost in I 981. Several big firms, in response to '
their employees' going on strikes, declared lockouts,
sometimes for as long as six months, thus further contributing to the decline of productivity in certain industries. .
' '

''
8

... The current problem between labor and management


in the. country makes imperative a call for the .reexamination
of existing concepts, styles, and strategies used in managing
labor relations,^particularly in collective bargaining and arbitration. Authorities, unanimously decry those-'assumptions
about labor relations in the country that are not based "on our
own concrete experiences" or. "on what we want to do and
what we want to become." Most of the. strategies and styles
used in collective bargaining and arbitration have been borrowed' from "other cultures and other countries." The socalled "Filipino way" of handling labor-management relationoften described by the informants as
mapag-uusapanhas occasionally been used by labor leaders.'But this has
not yet gained widespread acceptance, even if it has been
found effective in solving management-labor relations. Even
advocates, albeit unconsciously, insist on. using "borrowed
techniques" for mediating or resolving conflicts when confronted with problems. The underlying reasons are'the same.
Legal norms governing corporate and bureaucratic behavior
are often at variance with community norms.

This situation had not improved by 1986. According to


the Ministry of Labor., and Employment (MOLE), there were
152 new.strikes declared from January to April 22, "bettering
by one the 151 strikes declared in the same period in 1985."
The total number of strikes i n 1985 was 36. The 1986 data, observers say, are alarming because "there were fewer carryover
strikes at the beginning of 1986, compared to 42 ongoing
strikes at the beginning of 1985." In other words, most of the
strikes were new and declared at the beginning of 1986. Moreover, statistics showed that
9

13

14

10

."

'

59

... a total of 72,891 workers were affected by the strikes


declared from January to April o'f this year. Last year
(January to April), 886,000 man-days were lost due to
strikes."

The 1987 and 1988 conditions show little improvement


over those of 1985 and 1986; Fewer strikes were registered^
but the strain between labor'and management remains constant. Many executives are concerned that the moratorium
may break loose anytime. In fact, during the first quarter of
1988, several companies were served notices of strikes. Forth-'
nately, some of these impending strikes were averted through
skillful arbitration, but others were not. By the middle of
1994,-many companies, including banks, hospitals, and transportation (air, land, and sea) experienced serious labor-man-

A study conducted by the UP Institute of Industrial


Relations among workers and management representatives in
unionized hotels in Baguio City in 1980 showed that

12

... the most effective method of resolving workers' grievance's against management and management's grievances against workers is the informal dialogue between
t h e aggrieved worker or his representatives and manage-

60

SOURCES OF CONTRADICTIONS

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ment representatives. The use of p a k i u s a p [talking things


over] or informal dialogue until a consensus is arrived at
.::
resolves the problem diplomatically and tactfully. In this
way, no feelings are hurt, no one loses face before.his
peers, and goodwill among parties is promoted. This.approach is more in keeping w i t h Filipino norms which u n - '
derscore consensus as the" framework for settling" disputes father than the impersonal'ap^roaches'fro'hi t h e
West;
, v
1 5

61

(3) familism. These elements of value orientation are also


shared by managers, labor union leaders, and educated Filipinos, but not to the same extent or in the same situations. The
contrasts of these two orientations are outlined below.

>

. ' ,. i 0 0 : '

This incongruence between what is legally, accepted as


"correct" and "what is'culturally felt as "right" in actual' life
has given rise to much of the current difficulties in managing
industrial relations in the Philippines. Concepts and models
formulated out of foreign conditions and experiences 'and intended for use by other nationalities are Utilized'to'interpret
and judge Filipino corporate behavior. Corporate labbr'lawyers and union leaders themselves expect these foreign models
to work well in the country because these have been found effective in Western societies.
- ''
' '

MANAGERS'
., . WORKERS' .
SUBCULTURAL
, ' '
SUBCULTURAL
ORIENTATION- ' '' '
' ORIENTATION

; ;

: l1V;

In adapting prescribed management practices to focal


conditions, it is important to consider the.educational backgrounds of managers, labor union leaders, and laborers. Most
Filipino managers have been trained in modern schools .of
business administration or institutes .of'management where
the following exogenous traits'are considered highly desirable
and ideal in corporate management: (1) objectivity.in handling problems, situations, and people; (2) relative impersonality or professional detachment from the case, under consideration, as in hiring, promoting, and dismissing workers; and
(3) being organization-oriented in goals, i.e., company-interests take precedence over all other interests, including those
of the family.

/.!.

.'FIGURE I. Diagram s h o w i n g the contrasts in.the orientations


of managers and workers ' ' '
''-'
l

On the other hand, the laborers lack advanced formal


schooling, lack the necessary skills, and are recent urban migrants. They, need retraining in skills and reorientation in values. As recent migrants, they still carry their mental, and emotional sets,.which.center on traditionally defined values that
give high premium to: (1) subjectivism; (2) personalism; and

'' To deaf with these workers impersonally' or with the


cold objectivity of modern management methods means to
transgress the basic orientation of Filipino traditional culture'.
It is the nature of interpersonal relations'thai: either enhances
cooperativeness"'or causes conflicts between 'the laborers and
their supervisors. Even the mere tone or modulation of voice
Or choice of words used when giving orders can "hurt" feel-

62

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ings and lead to unnecessary troubles, such as sabotaging factory equipment at the shop floor, or to accusations of "unfair"
labor practices.
Just as managers are trained according to Western
business principles, so are union leaders steeped in the dialectics of Western unionism and philosophy. This takes on the
perspective of irreconcilable interests between labor and management. Management is viewed as predatory and ruthless,
while labor plays the'role of the exploited victim..The Marxist
view of class, struggle (hence the struggle, between management and labor) and the capitalist view of free enterprise
(hence free trade unionism) have influenced the union leaders' approach to the resolution of conflicts in the industry.
Because'of differences in ideology, mostly foreign derived, many union leaders cannot agree on the best method of
resolving labor-management conflicts. The government has attempted since 1987 to bring the four, major labor federations
together to serve as the "bargaining agent" of the entire trade
union movement. But -it did not succeed. Many labor leaders
i doubt the success of any future effort to unite the unions. As
one labor union- leader remarked: "Considering the ideological divisiveness among Unions; a single all-embracing center
does not seem possible for now."
16

The difficulty encountered in evolving a strong, corporate culture arises from the fact that managers, workers, and
labor leaders bring into the company, upon recruitment, their
basic community, family, and school orientations. These orientations are embedded in their respective mental and emotional,sets. These are not noticeable until they surface by reason of situations or conditions in the office or on the shop
floor.
. .,, ... . For example, the managers have learned and absorbed
their, professional perspectives, organizational biases, and
managerial techniques mostly from schools. The norms
learned in business schools, tend towards the legal. The behavioral standards they imbibe.emphasize being objective, impersonal, and organizational. The expectations they bring to
work.stress profit, task efficiency, and productivity..In such
settings, the ethos is: mind your own business, (See Figure 2.)

s o u n c n s OP CONTRADICTIONS

63

They subordinate' whatever traditional values they have retained to the idealized self-image of professionals in business.
Yet, when things go wrong, the tendency is for- them to blame
Filipino values. There is a strong tendency among executives
to denigrate (or even to discard) these traditional values
rather than to make the best use of them to prevent miscommunication, resolve conflicts, and achieve, organizational
goals.
The workers, on the other hand, are minimally educated in formal schools. Being in closer touch with traditional
cultural norms, the behavioral standards they know emphasize subjectivity (i.e., in the sense of paying attention to one's
feelings, not in a pejoratiye Sense), personaliSm, and familism.
Coming from such a background, the expectations they bring
to the workplace include security of tenure, better treatment,
and a self-fulfilling job. The prevailing ethos at Work thus emphasizes concern with others. (See Figure 2.) Whatever they
know about organizational behavior is often learned on the
job through informal interactions with their coworkers. Thus,
they fail to grasp clearly management's ideals. Whenever attempts are made to improve standards and the quality of output and services through exacting procedures and impersonal
relations, a covert yet real resistance to the procedures and relations comes into play. Subtly, this resistance often manifests
itself in their work attitudes and habits.
For their part, labor leaders often emphasize the difference in the orientations, and goals of labor and management to achieve their own ends. The'norms they have learned
place emphasis on the sociolegai. The behavioral standards
that govern their actions tend toward the emancipatory, the
confrontational, and the organizational. The expectations they
bring ,to labor-management relations are profit sharing, the
emancipation of labor, and better employment terms. The
ethos thaf drives them is one of vigilant and militant concern.
(See. Figure 2.). As a result, labor-management relations are.
closely monitored. Grievances are to be documented and redress to be legally settled. However, instead of the interests'of
labor and management being reconciled, they are polarized
and become the sources of conflicts.

64

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

SOURCES OP CONTRADICTIONS

MANAGERS'
ORIENTATION

WORKERS'
ORIENTATION

Negotiations bog down simply because the parties to


collective bargaining no longer have good faith within
themselves. If the union representatives, for instance,
w o u l d not belieye the financial statements presented by
the. management, panel to support certain positions,
even if they are duly audited by an independent firm,
then h o w can negotiations stijl continue? If, on the
other hand, the management representatives likewise refuse,to believe an actual market survey conducted by the
union on the actual price of commodities in a given date
in support of their'proposal for wagelncrease, there is
no more logic for the negotiations to go on. There must
. b e good faith on the;part of the parties to collective bargaining so that agreement can easily be f o r g e d .

vIoFms:
legal
'Behavioral Standards:
objective /
impersonal
organizational
Expectations:
profit
i task efficiency
productivity
Ethos:
mind your
own bust
"ness

Expectations:
' security of tenure
better treatment'
self-fulfilling-job .

Points of
(.Integration/
Conflict
Areas

.Conflict
'Areas '

Ethos: '
concern
for
, others

, Norms:
socioiegal
Behavioral Standards
emancipatory; confrontational
organizational '''

Expectations:. "
sharing of profitemancipation of
laborbetter employEthos:. . .
ment terms/
vigilant & militant
concern - ' :

UNION L E A D E R S '
, ORIENTATION

"'

FIGURE 2. Diagram s h o w i n g the contrasts


' in the orientations o f managers, workers,
and union leaders

';.',
The results of these contradictions and subcultural
clashes are a climate of constant bickering and mutual distrust
hi management and labor'relations, Because of "distrust" (or
lack of good faith; as one labor leader characterized it), grievance
hearings in the mediator's 'office often complicate rather 'than
resolve problems. One union leader expressed it, thus:

65

17

Although such traditional traits as personalism and


emotionalism are often at work, they are hot always used by
managers and union leaders for productive ends, For. exampie; an otherwise simple case of salary adjustment or of personal misunderstanding in the office or on the shop floor becomes a major source of conflict as soon as it is expressed in
Obfuscating legalistic or ideological jargons. More time is thus
spent in one-upmanship than in finding a common ground for
understanding, strengthening harmonious relations, compromises, and cooperation to foster industrial peace and. corporate growth. : ,,
., ..

.... , , .... ;,,


When conflicts are not resolved at the bargaining tablebecause of. the uncompromising amor propio (self-esteem) of
eitherSide, strikes are called and litigation begins its'long and
expensive course during which both labor and management
suffer. As Angara has stressed:
''*'-
The system of collective bargaining w e have

adopted,

.' however, deriving as it does from the American and.Brit-:


'ish
,

systems, w i t h their assumptions

of class

struggle

i and irreconcilable differences between labor-and capital,


puts Filipinos in confrontational s i t u a t i o n s w h i c h . c o m - ;
.

pel them to adopt hard-line positions. The loser in such


a situation is, almost inevitably, the labor sector, given

66

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


the inherent inequality of economic power between labor and c a p i t a l ,
18

The impact of these contradictions on the managerial


system and'on organizational behavior ciahnot be' overemphasized. Appointed out earlier'., the three perspectivesthe managers', the workers',.and the union leaders'do not.support
one another to produce a unity of perceptions and' expectations of the different roles'in a corporate setting. On the contrary, they'spawn counterproductive sentiments, outlooks, and
relationships,. ,'. .- ....
. . . . . .
.
:

For example, the emphasis on formal communication


and interaction in management has given rise to a managerial
style that is bureaucratic, legalistic, and adversarial. The
popular administrative dictum "Throw the book at him" captures the essence, of this rigidity in bureaucratic and legalistic
management style; Legalistic styles of management are generally found in public offices wherein the. civil service rules describe what to follow and how to behave. Flexibility in management is very limited since office rules -are based on and'are;
sustained by the legal system. Infraction of civil service rules
can bring about legal prosecution in court .

...
'Furthermore, incentives and rewards are focused on
individual rather than on group performance. Thus, employees tend to strive for personal gain, to emphasize individual
rather than group..responsibility and accountability, and to
nurse.petty '.jealousies, Decisions are departmentalized,-segmented, iapd individualized;; any attempt at initiative .outside,
of one's,own department or special-field or job.is construed as,
"encroaching on another's official.function and. responsibility." This leads to professional specialization and managerial
rigidity. . ,
.
,
......
On the other hand, the cultural, environment where the
corporation operates and from which it recruits personnel encompasses another cultural perspective, which even managers,
union-leaders, arid workers, as Filipinos, share and internalize
in the process of growing up and in participating in community affairs. These internalized values'give rise to subjectivism, personalism, and familism more than objectivity, imper-

SOURCES OF CONTRADICTIONS

67

sonality, and organization-orientedness. In spite of the objectivity with ..which managers say they handle problems, they
also fall short of this ideal in times of crises. They are just as
sensitive as the workers and the labor union leaders. As one
executive commented in an interview, "Filipino ^managers' objectivity is ninety percent subjectivity."
These three elements (subjectivism, personalism, and
familism) constitute the; internal fundamental rules of the
Filipino worldview, on the basis of which Filipinos organize
their ideas, interpret their experiences, make decisiqns' or
pass judgments, arid guide behavior... In a corporate .setting,
these, internal emotional rules give' rise to expectations of a
managerial style that is or ought to be consultative, persuasive, and consensual. The rules are there as. a-matter of general guidelines, but explicit relationships must be carried out
in the context of culturally acceptable ways. Even communication is expected to :be done in a\nonconfrontational and
eupherhistic .manner.. Incentives, like salary Increases, are
supposed to be across-the-board or group-oriented; decisions
must be group responsibility and riot mainly individual accountability. A group leader or manager is supposed to help
solve corporate and personal problems.
.The structure of these internal contradictions inj Philippine riianagemerit system is outlined in the accompanying
diagrarn; next page.
. '
i , ;; '.'
,:
; These contradictions have a conflicting impact on the
perception, expectation, and definition of managerial! roles
and personal behavior. Together they, constitute the internal
weakness of the current management system in this country.
That such a system has worked with some degree of success
rests on the ability of Filipinos to accommodate changes in
the system even.Without tacit.acceptance of the', principles associated) with them. *Found in the '.system,- for' example, are
p a k i k i t u n g o (to adopt appropriate action) a n d p a k i k i r a m d a m (to.
assess a thing intuitively). However, the system, as is, has not
effectively harnessed and mobilized the full potential and productivity of the human resources in both private and public
enterprises. The dominant managerial view is: Unless measured, any strategy is not worth "paying attention to."
:

SOURCES OF CONTRADICTIONS

69

In the public sector, all kinds of development strategies have been tried to spark enthusiasm, to' increase morale,
and to inspire employees to excellence .but to no avail; these
strategies have failed-to develop an administrative culture of
professionalism, productivity,, .and .excellent performance.
Furthermore, they have evoked not; only token responses from
both administrators and. employees. The relations between
rank-and-file employees and., the , corporate administration
have remained distant at best, adversarial at. worst. Neither
condition is conducive to maximum productivity.
' ..
1

Considering all this, it is perhaps about time to pause


and turn to our roots for a change. Let us learn from the native wisdom of our culture's ways, Instead of leading a vicarious existence as pseudo-Western corporate entities, Filipino
corporations should recognize their 'actual''state as Filipino
(not Western) and view their situation from a Filipino perspective.
l:\ti''
This is not.a call to eradicate-*the universal structures
of the modern corporation but rather an offer to vivify and energize the traditional Filipino, ways of thinking, believing,
and doing. This would call for a management with.a Filipino
philosophy of m a l a s a k i t (reciprocal concerns and loyalties); a
labor union with a Filipino ideology of consultation, persuasion,' and consensus; a Filipino worker with a'moral sentiment
of p a g b a b a h a l a ' (responsibility), "and, p a n a n a g u t a n (accountability),, Let us have modern technology powered by Filipino
entrepreneurial spirit. Modern corporate structure, native
Filipino managerial values.

Notes
' M a n u e l A . D i a , "Psycho-Sociological Factors A f f e c t i n g P r o d u c t i v ity o f S k i l l e d W o r k e r s , " P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 3, nos.
1-2(1981):110-111.
2

T h e v i d e o programs o f T o m H o p k i n s and D o n B u t l e r , for example,


are w i d e l y used.

70

.F.IUPINO CORPORATE ClUlQflURE


3

N. Y.
(Cambridge,

Japan's

Mass*:' MIT;

^ M a n a g e r i a l System:
Tradition.
Press, 1'96,8), 2 1 ,
. ! - . ( . . ,

totflF.Innovation

^ R y u s h i I v / a t a , J a p a n e s e - S t y l e - M a n a g e m e n t : F o u n d a t i o n s
( T o k y a : A s i a n P r o d u c t i v i t y Organizations, 1982), 8..'

a n d Prospects
:r..-?

Geert Hofsttde, E u U u r a l F i t f a t t s f o r D u t c h E x p a t r i a t e s i n I n d o n e s i a
(Deventa: T G Internationaiy Management Consultants, 1982), 3 0 , ' 3 5 .

Part II

lj

P a d d y B o w i e , " W h e n Silence D o e s n ' t M e a n C o n s e n t / ' E u r o - A s i a n


Business
Review
I , no. 1 (October 1982):34.
''
_'

S0CI0CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT

M o n e t o Ozake, " I n d u s t r i a l Relations Systems i n A s i a , " ^ P r o c e e d i n g s


of t h e N a t i o n a l T r i p a r t i t e Seminar
W o r k s h o p o n I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s (Manila:
M a r c h 21-24, 1984), 19.
"<'.[. r ^ t / . . '
8

E d g a r d o J . Angara, "New Dimension i n Industrial'Relations," P h i l

ippihe JoumaVof'Industrial
9

Business

i (

'.

Relations1

(October 1983):23.'

D a y , . 30. A p r i l .1986...

ibid.,.

'

':.

'.

.,
;v

12

F i e . l d notes (lanuaryl M a r c h , and A p r i l 1988).. , . I

, ?

B l a s O p l e , " K e y n o t e Speech 'at I L O / F E S S feminaV 6 h C o l l e c t i v e


B a r g a i n i n g and Dab or A r b i t r a t i o n i n A S E A N R e g i o n , " M a n i l a , - J u l y
23-30, 1977.
".r.
t'
;

/ y " Y;

"ibid.1 5

Q J u l i e . Q . Case!, "Dispute.Settlements

in Unionized, Hotels i n

B a g i i i o , " P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s
1

'[

! }

2, no. 2' (2nd Semester

l 97 9-8Q) :75-93; F r a n k l i n D r i l o n , " T h e E m p l o y e r s ' V i e w , "


(

the. N a t i o n a l

T r i p a r t i t e Seminar

21-24, 1984): 14.


l6

Business

17

'

Proceedings.of

Workshop o n Industrial Relations


r

"

' / ' V

(March
:

'

D a y , op. c i t , 11.

E . D . V i r a y , " C o l l e c t i v e B a r g a i n i n g Agreement i n 31 H o u r s , " P h i l -

i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 3, no. 1 (1986): 14.


18

A n g a r a , op. cit., 28.

Kinship and Family: Basic Structures


of Relations

The Family: The Inner Social World of Filipino Life


Core Values; Heart and Soul of the Filipino

"Ibid.
;r>

,''.".-'iyVi

Kinship and Family:


Basic Structures of Relations

"'

One of the important aspects .of the kinshipsystem in the,Philippines is the .fact that it is flexible, that relationship, among distant relatives at
least, may be implemented or not as the individual
chooses.
.' . .

Fred Eggan,
Anthropologist, 1968

n many ways, the internal environment of the corporation


is linked closely with the external environment of the
larger society within which the enterprise operates. In the
Philippines, two of these linkages are kinship and family.
This is .understandable because many corporations are familyowned. Even those that are not, including multinational companies, become enmeshed with kinship and family when personnel are recruited from among the relatives or townmates of
officials and employees who are already working in these companies.
Family-owned enterprises are found all over the world.
What differentiates "family-owned" companies in the Philippines from their counterparts in other societies, like Japan for
example, is the style pf management. As one Japanese scholar
commented;
. ...
The phenomena that struck the respondents most profoundly was that many Philippine corporations

were

74

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

family corporations. A s such, they were run not according to corporate principles but accordingly to the rules
and ethics of the "family game."
1

In this context, it is important for those who are involved in corporate management to know some of the important principles of Filipino kinship and family in order to deal
properly with Filipino workers, peers, labor leaders,' politicians, and business associates.
In general, Filipino behavior cannot be fully appreciated unless the underlying sentiments of kinship and family
are first appreciated. These sentiments are deeply rooted in
the very structure and organization of-the national society itself. In politics, O. D. CorpUz observed:
The ethics of the family work far beyond the matter of
securing government employment. Family influence or
personal " p u l l " is resorted to as a matter of course in
application for business licenses, franchises, and government contracts. Family interests and values largely support the dynastic structures of politics in the provinces.
The network is w i d e - r a n g i n g . . : .
2

Although kinship has a wider scope than the family,


they occupy the same degree of importance in the social, system. In many occasions, they are functionally interchanged.
That is, when Filipinos speak of their families, they also mean
their kinsmen. The distinction is specified only when situations call for it or when the .referent, say in a conversation, is
the action of a particular person or a small group of persons.
.
... Kinship is the basic element of Filipino social struc ture.it is through'this'structural unit of society that much local, authority, rights and obligations, and modes of interaction
are expressed, defined, ordered, and systematized. Interpersonal and iritergroup movements of people or groups of people
in and out of the villages and towns are, in most cases, largely

75

determined by kinship. Group alliances are likewise formed


on this basis.
The core element of kinship is the family. Its main
work is to socialize members of the community to acceptable
and specific ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and doing
things. As will be discussed in detail later, the family provides
the internal moral force that makes the kinship structure cohesive and enduring.
' .
Oftentimes, kinship and family orientations are
brought by the workers into the corporate organization upon
recruitment. In the new setting, these orientations become enmeshed with different ways of thinking, believing, feeling,
and doing things as the workers are introduced to the intricacies of corporate life. In areas where these orientations are
congruent with corporate management style, they, serve to reinforce corporate demands. But in.areas where they are not
congruent, these orientations become sources of conflicts and
problems. Thus, it would be advantageous for managers to understand and appreciate these orientations, as well as draw
from them certain principles that are useful in developing an
effective human resource management style.
3

Kinship Structure
The structural relationships of kinship' are' based on
descent (consanguinity or blood), as in parents-children'relations;, marriage (affinity), as in husband-wife relations;-' and
c o m p a d r a z g o (ritual filiation), as in godparents-godchildren
relations; '
'' ' \

The concepts of descent, affinity, arid ritualfiliation


provide the framework for categorizing and classifying those
people identified'as kinsmen. When expressed through religio-legal rules and rituals, such as marriage, they also serve
as the basis of jural norms governing formal kinship behavior.j

76

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Kinship

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

reckoning

Structurally, reckoning of kinship ties covers a large


group of individuals with overlapping: structural positions
relative to other-individuals in the kin group. Technically,
this-is known in anthropology as bilateralism: This .accounts
for the complexity of kin-oriented behavioral' patterns. Its
normative basis is hard to define in that an individual brings
two unrelated groups of people into a special kind of-.relationship, with, him as the main link and pivotal point of .reference.
This position is bestowed with specific rights, obligations, and
privileges by society. For example,
.: .v
:

,., if A marries B, both of them automatically become a


member of each other's kinship group. These relationships.are fragile until the birth of a child dr children w h o

''>

: become,the permanent blood-links to two parental kin

ship groups. A l l parental.siblings aretreated by the children as "second parents" and are accorded,.the respect
similar to that extended to the parents. The moral basis.. ,
of this practice is the belief that if "our.parents did not
give birth to us, their siblings would have done so. K i n ship is in the b l o o d . "

;;

. ,

The principle of bilateralism in kinship requires that


relationships with the kinsmen of the father and of the
mother .shall be reckoned equally, with no marked structural
distinction placed on either side..The individual may indicate
associational preference for or may have greater affective ties
with kinsmen from one side. This is not an organizational
principle but a personal choice. In spite of this choice, however, the individual continues to recognize his kinship relations with the two parental kin groups.'
, This symmetrical recognition of kinship ideally brings
about an equal distribution of-rights, obligations, privileges,
and status, among, a greater number of, kinsmen. Individual
and group expectations are built around specific types and
ranges of relations. That is, an individual is given and enjoys
certain rights and privileges along with his kinsmen, such as

77

protection and support in time of need. In turn, however, he is


also obliged to come to their side when they need his assistance. Declining to do so is considered a grave social offense.
These expectations are stronger with immediate consanguineal kin than with distant collateral ones, although exceptional cases have also been recorded.
One of the behavioral effects of this demand for dual
kinship loyalties is the instability of affective ties in the network of group relations. For example, in cases where two sets
of' relativesthose coming from the father's arid mother's
sidesare in conflict, the individual stands on tenuous
grounds. If he takes the side of the mother's kin, he loses the
support of the father's relatives; if he takes the side of the latter, he loses the loyalty of the former; if he remains neutral,
he loses both. As a last recourse, he often acts as the arbiter of
the dispute.
This attempt to maintain a balance between loyalties
to either side of the family accounts for much of the nature of
decision making in many villages: Before being able to decide,
one has to take into account the many and possibly conflicting
opinions of one's relatives. Consultation' is availed of in order
to avoid trouble. Any error in judgment or omission results in
slighted feelings, quarreling, recriminations, and sometimes
alienation of the individual from the kin group. However, the
process brings about and maintains harmony arnong those
concerned. This is the dominant feature of relationships in all
Philippine communities sharing the same kinship structure.
Seen in this context, if is understandable why, in the
corporate setting, workers often resent management decisions
in which they are not represented. It is likewise understandable why, in many occasions, the implementation of instructions on the shop floor is delayed. Before a worker acts,
he often consults and weighs the opinion of his peers-a carryover from kinship orientation in the family and community.
That is why managers must have a good grasp of the.role of
kinship as a socializing process in Filipino organization, or
else they may not be able to provide a redirection of this perspective; to suit the requirements of corporate goals.

78

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Kinship aims to be functionally cohesive all the time,


but this is not always the case. Just as it unifies, so also does it
generate' conflicts. This is especially true when specific rights,
obligations, privileges, and expectations are not observed by
some members of the group, or when other members are deprived of them. The solidarity of the sibling group is often
challenged by internal conflicts as soon as marriages take
place among the members or when the problem of inheritance
comes to the fore. As a whole,.however, kinship unity prevails
in most occasions. Siblings tend to forget their differences and
present a.unified front, at least temporarily, when one of them
is threatened by nonsiblings or is in extreme need of assistance- , ,.
- .- The-other factor contributing to kinship conflicts is
the widening gap between the older and the younger generations in terms of value orientation. Many of the younger people are becoming acculturated to Westernized values through
education and the mass media, while the older generations remain traditional and conservative. The conflict is more apparent, however, in urban centers than in small villages. On the
whole,,intergenerational differences are kept within the kinship domain as interpersonal or family disputes. The antagonists are generally shielded by the members of the group from
unnecessary public exposure, thereby preventing any kinsman
or family from being "openly shamed."
Taking all this into consideration, however, it can still
be said unequivocally.that kinship is primary among'the major principles, of behavior and social groupings in the Philippines. It constitutes the basic structural,framework.of action
through which most community,values are perceived and actualized. It serves, as the key to a proper understanding of the
total Filipino social system.

Generational

arrangement

Filipino kinship is also structured and organized on


the basis of generation. That is, relationships among kinsmen

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

79

are also reckoned, aside from bilateral filiations, vertically according to the order of descent of the members of the familial
group. Jural authority and rules of inheritance are established
through consideration of generations.
Generation though is not only a structural principle
but also a social one. This is most obvious in behavior associated with respect and familiarity. Members of the older generation expect and may demand tokens of respect from the
younger generation whom they may in turn treat with familiarity. The Tagalog practice of using po and the plural second
or third person (i.e , kayo or sila [they]) in addressing one's elders is a common and socially approved occurrence. Thus,
even comparative strangers or social inferiors are addressed
by using terms of kinship, such as t a t a n g (elder uncle) or t i y a n g (elder auntie), manong (big brother) or m a n a n g (big sister) to signify respect for them because they happen to be
older. This practice is especially prevalent in workplaces
where employees affectionately refer to one another in kinship terms. For example, middle-level female supervisors are
called ate (older sister) of mommy (when well into middle
age). Even those staples of the lingua franca, p a r e and brad,
originally came into popular usage with the intent of establishing a semblance of kinship between, mere acquaintances or
even strangers.,
;

The significance of kinship and family principles to


the proper understanding of Filipino social'behavior may
either be further illustrated by changes in the attitudes and
interactions of two individuals who, meeting for the first time,
discover they are related. What otherwise has been a formal
interaction becomes warm because of intimacy of blood relations. Where no blood relations can be established, finding
common acquaintances or even simply coming from the same
province is a way of establishing more convivial ties.
Thus, it is not uncommon to ask strangers who enter
the village or the company for the first time about their family
and community backgrounds This practice is not idle or officious curiosity about somebody's private life but is meant to
discover relationships so that appropriate behavior can be accorded the individual. In urban centers, kinship is sometimes

80

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: DASH; STIIUCTURES OF RELATIONS

traced to prominent national figures in order to gain social ac


ceptance, to exert influence, and to bolster one's status in so
ciety.

81

After tracing their kinship, the relation between the


two changed, M o n became very accommodating and the

During one of our coffee breaks at Metalcraft Inc. (a


pseudonym), a stranger came up at the gate looking for
Mr. Ramon Blanco, or M o n , the supervisor. The guard
w o u l d not let him in. M o n was called to the gate to
meet and identify his caller. W h e n the t w o met, Mor)
apparently did not recognize the man and asked what he .
wanted.

newcomer became very relaxed. It turned out, as the


conversation proceeded, that the latter came to see M o n
for assistance in finding a job. He was sent by the former's parents and grandparents. M o n felt obliged to accommodate the y o u n g man or " m a g t a t a m p o p a i y o n g
r n g a m a t a t a n d a sa a k i n (the old folks w i l l be hurt by my
refusal)." Then he took him to the personnel office,
asked him to fill out an application form, a n d t o l d him to
come back. The following day, the y o u n g man reported
for w o r k .
6

" G a t i n g po ako sa Bay, Laguna," the man said. " A k o


po

iyong

anak

n i Maryang

Taciong m a n g i n g i s d a . "

bulanti, asavia

n i Mang

(Translation: I came from Bay,

Laguna. I am the son of Maria, the merchant, w h o is the


wife of Tacio, the fisherman.)

'

Mon did not show any sign of recognition. T h e ,


y o u n g man continued. "Sa San A n t o n i o po k a m i n a k a t i r a , sa b a n d a n g W a W a m a l a p i t sabahay
n i L o i o Badong,
iyong a s a w a n i L o l a Tinay n a k a p a t l d h i L o l o Simeon,
a m a n g t a t a y n l n y o . Si L o l o Badong ay a m a n g t a t a y k o , si
Marcelo; Si I t a y a t a n d t a t a y n i n y o ay m a g p i n s a n g b u o .
A k o i y o n g p a l a g i sa bahay
n i n y o n o o n g nasa San A n t o n i o ' ;
p a k a y o n a k a t i r a . M a l l i t p a ako n o o n , k a y a h i n d i n a n l n y o
ako n a t a t a n d a a n . " (Translation: W e live in San A n t o n i o ,
adjacent to W a W a and close to the house of L o l o
Badong, husband.of L o l a Tinay w h o is the sister, of L o l o
Simeon, your grandfather. L o l o Badong is the father of
my father, Marcelo. your father and mine are first cousins. I am the one w h o was always in your house when
you were.still residing in San Antonio.)
On hearing the names of his grandparents and parents mentioned, M o n ' s face brightened and he said, " A h ,
oo n g a , N g a y o n n a a l a a l a k o n a . I k a w p a l a i y o n g s t n a b i n i
L o l a . Pasok
k a . H a l i k a n a . " (Translation: O h , yes. N o w I
remember. You are the one my grandmother talked
about. Please enter. Come in.)

'The administration of social control is another area of


group life where generational authority operates with much
weight. The individual's conception of what is right and what
is wrong, just or unjust, and so on, which moves him to action,
is influenced by ideas and practices derived from previous
generations. This is what we call generational gap when the
members of the upper or older generation cannot get along
'with' the lower or younger generation. The converse is also
true. Innovativeness or conservatism of either generation is
generally the basis of conflicts.

Seniority

and

status

. ' .v. Closely related to the principle of generation .is- the


concept of seniority. Members of the group, are often categorized in-terms of whether they are senior or junior to each
other. While age is a significant criterion for defining seniority, it is not a necessary sociological precondition to it. In general, status is achieved, except the biological ones, like sex
and birth, which are prescribed,
.
.Marriage, for example, is one way of acquiring, a
status,.senior or junior, in the social universe of kinship.'For
example; should a younger woman marry a, man who happens

82

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

to be the eldest in his family, she automatically becomes senior to his younger siblings even if they are biologically older
than herself. Conversely, the man is considered by the wife's
older siblings as junior to them, even if he is older than they.
Proper use of kinship terminology is observed, and interactions between them follow the superordinate rule.
For example, A has a younger sister B. B married at
-the age of 16, while A married at the age of -40. In spite
of the fact that B's Children are biologically older than
A's, the former address the latter w i t h kinship terms
meaning "older sister/older brother," depending upon
the sex of the one spoken t o .
7

In addition to seniority, status is acquired through


other means, like wealth, formal education, and professional
achievement.. Most of these nonkinship factors are availed of
prominently in big towns and urban centers. In the rural areas, the sources, of status conferral are few; having more stored
foodstuffs, like rice or corn, ranks highest among them. R e
cently, education has become another major source of status
in the rural villages, superseding economic resourcesalthough visible display of material possession, like big houses,
is still tacitly held as an indication of social prestige.
:

There is no contradiction in this judgment. What appears to be inconsistent in the ranking is a matter of priority
in the order of choice of the means of achieving individual
and group goals. Formal education is regarded as the surest
way to acquire a well-paying job in the future and, consequently, status and wealth,'if not power, in the community.
Moreover, the view exists only as an aspiration on the part of
many rural people because most,of them do not acquire formal education beyond the first six years of elementary schooling; In urban centers, both education and economic resources
are combined as the basis of social status.
Status is not automatically attached to a person who' is
rich and educated. He has to possess the necessary age qualifh
cation. If he is young and educated, he may be consulted and
followed,.but this does not mean that he has acquired a higher

83

status .before the eyes of the community. He is followed for


practical reasons; for example, his suggestions are helpful in
solving problems on hand. But in terms of respect and weight
given by virtue of his words and actions, he is still junior to
many and therefore "could possibly make more errors than
right,judgments." It is age that mellows an individual,;that
smooths "the rough edges of his youth until he. possesses, not
only knowledge but also wisdom,"

Mr. Bonyag, a y o u n g engineer in Electronics Incorporated; was hired as production supervisor. He came
from another company where he performed very well.
W o r k i n g under him in' Electronics Incorporated. were
three engineers,and five foremen w h o were older than he
was.
In spite of his excellent academic,and work performance in another company for w h i c h reason he,was
hired, the older engineers did not take him.seriously and
the foremen resented his ordering them around. The
more M r . Bonyag asserted his authority, the more these
engineers and foremen 'resented it. In instances where
they could h o t answer him back, they simply did not do
the job very well.
W h e n I interviewed the engineers and foremen, they
all pointed to the fact that: " B a t a p a l y a n , w a l a p a n g
m a s y a d o n g a l a m sa practical. K u n g m a g - u t o s , a k a l a m o
k u n g s l n o n a . W a l a m a n l a m a n g g a l a n g sa n a k a t a t a n d a
sa k a n y a . " (Translation: "He is sti11 young, he does not
have much practical experience. If he'orders, he makes
you think he is somebody. He does not even s h o w respect to.those older than he i s . " )
8

The complex interrelatedness between one's actual


knowledge and abilities and one's age and seniority within the
kinship group all contribute to one's status or lack of it. The
value Filipinos place upon age as a harbinger of wisdom and
the perceived callousness of youth are apparent in such colloquialism' as may gatas p a sa labi (still has milk on the lips) or

84

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: DASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

m a r a m i p a n g bigas n a k a k a i n i n iyan
rice).

(he still has to eat more

Once a status is acquired, either within the kinship


unit or outside of it, the individual status-holder has to behave in accordance with group expectations. If, for example,
he is recruited as a manager in a company or elected to a high
office i n the government, he is expected to assist his kinsmen
or friends in getting better jobs, work for the promotion' of
those already in the job, or open to them better opportunities
to advance their careers or promote their business enterprises.
He could choose to ignore these obligations but, for any such
act, he would have to pay the price of alienation from his
friends and kinship.group.. , .
i

Although they may lack wealth and conventional


Western education, those individuals who have a good grasp
of the local mores and traditional practices are accorded high
status. For example, folk healers and those believed to have
psychic abilities are'consulted even on matters riot pertaining
to healing. Their opinions are given weight because of their
purported supernatural powers, which many secretly fear.
One such individual was recently elected mayor of his city in
1987.
/,
Even within the organizational structure of a corporate
entity, the practice continues to prevail. In fact, it is sometimes the main source of conflict between supervisors and
workers in the plant. Fieldwork observations show that supervisors are consulted only when things go wrong or when permission to do something, is sought. But when assistance is
needed in the job, such,as how to proceed with one's assignment or what other things are needed in assessing quality of
work or product, another worker, either an older man or a
charismatic leader within the group, is consulted instead.

85

Most of the conflicts arc the same: supervisors and


workers do no often "see eye to eye." One day, Supervisor A instructed Mang Beno, the welder, to take care
"not to thicken" the welded joint of the appliance he
was working on. M a n g Beno said yes but.did not ask for
instruction from the supervisor. Instead, he went to
M a n g Tibo, another welder w h o was'respected'by most
Workers because he was very helpful. M a n g Tihri was not
familiar w l t h t h e new technique but stated that the
"thicker the welded joint, the stronger is the attachment." M a n g Beno followed this virtual instructibn. The
work did not turn out as the supervisor had'wanted.'
W h e n he confronted M a n g Beno, the welder'simply said
that he merely followed the instruction of M a n g Tibo because the latter was more experienced than he, and
added: "Moreover, everybody is consulting M a n g Tibo
when there are problems in the plant and that is exactly
, what I d i d . " " . : , ;
... .

10

Appliance, Inc. (a pseudonym) employs about fifty


people, excluding casual workers, in one of its factories.
The group was divided into teams. Each team (later
called Quality Circle) is in charge of making one line of
. products. The. number of workers in each team varies.

Family Structure
The family is the core unit of Filipino kinship system.
It is also'the smallest social, political, religious; and economic
unit of the national social system. Under Philippine law (cf.
Executive Order No. 209, known' as the F'ariiily Code), the
family is referred to as the "foundation of the nation." As a
sole property-owning unit with authority over its members,
the'FilipinoTamily is the only social unit with corporate cha'riacteristics. Practically all group actions enlanateTroiri and are
unified in the family.
:.,;:
;

. Through the family, the individual is first socialized


and continues to receive his orientation to the values, norms,
and practices, of his society. Other institutions may help in
shaping an individual's normative behavior, but it is in the
family where he obtains the most socialization, for the family
provides him with the personal security he e a n n O t obtain-else-

86

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

FIGURE 3. Diagram showing contrasts in the orientations


of managers and workers and how these differences influence
their working styles and interpersonal relations

where. Thus, all personal consideration comes second to those


of the family.

, MANAGERS'
ORIENTATION
The Filipino family, large and functionally extended
as it is, provides social security, old age, pension, jobs,
scholarships, unemployment benefits, nursery services,
credit, land, labor, capital, income redistribution, work
sharing, companionship to the unmarried, care for the
sick, home for the aged,, counsel for the troubled, and
most o f ' a l l , love, affection; emotional sustenance, and
social stability without which a Filipino's life is meaningless;
.
. : , ) . .
I

1.

Overview:
Basic orientations

12

In understanding contemporary Filipino behavior, the


importance of the family cannot be overemphasized. Philippine society as a whole may be described as "familiar" in nature in that almost all social activities in the community center on the family. To gain a better understanding of the family, especially its'impact on corporate behavior, it is helpful to
view it in the context of the broader operations of the kinship,
system.
The Filipino family is structured .through, kinship relationship established through marriage and descent. In its.
most elementary form, the family is composed of the father,,
the. mother, and their.unmarried child or children, natural as
well as adopted. The .definition by anthropologist George,
Murdoch of the family as a "social group characterized by
common.residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction",
finds, partial support from available Philippine data. The^Filipino concept of the family or mag-anak includes members who
are out of residence, provided they are not married, and who
continue to help provide economic support for the family.
Generally, the family-excludes all kindred outside,of
the conjugal, parental, and ritual,relationships, But, in its expanded form, it encompasses a wider range of bilaterally
linked relatives who may either live with the family or occupy
13

Impact on.:
managerial
style

3.

Impact on
interpersonal
relations .

WORKERS'
ORIENTATION

86

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

FIGURE 3. Diagram showing contrasts in the orientations


of managers and workers and how these differences influence
their working styles and interpersonal relations

where. Thus, all personal consideration comes second to those


of the family.

. MANAGERS'
ORIENTATION
The Filipino family, large and functionally extended
as it is, provides social security, old age, pension, job.s,
scholarships, unemployment benefits, nursery services,
credit, land, labor, capital, income redistribution, work
sharing, companionship to the unmarried, care for the
sick, home for the aged,, counsel for the troubled, and
most o f ' a l l , love, affection; emotional sustenance, and
social stability without which a /Filipino's, life is meaningless;
,
, ,
, >. , . . .

1.

Overview:
Basic orientations

12

In understanding contemporary Filipino behavior, the


importance of the family cannot be overemphasized. Philippine society as a whole may be described as "familiar" in nature in that almost all social activities in the community center on the family. To gain a better understanding of the family, especially its impact on corporate behavior, it is helpful to
view it in the context of the broader operations of the kinship,
system.
The Filipino family is structured .through, kinship relationship established through marriage and descent. In its.
most elementary form, the family is composed of the father,,
the mother, and their.unmarried child or children, natural as
well as adopted. The .definition by anthropologist George
Murdoch of the family as a "social group characterized by
common.residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction",
finds partial support from available Philippine data. The,Filipino concept of the family or mag-anak includes members who
are out of residence, provided they are not married, and who
continue to help provide economic support for the family.
13

Generally, the family-excludes all kindred outside,of


the conjugal, parental, and ritual,relationships, But, in its expanded form, it encompasses a wider range of bilaterally
linked relatives who may either live with the family or occupy

Impact on ..
managerial
style
:

3.

Impact on
interpersonal
relations: .

WORKERS'
ORIENTATION

88

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

the next-door apartment or a row of apartments in a family


compound. This recognition of the bilateral extension of family relations includes moral obligation to support those kindred economically if they are jobless or too young to support
themselves at the time of residence with the family.

Circles

of

relatives

The cultural orientation emphasized in this study is


dominantly rural. This is because, as available data reveal,
many urban dwellers are recent migrants from the provinces.
They are thus; only about a generation" older as city residents.
This length of time is not enough to alter the basic pattern of
rural values, attitudes, and practices. The surface pattern of
everyday life may have changed in response to the realities of
urban environment, but the core values have been retained.
Many urban dwellers are still basically rural in temperament
and worldview.
:

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

others outside of these places. However, they are recognized


as significant relatives within the expanding circles of kinsmen.
.
Next to the k a m a g - a n a k a n , forming the outermost circle of relatives is the a n g k a n . This is the tertiary group of distant relatives, who may or may not know each other but who
claim to share common distant ancestors and common sets of
relatives. These people may or may not have common family
names, which oftentimes form fhe basis of kinship reckoning
and of tracing relationships to the a n g k a n (see Figure 5 helow).
'<'
;

;
The, family is a complex network of relatives. These
people generally form the individual's immediate neighbors.
Structurally, this network is composed of primary, secondary,
and tertiary circles of people known to the individual and
whom he recognizes as kinsmen. The inner circle of this network is the nuclear family or mag-ctnak.
It is composed of the
parents and their child or children. The mag-anak
is the core
of the kinship, group..
Next to it Is the household or the s a m b a h a y a n . By definition, the household is composed of members of the nuclear
family plus one or more other members who may or may not
be related.but who chose to live with the family. The sambahayan members perceive themselves as one family, in spite of
actual membership. They work together as a team, a cooperative unit. .
Immediately outside of the sambahayan
group is the
circle of close relatives or the k a m a g - a n a k a n . Members of this
group may or may not intimately know each other. Some of
them live within the neighborhood or family compound and

89

FIGURE 5. Diagram s h o w i n g c i r c l e s of r e l a t i v e s

90
Affinal

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


structure

Consanguineal ties are reinforced and expressed by affinal bonds. Affinal relatives are treated as though they are
consanguineal kin. The distinction is a matter of definition.
In fact, some informants consider their affines "much better
relatives than the real ones." Parents-in-law are equated with
one's own parents and are given similar authority and respect.
The spouse's siblings are likewise considered as one's own and
the same rights, obligations, privileges, and taboos (such as
incest) are observed.
An affine is one whose relationship with the other
members of the kinship unit is established through marriage.
Most marriages in rural communities are performed in the
Roman Catholic Church as a majority of Filipinos are Catholics. Many people do not consider a nonchurch marriage as
binding, even if they recognize it as legal. In fact, such a marriage is viewed as a source of lifelong and irreparable bad luck
for the entire family. Couples who live as husbands and wives
without the benefit of a church wedding are often pressured
by their relatives into correcting the error "or suffer from misfortunes throughout life." But, as always happens in any society, there are persons who live , together as common-law
spouses in spite of this community-held religious interdiction.
Ideally, the Filipino wife is bound by the culture to
follow her husband. This is the norm. There are exceptions to
this rule however. For example, where the greater portion of
the family income is derived from the earnings of the wife, the
husband tends to give way to many of her wishes. She can
have her way at home, but this is only insofar as routine and
daily domestic affairs are concerned. If the decision to be
made will affect the welfare of the entire family, it is the man
who makes it. ~
This traditional system is currently challenged by the
acculturated young Filipinos. More and more Filipino women
are productively employed. This economic independence has
made many females conscious of their rights and have become
politically assertive. This phenomenon is very predominant in
urban centers than in rural villages.

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

Compadre

91

Structure

Compadrazgo
or thecompadre system is the form of ritual kinship that reinforces affinity by providing a wider
framework for social interaction in the community. The compadre relations are formalized between kin or nonkin when
one of the principal actors stands as sponsor for binyag (baptism), kumpil (confirmation), and kasal (marriage). In some rural areas, the practice of prebaptismal rite, called buhos ng tubig, is allowed by the church. Traditionally, the purpose of the
buhos ng tubig is to make sure that should anything happen to
the child prior to church baptism, he/she does not die a heathen. The observance is especially urgent if the child is sickly
at birth or is to be taken along On a long journey. It is usually
done, or performed by any older member of the family or
neighborhood before the church rite is celebrated.
The godparents or sponsors are addressed as ninong
(godfather) and ninang (godmother) by the godchild, who is
called i n a a n a k . Traditionally, godparents have the responsibility of functioning as second or surrogate parents to their godchild. They are expected to help in-the upbringing and education of their godchild and to assist him in time of need. In
turn, the child is expected to. help his godparents when they
need his assistance. He has to obey and to respect them as
though they were his natural parents. It is on this assumption
of altruism that the bond of cpmpadreship
is defined between
the godparents and the, parents of the child. As in real kin-,
ship, this special relationship is extended to the siblings of.
both compadres.
As a social unit, a compadrazgo
relation is structurally
amorphous. While it is ideally established on the basis of mu
tual obligations between the contractantsthat is, those who
initiate its formation have agreed explicitly and formally to
become ritual kinthe articulation of the relationship in actual practice is dependent upon whether or not the parties
concerned cooperate with each other. Lately, the Catholic
Church has sought to limit the number of godparents or wedding sponsors but apparently to no avail. To have many pairs
of baptismal or -nuptial godparents is consi'dered lucky. (It is
7

92

KINSHIP AND FAMILY: BASIC STRUCTURES OF RELATIONS

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

considered unlucky for one to refuse to stand as a godparent,


as one is perforce deemed guilty of barring the child from becoming a Christian.) A horde of wedding sponsors is a must at
any en grande (big) wedding.

Compadre.

Compadre

93

Some people exploit the relationship for economic reasons


and social advancement] others avoid this for the reason that
"once started, the reciprocal exchange of goods and services
becomes complex and cumbersome."
14

Notes
^ a m o r u T o s u d a , " U n d e r s t a n d i n g I n d u s t r i a l Relations i n the P h i l ippines," P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s 1, no. 1 (1st Semester,
1978):68.
2

0.

D . C o r p u z , T h e P h i l i p p i n e s (Englewood Cliffs, N e w Jersey: P r e n -

t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 1965), 84.


3

F . L a n d a Jocano, " F i l i p i n o Social Structure a n d V a l u e System," i n


T h e M a n a g e m e n t of M e n , ed. F . B . M . Kassarjian and Robert A . Stringer
Jr. ( M a n i l a : S o l i d a r i d a d , 1971), 410-11.

FIGURE 6. Diagram showing the structure

of c o m p a d r e system

There is no authority or legal relationship created with


the establishment of the compadre
bond. What is formalized
with the rite is' a moral obligation, arid this is supported
merely by the expectations of those involved in the relationship. The right concomitant to' the obligation does not have
the force of structural duties,'as' in actual kinship, wherein a
party to the agreement (as in marriage) or affective relationship (as in parent-child) can be required, either by public
opinion or by law, to fulfill his part of the contract.

F i e l d notes, 1984.

Jocano, op. cit., 411.

F i e l d notes, 1984.

F i e l d notes, 1984.

F i e l d notes, 1985.

F o r details, see F . L a n d a Jocano, P o l k M e d i c i n e i n a P h i l i p p i n e

10

M a y o r of B a g u i o i n 1988.

" F i e l d notes, 1985.


12

G e l i a T . Castillo, B e y o n d M a n i l a : P h i l i p p i n e R u r a l P r o b l e m s i n P e r -

s p e c t i v e (Ottawa, Ont.: I D R C , 1980), 103.


13

George P . M u r d o c k , S o c i a l S t r u c t u r e (New Y o r k : M a c m i l l a n Co.,

1949), 1.
1 4

The bottom line iri the relationship is that, unlike parents arid spouses, compadres
cannot sue or be' sued of legally
compelled to give support to the godchild, even if they have
ritiially pledged to do so. The intricate but loosely defined relationship can be maintained only through'^'system of continuing exchanges of solicitude. It is for this reason that obligations established by compadrazgo
are selectively 9arriedout.

Mu-

n i c i p a l i t y ( M a n i l a : N a t i o n a l M u s e u m , 1973).

ship

F o r detailed discussion, see D o n n H a r t , C o m p a d r i n a z o : R i t u a l K i n -

i n the Philippines

1977).

( D e - K a l b : N o r t h e r n I l l i n o i s U n i v e r s i t y Press,

E l

T h e Family: T h e Inner Social W o r l d


f

o f Filipino Life

The family is the "small world" of the Filipino


and it is difficult to comprehend why he behaves the
way he does unless we have some appreciation for
the family' and household in which he lives!
GeliaT Castillo,
Sociologist, 1979
The State recognizes the Filipino family as the
foundation of the nation!
'
Article XV, Section I,
Philippine Constitution, 1987

he inner social world of Filipino life revolves around


the family. Within it, the individual finds meaning in
all the activities that he undertakes. The essence of familial influence is often extended to the larger world of society. The observation that Philippine society i s a "familial society" is correct. Family interests often take precedence over
all other interests, be it in private industries or in public service. In fact, the family is the only unit in Filipino traditional
social organization that has a corporate personality. That is, it
can act on behalf of and answer for its members with legal and
moral force. The Civil Code of the Philippines has endowed it
with such rights, duties, and obligations.
The family functions as the basic economic, political,
and religious unit of Filipino society. It also serves as the
source of moral consensus on the, basis of which Filipinos or-

96

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

THE FAMILY

ganize their ideas, interpret their experiences, and guide their


behavior.

Functions
Economic

. . . -:

-v

The family is both a social unit and an economic unit.


It is responsible for the socialization and economic support of
its members. Ideally, the breadwinner is the husband. Functionally, this .responsibility is shared with the wife. In fact, the
management-of .family. .activities; may he best described as a
-partnersjiip. Inthe farms, .for example, when the man plows
the field,- the woman plants the crops. In the fishing village,
.when the; man fishes, the woman sells the catch. Small- and
mediumVsized business holdings are usually family-owned
.and family-run enterprises. If the husband is the president or
chairman of the board," the wife, is'usually either the vice
president, the. corporate secretary, or the treasurer.
Stockholders are normally limited to the kinship
group. Such family-owned and family-run enterprises dominate the Filipino business landscape. One's first job outside
the community (especially among provincial, migrants p urban centers):.;is usually sought in an outfit.where one already
has a ..close relative; or alMend employed, by the firm, J i m i iarly,- relatives.are recommended first by those-who are. already employed in the company (before any other person, is
considered or favorably endorsed. ;" ..''.
.
/,
For example, F A M D data on successful small businesses' show, that "in one company "about one fourth of the
workers come from 6nly;'fwo'families..'.;"' .A factory supervisor
who was interviewed on the niatter began by saying:
, ''
(

Marami

'

tapos

a k o n g k a - p a m i l y a d i t o . M o a n g nag-start,

ndgpafokako

leader s f y a ,

Sumicnod

leader n a r i n n g a y o n . (Translation: I have many relatives


here. I was the first. Then my sister followed. She is a
group leader now. Then came my nieces and nephews
who are also, at present, group leaders.)

By her account, the total number of members at her


kin group in the factory is seven. There are approximately five
major kinship groups consisting of brothers, sisters, and cousins. There are several smaller groups that, on the average,
have about three members. As a rule, kinsmen work in different areas of production.
In agriculture, farmwork is generally transacted
among relatives. This is particularly true in the reciprocal
services called dagyaw (Bisayan, "to lend a hand"), t a g n a w a
(Ilocano, "cooperative labor"), and bayanihan
(Tagalog, "cooperative endeavor"). The most developed-form of these traditional cooperatives is the zanjeras in Ilocos, formed by families, neighbors (mostly relatives), and friends for communal
farming and fishing.
2

In all these endeavors, spouses and children who are


old enough all play active roles in the management and cultivation of the farm. Older males are usually called on to do the
tedious work, such as preparing the seedbeds, weeding, watering, and fertilizing the crops. The children take care of carabaos and watch over the seedbeds or the ripening rice fields
from birds and other animals. In the fishing villages, the
womenfolk help in mending the nets and cleaning the boats.
They also dry or smoke the unsold fish for home consumption
or for sale.
In time of economic need, an individual calls upon his
relatives first before he seeks assistance from other people.
This is done if there is no existing conflict among them. In
any. case, the reason generally given for this preference is:
"You don't lose much face should your request be turned
down; after all, they are kin. But to be rejected by other people is too painful; you lose much face because you cannot be
sure that your predicament will be kept within the family."
3

n g k a p a t i d k o ^ t i g i r i g m a n g group
a n g m g a ; p a m a n g k i n ko n a - m g a

97

:',.'

98

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

THE FAMILY

Political

Politics is also a matter of family honor and kinship


obligation. A large kinship group or angkdn with a network of
family solidarity spread across a number of communities is a
formidable political machine. A well-positioned kinsman embarrasses his family and alienates his kinship group if he does
not help his relatives get a job or obtain a business concession,
especially those who, at one time or another, helped him succeed in politics. Thus, a town mayor or even a councilor is
likely doomed to be a "one-termer" or to have difficulty in reelection bid if his relatives will campaign against him. The
moral judgment over this failure to grant favors to relatives is:
Kung ang mga kamag-anak
niya'y hindi niya matulungan,
ibang
tao pa haya7 (If he. could not even help his own relatives,
would you. expect him to help other people?)

In Occidental Mindoro, this value [i.e., family value]


means, among others, that a person, if he has political
resources, must contribute to the material and spiritual
welfare of the members of his family and advance or enhance the prestige and resources of the family. Thus, the.
political elite, who are rich in political resources, are expected to help their numerous relativesconsanguineal,
affinal, and compadrazgoget

jobs, promotions, conces-

sions,, franchises, and other things that can be obtained


from the government....

Given this prevailing emphasis on the moral basis of


family loyalty and'support over an individual's civic duties
and official capacity, it is understandable why government officials hire their relatives regardless of the latter's qualifications. With this reality in mind, our Civil Service laws thus

99

provide for "confidential" staff positions that are coterminous


with the tenure of the official concerned and do not require
civil service eligibility. For whatever reason this practice is
done, it is for the tacit purpose of accommodating relatives.
Although nepotism is roundly condemned, especially
in the bureaucracy, it is still practiced. Apparently, it is more
problematic in public offices than in private enterprises. A
closer look at the problem suggests" that it is the world ethos of
the bureaucracy that has transformed this otherwise positive
feature of familial organization into a negative legal trait of
public administration. As stated earlier, the Civil Service
rules prohibit one from hiring relatives; but the cultural expectation of the people is that "relatives should be assisted in
getting employment." Thus, what otherwise is kinship loyalty
becomes branded as nepotism, an undesirable practice in the
bureaucracy. This provokes the circumvention of the law to
accommodate kinship obligations, thereby reifying the practice as the fulfillment of the public's worse expectations: the
family as the major source of inefficiency and. bureaucratic
graft and corruption. This should not be the case. But no one
is looking dispassionately at the incongruence between the
bureaucratic rules (mostly borrowed legal precepts) and the
moral order in the culture wherein the bureaucracy operates.
In fact, some private corporations have set aside conventional regulations against employing spouses in the same
firm and have tapped conjugal partnerships among employees
for synergistic benefits in terms of more than doubly increased productivity, efficiency, and loyalty. Married couples
employed by the same corporation have been known to work
harder and perform better than usual as their perception is
that should one of them be slack, the repercussions would adversely affect both of them. Sanctions against retaining both
spouses within the firm in case two employees have opted to
marry have considerably changed. A situation such as this is
no longer looked at with disfavor and is commonly practiced.

100

THE FAMILY

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Religious

Just as all personal considerations are secondary to familial interests, so also is religion in family affairs. Religious
belief is rarely accepted on the basis of individual preference.
It is generally a shared family or kinship decision. The popular saying "The family that prays together stays together"
finds support in the family-centeredness of religious activities
in the Philippines. Church worship is an occasion for family
solidarity. Many church and religious-oriented practices, such
as the celebration of death anniversaries with a Mass attended
by all members of the family, are social events and occasions
for holding kinship and family reunion. For some time, the
practice of holding a Mass at home during anniversaries has
been abused by many people, especially the rich, and the
Church has recently discouraged the saying of Masses by
priests during these privately sponsored celebrations.
...The Filipino fiesta is a uniquely kinship-oriented affair. Rural migrants (especially domestics) to urban centers
consider their town fiestas red-letter days when they return to
show the folks at home how well they have made out in the
Big City.

Barangay fiestas (sometimes t o w n fiestas too) are


normally managed

by one of the prominent families

whose head has been chosen as the h e r m a n o m a y o r or


h e r m a n a m a y o r (big. brother or big sister) for the occasion. In the larger towns, wealthy families compete w i t h
each other for recognition as to w h i c h family is privileged to entertain the VIPs invited for the occasion.

Marriage is another salient event in the community


during which kinsmen are mobilized to ensure the success of
the festivities accompanying the rite. In the rural villages,
those who come to help bring poultry, vegetables, fuel, and
the like. Others contribute money or services. A similar col-

101

lective action is undertaken by the kinship group during the


crises of death and burial. Every relative is expected to come
or to be notified about the event.-Contributions, called a b u l o y ,
are collected from among the relatives in order to defray some
of the expenses incurred during the wake and the funeral. If
there continue to be unsettled conflicts, these are laid aside
meanwhile. Everybody assists in the activities intended to
lighten the burden of sorrow of the bereaved family. Nonobservance of these obligations can cause the spirit of the dead
to come and haunt the living.
7

'- Unresolved conflicts and responsibilities seem-to be


the common reason of,spirits for being earthbound and
for being sensed by their relatives..,, The spirits concerned roamed around the vicinities of their residences
to watch over the place and their families in the belief
that they were helping them.

It is often by virtue of this unstated concern over kinship obligations that employees insist on going home during
the death anniversaries of their departed kinsmen. Some managers cannot understand this cultural practice. Many cannot
fathom why, even if permission is denied, the employee concerned nevertheless goes home to the province to attend the
celebration. Some employees I interviewed would rather be
fired than incur the ire of the "spirits" of their deceased ancestors. The fear of supernatural curse, like gaba (among the
Bisayans) or sumpa (among the Tagalogs), often, transcends
job responsibilities.
-

Religious vows, called p a n a t a , are often "promised" to


patron saints for the personal protection not only of one person but also of the entire family. Parents may make pledges to
the Blessed Virgin or to some other saint for their children to
fulfill. For example, a story is told that when Jose RizaPs
mother nearly died while giving birth to him, she vowed that
the child Jose and herself would go on a pilgrimage to Our

102

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo should they both


survive, They kept the promise and went to the place every
year, During our fieldwork in 1975 and 1976, we encountered
informants in Laguna and Iloilo, respectively, who made similar Vows to the Virgin of Antipolo and the Sto. Nino' in Kalibo,
Aklan, Since then they have "gone on yearly pilgrimages to
these places."

. .
The more sanguine form of p a n a t a is the Lenten vows
Of mortification called p e n i t e n s i y a , It is made by adults and
children when they suffer from lingering illness or are being
visited by the "spirits" of the deceased ancestors urging them
to do the p e n i t e n s i y a , or for other similar reason. In fact, some
men and women go.to the extent of having themselves nailed
to a cross in fulfillment of their p e n i t e n s i y a vows.

Moral

For a Filipino, the family (and to a large extent, the


entire kinship group) is one of the most important organizing
and legitimizing forces of social behavior in the.community.
Its formation organizes into one solid group the otherwise unrelated kinsmen of the father and the mother, with the child
or children functioning as the link. By exacting from its members specific rights, obligations, and privileges,, the family
makes possible the legitimization of roles within it as well as
within the larger circle of the kinship group. The family: is
thus normally the. basis of local group alignment and institutional organization, with each individual at the center of.a
complex web of kinship ties and family alliances.
As a solid unit whose interests are supra individual,
the family functions as a support system for its members. A
disgraced woman can normally call upon her family and kinsmen for moral, social, and psychological support. "Illegitimate" children are accepted as equal members of the family;
this makes their social adjustment less traumatic and less, difficult than would actually happen in Western societies or
would be expected to happen i n a predominantly Roman

THE FAMILY

103

Catholic country, which does not approve pre- or extramarital


sex.
Similarly, a man who spent some time in prison does
not find it hard to readjust to society as soon as he gets out because there is an understanding and solid familial group that
provides him with a protective social milieu. By the same token, old-age institutions and orphanages, such as are commonly found in the United States, are rare in the Philippines.
As far as possible, the aged and the orphans are accommodated in the family. Not to do so is a dishonor to the entire
family.
.

The foremost proof of the family's solidarity is the


support it gives its members,, particularly in terms of f i nancial assistance. It is almost impossible for a person
to be homeless or to starve to death, for there are always parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts,
and uncles w h o willingly take in needy relatives. Material benefits are also shared; w i t h i n the nuclear family,
parents provide for their children's basic physical.needs
and, in turn, grown children give a part (or most) of their
salaries to their parents. Older children also commonly
take on the responsibility of "sponsoring" a younger sibling's higher education as part of their obligations to the
family. Similarly, well-to-do relatives w i t h i n the extended family network are expected to help their poorer
kinsmen by giving or recommending them to jobs, sending occasional gifts, giving help in emergencies, and
sharing their household at least temporarily. The latter
are usually not bound to repay the assistance or favor
given, except perhaps to perform small occasional services or household chores for the richer family members.
9

It needs to be pointed out that not all of the known


relatives emerge as a whole unit in group action in time of
need. Those with resources usually come to help; others sim-

104

THE FAMILY

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ply express sympathy; and many do not even show concern.


Such indifference though is considered socially reprehensible.
But it takes place. The late Fr. Frank Lynch, a Jesuit anthropologist, aptly described this phenomenon when he said:
"Relatives are important, but their importance is relative." .
The most important binding force that accounts for
the occasional grouping of kinsmen -into a solid unit is their
inherently and commonly recognized set of moral and. jural
rights and obligations. For example, it is expected that, ideally or if possible, relatives should support each other during
times of crises. The event of birth is one example of a crisis
during which relatives, if they are present in the neighborhood, come to offer their assistance. Sometimes, their help is
solicited by either the husband or the wife. Most of those who
usually respond are the personal kindred of the woman, their
reason being that "it is our kin whose life is in danger." This
suggests the recognition of kinship loyalty and of the moral
obligations kinsmen have to each other.
Within the neighborhood, it is the entire family, not
its individual^ members, that decides on the resolution of important matters. The interest of the family is primary to that
of the individuals composing it. It is the honor of the entire
family, and not that of the individual member alone, that is
conceived to be at stake when that'member commits a moral
mistake or runs afoul of the law.
Many of the undefined kinship statuses and roles are
resolved.in.the family. A Filipino normally sees himself firstly
as a member of his family of orientation, or if he is married,
that of procreation; and secondly as a member of the group or
of the community. This has given rise to group orientation,
which is at once objective, personalistic, and familistic. How a
person behaves towards another member of the family is determined by age, sex, structural position, and personal feelings. Sanctions against unacceptable behavior are first experienced and understood within the narrow confines of the family before these are experienced and understood in the context
of the larger society. This is also true with respect to the rewards accorded to proper behavior.

105

It is the family that provides the average Filipino with


a stable group from which he can draw resources for social,
economic, and emotional security and for support. Also, it is
within the family that a Filipino first learns the rudiments of
his cultural values, understands and clarifies the moral bases
of such values, acquires his initial orientation to group activities, and finds guidance throughout his life. Familial ties
serve as the bases of many social actions, value orientations,
and moral judgments. They form the fundamental elements of
the constitutive rules underlying Filipino worldview.
If the family and all it stands for were to be radically
altered to conform with objectivity, rationality, and organization-oriented^st-andards for the modern corporation and bureaucracy, tremendous if not insurmountable difficulty Would
arise and give the innovator(s) more frustrations and headaches. Past attempts to do just that resulted in maladjustmentin a schizophrenia, so to speak, between the outer organization man. or bureaucrat and the inner Filipino heart
and souh On the other hand, reexamining modern corporate
structures and the Western style of bureaucracy to assess their
"fit" in the sociocultural environment where they operate is
still considered an unprecedented measure. A reluctance to
innovate may spell the difference between progress and extinction. It is up to the management to take the first pioneering steps into a region as yet little explored. One writer gave
the hint long time ago: "Executives exist to make sensible exceptions to general rules."

Management must think of itself as the family-surrogate, providing support and security to employees. It
must push this idea into every corner of the organization w i t h sincerity of action that inspires and stimulates
corporate identity, pride, and commitment to
sionalism and e x c e l l e n c e .

10

profes-

106

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Notes
^ ' C O J A C International, Inc.," Study
o n M a n a g e m e n t of
Successful
S m a l l Business
i n t h e P h i l i p p i n e s ( M a n i l a : F A M D / S E R D E F ) , n.d., 105.
2

R o b e r t Y . S i y Jr., C o m m u n i t y Resource
M a n a g e m e n t : Lessons
Z a n j e r a ( Q u e z o n C i t y : U n i v e r s i t y o f the P h i l i p p i n e s Press), 45.

from the

F . L a n d a Jocano, Elements
of F i l i p i n o S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n ( M a n i l a :
F o r e i g n Service Institute, 1980).
'"'Field notes, 1987.
3

R e m i g i o E . A g p a l o , The P o l i t i c a l E l i t e a n d t h e P e o p l e ( M a n i l a : U P
College o f P u b l i c A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , 1972), 103.

Core Values: The Heart and Soul


of the Filipino

' F i e l d notes, 1986.


7

C l a u d i a M . Rosal, L i f e A f t e r D e a t h [ A Study of M e d i u m s h i p ]
C E U Research and D e v e l o p m e n t Center, 1987), 76.
s

Ibid.

J u d y C a r o l C . Sevilla, Research

(Manila:

D i b a l e mo a k o n g s a k t a n , h u w a g mo l a n g h i y a i n
(Hurt me physically if you must, but do not put me
to shame).
Tagalog Proverb

o n t h e F i l i p i n o : Review

a n d Prospects

( M e t r o M a n i l a : D e v e l o p m e n t A c a d e m y of the P h i l i p p i n e s , 1982), 114:


1 0

F - L a n d a Jocano, u n p u b l i s h e d lecture delivered before the


H o e c h s t / R o u s e l A n n u a l P h a r m a M a r k e t i n g Conference at the P h i l i p p i n e
Plaza, 7 June 1988.

D a p a t sa m g a may k a t u n g k u l a n ay m a g - a s a i
n a n g k a g a l a n g - g a l a n g (It is necessary for those w h o
occupy high positions to comport themselves w i t h
dignity).

MangTeban Cruz,
Labor leader

liy do Filipinos behave the way they do? What


makes a Filipino tick? These are some of the questions often asked in seminars and conferences.
There are many answers. But the reply most frequently given
is: Filipino values. Indeed, to understand the uniqueness of
Filipino behavior, if one notices any, is first to grasp the internal standards and rules of his culture that govern his
thoughts, feelings, and actions. These internal standards and
rules are embedded in Filipino values.. ;
All of us have values. Values are products of culture.
They are internalized as ideas and feelings in the process of
growing up and become instrinsic in our adult personalities.
As such, values serve as standards against which actions are
organized and experiences are interpreted and evaluated.

108

CORE VALUES 109

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Take the value of d a m d a m i n (feelings), for example.


Among Filipinos, it is used as the basis for cognizing, expressing, and evaluating the nature of things seen, felt, and done.
Even health and illness are diagnosed in terms of d a m d a m i n .
M a s a m a ang kanyang p a k i r a m d a m (He is not feeling well).. Or,
Mahusay
ang kanyang k a r a m d a m a n (He is in good health). Apathy is expressed in k a w a l a n g - d a m d a m i n (no feelings). Enthusiasm is masigla ang d a m d a m i n (highly spirited). Appreciation or
nonappreciation of an object, behavior, situation, or event is
noted with the'phrase sa damdam ko (my feeling or the way I
feel). Well-motivated individuals are said to be those who
have m a g a a n ang d a m d a m i n (light feeling) or are lithesome.
In other words, d a m d a m i n standardizes Filipino ways
of thinking, believing, and doing things. It is the fountainhead of all that is socially good and morally upright. That is
why Filipino evaluation of social realities is often intuitive instead of empirical. This predisposition is known as kalooban
o r n i l o l o o b . It is the emotional side of meanings and actions. It
i s kalooban that directs one to do, desire, and feel about things
in the environment. It encompasses the individual's state of
mind, will, and volition.
For example, indifference is known as k a l a m i g a n ng
loob. Cheerfulness is kalwwagan
ng loob. To give a gift is
ipagkaloob.
Reciprocal obligation (sometimes known as debt of
gratitude) is u t a n g - n a - l o o b . These references to kalooban highlight the premium Filipinos place on d a m d a m i n as value or
standard for cognizing, expressing, and evaluating things,
events, and conditions around them.
It can be said then that to understand the Filipino, it
is necessary to understand first his d a m d a m i n , to have an intuitive feel of his kalooban.
Only by looking deeply into the
emotional side of meanings and actions that one can possibly
grasp the whys in Filipino cultural behavior--from gestures
of affection when rules are obeyed to expressions of disgust
when such rules are deliberately transgressed. These predispositions are internally guarded as a code of ethics and are
not openly expressed unless extremely necessary.

" A little c a r i n a (affectionate teasing) is what cools


off

my director whenever I come late to .the set," said

one of the leading actresses'in Philippine cinema.' A n


employee assessed the main r'eason for,the strike in Electronics Company, Inc., in M985, as

"kulang

l a m b i n g (lacking in affection, attention)."

l a n g sa

Similarly,, the

reason employees of a five-star hotel, filed a complaint


against one of the supervisors, when they went on strike
in

1984, was "he does not have any regard for the d a m -

d a m i n (feelings) or d a n g a l (dignity, honor) of his k a p w a ta'o

(fellow human being)..Even in front of many people,

he'scolds','Curses^ and shouts. He thinks lowly of "small


guys! y o u see, y o u can correct mistakes and give i n structions in a nice way, <hlridi
walang-hiya.

Kaya

b a ^ (isn't it)? T a l a g a n g

pinagtulung-tulurigan namln

siyz.

(Translation: He has no feeling or sense of shame. So we


3

ganged up on h i m . ) "

-Closely associated .with values, as standards, are


norms. Norms are rules of conduct specific to situations, conditions;, and events. The two concepts are complementary:
Values are .standards for behavior; norms are rules to follow in
observing the standards. These are laid down by culture in order to attain a high,degree of conformity to what are acceptable ways, and to minimize devia-ncy from the same. That is
why people with different cultural backgrounds see, define,
and do things quite differently from each other. In the company, the managers act in ways that are sometimes incomprehensible to.the worker; the latter behave in a manner frustrating to the former. In the process, they interact but'do not communicate, even if they speak the same language arid, work in
the same place. Understanding eludes them, The reason for
their frustrations and pains is lack of proper appreciation of
each other's cultural values and norms.
When an individual's values and norms coincide with
the demands,of his external environment, then he is able to
function optimally; if they do not, he has troubles. This is true
with most laborers, who are recent rural migrants.to the city,
and with many foreign-educated managers, who have just re-

110

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

turned from abroad. The laborers, on entering the urban envi-'


ronment, find out that their skills and know-how are not adequate to meet the demands of the labor market. The managers, on returning to the country after having studied and lived
abroad, also discover that their new skills and orientations do
not "fit" the acceptable tradition-bound ways of thinking, believing, and doing things.
This incongruence between the inner man and the
outer persona results in trauma due to culture shock and even
anachronistic behavior. The Filipino workers' traditional patterns of thought, belief, and action often unconsciously but
ineluctably intrude and overwhelm Western-formulated corporate or bureaucratic rules and expectations. The converse is
also true. Western values, much idealized by managers who
have studied abroad, are often found offensive to what are locally upheld as good manners and right conduct.
The clash between two cultures in the corporation adversely affects efficiency, teamwork, and productivity. Even
company strategies are affected because the workers' values,
perceptions, expectations, and ways of working are too far out
of line with the corporate assumptions of efficiency and productivity. Misunderstanding between managers and employees often results in costly strikes. The conflict between supervisors and workers undermines teamwork and cooperation.
There are many other unfavorable consequences of culture
clash in a corporate organization.
The immediate response to this problem is: one group
has to give up its cultural orientations. This invariably means
the employees and workers. That is why most Human Resource Management training programs are addressed to the
rank and file. The managers are exempt because their orientations are said to be those of the corporations. And it is here
where the real conflict begins. The managers' lack of support
of the workers' new enthusiasm generated by the HRD training can lead to frustrations and further problems.
The managers also need a reorientation to the basics of
cultural understanding. It would be better for them to undergo the same value reorientation program' like those of the
workers so that both of them will eventually share the same

CORE VALUES 111

corporate ways of thinking, believing, feeling, and doing


things. Managers with a better understanding of the needs,
feelings, and beliefs of those they manage are generally the
ones who are able to tap and harness the energies of workers,
as well as steer them to accomplish the desired corporate
goals.
Essentially, the task of management is to minimize
conflicts, if not to eliminate them. Managers must, therefore,
take time out of their busy schedules to acquire even a modicum of understanding of the employees' values. If. they are
Filipino ma-nagers, they need to examine what dominant values they share with Filipino workers. The foreign managers
should also take time out to know the commonly shared values that their Filipino counterparts and workers uphold so
dearly in order to interact and work with them without much
conflict. If management is the art of controlled communication, then the bridge between managers and workers is knowledge and understanding of each other's cultural values and
using these values positively to attain corporate goals.
The task of the workers is to develop technical skills
and a new orientation supportive of the vision, philosophy,
and goals of the corporation. They cannot possibly continue to
uphold their rural orientations and at the same time expect to
adjust well to the demands of corporate life. They have to
compromise with urban realities. The company is the source
of their livelihood. Its survival is as much their own. The company needs their committed support as they need its committed concern for their welfare. Pdgbibigayan
(reciprocity) is the
accepted rule.
It is sometimes sad to note that, as mentioned much
earlier, some companies take good care of their machines but
neglect their people. As one laborer expressed it: "Mabuti
pa
ang m a k i n a , i n a a l a g a a n . N g u n i t k a m i n g trabahador,
hindi.
Walang pagbabahala
ang management sa a m i n . " (Translation:
The machines are better, they are taken'care of. We, the workers, are not. The management has no concern for us.) Indeed,
it is a truism. Managers often take time out to be meticulously
attentive to the care of the machines but take for granted the
welfare of the men who run them.

112

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

In response to this lack of concern, laborers would


rather resort to angry and violent actions, such as strikes and
lockouts, to express their grievances than work out peaceful
ways of resolving problems. They often perceive managers, as
"people who are hired to exploit the laborers and thus insure
corporate profits." As one laborer had said in an interview,
"Managers care for only two things: company's profit and
keeping the owners happy."
., ,
The corporation needs the laborers in order to survive.
The laborers also need the corporation in order to survive. If
both of them do not take care of each other, no one survives.
This is common-sense. And this ought also to.be the goal that
management, and labor should strive to achieve. It is only in
reciprocal protection that survival is ensured. The way to
strengtheav this interdependence is by. knowing, understanding, and using-positively the dominant and commonly
shared, cultural values Filipinos uphold as the moral base of
their actions.

Pamantayan:

Filipino Value System

CORE VALUES 113

Halaga
(Evaluative core)

Pamantayan

(Value system)

"r

Asal
(Expressive core)

Diwa
(Spiritual core)

FIGURE 7, Diagram showing the core elements


of the p a m a n t a y a n system

Halaga
represents the evaluative core of the p a m a n t a y a n system. It is used as an economic term, as in "Ang halaga
ng galunggong
(kind of fish) ay P-80.00 b a w a t k i l o (The price of
galunggong
is F-80.00 per-kilo)." It is also used to stress importance, as in "Mahalaga
ang kanyang i m i n u n g k a h i sa a k i n (What
he advised me is important)."

As stated earlier, values are standards on the basis of


which people recognize, express, and evaluate social realities
in their environment. The closest Filipino term for standard
is p a m a n t a y a n . It is. derived from the root w o r d p a n t a y , meaning "at the same level" or "in a straight-line." As s u c h , p a m a n tayan is used as the standard for recognizing, expressing, and
evaluating worth, price, importance, and significance attached
to things so that they can be valued.'

A s a l represents the expressive core of the p a m a n t a y a n


system. It is used to surface certain feelings, attitudes, and
predispositions. That is why asal is always understood as character. Its usage is limited mainly to behavior. It cannot be
used in any other way as in h a l a g a . We can say ''ang halaga ng
fountain pen (the price of the fountain pen)," but we cannot
say "ang asal ng fountain pen (the character of the fountain
pen).''

P a m a n t a y a n as a system has three main core value elements: halaga, asal, and diuoa.

D i w a is the spiritual core of the p a m a n t a y a n system. It


has to do with supernatural (i.e., psychic) forces inside or outside of a person by governing much of his/her behavior. It is
also used to refer to the essence of lifeits vitality and ardor.

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FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

In this book, we shall focus our attention on the expressive core of the Filipino p a m a n t a y a n systemthe asal.
This core consists of basic and irreducible postulates governing behavior. Traditional beliefs, norms of conduct, and unanimously held ethical and moral standards are all manifestations of asal. The kind of value we give to a behavior is dependent on what kind of asal we read from it.

The Notion of

Asal

The term asal has many meanings. Sometimes it is


used to refer to character or u g a l i . But it is more than just
u g a l i . It is at once the visible and the "feelable" aspect of behavior. It is that pervasive moral assumption that makes character part of action and action the inevitable consequence of
character.
A s a l may also be viewed as the inner model of external
behavioral realities. It is the standard for what is. at once
ideal,, virtuous, beautiful, and. true in life. A s a l is the inner
source (pinagmulan)
of the constitutive rules governing order,
coherence, continuity, and change in Filipino cultural practices and institutions. It is the metaphor for the group consciousness about "what is important" in the organization of
daily activities. A s a l expresses, the Filipino perception.of the
exemplary in the culture and as such is a moral standard
against which the surrounding environment is interpreted. It
is, the code of Filipino ethics, the charter of Filipino moral
life.
.'
To have asal is to be human and, most of all, to be F i l i pino. This means behaving according to Filipino ways, observing the proper niceties of languages, the etiquette of .gestures, the necessary rituals of speech and manner. To fail to
behave.accordingly is not to be a Filipino, but rather to be,an
alien. That is why anyone who is embarrassingly bldnt or ram-

115

bunctiously forward is being labeled "muhhang


Amerikana"
("with American face," like an American, very American).
Filipinos who do not behave like Filipinos may be dismissed
as "walang-modo"
(no manners, vulgar) or
"malang-pinaga r a l a n " (unschooled, boorish).
To have asal is to keep a covenant with cultural conventions and institutions. One acts with restraint; one manifests self-discipline. A person with strong asal is careful with
his behavior; he proceeds to carry out his intended actions on
the basis of the belief that "this is the way things are to be
done." This does not mean, however, that he blindly.and unthinkingly follows traditional ways, but instead he is being
conscious that he is part of the collectivity and therefore must
share the moral consensus of the group as to what is right or
wrong, good or bad, just or unjust, appropriate or inappropriate, and so on.
A s a l is crucial to understanding Filipino behavior in
the communal or organizational settings. This js so because
asal equips Filipinos with moral convictions to. confront their
surrounding world rationally and to act ethically. It is therefore asal that makes the environment part of the self and the
self part of the environment-of the totality of commonly
shared knowledge, ideas, and sentiments.

A n o m a n g h i r a p ay d i p a n s i n
Dusa'y lubos n a haharapin
Kapag ang pagsasamahan
Ay sa k a g a n d a h a n g - a s a l n a k a t a n l m .
[Rough translation]
Hardships are not minded
Sufferings are willingly faced
If companionship is rooted
In proper decorum.

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FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Elements of Asal

117

Kapwa

A s a l is so deeply engrained in the native culture that it is


difficult to eradicate or remove from Filipino value orientation.
Even the impact of colonization and modernization has not
affected it: it has remained constant and true. It continues to
serye as the prevailing standard that specifies local needs and
goals, especially . those governing behavior. Even those
supposedly westernized and "sophisticated". Filipinos react,
when provoked, in. the. traditional .gut level of asal sentiment
imbibed in-their tender years.
A s a l is made up of three basic elements:
kapwa
(relationship), damdamin
(feeling), and ddngal
(honor,
reputation).* These are the irreducible elements of Filipino
culture that provide the system its central theme and moral
force. Nevertheless, they serve as instigators of behavior within
the individual and as sources of regularities of action in group
transactions.
An outline of the relations among, these elements, is
found below.

pakikitungo
pakikiramay
FIGURE 8. Diagram showing the elements of a s a l

* These translations are liberal and are based on functionally identified


behavior associated with each term.

This concept refers to the perceived state of "shared


identity" and of "being equal," as in being members of: the
same organization, nation, and race or as being, peers or comrades. That is why we speak of k a p w a - t a o when talking about a
"fellow human being," Aap.wa-Filipino when referring to a
compatriot, and kapwa-manggagawa
when speaking of fellow
workers. The position(s) occupied in the organization may be
different, like being president, secretary, treasurer, and so. on.
But "being member" gives everyone the same identity and
status insofar as affiliation to the group is concerned. In these
contexts, the behavioral demand is "equal treatment" or "being just and fair to everybody."
K a p w a is used to emphasize the high premium we F i l i pinos give to relationships. We are by cultural orientation relationalists, not individualists. This means that we. place more
emphasis and bestow much importance upon igroup relations
than upon individual assertion of rights and opligations. This
does not mean that we Filipinos do hot value individual rights
and obligations, for we do. It simply means that the definition
of rights and obligations takes into consideration the external
world of "others""what other people say" or "in relation to
others." In Western societies, it is not so much emphasized.
Sometimes, the assertion of individual rights is capped with
such statements as: "To hell with what other people say! It's
my right. It's my life and I don't want anyone interfering with
it. Mind your own business."
In the Philippines, to isolate one's self from others in
asserting one's placeTn the group is palpably unthinkable in
the traditional value system. Those who do it are mainly those
who have had greater exposure to Western influences. Note
also that there is no term in the Filipino language that specifies gender, like "he" and "she" in the English language. This
usage signifies that Filipinos do not perceive themselves "as
isolated" from other members of the group. The Word ako is
generally used mainly in private conversations and among
peers. If ever used in public forums, it is uttered to emphasize
a factual point, not to separate one from the sentiments of

118

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

CORE VALUES 119

others. The terms n a m i n , n a t i n (ours), n i l a , sila (they) are normally preferred.


Psychologist Virgilio Enriquez views kapwa as "shared
identity." He points out that while in English "others" is actually in opposition to the "self and implies the recognition of
the self as a "separate identity," in the Philippines this is not
the case: "Kapwa
is a recognition of shared identity." This
unity of the "self with "others", accounts for much of the emphasis placed in equality as the basis of relationships. The
perception of status is something else. It is recognized that
some people have a higher status than others, but "they must
treat each other equally." They are all m a g k a p w a - t a o (fellow
human beings).
5

In the traditional system, resolving conflicts is not


premised on who will win and who will lose; It is not winning
that is important. It is reconciliation. That is why such questions as N a n a l o ba tayo? (Did we win?) or M a n a n a l o kaya
tayo?
(Are we going to. win?) are seldom asked. If ever raised, it is by
those who have adopted Western values. In the traditional
system, the question is: Naayos n a ba? (Was it resolved?) or
Maaayos
ba n a t i n iyan? (Can we resolve it?) Sometimes, even
protagonists are concerned about each other: " B a k a magk a s a m a a n g loob p a tayo dahil sa bagay n a i t o (We might hurt
each other's feelings about this thing)." Or cooler heads in a
quarrel often say: "Oy, baka may m a s a k t a n diyan (Somebody
might get hurt)."
Ayos means to "settle," "restore," "reconcile," "harmonize." This is the dominant theme of the culture that has been
"superseded" by the "modern," Western-modeled education,
which emphasizes the active mastery over the external world.
The concept has remained intact, although under the veneer
of formal education. The existence pf these two emotional (as
well as mental) sets is what sometimes makes Filipinos ambivalent. Outwardly, he behaves in Western ways because of
his exposure to Western ideas learned in school. However,
when confronted by critical'situations, his traditional Ways
prevail over those of the modern ones. He is Just as subjective
and personal in the boardroom as he is in the plant.

Subjectivism and personalism are among the numerous Filipino ways of handling relationships. To maintain harmony with nature is conceived as the rule of life; to have harmonious relations with fellow human beings is the accepted
code of ethics. Winning is adversarial in perspective and confrontational in procedure. It does not reconcile "hurt feelings"; instead, it widens the cleavage in relations. On the
other hand, in the ayos system, no one wins and the antagonists are not "put on the spot," so to speak, wherein one does
not lose face ox p a r a h i n d i mapahiya.
Everyone is simply made
aware that there are points of disagreement and that these differences can be removed without anyone losing face before
peers or the community.
This is what makes Filipino relational values quite different from those of the Westerners..We give much significance to interpersonal relations. Older people generally advise
the young ones to be serious about it. "Kailangan
marunong
kang makipagkapwa
sa kasamahan
(You need to get along with
your companions)." Or, "Dapat m a r u n o n g kang
makipagkapwatao (It is necessary that you know how to treat other people as
fellow human beings)." This emphasis on relationship provides sentiments for group cohesion. It is also the source of
conflicts if not properly understood.
To uphold the essence of quality in kapwa relations,
several norms or rules of conduct have to be observed. The
more dominant norms of kapwa value are p a k i k i s a m a , p a k i k i tungo, and p a k i k i r a m a y . There are several subnorms under
these major ones.
In popular usage, p a k i k i s a m a is used to refer to the desire or demand "to get along with someone." Ethically, it
means to be concerned about, to be supportive of, and to concede to public opinion. It is generally used as the rule to define reciprocal relationships in social situations.
P a k i k i t u n g o means "to act humbly, to be civil, to conduct oneself in the most appropriate way with people, to have
the proper attitude." As a norm, p a k i k i t u n g o is ego-oriented. It
governs how an individual should personally behave towards
others in specific situations; for example, towards a superior

120

CORE VALUES 121

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

in the office or the more experienced fellow worker on the


shop floor. Those who are able to relate effectively are known
as mahusay m a k i t u n g o . Those who are accommodating are also
labeled as m a d a l i n g p a k i t u n g u h a n (easy to get along with).
Some troubles in formal organizations arise because of the
transgression of this norm.
>'
The strong moral undertone of k a p w a is expressed in
the norm of p a k i k i r a m a y . The term is derived from the word
damay,' meaning "to condole, to express sympathy, to share
somebody's sorrows, or to show compassion or pity." Filipinos
are culturally compassionate people. They are easily moved by
a crisis or the suffering of other people. P a k i k i r a m a y is a norm
governing behavior in times of crisis. It is expected that during such times, one should go out of his way to condole, sympathize, or share in one's grief. Anyone who does not show
sympathy over the sufferings or difficulties of other people,
especially relatives, friends, and neighbors,'is not regarded as
"a good person."

Damdamin
The second element in the Filipino core value system
is d a m d a m i n or.emotional standard. This standard accounts
for much of the sensitivity of Filipinos in almost everything
they do or in every situation they find themselves. As a concept, it refers to the emphasis Filipinos place on feelings, or
emotions. It focuses attention on the mode and specificity of
relations. D a m d a m i n can also mean finer feelings, state of
mind, spirited disposition. Because of this concern, d a m d a m i n
underlies much of the Filipino ways of relating to all conditions', situations, and realities of things in the surrounding
world. It is, in fact, fairly accurate to say that Filipino rationality is ninety-five percent subjectivity.
:

To prevent conflicts arising from transgressions of


d a m d a m i n , there are specific rules of conduct to observe. The
dominant ones are My a, d e l i c a d e z a , a m o r p r o p i o , and a w a ,

Pliya is the most popular one. As a rule, it is used to


define how one should behave in public and in relation with
others. H i y a has often been defined as "shame, embarrassment, timidity, and shyness." These rather negative attributes
are found in h i y a . But the notion of hiya also includes politeness, bashfulness, and compassion. The most important thing
to remember is that hiya is a norm used to define social behavior, especially in face-to-face relations.
Next,to hiya are delicadeza
and a m o r p r o p i o . These are
borrowed Spanish terms that Filipinos use to define damd a m i n in highly personalized feelings* of self-esteem. Some
analysts translate delicadeza
as "refinement,"- "discrimination," "courtesy," and "integrity." .^mor p r o p i o is seen as "selflove" or "self-esteem." Both terms express not only sentiments
but, also moral .judgments, They are associated with personal
eccentricity and extreme sensitivity. Both are embodied in the
Filipino concept of mukha (face) and balat-sibuyas
(sensitive to
criticism). The "onion-skin" concept expresses well the notion
of mukha or face as a symbol of sensitivity in Filipino culture.
By all means, the "face" must be protected; in a critical situation, it must be "saved."
The third dominant norm in d a m d a m i n value is a w a . It
is crisis-oriented. It means pity, compassion, mercy, charity,
kindheartedness, and sincerity. It is expected that in, times of
crisis, a person does not need to be called in order to help. He
is expected to come of his own volition. He has to go out of his
way to condole or offer assistance. Such an act is construed as
an appropriate moral behavior since it shows loyalty, sincerity, and kindness.

Dan gal
This concept is the third element of asal. It embodil
the moral imperatives of the core value system. In popular Ufa
age, dangal refers to personal honor and dignity and famlLkLi
reputation. As a moral norm, it is used to characterized idt

120

CORE VALUES 121

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

in the office or the more experienced fellow worker on the


shop floor. Those who are able to relate effectively are known
as mahusay m a k i t u n g o . Those who are accommodating are also
labeled as m a d a l i n g p a k i t u n g u h a n (easy to get along with).
Some troubles in formal organizations arise because of the
transgression of this norm.
:

The strong moral undertone of kapwa is expressed in


the norm of p a k i k i r a m a y . The term is derived from the word
damayj meaning "to condole, to express sympathy, to share
somebody's sorrows, or to show compassion or pity." Filipinos
are culturally compassionate people. They are easily moved by
a crisis or the suffering of other people. P a k i k i r a m a y is a norm
governing behavior in times of crisis. It is expected that during such times, one should go out of his way to condole, sympathize, or share in one's grief. Anyone who does not show
sympathy over the sufferings or difficulties of other people,
especially relatives, friends, and neighbors,'is not regarded as
"a good person." ..

Damdamin
The second element in the Filipino core value system
is d a m d a m i n or. emotional standard. This standard, accounts,
for much of the sensitivity of Filipinos in almost everything
they do or in every situation they.find themselves. As a concept, it refers to the emphasis Filipinos place on feelings or
emotions. It focuses attention on the mode and specificity of
relations. D a m d a m i n can also mean finer feelings, state of
mind, spirited disposition. Because of this concern, d a m d a m i n
underlies much of the Filipino ways of relating to all conditions', situations, and realities of things in the surrounding
world. It is, in fact, fairly accurate to say that Filipino rationality is ninety-five percent subjectivity.
To prevent conflicts arising from transgressions of
d a m d a m i n , there are specific rules of conduct to observe. The
dominant ones are hiya, delicadeza,
amor propio, and a w a .

H i y a is the most popular one. As a rule, it is used to


define how one should behave in public and in relation with
others. H i y a has often been defined as "shame, embarrassment, timidity, and shyness." These rather negative attributes
are found in h i y a . But the notion of hiya also includes politeness, bashfulness, and compassion. The most important thing
to remember is that hiya is a norm used to define social behavior, especially in face-to-face relations.
Next to hiya are delicadeza
and amor propio. These are
borrowed Spanish, terms that Filipinos use to define damd a m i n in highly personalized feelings- of self-esteem.. Some
analysts translate delicadeza
as "refinement,"- "discrimination," "courtesy," and. "integrity.'Mmor propio is seen as "selflove" or "self-esteem." Both terms express not only sentiments
but. also moral judgments. They are associated with personal
eccentricity and extreme sensitivity. Both are embodied in the
Filipino concept of m u k h a (face) and balat-sibuyas
(sensitive to
criticism). The "onion-skin" concept expresses well .the notion
of m u k h a or face as a symbol of sensitivity i n Filipino culture.
By all means, the "face" must be protected; in a critical situation, it must be "saved."
The third dominant norm in d a m d a m i n value is. a w a . It
is crisis-oriented. It means pity, compassion, mercy, charity,
kindheartedness, and sincerity. It is expected that in. times of
crisis, a person does not need to be called in order to help. He
is expected to come of his own volition. He has to go out of his
way to condole or offer assistance. Such an act is construed as
an appropriate moral behavior since it shows loyalty, sincerity, and kindness.

Dan gal
This concept is the third element of asal. It embodies
the moral imperatives of the core value system. In popular usage, dangal refers to personal honor and dignity and familial
reputation. As a moral norm, it is used to characterized iden-

122

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

tity, pride, and commitment to ideas, principles, practices,


and people. As a value, it summarizes the kapwa and the damd a m i n into one integrated whole: moral and ethical mode of
perception, expectations, and action.
Supportive of dangal,
as a moral value, are several
norms. Among the dominant ones are bahala or
pagbabahala
(responsibility, concern), gdlang (respect), and
utang-na-loob
(debt of gratitude).
B a h a l a is the generic term for responsibility. As a
norm, it defines th'e moral boundaries of responsible behavior,
as in B a h a l a k a (You are responsible); I k a w ang bahala d i n i
(You are in charge here); D a p a t may pagbabahala
ang management sa manggagawa
(Management must be concerned about
the worker). The workers, in turn, ought to have p a g b a b a h a l a
over the interest of the company. Many conflicts occur when
the pagbabahala
is lost in labor-management relations.
' ' G d l a n g means "respect." It is one of the important
moral norms in interpersonal relations. It is imperative for a
Filipino to respect his own word of honor, as well as the status
and feelings of others. G a l a n g ' h used to prevent people from
losing face (para h i n d i mapahiya),
thereby avoiding conflicts.
The norm is often used as a moral injunction for undesirable
behavior involving kapwa d a m d a m i n (mutual feelings).
Uiang-na-loob
refers to "debt of gratitude." It is needoriented. It is established when interactions are sought after,
voluntarily done as in times of need or carried out in the
name ' of friendship. Utahg-na-loob
involves reciprocityexchange of gifts, services, and goodwill. That is why ft is sometimes defined as "debt of gratitude."

Value Orientation of

Asal

The dominant elements that make up a s a l k a p w a ,


d a m d a m i n , and dangalalso give rise to specific ways Filipinos orient themselves and respond to objects, persons, ideas,
events, situations, and conditions around them. It is through

CORE VALUES 123

these orientations that the motive force of asal is incorporated


into their personalities and serves as the moral basis of their
perception of the social order, the standard of priorities in
their daily activities, the guiding'belief in the legitimacy of
their institutions, and the rationale for the validity of their
practices. As such, these orientations are the very stuffs that
underlie Filipino tendencies as well as predispositions to
think, believe, feel, and act the way they do and not otherwise.

The dominant asal value orientations, labeled after the


original core-value terms, are p a g k a m a r a m d a m i n ] (emotionalism), pagkamapagkapwa
(relationalism), and p a g k a m a r a n g a l
(moralism).
P a g k a m a r a m d a m i n (emotionalism). Filipinos are,
by cultural upbringing, sensitive. Emotionalism is one of the
ways they perceive things to be good or bad. It is the standard
by which Filipinos cognize, express, and evaluate things
around them. For example, a behavior is unbecoming if it is
so straightforward. The rule is: As much as possible, one must
strive not to hurt other people's feelings. This is universal.
But Filipinos give much emphasis on this rule. Filipino rationality and objectivity are often colored and tempered by
sentimentality, an emphasis that surprises the impersonal
Westerner.
Thus, even Filipino songs are sad,'hauritingly melancholic, and deeply sentimental. This has led one writer to describe the Filipinos as "children of sorrow." The
sawing-puso
(broken-hearted by unrequited love) and the sawing-palad
(illstarred, unfortunate) are favorite themes of the Filipino
k u n d i m a n (a popular Filipino love song derived from k u n g
h i n d i manif thou shalt not). Even cinema usually dwells on
human tragedy, injustice, oppression, infidelity, and early
death.
The seeming obsession with the more somber side of
human existence has given Western psychologists the impression that Filipinos are a depressed race, too much absorbed in
tabulating their misfortunes to even get up the necessary gung
ho drive that fuels modern dynamism.

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FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

This is misreading Filipino value orientation. It is erroneous to conclude that Filipinos are not achievement-oriented simply because they enjoy singing sad songs or having a
good cry at the movies. This sentimentality is a natural outgrowth of emotionalism. While Filipinos readily shed tears,
they are also quick to burst into laughter. They even laugh
oyer their misfortunessmiling and greeting those who come
to sympathize or condole with them, cracking jokes at every
opportunity to ward off the pangs of a heartache. The balance
of sentimentality and humor accounts for much of the F i l i pino's ability to cope with stress, frustration, and tragedy.
Like his mythological bamboo, he bends pliantly with the
wind of misfortune, only to rise unscathed when the tempest
is over, to bask again in the warmth of the morning sun.
The coping abilities of Filipinos are the offshoot of
their sensibilities. That males do not suffer from the Western
strictures against overt displays of emotions should not be interpreted as a weakness. Rather, it must be viewed as freedom
from emotional repression. The act is not unmanly, it is being
truly human. It allows the Filipino to express what he feels
deep inside without fear of being stigmatized or derided as a
sissy or scorned as acting like "a hysterical female."
The Filipino tampo (sulking) is a way of expressing
emotional disappointment. Sometimes, it is part of the F i l i pino lambing (fondness, affection). It is a subtle way of showing care or concern emotionally. Actually, tampo is a way of
calling attention to a slight, a nonverbal communication pattern. Of course, tampo. can also be so emotionally charged that
it can lead to quarrels and breakup of relations.
The Filipino concern for the feelings of others is also
expressed in,"linguistic ambiguities" or p a h a g i n g . Figures of
speech are often used to emphasize certain desires, wants, orneeds. Even the Filipino yes takes on different forms. In a paper published in. 1966, we noted the tendency among our informants to dwell in ambiguities rather than take the risk of
offending or being offended. A n average Filipino will say yes
when:

CORE VALUES 125

1. he does not know;


2'. he wants to impress;
3. he is. annoyed;
4. he wants to end the conversation;
5. he half-understood the instruction or what, is being
said;
6. he is not sure of himself;
7. he thinks he knows better than the one speaking to
him.
6

As much as Filipino sensitivity brings about the tendency to avoid trouble or to "snibothen" things out, it also
triggers Filipinos to quick anger. Again and again, one reads
reports in the newspapers that two persons "shoot each other"
because, one happens to say something in a manner that the
other considers as bastos (offensive). Similarly, an innocent
glance or a "stare" longer than what is ethically allowed in
public can also be fatal. A front-page story in the M a n i l a
Times, published on 10 July 1988, reported this incident.

Fatal Stare
W h e n somebody gives y o u a mean look, it is best to
ignore it simply or look the other way. Doing so may not
prove your masculinity, but it can save your life.
Eduardo Reyes, a 20-year old student of Stanford
Street, Cubao, Q u e z o n City, w a s on his Way home w i t h
two friends on board a Marikina-bound jeepney w h e n a
man Sitting across him cast a mean look at h i m .
Reyes looked at that man straight in the eye in what
appeared to be a contest of w h o w o u l d blink first.
But w h e n Reyes got off the jeep, the man immediately followed him and, w i t h o u t saying a w o r d , ' fired at
him..
i

126

CORE VALUES 127

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE


W h e n the man missed, Reyes ran for cover and hid

him that place." You will be forced to take the last seat
and that is very shameful.

inside the comfort room of the M2 Food Rama. The gunman, however, followed and cornered him, pumped two
bullets into his body and then walked away casually.
The victim was taken to the Q u e z o n City Medical
Center where he died from gunshot wounds in the abdomen.

To appreciate Filipino p a g k a m a r a m d a m i n is to look at


it in terms of local emphasis on politenessthat insistence on
being treated equally as a whole person, irrespective of status
in the organization or in life. It is misreading the psychology
of p a g k a m a r a m d a m i n if, as is often the case, curious attention
concentrates on the extremes in Filipino behavior. P a g k a m a r a m d a m i n is negatively provoked if the concept of wholeness is
transgressed; it becomes the most powerful motivating force if
recognized and nurtured in its proper cultural context, as during the EDSA revolution in 1986.
Politeness as a cultural trait is an aspect of h i y a . Filipinos are very sensitive. The "fear" of losing face before other
people is deeply ingrained in Filipino value orientation. Traditional advice or aral enjoins the observation of proper public decorum so as not to be "shamed" or
mapahiya.

K u n g i k a w ay a n y a y a h a n

sa I s a n g k a s a l a n ,

huwag

k a n g u m u p o sa p a n g u l o n g l u k l u k a n ; b a k a may [ba p a n g
m a n y a y a h a n n a [ a l o n g m a r a n g a l p a kaysa

lyo; a t d a r a t l n g

Pagkamapagkapzua
(relationalism). The colloquialism me-personal (taking things personally) captures the essence of pagkamapagkapzua
as an element of value orientation.
It emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interaction even
in group relations. Filipinos are group-oriented in matters, of
sentiment; they are personalistic in matters of social etiquette.
This distinction is made and observed on all occasions. That
is, even if,they are part of the-group, their relationships are always maintained on a distinctly personal level.
That is why, even if there are signs in many offices
that state "NO F O L L O W - U P OF PAPERS," these notices are
seldom followed. One has to follow up one's papers, otherwise
they, may be lost or not acted upon promptly. When confronted why papers are not yet signed or acted upon, those in
charge of these documents often say: "We thought you are no
longer interested,.kasi n i h i n d i mo p i n a - f o l l o w up (because you
did not follow them up)." Even clerks like to be visited once
in a while or be asked about "how things are getting along"
when one is transacting business in that particular office.
Those who are not used to these nonformal practices are often
annoyed or frustrated. Whether "follow-up" as a practice is to
be perpetuated or not is better left to the discretion of managers. The point is that "follow-up" as perception, expectation,
and behavior is an expression of personalism in society. So
far, no'office rule (in 'public offices or private enterprises) has,
at least to this writer's knowledge, succeeded in eliminating
the practice.
'
1

a n g n a g - a n y a y a sa i y o , a t sa k a n y a . a t s a s a b t h i n sa fyq:
" I b i g a y mo r i t o a n g l u g a r , " a t m a p i p l l i t a n k a n g

[umagay

sa p a n g h u l i n g u p u a n , t a g l a y a n g m a l a k i n g k a h i h i y a n .

[Rough translation]

If you are invited to a wedding feast, do not sit at


the head table right away; there might be another guest
who has higher status than you have; and the host w h o
invited you and him might come and tell y o u : "Give to

Another distinctive way of articulating relationalism is


in the practice o i h a t i d (send-off) and sundo (welcome) of relatives and friends at the airport, pier, or any other transportation "terminal." In spite of official protests, criticisms, and
rules on public crowding in these areas, Filipinos Continue to
flock therein simply to bid "good-bye" or to greet "welcome."
Departing kin and friends are given p a b a o n (send-off gifts);

128

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

incoming ones are expected to give pasalubong


(welcome gifts)
to those who meet them at the transportation "terminals."
Sometimes, departures are characterized by too much crying,
kissing, hugging, and hand shaking; arrivals are less demonstrative and emotional.
Filipino relationalism is also expressed in lack of social inhibitions against males holding hands with other males
or against females sleeping with other females. A l l this carries
no deviant meaning as they might in Western societies. Conversations are often accompanied with affectionate slapping,
pinching, caressing, and touching. These are done to or are allowed of close friends. Foreigners are often embarrassed by
what some misinterpret as "sexual advances." To a Filipino,
this behavior has nothing malicious in it; it is a show of
friendship, of personal concern.
Even Filipino greetings are personalized. When meeting someone walking alone in the hallway, street, or any place,
the question commonly asked is: "Sino ang kasama mo (Who is
with you)?" Then this is followed by a series of detailed inquiries: "Saan k a gating?"
"Saan ha p u p u n t a ? " "Ano ang g a g a w i n mo doon?" "Gaano k a k a t a g a l doon?" " K a i l a h ' k a babalik?"
(Translation: Where did you come from? Where are you going? What will you do there? How long will you be there?
When are you coming back?) And so on. These questions are
not meant to be inquisitive or nosey. These are expressions of
personal concern over the welfare of a kin, friend, and acquaintance; These are expected Of a good and polite person.
Sometimes, Filipino relationalism is embarrassing to
those who are not acquainted with the nuances of this cultural
predisposition, On being introduced to another, the first thing
a Filipino asks is: "Where do you work?" Given the answer he
wants, the next question is: "How much salary do you receive?" While many Filipinos find this question extremely
embarrassing, nonetheless, many persons ask it with a sort of
naivete or spontaniety and without malice. Even those who
criticize this behavior are themselves guilty of committing
this same mistake.

CORE VALUES 129


, . W h i l e doing research in far-off rural villages or in
the corporate offices of. Makati, I was frequently asked
where I was w o r k i n g permanently, how much salary I received, whether or not I was married, h o w many c h i l dren did I have; and so, on. A t first, I was embarrassed
by these personal questions. However, I discovered later
that these were not meant to intrude into m y privacy
but to put me i n proper relationship so t h a t interactions
could proceed and experience'could be shared. In due
' time, I used the technique. I discovered that I could get
more data by sharing-concerns w i t h m y informant's.-!'
also learned more about the company and the internal :..:
problems of management by recounting to the e m p l o y . " ees some of my own personal experiences in life. Inter-: ,
.view thus became a pleasant exchange of life notes.
1

,
...In business as in politics,, an effective leader is one
who has a personal touch"good public relations." Fie must
have and should maintain good relationships with people
around him'.; This means remembering not only the names of
those whom he deals with but also the significant little details
about their personal lives. Problem solving and decision making are also often shaped by the kind of'relationships one has
with others. Confrontations, as in formal discussions during
grievance hearings in labor disputes, tend to create more
' problems than solve existing ones. Once an individual loses
face Inapahiya)
in the meeting, he will muster all mean's to
save it!'He will not accede to any arrangement in order, to resolve the conflict, J3y all means, he must win. That is why'litigation drag's on for'months, even years. The process also''becomes h o s t l y . ' " ''" ' . ' '' " "'
:

' .
Sohietimes smooth vehicular traffic gets' snarled because no driver will give way to another' at an intersection;
Once a driver senses that another has put one over him, he
will not budge unless the other backs off. Honking and shouting generally.' characterize the impasse. Sometimes, fistfights
ensue and traffic turns into a pandemonium. If there is no policeman in sight, traffic signals are sometimes hot followed.
Cold mechanical signals do not command respect and compliance. Filipinos want personalized services. That is why it is'
>

130

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

not uncommon to see a policeman manning the traffic beneath a properly functioning signal light.
Another example of emphasis on personalized relations is in the so-called "self-service" gasoline stations. It is
not yet (as of 1995) very popular in the Philippines. The few
that operate this way have "attendants" on han^ to help customers. In "self-service fast-food" outfits, some enterprising
owners hire waiters to carry the trays and softdrinks of customers to their respective seats. The "self-service" rule is
"overruled,", so to speak, by Filipino customers' demand for
personalized service. . . .
..
A good entrepreneur is one who is m a t u l u n g i n or helpful. Filipinos expect to be assisted or are expected to assist
customers or clients personally. Problems are easier solved by
personal appeal than by court litigation. To personally talk
things out is calledpakikipag-usap, one of the many techniques
of getting things done.'
'
As stated earlier, in temperament, Filipinos are. riot
confrontational but are instead consultative. This mode pf
communication is often disregarded by educated Filipinos, especially modern managers. Thus, teamwork is undermined
and cooperation is not fully^ achieved. Even instructions are
expected to be given in a "nice way." Complained one distraught secretary who was unnerved by the, stern voice of the
boss: " E h , w a l a namang m a w a w a l a sa p a k i , a h ! B a k i t p a isisigaw? Saaso lang g i n a g a w a i y a n , h i n d i l a ? " (Translation: E h ,
nothing is lost in saying please. Why does he. have to, shout
about it? Such is done only to dogs, isn't it?)
Consensus is generally arrived at through consultation
and persuasion. Effective mediators in grievance hearings, for
example, often approach the team leaders of the parties in-"
volved in the controversy,,talk genially to them, and persuade,
them to settle their problems amicably outside of the court. If
the leaders of both parties agree/then the conference becomesa matter of form. The Filipino term for consultation is pagsasangguni and fpr persuasion, p d g h i h i k a y a t .
" ',
Of. course, litigation of cases, in court are a common
practice. Discussions, debates, group deliberations, and cofle-

CORE VALUES 131

gial reasoning are tolerated and, to a certain extent, even accepted as a corporate practice, but nothing succeeds like a
personal approach. Even legislators lose their tempers and engage in fisticuffs. When a person is defeated in discussions, he
loses.face before his. peers.and he will do .all he can to wipe
out the affront. He hits <back in some other way than debate;
he has to "cut down that other guy to size" so as to restore.his
own ."perceived loss of face." This happens again and again in
the boardroom and on the shop floor. When the supervisor, as
group leader, veers away from a relational approach to team
building, consensus, is not generally arrived atvteamwork is
undermined and cooperation is lost.
.
,.
(

Sometimes, public debate is done for what it is:public


debate. Decision making is often something else. Consensus
(pagkakasunde)
is arrived at not because one of the debaters
won but because of p a k i k i s a m a (to get along with someone),
which operates behind-the-scenes. This is particularly true
with respect to legislative behavior. As one writer narrated:
. ,.
A legislator gets-up. to debate a measure in such
fiery tones that one w o u l d believe his position to be i m movable and irrevocable. He is immediately contradicted
by another in tones just as final and certain. A n d so the
speeches go on, in English, neither side w i l l i n g to con- .
cede an inch or even listen to the other's arguments. But . . .when a decision has to be reached, the Speaker recesses
the meeting. The legislators gather into small groups,
" '' talking softly in Tagalog or other native tongues, t o and

,,',-:
...

behold, a compromise is quickly' reached, the session is' ''


resumed, and action is taken. Thus, the legislators seem
to be operating on two levels, one w h i c h is-borrowed .- .>
, from<the W e s t and is seen as p a l a b a s , w i t h o u t serious .
meaning, and the other ancient, roundabout, .but an eff e c t i v e w a y of the ancient culture, hidden w i t h much ,
saving of face and person-to-person deals.
.
. . ,
9

Pagkamarangal
(moralism).Viewed from within the
culture, Filipinos are more moralistic than as ordinarily perceived. The changes that took place through long years of co--

132

CORE VALUES' 133

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

lonialism and. the impact of modernization have somehow colored or diluted Filipino social behavior. But underneath the
veneer of change are moral values that have remained intact
and have continued to influence Filipino lifeways. In some
cases, exogenous...elements have been incorporated into.the
value system and these look, at first glance, different from the
traditional core. The most popular normative force i n - k a r a n g a l a n ; orientation \s. utang-na-loob.It refers to reciprocal
rights and" obligations among Filipinos. It is the essence of
loyalty, of commitment, and of moral order.
, .

offices. This.shows the deep-seated characteristic of familiar


obligations as.amoral postulate of Filipino culture.
Positively used, however, familism has been found by
many corporations to be' effective in creating the internal cohesion of the'enterprise. In fact, one company recruits workers from several big families living i n the'same'region: Family
values and'norms are used to discipline errant employees and,
to, reward cooperative ones. Apparently, the company has not
suffered any major labor-management' problems^ since it
started opcrating.in this manner.
, , . , .

- ' Other k a r a n g a l a n norms governing Filipino behavior


are p a g b a b a h a l a (concern), galdng (respect),' k a t a p a t a n (loyalty), p a n a n a g u t a n (accountability),
andmalasakit-(solicitude,
commitment).. There are many. others. . Utang-na-lo'ob
is the
most popularly discussed k a r a n g a l a n norm. But the highest
Filipino moral virtue is expressed .in m a l a s a k i t . The term synthesizes the essence of all'other norms.; , : '
,.
-! .

For example, in C O J A C I N T E R N A T I O N A L , INC


p a k i u s a p and b i g a y a n [are] perceived as processes for
obtaining compliance. One factory worker confided that
w h a t she likes most in her supervisors was that " h i n d i
[kami] tinatrato n a m a s . m a b a b a s a k a n i l a
(we are not

.,

treated as inferior,tq t h e m ) . ' ' . , '

But for the present discussion, suffice it to Say that


Filipinos are keen in observing the moral undercurrent of
their actions. Negative meanings, however, have been ascribed
to these norms,-and we have-been looking at these.attributes
as though they .are the teal essence of being Filipinos. That is
why we need to eliminate the negative meanings that earlier
writers have given to-these concepts. Weneed to bring their
original positive meanings back and to make them functional
all over again.
'
For example, bahala n a has to be redefined, back to its
original-function, of providing psychological props in time of
need, of stimulating initiative, creativity, innovativeness, and
productivity. We have to put. this in its proper context if we
are to motivate the otherwise complacent Filipinos toward
peak performance.. We have to capitalize on the.-motive force
of the virtue if'we are to make, corporate management work effectively in the midst of high-tech competition;
;

The much criticized Filipino tendency to promote


family interest over institutional or community interests reposes upon the highly revered moral perception of rights,and.
obligations to the family. That is why, even if there are rules,
against nepotism, the practice persists in public and private

P a k i u s a p implies a process of negotiation as opposed to simple rule enforcement. Negotiations are also
part of a strategy mentioned by another supervisor; reciprocity is added. The result may be called b i g a y a n - (con......

'ceding.to others on;a reciprocal basis). The supervisor i l - '


; fustrated the-strategy by r e c a l l i n g a , time when produc? .-.< , -,,
tion to fill a rush order was already weeks delayed. De, spite this situation,,the production manager acceded to
the workers' request.for..postponing overtime work so
they could visit a religious grotto. Afterwards, the su-,

.'

pervisor,,in persuading workers to put in overtime work,


reminded them

that

Kung p u p u w e d e ,

siia

i'bigyan'natim

"Pinagbigyah

n a tayo

[management] n a m a n

Mag-overtime namdn k a y o

[workers].
:

sa

a n g - p a g -'
Sabado."

(Translation: They have given in to what we want. It's


our turn to give in to them. Please do overtime w o r k . o n
Saturday.)

10

.,. ,

The practices at COJAC described above may not work


in other companies. The success or failure of any management
strategy is dependent on the positive use of Filipino cultural
Values and traits in handling relationships within the corporation. In the larger society outside of the corporation, the su-

134

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

perordination of the collective interests of kinship over those


of the individual has many and far-reaching implications. Almost all community activities revolve around the family. Recognition, of individual achievement automatically becomes a
recognition of the achievement of the family-, It is the honor of
the entire family, as well as the whole kinship group or
a n g k a n , that is at stake when one member is a ne'er-do-well.
Recently, notable changes have, taken place in this area of
Filipino value orientation. Certain signs of ""anbmie" have
been noted. But on the whole, the Filipino has'still the capacity for solidarity when the situation calls for pulling together.

Part III
CORPORATE CULTURE
Corporate Culture: Inner Force of the Enterprise
Enhancing Strong Corporate Culture

Notes
'Cory R. Partido, "Intimate Things Y o u Do Not Know About Vilma
Santos, the Person," The J o u r n a l (10 July 1988): 18.
2

Personal interview, 1985.


Personal interview, 1984.

A Tagalog poem [anonymous].

Other views on the subject matter, see Virgilio: Enriquez, "Filipino


Psychology in the T h i r d World," P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l of Psychology
10, no.
1 (1977). '
6

F. Landa Jocano, "Filipino Social Structure arid Value System," in


F i l i p i n o C u l t u r a l H e r i t a g e (Manila: Philippine Women's University,
1966), 24.
'
1

: ;

O r l y P. Ortiz, "Fatal Stare," M a n i l a T i m e s , 10 July 1988,

"Quoted i n Jaime Bulatao,,"Hiya. System in Filipino Culture," in


F i l i p i n o C u l t u r a l H e r i t a g e (Manila:, Philippine Women's University,
1966), 28.
i
..
9

Bulatao, op; cit., 34-45.

1 0

F A M D / S E R D E F , op. cit., 107-108.

' ' '

Integrating Traditional Structures


into Modern Management

Corporate Culture:
Inner Force of the Enterprise

It is my belief that culture' runs through the


gamut of corporate life.... No organization stands
w i t h o u t this system of shared values and beliefs
.Weaving through and touching each and every aspect of jts corporate life.
.,.

Senen J. -Gabaldon,
Businessman, 1985

M e a n i n g , . V i s i o n , i n c l u s i o n , pride, and behavior


integration are the characteristics of a strong organizational culture. They enable organization to per. form better than w o u l d otherwise be possible.
,

.,

Ricardo Gonzales,
OD Consultant, 1987

11. these years, Filipino traditional culture has been


portrayed negatively. Filipino weaknesses have been
traced to the incursion of Filipino values into bureaucratic or corporate transactions. Some, deviant forms of
behavior are erroneously labeled as.national cultural traits.
The implications are that the Filipino must rid himself of his
inner cultural baggage^n order to keep up with this modern
world.and that no good can come out of indigenous traits.
The perspective has become a self-fulfilling prophecy
of our worst expectations of ourselves as a nation. This perspective is what we have to change. Managing corporate activities must include developing a corporate culture that is at-

138

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 139

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

tuned to Filipino culture and managing it in a manner that


harnesses the best from Filipino workers.
Attempts to suggest, in the past, the need to develop a
Filipino management style that is especially designed for our
national cultural temperament were met with some resistance.
Corporate executives and public administrators expressed
misgivings that doing so might hamper managerial effective-,
ness. Many managers share the common fear that: '>):.
... familism may be virtue iff society, but' it is a bane'in
corporate management. You cannot run an organization
as y o u run your family. The same is true with Filipino
values. You cannot run the company on

utang-na-loob

The Corporate System


A corporation is-an organization of people with diverse
backgrounds and skills who have come together for certain'
ends. It is similar'in' structure and organization to natural'
communities and tribes. That is, people are hierarchically arranged and. endowed with statuses and roles. Each.one has his
own specific functions; (although some occupy multifunctional,
statuses: Like the community, a corporation has, its own culture by the time it is organized. This, culture.is implicit in the
corporate by-laws'and office,rules-and regulations. As such, it
is legalistic in nature. Nevertheless, it is expected to serve as a,
guideline, for ..work Value and-.attitude, teamwork,'and interpersonal relations within the corporation.

. . .(debt of gratitude) a n d p a k i k i s a m a (getting along).'

This fear has to be dismissed. Field data show that


successful executives are those whb rise Filipino cultural
traits and values to rally their subordinates' cooperation, develop' their loyalties, and in the process, achieve the goals of
the corporation. As Prof. Ricardo.Gonzales noted in his study
of Filipino managers:

'
u

;,;

i ;

There is some empirical evidence indicating that Filipinos, especially among the rank and file, highly appreciate superiors w h o are approachable ( m a d a l i n g

lapitan)

and understanding ( m a u n a w a l n ) . Together, these characteristics add up to someone w h o is m a d a l i n g

The difference between the culture of natural communities and that of corporations lies in their demographic size,
membership, residence, and inheritance. The members of the
corporation do not reside in it (although there are corporate
communities, for example, i n ' m i n i n g arid in plantations);
whereas in'natural communities, the people are permanent
residents. Moreover, when members of the corporation marry,
their children do not automatically become members of the
group, except the legal heirs of the owners, and do not inherit
corporate properties. Furthermore, the corporation is: smaller
than the community or tribe. It is actually a subsystem of the
larger national social system.'
.,
;

kausapin:

one w h o is sympathetic, w h o listens to reason, and Who ,.,'' :..


2

''

is w i l l i n g t o ' cooperate.' "

'

Corporate

structure

The'complaints of many managers about the negative


effects. of Filipino traditional values on management are real
enough concerns. But they'all miss one critical'factor: the
positive use of cultural values, including familism, td
achieve corporate goals. This is a rich, fertile frontier that
hasyet to be fully explored.
'' ' ''
1

. .. The corporate stratification system is generally, based


pn its.members' academic qualifications, technical expertise,'
and employment histories. Other factors, such as kinship ties,
shareholding, patronage, and friendship, are tacit considerations. A corporation has its own social structure that serves as'

140

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 141

the "blueprint" on which the shape of the organization is


based. It establishes' and defines the different positions to be
occupied by people recruited to compose the corporation. It
also specifies the tasks, compensations, and privileges the-occupants of these positions must respectively perform, receive,
and enjoy.
. ,'
,
,.
- ,,
;

: y

By using structure-to allocate positions and to define


obligations, privileges, and responsibilities among' its members, the corporation delineates its purposes and goals on individual terms. It effectively narrows down the role each employee lays in relation to his coworkers in the total operation
of the enterprise. Individuals thus work in' concert with the
other members of the organization. Order is thereby ensured.

Secretaries are often requested to serve coffee or tea to company guests, even if they are not hired as "waitresses or waiters." But these extra roles are perceived as part of being, a'
good elerk or secretary.- .
'':
"Structure and Organization have to be complementary.
If deviation is to be made, it must be on minor things. There
must be greater congruence between status and role. OtherWise, there will be conflicts. Structure and organization serve
a common end: to provide consistency; harmony, and stability
of relationships in-the corporations*
i
;

Corporate

organization

,. Organization is perceived order: the harmony and synchronization of the, actions of the various departments in.the
corporate structure. It is concerned;with adheren.ce to corporate goals. ...
. .; , ,
......
.. . ,.;
:
Functionally, this element of organization entails; the
unification of the various modes- of thought, belief, and action
within the corporation. Such matters as decision making and
planning or course of action are therein encompassed.
A structure determines status, so organization defines
how a person performs the role that is inherent in that status
or position. For example, a person is hired, as a messenger, He
is expected to do exactly just thatto deliver 'and retrieve
messages. That is his role. He could play the role of a division
chief but he'has no status to back'it up. When this happens,
we speak of status/role incongruence.' Each member has to
play the role corresponding to the status he occupies .in'the organization. ,
Status is fixed; role can be made flexible. A clerk can
be given additional tasks, like delivering papers to or retrieving them from other divisions, even if he is not a messenger.

Corporate

culture

The third element of-the corporate system is culture.


While structure provides, statuses and, organisation defines
roles,, culture provides the sentiments, that cement .structure
and organization together. Culture also brings into the organization, its basic..philosophy and guiding beliefs...These commonly held ways of thinking and believing enable the men
and women in a corporation to work together without much
conflict and to achieve superior performance and productivity.. '.. .;'
....
,\
\
,
.,
;.. In order to grasp better and,,manage the complexities
of a corporation's human component more effectively, it is essential to gain a thorough understanding of these, three elements. Of the three, culture is the most potent as it is the
provenance of communal sentiments and beliefs. Culture can
generate the vital force for-teamwork, cooperation, communication, job.,excellence, and productivity in an organizational
Setting.,,
.;
,
;>. ? i- :

Formation of Corporate Culture


.... A corporate culture is actually a subculture, limited to
that of a formal organization. As in ail cultures, each unit in

142

FILIPINO CORPORATE CUL-TUR.fi' i

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNW FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 143

the corporate structure, has its own rules of conduct as well as


sets of tacit agreements and unmarked boundaries concerning
idiosyncratic ..behavior,'such as whom should one: call by his
first name or nickname and who should be addressed formally, who may put his feet up on the desk and who may not,
whom should one go out for lunch with and where,, and so on.
:

These subcultures are linked to the greater cultural


system by the orientation people bring into the corporation at
the-time they are recruited. The public perception of the
members of the corporation and the consumers' needs for the
product or service that the enterprise provides also help shape
these corporate cultures. For example, a restaurant is patronized because the people consider its waiters and waitresses
m a b a i t (good). "Pagpunta
mo t o o n , asikasung-asikaso
hd (If you
go there, you are well attended to)." Some shops are not patronized because the'sales persons turn customers off instead
of attracting them. As one customer said: "Ang sungit-sungit
ng
mga t i n d e r a r i y a n . B i n i b i l h a n mo n a , n a k a s i m a n g o t p a : K u n g m a g s a l i t a , akdla mo kung sino s i l a . " (Translation: The salespersons
in that store [pointing to the nearby shop] are very snooty.
You patronize their goods and yet they frown at you. By the
way they talk, you would think they are somebody.) .
\>
3

Products are also patronized because kahiyang


ng k a tazuan ko (it fits the conditions of my body). Workers stick to a
company because k a h i t mababa ang s u w e l d o , maganda
naman
ang t r a t d (even if the salary is low, the treatment [by management] is good).
"''
"
In other words, those ideas and practices that'are valued in the community environment are often, used as yardsticks' to evaluate the standing of the company in the area
where it operates. That is why, when corporate values arc,.to a
large extent, not congruent with community values, the corporate image is affected and the management of corporate activities becomes a problem. To reiterate the point we stressed earlier: Whatever community values people cherish at the time of
recruitment, they tend to continue using them in the daily activities within the company in the absence of or even in spite
of company rules. Both values have to be made congruent,
:

with the company rules given the greater emphasis. One can
be very objective without hurting feelings; a manager can be
detached and yet approachable in time of crisis; the company
can impose rigid discipline but at the same time treat the employees .with fairness and.affection as though.all of them are
one big family. It-is when corporate goals become employees'
goals that excellence in work performance is achieved; corporate ends are promoted thereby,
j
.. . . A. corporate culture is.;defined.bysets of commonly
shared ways, of thinking,..believing, and doing things in the
company, whether it is in formal or. in nonformal context. It is
the way things are done here. The formal ways are explicitly
prescribed in charters of incorporation, official policies, and
written rules and directives. The.nonformal ones are implicitly embodied in .friendship, cliques, b a r k a d a h a n (peer-group
gangs), and'other groupings that flourish from daily interactions.
'.. _.
..;:.."
Once accepted and established through' constant use,
these .ways become standards of group perceptions, and expectations. In order to, be considered worthy, of continued .employment or deserving of a reward, each employee must abide
by,the ground rules, formal.and nonformal, of corporate behavior.
''..'....;.
. . . , ' .
It is said that when an individual becomes..part of-a
group, he actually surrenders himself to it. This is affirmed-in
the- corporation.' Upon joining; the. company, an' employee
makes himself subject to constant corporate demands and
pressures to comply with explicit rules and implicit behavioral requirements. The formal, rules, for. example,- require
him to shed off many of his earlier traits in order to function
well in the job. He has to strictly manage his time: to wake up
early (i.e., if he used to wake'up late) in order to reach the office on time, to follow and-keep his business schedules, arid to
be on time during appointments. Nonfulfillment of these expectations brings about trouble, if not loss of business. Furthermore, i f he is new, the-employee has to accept certain nonformal office ways in order to cope with everyday activities,
like running occasional errands for' old-time offieemates,
helping meet deadline's;- avoiding crossing' lines with .other
;

144

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

employees, and so on. These coping mechanisms are embodied in the concept of p a k i k i t u n g o (to adapt with humility).
' In due time, the'new employee becomes socialized to
the new ways of thinking, believing, and doing thingshe becomes a corporate'man, sharing the same orientation with
other' members of the corporate group. That is, he already
thinks, feels, believes, and talks like everybody else in the corporation.
./-.'..'
One of the characteristics of culture is change. No culture remain's constant or static. Change" is the dynamic unfolding of culture. Conformity to its innovative demands, in
the process,'constitutes'culture's vital force in shaping personal and institutional behavior. This is true in natural .communities as it is in formal organizations, like business corporations. To conform and to change appear to be contradictory.
But viewedin the context of time and social setting, these two
forceslike the Chinese y i n and yangcomplement
each
other in making development or growth possible.
Although the corporate culture requires conformity to
organizational standards, it is nonetheless flexible and' responsive to change. It is the motive force in life. Change may
be radical and immediate or moderate and gradual. At whatever rate it takes place, change in corporate culture must be
actively managed in order to reinforce or modify existing patterns of behavior and insure the integration of values. Change
must be controlled so that it becomes the source of renewal of
corporate values, and commitments rather than :of conflicts
and frustrations.' In this way,, corporate culture becomes the
fountainheadof initiative, creativity, and productivity:

Functions of Corporate Culture

The shared orientation of the corporate culture is concerned with order, teamwork,-and responsibility. Order necessitates a degree of conformity to < certain standards. Man!s
needs to conform is a cultural phenomenon: a natural response to socialsanctions. Behavioral standards define the so-

145

dally approved ways of going about things for a group. Conformity may also be seen as the manifestation of man's institutional need to belongthe herd Instinct.
Discipline is concomitant with order. As a response,
discipline may be externally imposed, as in corporate rules
and regulations, or it may be inherent in the individual.
Either way, it is a strong motivator of excellence in job performance, and productivity. It facilitates teamwork and reinforces employees' identity and pride in the corporation where
they work. It instills in them the drive to achieve corporate
goals.
. :
:

Discipline Sets the standards for social behavior and


work performance. It can be prescribed by the corporation or
imposed by the employees on themselves. Self-imposed discipline is superior to an externally imposed one. For example, a
self-disciplined employee, dedicates himself more to his job
than to office, politics. A l l kinds of .rules, can be enforced on
moral codes and. ethics, but only those who have.self-discipline can resist graft and corruption in public and private offices.
In popular' usage, the word discipline implies regimentation and authoritarianism that demand conformity. It
stifles initiative and innovativeness. This impression is not
quite accurate. Initiative is greater to those who have self-discipline. Inventors and discoverers in the sciences are men of
discipline. They impose rigid discipline on their behavior in
order to bring their ideas and hunches to fruition. Those who
simply follow seldom exercise initiative or dare to innovate.
Blind following or subservient conformity is not discipline.
Discipline means setting up standards to follow, visions to
pursue, ideals to achieve, and responsibilities to uphold. One
who has discipline volunteers and, therefore, does not need to
be enjoined to initiate, create, and innovate as required by the
standards set by the corporation in particular and by society
in general. . .
:

Standards cannot be met without discipline. Right discipline is defined by responsibility. Responsibility itself, must
carry a sense of personal obligation to accomplish a delegated
task as well as possess moral courage to answer for whatever is

146

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 147

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

the outcome of an activity. Shared perceptions and expectations of responsibility facilitate teamwork. Less than this
makes it difficult for people to work as one toward a single
end. A n organization is successful only when it. succeeds in
creating esprit de corps-among its.members.
...

-For example, Plywood Incorporated [a'pseudonym]


made a turnabout by changing its management 'style
from technological to people-oriented. Profit was c o n sidered secondary. It was losing money anyway. W h e n it
closed one of its plants as a cost-reduction measure, the
workers were not dismissed. Instead, they were distributed to other offices and plants. To improve supervision,
Quality Circles were organized but on the basis of "who
wants to work w i t h w h o m . " Workers were a l l o w e d ' t o
discover problems and to offer solutions. Major projects
w e r e ' s u p p o r t e d . Recognitidn of superior performances
and other rewards were given as group rather than individual achievements. W h e r e before managers ordered,
now they coordinate. Corporate songs were written and
sang during various; festivities organized,to bring people
together. The result: positive change in the attitude of
employees took place. Production w e n t up, and quality
and standards of products improved. After a year, the
company realized a sizeable profit in spite of economic
crises that bedeviled the national economy.
4

Innovativeness is the natural human response, to the


individual's desire to constantly improve his lot. Man is neyer
contented. Just: as the taste of good food whets, the appetite for
more, so does a degree of corporate achievement stimulate the
employees' desire to further success. This does not mean selfserving individualism or one-upmanship but' giving the best
of one's abilities according to the needs of the entire corporate
body. When this expectation is transgressed, the offender is
readily cut down to size by others. If one has to move faster
than the' others, he'should cut cleanly with group expectations

rather than skillfully scheme for it. The word sipsip


ing) is used to describe the act of scheming.

(patroniz-

- A l l told, reward is the best stimulus to foster teamwork


and' innovativeness'. Whether material or psychological, the
reward should' arouse that ineffable feeling of appreciation of
the group about the worthwhileness and merit of the accomplishment^) being rewarded. Losers always try to rationalize
their'defeats by shouting "Daya (Foul)!" Unless resting on
higher moral ground, such accusation is usually ignored by
the group.. Often, protestsas during an electionare used aS
schemes to save face; or if these protesters have meritorious
proof, "to. show that the victory of the opponent is not morally
deserved."
'
< " :: ;:
:

Nature of Corporate Culture


. E a c h corporation has its own culture. The nature of
that culture depends on the corporation's goals. A manufacturing company commonly emphasizes technical skills and
product quality. A service company emphasizes interpersonal
relations'. Whatever is its line of specialization, the corporation is. greatly dependent oh its human component for.success,
The people who run it and are part of it can make or break the
enterprise.
' "' '.
'
The strength, of a corporation lies in its corporate
ethos. Strong corporate cultures exude an atmosphere of high
morale and goal integration. In a weak corporate culture,
workers do the minimum amount of work necessary simply to
get by. The atmosphere is generally restive and rent by bickering, resentment, and discontent. The paradox' is that many
highly trained managers with impressive academicand business credentials are found invariably presiding over obviously
troubled and depressed corporate environment, whereas managers who do not -have conventional business training (and
often lack^ even college degrees) are able to inculcate in their
people a strong corporate ethos.

148

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 149

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

The explanation is that the la Iter's intuitive feel for


their indigenous and traditional culture enables them to practice a managerial style that eminently suits the Filipino
worker. Managers who rely inordinately on textbook management theories are not flexible enough or are simply too out of
touch to wind the cultural mainsprings of Filipino workers
and use these to promote corporate strategies for greater, productivity. The intellectual rigidity typical, of the overly academic managers inhibits .their,sensitivity to the meanings latent in the Filipino style of communication, which is usually
carried.out in euphemism and lavish metaphors.
;

" E v e n the reward system in most weak corporate cultures has been adopted in its entirety from Western style management practices, sedulously following the Western psychological model of satisfying the individual's physiological
needs first. As noted earlier, the Filipino is first a familial
creature before he is a "rugged individualist." Family welfare
is given high priority over all other considerations. D e l i c a d e z a
(decorum; refinement in behavior) is often forgotten even by
those who are reputed to be morally upright when family interests are atstake.
In most cases, conflict arises between managers and
workers when rules governing interpersonal relations are
based purely on formal and legal norms. Effective managers
avail of the nonlegal and informal arrangements first before
resorting to the legal or formal ways of settling disputes. A
good example is the case of MCS Incorporated.

MCS Incorporated [a pseudonym] is a manufacturer


.and supplier of "snack foods." It has been doing business w i t h several groceries in Metro Manila for so many
years. One of these groceries, because of internal troubles, was not able to meet its obligations to MCS for
several months. It involved a big amount.
The legal department of the company was tasked to
collect from this supermarket. Collection letters, as well
as collectors, were sent demanding payment. Promises
were given but no payment was sent. One day, the law-

yer of the company picked up some groceries from this


delinquent supermarket.
:

''
Once in the store, he decided to inquire w h y paym e n t to his company was never made in spite"of its
promises. He sought out the owner. In the conversation,
the supermarket owner said: "This is not the way to
"treat your suki (client), is it? Sendingall those nasty and
'.threatening letters. N a k a k a h i y a k a h i t sa s a r i l i (It is
shameful even to oneself).: ,
The lawyer tacfuily asked what MCS could have
done. The owner replied: "You should n o t have sent
.. those threatening letters:" The'lawyer apologized for the r,
company and said: "If I took back those letters, h o w : ;
soon can y o u pay us?" "Give me a. month, and 1 will
send y o u my payment." True enough, the supermarket '
owner paid his bills aqd, made some more orders.
1

During the interview, the lawyer-said:'"I learned a


lesson from this incident: y o u can achieve m u c h ' i f you
first talk to'people personally prior to talking about legal'
actions, which was my mistake in the past."
5

Managers who'go by the book often become rigidly bureaucratic. When conflicts arise, they tend to throw the book
at labor. 'They opt to.go through the costly, excruciating,procedure of ventilating the case in court rather than exhausting
all possible Ways and remedies of arriving at concordance.
They hesitate to use such traditionally tested Filipino ways of
settling disputes throughpagsasangguni (consultation), p a g h i h i k a y a t (persuasion), andpagkakasundo (consensus). ,
, ,v
The flexibility of the tradition-bound and intuitive
managers has been mistaken for weakness and lack of authority. On the contrary, these managers are well in control of the
situation. Their closeness to their workers has produced am
emotional tie akin to benevolent but firm paternalism. This is
one reason why well-liked managers are often addressed as t a tang (father), mommy
(mother), manong ' (older brother),
mandng/ate
(older sister), and so on.
1

150

FILIPINO C0RR0RATE CULTURE

By no means should paternalism be interpreted as absolute authoritarianism. It is familial concern. In the Philippine context, paternalism is viewed as the moral obligation of
superiors to look into the welfare of their subordinates; to the
workers, it is the right way of relating to superiors,,Managers
are viewed by the workers as-"responsible guardians,"; overseeing the activities and works of their wards-"as. good'fathers
do with their children." The sentiment underlying.paternalism is one of reciprocal moral obligations between superiors
and subordinates.

C0RP0RATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 151

tional values in their corporate management system. Even


their products were advertised in the context of Filipino cultural values. They applied these values positively to develop
strong cultures in their system or to make their products "fit"
Filipino cultural tastes.

Foods Incorporated [a pseudonym] is one of the


turnabout companies I studied in 1986. W h e n the
owner died, his son took over. By this time, business
Was on the,decline. The new manager tpok time to talk
w i t h his people and tried to find out what w o u l d possibly by the best way, to stimulate enthusiasm and productivity. He decided to be unconventional. He called in
his section managers, plant supervisors, and market di-"
"rectors; Peers were asked to evaluate w h o were "tops"
among them and w h y .

Historically, paternalism may be traced- back to the


days of, the barangay
(ancient communities). The bond between the d a t u or chief and- the people was similar to' that of
"a father and his children." The datu was concerned'about his
people's welfare. He guarded and protected them, but at the
same time he demanded their obedience and loyalty.'A d a t u
was never an absolute ruler, neither was he a despotic leader.
His leadership was governed by moral.rules of consultation,
persuasion, and consensus. He was as compassionate as he
was a diciplinarian,. firm in,conviction and.upright,in.behavior.

..-..It was discovered that the most effective managers,;


supervisors; and marketing directors were those w h o
were able to relate to their men through known Filipino
traits, like - p a k i k i p a g - u s a p

A manager, like a d a t u , must run a tight ship. He has


to balance his modern knowledge of management with his
good understanding of the cultural values of the employees he
is managing. The continuing challenge to corporate planners,,
analysts, and managers is how to strengthen.weak corporate;
cultures and sustain-strong ones.
.
.......

(to talk with), p a g b i b i g a y (to

give concessions), p a k i k i s a m a (to go along with), u t a n g n a - i o o b (debt of gratitude), and so on. Once discovered,
these traits were used to communicate w i t h employees,
to delegate responsibilities, and to control behavior in
the company.
To

institutionalize these traits as part of the com-

pany's culture, ceremonies and rituals .were organized to


affirm, legitimize, and dramatize corporate concern for
:

Why Filipino Corporate Culture

'

its workers. These were also used as occasions to highlight corporate goals and standards.
were

Few Western-trained Filipino, business executives appreciate the tremendously important role that cultural values
and conventions play in the management of men in a corporate organization. Nevertheless, the handful of Filipino companies that managed to thrive and earn profits, during times of
economic crisis were those that .incorporated Filipino tradi-

recognized publicly

High

in appropriate

performers
ceremonies.

Sometimes, the families of those, from the provinces


were brought to Manila and billeted in hotels at
company'.s expense.

the

Company songs were composed and sung during all


. , company affairs. Legends and stories about, past achievers, particularly those w h o rose from the ranks, were
told over and over to inspire the newcomers or motivate

152

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 153

those w h o were concerned about their career development in the company. In all these occasions, the c o m pany telegraphed the message of u t a n g - n a - l o o b , p a k i k i s a m a , m a i a s a k i t , and so on, at the same time that it
emphasized the b a y a n i h a n spirit in achieving standards
and quality in company products. Slowly, a new highly
motivated environment emerged; relationships among
employees took place; and productivity increased.
6

Comparatively, there are structural similarities between "Western (especially Anglo-American), and Filipino
management systems. After all, the latter was patterned after
the former. Scientific management, management by objectives, and participatory management are bedrock principles of
contemporary Filipino management system. In terms of actual office and shop-floor practices, however, the two value
systems orient the members to different'standards of evaluating performance, interpersonal relations, and rewards.,
In the Anglo-American system, the people are encouraged to: .
1. receive, within limits, recognition for their activities;

2. be rewarded materially and be compensated for


services rendered;
3. be viewed objectively;
4. be judged in .terms of personal accomplishments,
specific activities^ pertinent to the situation; and
5; make evaluation in terms of personal gain and individual worth. " '
:

In the Philippines, the people are encouraged to:


1. receive, within limits, recognition of their activities;

2. be rewarded with goodwill, not necessarily material things;


- 3. be viewed subjectively;
4. be judged in terms of the total person of which the
activities are only a part; and
5. make evaluation in terms of group gain and supernatural rewards.
It is clear from the. outline above that the AngloAmerican and Filipino core values differ on emphasis. There
are certain areas.where they converge, but these are few and
on.very generalized terms. Educated Filipinos often take the
formal education model, oriented to Western system, as the
framework of their ways of thinking, believing, and doing
things. But this is only insofar as analytical thinking is concerned; routine'and the "taken for granted" ones continue to
reflect the core values of emotionalism, personalism, and familism. In social interaction, it is the latter that is important;
the.former maybe taken as it is.
Furthermore, .Westerners are rugged individualists
who emphasize to a great degree personal choices and decisions. They seldom censor eccentricity or idiosyncracy. The
Filipinos, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly familial in
their sentiments and priorities. Their identities as individuals
are largely determined by the statuses of their families. This
appears to contradict the point raised in the discussion on
personalism. The difference is more apparent than real.
Personalism is the person's own,sense of individuality
in relation to others. That is why person-to-person interactions are given high premium, This is particularly true with
respect to relations with people who are nonkin. It is their assessment of a behavior rather than one's own that is given importance. In other words, personalism refers to the individual's reaction(s) to a situation as might be evaluated by others. It is more on social than personal concern about rights,
duties, and privileges.
For example, when a situation involves personal interests, the Filipino official may inhibit himself from influenc-

154

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ing colleagues to decide in his favor. He imposes this on others. But when members of his family, like a son, a daughter, or
his wife, are involved, he generally puts aside his principles
and intercedes for their welfarean act that many foreigners
cannot understand. A man is judged not only by his personal
accomplishments but also by the way he protects his family.
English may be the common language of Filipinos and
Westerners, but the two communicate in' entirely different
ways. Filipinos tend to speak euphemistically or metaphorically. In their carefully courteous manners, they discuss uncomfortable matters diffusely and t'angentially. Westerners,
used to getting straight to the point, may find this roundaboutness irritating, evasive, and pointless. Filipinos are just
as likely to be put off by Western'bluntness and to find them
charmlessly curt and offensively brusque.

CORPORATE CULTURE: INNER FORCE OF THE ENTERPRISE 155

cepted as a rule with an added social component: goodwill. An


avowed interest in purely material gain is viewed distastefully
by Filipinos as mukhang-pera
("money-faced," i.e, interested
only in money). Eyen financially successful Filipinos will
coyly remonstrate that their profits are negligible. Protestations that one is "actually losing" (lugi) are usual, since to
flaunt success is to co.urt bad luck; This in not hypocrisy; by
local standards, this is proper social behavior.

Anglo-American value , "


orientation '

.
'

Filipino v a l u e
orientation

For. example, in. approaching a superiorFilipino or


Western managera subordinate exhibits the following mannerisms: scratches his head, stammers, smiles, gives put a
forced laugh, coughs, or does something else before he dares
speak. Among peers, a man may talk about different topics,
like the weather, his family, his work,'and so on before he
opens up what he purposely came for. Sometimes, linguistic
maneuverings, calledpaririig, are used to drive home a point..
All these modes are resorted to in order to avoid hurting feelings and transgressing relationships.
Comparatively, Westerners and Filipinos both strive
to move up the social and .economic ladder of success and to
be recognized for their achievements. Their systems of reward
differ however. The Westerner's reward system is based on individual merit and accomplishment, sometimes disregarding
personal idiosyncracies. In the Philippines, personal idiosyncracies can be a major drawback in getting promoted. One executive, in protesting the promotion'of an employee, said at a'
meeting: "Huzvag i y a n may b a l t i k . Mahirap
p a k i s a m a h a n ang
taong iyan. Sayang, m a g a l i n g p a n a m a n s'ana." (Translation: Not
that man. Something is wrong with him. It is difficult to get
along with him. What a pity, he is otherwise very efficient.)
}

In Western societies, money or material compensation


is considered the best motivator. In the Philippinesj this is ac-

FIGURE 9; Contrasts between Anglo-American and Filipino value '


; : -.. orientations and reward systems >

In terms of values, the Anglo-American system is


highly influenced by the findings of industrial psychologists.
These findings are often used, without question, by Filipino
corporate managers in motivating 'employees and creating
teamwork. While this "value transfer" has produced some favorable results, it has also created problems.'
'
?

' A comparison of American and Filipino perceptions


and the hierarchy of their corresponding basic needs or aspi-

156

FILIPINO CORPORATE CUL,TURB '

GORPORATE CULTURE: I#HWF<H!0E Of THE EHTERPRISE

i J i m i j i tit-

rations may be helpful in highlighting- Che uniqueness of each


system in their respective sociocultural settings,
ANGLO-AMERICAN
(Based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs)
1. Basic physiological needs ,
2. Safety and security
3. Belonging and social needs
4. Esteem and status
5. Self-actualization and fulfillment

FILIPINO
(Based on aspiration study by Vasquez de Jesus [1983])

157

isfaction of physiological needs. Material discomforts and


economic hardships are socially assuaged by the saying "Pag
m a i k l i a n g k u m o t , m a t u t o kang m a m a l u k t o t (If the blanket is short,
learn to curl up).-"
,
:

;
Sharing is the dominant theme'of Filipino aspirations:
having a happy family, one's'own house,, successful children, and
so onall express the importance'of the family and group gains.
Beneath this emphasis on social relations are deep-seated moral
obligations to satisfy the basic needs of the group. In the process,
the physiological needs are also met. Clearly, Filipinos are not
individualists; they are, instead, group-oriented.: .

Industrial
Relations

Community,
, Relations

1. Having a happy family


2. Having/owning a house and lot
3. Having educated and successful children
4. Having a good and fulfilling job
5. Being financially secure
6. Getting social recognition
7. Being liked by friends and neighbors

Both studies were done in industrial corporations. The


respondents were industrial workers. The Anglo-American
emphasis is on the individualon the satisfaction of the individual's physiological needs (i.e., hunger, thirsty comfort,
etc.). Their social needs appear to be peripheral to this value
focus. Clearly, individualism is the core value in AngloAmerican societies as it is in American corporate organizations.
,
The Filipinos emphasize group and social needs. Individual and physiological needs come second, That is why the
focus,of attention in Filipino values is on,the familyspecifically, having a happy family. To be "happy" is a general social
condition or state of being, presumably reinforced by the satisfaction of physiological needs. Material discomforts and eco-

' F I G U R E 1 0 . D i a g r a m s h o w i n g the c o n t r a s t s in the b a s i c e l e m e n t s


of s t r a t e g i e s in settling d i s p u t e s in t h e industry
and in t h e c o m m u n i t y

15 8

F.I LIP I NO CORPORATE G U UTJJiBlB I ft l 1J tf 3 1 U <; (11

While Anglo-Americans and Filipino's' share common


needs, the manner in which they arrange tl-efee hierarchically,
label them, and place significance on each need is different.
Since the prerequisite for developing effective management is
by,.understanding the people who are being managed, it is
necessary that the cultural, standards, of Filipino workers be
given greater attention than management principles evolved
out of experiences of other peoples, in other cultural settings.

The

Filipino'GEO must n o w redouble his effort at*

Enhancing Strong Corporate Culture:


Filipino Values in Management

tapping employee talents by creating an environment for


employees to be alert, to look for opportunities to do
, T h e corporate culture should inspire cooperation arid teamwork, from top to bottom, in the c o m pany. To shape such values, the chief executive has
to find these values w i t h i n himself.

things better, and to strive through each small contribution to make the economy succeed.

Vicente Paterno,
Businessman, 1985

Notes
l

; .

M a n i l a B u l l e t i n , 21 March 1988, 43.

Jose Gatchalian,
Labor educator, I 988

Ricardo Gonzales, C o r p o r a t e C u l t u r e M o d i f i c a t i o n : A G u i d e f o r M a n -

agers

If management shows concern, the employees


. reciprocate by working harder.

(Metro Manila: National Bookstore, 1987), 43.


3

F i e l d notes, 1987.

F . Landa Jocano and Nadine Teodoro, "Country ReportThe P h i l -

ippines," i n Quest

of H u m a n D y n a m i c s (Tokyo: Asian Productivity Or-

ganization, 1986), 434-73.


5

F i e l d notes, 1985.

F i e l d notes, 1987.

A.

.. "'

H . Maslow, M o t i v a t i o n a n d P e r s o n a l i t y (New York: Harper and

Row, 1954), 80-92.


8

Cf.

Unpublished report by Ms. Leonore Vasquez-de Jesus to

the

Productivity Development Center, Development Academy of the Philippines, 1983; F . Landa Jocano, " A Survey of Filipino Value Orientation,"

orging a corporate culture of superior work performance calls for,a new approach to,human resource training. Employees must be reoriented to the positive aspects of Filipino values and must be encouraged to use these
in order for them to achieve corporate goals as well as realize,
their own potentials as members of the corporate organization.
There are three elements in Filipino culture that can
be used as the guiding principles of corporate life: k a u g n a y a n
(identity), k a r a n g a l a n (pride), and k a t a p a t a n (commitment).

unpublished research paper, 1984.


9

Gonzales, op. cit., 109.


*The translation is liberal and based on the psychosocial meanings given
by informants.

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 161

These elements add up to form the vital force of cultural covenant, a kind of moral contract called m a l a s a k i t (selfless concern), the highest virtue in Filipino society.
Productive
Participation
-Commitment makes participation
a positive one, measured in terms
of. responsibility, self-djspipline
and productive work. ' '

Kaugnayan

(Identity)

-ethos:
standards, quality, and excellence of products and services

refers to- the sense of "being" a


member of the collectivity, reinforcing "self-esteem" and work activities; defines loyalty not only to one's
. job but also to the goals and ends
of the company
ethos:

collective responsibility

refers to the sense of "becoming"


a member of the group, generating loyalty, trust, and confidence. If
one is proud of his company, he
would not do anything to destroy it.
ethos:

group loyalty

refers to the sense of "belongingness"


to the group, involving the structur- >
ing of the individual status and
definitioh'of individual role
in the collectivity
;
effiosj identity with the ideals '
and goals of the company

FIGURE I I. Diagram showing the motive force underlying


corporate productivity and excellence

The first requirement in strengthening a corporate culture is to establish among the employeesmanagers and
workers alike--a strong sense of identity with the corporation.
The closest Filipino term for identity is k a u g n a y a n . Identity is
that ineffable sense of belonging, of being an integral part of
the group. If workers do not identify themselves closely with
the corporation, teamwork and cooperation are well-nigh impossible. In order for workers to identify with the goals of the
corporation, the corporation itself must convince its employees of its genuine concern for their well-being. It is this reciprocity of trust and caring that makes m a l a s a k i t a positive
force that moves those who share it to stand by one another
against all odds and thus to bayani (cooperate) until the crisis
is overcome.
The sense of identity cultivated through m a l a s a k i t generates pride in the excellence of products and services. Employees in companies who have strong identities with the corporation are proud of their company and its products. They
are proud to say that the appliances people use at home, the
beverages/liquor they drink, the ice cream they have, for dessert, the chemicals that go into so many essential consumer
goods, and the plywood they build their houses with are all
products of the company where they work.. As company workers, they are part of these- excellent products; they have contributed, even if indirectly, to the process of manufacturing
these items. They are of the conviction that management does
not work for company profit alone but for the improvement of
the employees,
This paternalistic concern can be communicated
through solicitous concern or pagbabahala
over the workers'
welfare. Ceremonies and rituals can be celebrated during spe-

162

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 163

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

cial occasions to highlight the workers' involvement in corporate activities. Achievers have to be recognized with appropriate rewards given at equally appropriate ceremonies. Gift-giving in Filipino tradition can be symbolically kept alive
through bonuses awarded partly in kind and in cash. Special
occasions have to be instituted to allow the employees' families to visit the plants or offices and thereby to appreciate the
place where the employees work. These visits will also enhance proper understanding of the kind of job the family
member is doing.
In addition, interdivision or interdepartment competitions in sports and in the performing arts have to-be encouraged and supported as outlets for creative talents and as venues for sharpening the competitive skills of the employees.
'Such activities, moreover, can help develop the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie in the company.
There are other ways of strengthening employees'
identity with the corporation. Some companies provide uniforms, pendants, pins, and other ornaments to articulate the
sentiment of identity in actual behavior. Company songs and
slogans are also composed to establish an emotional link with
the corporation. Properly communicated, all these activities
can help employees not only to develop a strongidentity with
the company but also to foster a sense of pride in it: its management, personnel, products, and services.

services, cdang-alctng
sa kompanya
(for the sake of the company).
Similarly, supervisors who cherish a strong identity
with and pride in the company do not do things that would
tarnish the image of that mutuality that is held in high esteem: management-labor relations. They endeavor to preserve
the harmony by not correcting the workers openly, embarrassingly, and rudely. Criticism is done in private and in the form
of instruction or explanation rather than angry reprimand.
Corporate' reputation and pride is Strengthened by
technological innovation and the maintenance of high standards for the quality of products and services. Such standards
are zealously guarded. It should be recognized by managers
that when the workers are proud of the company and its products:, they would be motivated further to perform better. This
includes being proud of their manager. A collective pride
boosts corporate morale and develops a strong corporate
ethos. The employees' sense of being a significant part of the
collectivity as well as their own individual fulfillment in their
work encourages them to be protective of all that the company
stands Tor. They would not deliberately set out to destroy a
part of themselves.

Katapatan
Karangalan

(Pride)

A worker who strives for professionalism and excellence in his work will never lack a healthy spirit of pride. A
man's pride in his work and in his position in the company
stimulates him to do his best. He may be a rank-and-file employee; nevertheless, he knows the value of his work and of his
worth as an individual to the corporation. He does not feel demeaned or demoralized by the tasks he is called on to perform, even if his supervisors criticize him. Criticism is understood as "constructive" attempts to improve the product or the

(Commitment)

This sense of oneness and faith in the corporation is


transformed into that moral aspect of malasakit)
which may be
translated as "feeling the pain of troubles together," "sharing
the burden of hardships together," and "empathizing with
each other at all times."
K a t a p a t a n recognizes the hard realities of striving for
excellence while confidently asserting that "tough times never
last but tough people do"if they all pull together as one.
The covenant of k a t a p a t a n between the corporation and its
employees serves as the inner impetus for teamwork, discipline, and responsibility. The mutuality of responsiveness and
responsibility between management and. labor enables the

164

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

business enterprise to survive and even to thrive during times


of national, economic, or political crises.
An individual's k a t a p a t a n carries with it a sense of personalized accountabilitypananagutan. The impersonality of
Western management styles has weakened this sense of accountability in many Filipino employees. The impersonal approach removes the "sentiment of p a n a n a g u t a n to the job." It
also gives rise to lack of concern about what other coworkers
have already done. The usual reply given for this lack of cooperation is "Hindi ko g a w a i n iyan (That is not my job)." Negligence and irresponsibility are blamed on others by saying:
"Akala ko g a w a i n mo i y a n , kaya h i n d i ko g i n a l a w (I thought it
was your responsibility, that is why I did not touch it)."
The employee's wholehearted involvement and belief
in what he is doing mean that he will give his personal best.
Work is not done.grudgingly. Efforts are not kept to the barest
minimum necessary just to get by. Filipinos are hardworking
people. The value of diligence or industriousness has always
been extolled as a virtue that leads to success.
The question often asked about Filipino workers is:
"Why is it that when Filipinos are working abroad, they are
very efficient, but when they come back, they become lazy?"
This is not quite accurate. It has also been said of other nationals, even Westerners who would rather live on welfare
than look for jobs. In any case, if some Filipinos behave that
way, it is because they are very flexible culturally. They can
easily adapt to the demands of their environment, here or
abroad. In a foreign environment where he' is left to fend for
himself, his precarious existence and survival are dependent
on his having to work hard and to follow the rules. Back in the
Philippines, he has his kin group to lean upon, and often he is
not competitively threatened.
In addition, his perception and expectation of relationships and those of his manager do not match. Management is
often unconcerned with working conditions, efficiency, consistency, and human relations. Rules are not uniformly ap-

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 165

plied to all, favoritism is rampant, and managers are arrogant.


This is particularly true in public offices. The practice has
created an office environment where rewards can be earned
not by hard work but by privileges. That is why, when a hardworking Filipino reenters this environment, he has to readapt
to it if he wants to survive. He has to use the mechanism for
coping with the pressures of the, business or bureaucratic environment. But in offices where efficiency and good human,
relations are the standards, the complaint that "when Filipinos come home from abroad, they become incompetent" does
not apply.
Kasipagan
(industriousness), in community settings, is
one of the major elements of the Filipino ideal trait that make
up the aspirational outlook of most people. The so-called n i n gas cogon is a function of inconsistency in management style
and not of cultural trait. Managers of farming cooperatives
who insist on calling for meetings when farmers are busy in
the fields are not likely to get support. Initial interest will be
there but as soon as organization demands conflict with domestic concerns, the latter prevails. Slowly, the cooperative
spirit wanes away, the project dies a natural death, If managers are bureaucratic, regulatory, and arrogant, they cannot
sustain enthusiasm among the workers. To rationalize failure,
they throw their hands up and blame the workers by invoking
ningas
cogon.
But in organizations where management of activities is.
consistent with the expectations of the members, ningas
cogon.
does not operate. Take for example the Rotary, Jaycees, Lions,
and similar business clubs. Members diligently attend meetings almost every week. They support projects from beginning
to end. Why? Because attending meetings is one way of building connections for business ends. These are occasions where
one meets fellow businessmen. Project support is also one way
of promoting business ends. Office time is not in conflict with
the activities of the organization. Corporate management encourages memberships to these organizations for business
purposes. Hence, ningas cogon is not applicable.

166

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE

The New Leadership: Management by Culture

167

to make it a reality," argued John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene in their book R e i n v e n t i n g the Corporation
(1985).
A close look at the records of Filipino leaders who are
successful shows that they are no\exceptionally gifted to begin w'iththey simply have the willingness and patience to invest time and effort in learning not only about business but
also about people. They are exemplary practitioners of
m a l a s a k i t . In due time, they develop the sensitivity, creativity,
and competence to grasp, analyze, and solve problemsto
gain insights that can turn difficulties into advantages. They
acquire heightened perceptions of societal demands, needs,
and expectations and are thus able to steer the company in the
right direction.
4

Corporate success depends on the managerial skills of


the corporate leadership. Managers who serve mainly as office
executives are more of liabilities than assets to the company.
These are managers who go by the textbooks, who are bureaucratic, and who are status quo-oriented. These are managers
who ate "paper pushers" rather than "people pushers," who
regulate rather than promote ideas. They are interested more
in administrative power than in "people power." Such managers are likely to bring the corporation down the drain rather
than guide it through waters and into safer business shores.
Managers must be leaders. Managerial leadership demands managers Who have gravitas, a charismatic presence
that inspires faith and elicits goodwill. As one H R D practitioner put it, "the need is for managers who can make their
presence felt, influence the environment, inspire teamwork
among peers, and motivate subordinates to strive for professionalism and excellence."
1

Managerial charisma is an acquired personal attribute.


It is learned and developed through experience. Managerial
leadership is its consequence. Everyone has the gift to lead
and can become a leader. Some succeed in transforming this
potential into reality simply because they are willing to take
the trouble and devote some time to patiently learn how to
lead. Others do not shine because they are not willing to. give
that extra plus that spells the difference between excellence
and mediocrity. They are reluctant to change the status quo "or
are content to be mere followers. That is why there are few
good corporate leaders.
Peter Drucker, the management pundit, recognized
the ineffectivity of relying solely on academic Western theories by his very remark: "The more management can use the
tradition, values, and beliefs of a society, the more it will accomplish," Or as Douglas McGregor remarked long ago:
"Only if the manager is, in addition, explicit about the role he
is adopting can subordinates learn to respond appropriately."
It is because "when people have a vision, they are motivated
2

Many insights into effective managerial leadership are


derived from a thorough understanding of and respect for the
cultural context of behaviors and events. They can better assess and predict consumer needs and social demands of the
purchasing public. Having an understanding of the nuances
of these elements in the environment enables the manager to
find solutions to problems before others do and to exploit
ideas and opportunities before a competitor can even think
about them.
Effective managers are those Who manage not only by
objectives but by culture. M A N A G E M E N T BY C U L T U R E is
the key to managerial leadership and sustained corporate
growth in a rapidly changing business environment. This is
particularly important in the cross-cultural setting of multinational corporations. The determining factor in accomplishing this task is the willingness of managers to learn the nuances of the corporation's cultural milieu in order to discern
the commonly- shared views among the workers, which they
can use to lead, motivate, and inspire. If they are Filipinos, it
means returning to and using positively Filipino cultural values and practices, selectively if they wish. After all, as Lee Iacocca, President of Chrysler, declared: "Management is nothing more than motivating other people." Motivating in the
context of Filipino cultural values is the best way to enhance,
strengthen, rejuvenate, or even reinvent the corporation.
5

168

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Traditional Filipino values are not incompatible with


modern management. They are reinforcive mechanisms that
strengthen managerial roles in the corporate organization. To
enhance the growth of a strong corporate culture, there must
be a strategic matching of corporate values with those of the
national society where the company operates. Programs dealing with human resource training should focus not only on
technical skills development but also on the development of
the latent spirit of the workers. The managers, along with the
rank and file, must be sensitive to the human side of the enterprise: to the relationships among and feelings of the personnel of the entire corporate organization. Both management
and labor must share and subscribe to similar value orientations. If they do not share similar values, they tend to perceive
corporate needs, ideals, and goals differently. They may not
be inspired or motivated to work hard and to perform well. In
this case, teamwork cannot take place nor can cooperation be
enhanced among the workers.
Training programs must, therefore, be organized to accentuate the three most dominant core value elements that
would enable management to strengthen corporate culture.
.
Paternalism. Critics are one in denouncing paternalism as a counterproductive type of leadership. Many of
them argue that paternalism stifles independence and creativity.. They suggest in its stead participatory or collective decision making. The experiences of successful, companies in the
Philippines prove, however, that paternalism or even authoritarianism does not have the force of coercion or repression,
.generally associated with the terms.
In practice, these are consensual and consultative.
True, there is a degree of centralized authority, but this is
unanimously accepted as the "right of corporate leaders and
owners." There is group participation by consensus, but the
final decision is left to the corporate authority. The leaders
are expected to listen to whatever is suggested by the rank and
file. They are expected to make well-studied opinions and
give fair judgments.

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 169

This is exactly what the presidents of Appliance Incorparated and Chemicals Incorporated do. Both men are very
authoritarian and paternalistic. They are very strict when it
comes to company rules and regulations. However, they are
"very, approachable in time of need." They require their managers to frequent the plants, laboratories, and officesa practice that both of them do. They listen to all kinds of complaints and attend almost all social affairs of the workers.
They even require managers and supervisors to-eat with the
workers.in the canteen. They.are unforgiving to those who are
disobedient as they are quick to reward those who are cooperative. But decisions are always derived from empirical evidence, either actually observed.by them or provided by the
collective judgment of the workers themselves. .
.
6

. ,.; Paternalism, in local concept, is a reciprocal relation-:


ship. Employees in-successful companies view it as "the right
of.relating" with, superiors; and the executives consider it as
the "moral obligation" - of managers to. their, subordinates.
That is why-paternalism.is upheld as an important part ofthe
culture. "When there are occasional instances, of open.or deliberate disregard and abuse of this relationship, these acts are
generally dealt with. immediately and corrected decisively.
When coercive methods are resorted to by managers, these are
meant.to enforce corporate discipline as well as to emphasize
the need to observe reciprocal loyalties between superiors and
subordinates. Erring employees are dealt with justly; on the
other hand, model performers are rewarded accordingly.
The top executives act like "responsible guardians"
overseeing the activities and welfare of their "wards." They
are very strict and principled disciplinarians, but at the same
time they are, benevolent and compassionate patriarchs who
treat their subordinates with respect and fairness. They expect
their employees to be optimistic performers as, fathers expect
their children to strive for excellence.
Paternalism may be best translated as p a g b a b a h a l a or
concern. It is also p a n a n a g u t a n or responsibility. Workers view
management as a "form of paternal obligation." It is not only
a duty to oversee actual work but also a concern' for the well-

170

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 171

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

being of the workers and their families. A manager who simply manages the job but is unconcerned about the welfare of
the workers is not likely to go far. For example, one of the reasons for low morale in Company X and ultimately the declaration of a costly strike was "unfair labor practices." On closer
scrutiny, the phrase "unfair labor practices" was a legal one,
used to suit the language of labor law. Actually,'the workers
went on strike because of accumulated discontent that arose
from interpersonal conflicts. '
As one worker said, "Hindi na n a m i n m a t i i s . K a u n t i n g
p a g k a k a m a l i , sisigawan
k a k a h i t sa harap ng t a o . M a h u l i k a ng
k a u n t i , z'Je-deduct kaagad sa suzoeldo mo. N g u n i t p a g l u m a m p a s k a
i a o r a s d a h i l tindtapos mo ang t r a b a h o , h i n d i n a m a n binibilang
ang
overtime. May p a n g a n g a i l a n g a h ang p a m i l y a m o , h i n d i k a man
lamdng t u l u n g a n n g kompanya."
(Translation: We cannot tolerate it anymore. For simple mistakes, you are shouted at in
front of others. If you are a little late, an amount is deducted
immediately from your salary. But if you exceed the hours because you want to finish the job, you are not paid overtime.
Your family has needs, the company does not help.)
Another Worker said, "Mayayabang
ang mga managers
n a m i n . M a l u l u p i t . P a r a n g w a l a n g - d a m d a m i n g tao.
Namum.unye.ta
sa harap ng m a r a m i . " (Translation: Our managers are arrogant.
They are very strict. They behave as though without any normal feelings. They curse you in front of many'pedple.)
7

The resulting animosity, cited above, comes not from


the big problems but from small interpersonal relations. The
cases mentioned were culled from interviews with workers in
a manufacturing company where compensation was very high
and work facilities were more than adequate. But the quality
of interpersonal relationship between labor and management
Was poor. In time, it undermined teamwork .and cooperation
among the workers. Managerial leadership weakened and the
environment became conducive to labor strikes.
When top executives view employees as their "wards"
rather than paid laborers, management and labor reinforce
each other. Management concerns or m a l a s a k i t over the workers and their families are reciprocated with loyalties to the

company. The utang-na-loob


concept -is d<ept alive and positively functional. As noted, successful.companies have not experienced long-drawn and expensive.strikes because'management-made good and positive use, of Filipino cultural values:
Problems are immediately resolved. Collective bargaining is
rarely resorted to since recommendations,'designed to improve the welfare of the workers, are immediately acted upon.
Labor unions work as though they are company unions. The
prevailing industrial peace in successful companies is one of
the secrets of their success.
Personalism. As'-stated earlier, the closest Filipino
term for personalism is p a k i k i p a g k a p w a (treating a person as a
fellow human being). It refers to standards of relationship
that ought to exist between two interacting individuals or
groups of individuals. It is likewise entwined with d a m d a m i n
(feelings) and dangal (moral) standards such that a relationship problem automatically becomes an emotional and moral
issue.
1

To most Filipinos, a face-to-face relationship is important. Many Filipino ways that Westerners find uncomfortable--like males holding hands while they are walking or females' sleeping togetherare actually simple manifestations
of strong 'cultural emphasis on relationship and not of any deviant or psychological tendencies. Sometimes the feeling to relate is expressed either in bending over backward in order to
please one's friends and loved ones or in an unforgiving h a tred characterized by vendetta. Under normal conditions, personalism may be viewed as a desire to-be counted,, to be part
of the collectivity. It is a need to be needed.
Critics say that the demand for personalismlike following up papersabets and institutionalizes inefficiency:
This may be true. But the demand can be transformed into a
positive value, as done in successful companies, by providing
prompt and efficient services. Every customer is attended to
personally by the clerks. Service is personalized. In management, the worker's needs and those of his family are made
part of corporate concern. That is why most industrial leaders
and successful management executives put their personal

172

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 173

stamp on the vital operations and incorporate it as part of


management principles. Even if communications are transmitted through channels, like sending a memorandum, the individual concerned is either approached privately beforehand
or called to. the office of the manager-and tactfully informed
to expect a memorandum.
While erring personnel are reprimanded, at the same
time achievers are individually rewarded. The reward is made
public. Appropriate ceremonies are held and the-accomplishments of the honorees are extolled. The workers'.competitive
spirit and enthusiasm are thus fired up, the corporation's concern for them is positively and concretely projected. Personalism is ritualized, legitimized, and institutionalized as an im?
portant part of the corporation's policy in dealing with the
feelings, dignity, and career development of its employees.
Familism.-^ As has been repeatedly stated, Filipino
social organization, in general, is family-oriented.-Despite
personalism, which permeates all types of relationship^, F i l i pino personalism is not egocentric; it is familycentrm This is
what makes it different from the Western concept of personalism. To a Filipino, the family is the most impprtant social
unit in the. community. It is the basic building block of the
national society. Major decisions, even when these concern individuals, usually involve the family. Every one wants to, give
his ten-centavo worth of advice. The interests,and.honor of
the family are at stake when blunders are committed, or upheld when successes are achieved.
:

Many successful companies have enabled -the -principles of the Filipino family in'their management styles. The
members of the, .corporate board are generally family members
or very intimate friends. They are elected from among the
shareholders 'who are usually relatives or friends of the top
management people.. When employees are retired, their,re
placements are recruited from their respective'families. This
practice places the responsibility on families to look,after
their recommendee because "a misdemeanor in the corporation dishonors the family and deprives the family of their major source of. livelihood."
...
- - .',
,-.
T

In addition, kinship-loyalties are encouraged and the


hiring of relatives, especially .for-sensitive, positions, is not
considered- nepotism. Rather; it.is accepted aspart of management's prerogative and not usually a cause for rancor, since
Filipinos believe that-abilities' run in the family. That one
should., truis't and rely on one's relative first is a'given.-Management--though has the responsibility to choose only those-truly
capable, and deserving family members.. Those chosen have
the burden of living up,to family expectations, In the process,
kinship loyalties are transformed into corporate loyalties.
As one factory worker wishfully put it: "If only our supervisor took the time- and the trouble to listen to us in the
plant. But apparently he takes his job literally: he gives orders
and we follow. That isIt.'Th'e're-'is' ho' real communication."
An office employee echoed the same sentiments saying, "If only managers have time to go around and see for
themselves what is happening'around them rather that keep
to their-ivory towers, they-would have better perspectives and
Understanding of the'problems than they have now.'They
Would realize what is going on and act before these seemingly
little things get out-of hand." How many millions of workers
must they speak for?

.:<

A Reminder
, .By now, we have covered so much ground,in,our discussion. Before, we proceed further, let me-reiterate the caution stated earlier: the positive use,of traditional values.and
practices in .management must be .selective,, controlled, and
monitored. This is suggested because of.the prevailing negative meanings or connotations given to these values' and practices. Efforts toward enhancing corporate culture, are wasted if
behavior continued' to be defined and carried out "negatively. '
For example, the use of familism as a management
principle does not mean filling up the corporation with relatives. Rather, .it means creating a strong and loyal "family
spirit" that makes-possible the resolution of problems without

174

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

losing face before one's peers, Similarly, the use of personalism must be addressed to the creation of personalized concerns for the welfare of the employees and customers through
prompt and quality services. Personalized concerns are intense in the family but not abusive nor abused. Strict parents
are disciplinarian but are not disliked because discipline is
personalized and is understood and accepted by all as such.
Indeed, there is no better substitute to Management
by Culture in enhancing harmony, unity, and cooperation in
the company!

Communicating the Traditional Way


Effective managers are those who have the time to listen, the willingness to see, and the gravitas to be seen and. felt
in the corporate environment. Doing this does not need scientific management techniques nor require a modern psychologicalapproach to leadership but only solid common sense
and better understanding of the basic and shared norms people have accepted as fundamental guides to personal and interpersonal behavior. The following are the traditional ways
that Filipinos use in communicating and arriving at decisions
for the group.
Pagsasangguni
(consultation). By enabling every
person involved to participate in the discussion of the problem under consideration, the manager-leader establishes an
intuitive feel of the situation. Most Filipinos enjoy this
method of group discussion and expect to be consulted if they
feel they are part of the group and are knowledgeable about
the subject matter. This trait is similar to ethos in Western
psychology. Its essence rests on the ability to appeal to sources
rather than to messages.
P a g h i h i k a y a t (persuasion). Filipinos expect to be
shown how and to be convinced why certain things ought to

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 175

be done in one way and not the other. In this context, the ability of a manager to lead is dependent upon his skill in creating appropriate feelings by appealing to the values, emotions,
and conscience of others. That is why bahala or responsibility
is a powerful norm when used positively because it creates a
feeling of trust and confidence. When someone says: " B a h a l a
k a r i y a n (Be responsible there)" or "Ikaw ang bahala d i n i (Be
responsible here)," he means he is giving his full trust on the
person being addressed. Both statements sum up the principle
of delegation in modern management: "Do what is fit." P a g h i h i k a y a t is similar to pathos in Western psychology.
Pagkakasundo
(consensus). Literally, the term
means "to agree, to abide, to accept, to go along with"; hence,
consent or agreement. In this context, one abides by the judgment of the group because it is what everybody accepts as
logical and better than other alternatives available. This is
similar to logos in Western psychology.
Contemporary management practices give the least
importance to the cultural variables in human* relations.
Whenever there is a budgetary reduction, it is the appropriation for human resource training that is cut. The focus of
most in-house training programs and public seminars has always been on technological skills. Without doubt, the improvement of technical skills is necessary. Modern idea-s in
management do broaden the business perspectives of managers and supervisors, but when these exogenous ideas are not
put in the proper cultural context, they cause more problems
than they actually solve. Since business transactions are similar throughout the world, Western methods and techniques
are effective in managing the financial and technological resources of the company. When used to manage the human resources of the enterprise, however, the Western management
style is unsuitable for the traditional, motivational, and communication needs of Filipino workers. The incorporation of
Filipino cultural values in managing the human resource of
the company is precisely, what is needed in the contemporary
management system in the Philippines. It is by managing
technology through people and people through their culture

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 177

FIGURE 12. Diagram showing the stops


of effective communication system

that basic skills are easily learned and transformed into excellent performances thereby increasing efficiency, professionalism, and productivity. The process in communication is illustrated in the accompanying diagram on page 176.

Pagkakaunawaan
"understanding"

Motivational Impact

(Pagkakasundd\
"consensus"

This is the third step in the' '


Filipino communication
system..It summarizes into
.one co|lective position what
has been agreed upon' by '
the actors. "
'
J i i )

Paghihikayat
persuasion"

This is the'second step in the


Filipino communication system.
It is addressed more to feelings
by appeaji.ng to commonly
shared values, emotions, and
conscience.
.......

This'is the first step in the "


Filipino communication system,
It answers the need of ..-. .,
personalized relations. It is a
ritual of interactions through. which everyone participates in
decision making. "

The impact of communicating in the cultural way


upon motivating and modifying the work attitudes and values
of employees cannot be overemphasized. It has its limitations,
but, on the whole, it can provide modern management with a
fertile field in which it can grow and become strong. Interpersonal relations' are less susceptible to conflict because these
are defihed'.in the context of. commonly shared ways of doing,
believing, and .thinking. Harmonious relations provide the
avenue for reciprocal appreciation of each other's shortcomings, thereby nurturing simple interactions into dynamic
-teamwork. Using traditional ways of communicating corporate visions and management principles to employees further
brings about better understanding; in turn, understanding develops greater trust and .confidence.
The psychology of confidenceknown as
tiwalaprovides strong lihks'between managers and workers. T i w a l a is
also defined as "belief." This is the fundamental element of
managerial leadership. The manager-leader must instill this
sentiment in his followers if he expects them to look up to his
leadership. Remember, too, that leadership is as much a function of followership. Being respected rather than feared is the
better side of managerial leadership.
1

As a rule, t i w a l a invigorates anyone who possesses it.


T i w a l a intensifies awareness of one's role in the organization,
and elevates one's eagerness to the higher level of enthusiasm
or sigla. The latter, in turn, generates lithesomeness of spirit,
clarity of mind, and breadth of vision. That is why highly motivated individuals are called masigasig sa trabaho (industrious). Industriousness, creativity, and innovativeness are ele-

ENHANCING STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE 179


FIGURE 13. Diagram showing the basic elements In FII|plno culture
and their impact on work attitudes and performance

Kagalingan
peak performance;
excellence

capability,
industriousness, daring. ,
It brings about k a s i k a p a n
or initiative, k a h u s a y a n
or expertness.

enthusiasm, high spirits. It


brings about k a g a a n a n n g
d a m d a m i n or lithesomeness of
feelings, k a t i w a s a y a n n g p a g i i s i p or clearness of mind, and
k a l a w a k a n n g p a n a n a w or
openness of vision.

positive outlook, belief, faith,


confidence. It brings about
k a t a p a t a n g - l o o b or persistence,
k a t i b a y a n g - l o o b or inner
strength, and k a l a k a s a n g - l o o b
or willpower.

Workers/
Individuals

merits o i s i g l a . They also constitute the rationality of sustained


peak performance, known as kaya (capability).
The psychology of t i w a l a , sigla, and kaya is what makes
Filipino achievers move. Achievers, in the traditional system,
are said to possess these elements of Filipino traditional cultural orientation. These inner forces are what transform complacency into enthusiasm and ordinary individuals into active
and excellent performers. Functionally, these three elements
of Filipino cultural orientation are not in conflict with the
principles of modern industrial psychology. In fact, they can
be elevated to a higher plane of corporate values and used to
enrich corporate management and leadership systems.
This process is illustrated in the accompanying diagram on page 178.
.

Summing Up
Indeed, if the company is to survive and prosper, it has
to match its business strategy with a strong program of value
reorientation that will enhance its corporate culture, substantiate its technological competence with strong corporate values that can serve as the basis of moral consensus in.decision
making and allow "the workers to realize their potentials as
members of the corporate group. As one worker said, " B a s t a ' t
sama-sama,
kayang-kaya
(If we are together, we can make it)."
This is bolstered by an old proverb that goes: "Ang k a h i n a a n ng
isang hiblang abaka ay siyang lakas k u n g nagkakaisa
(The weakness of an abaca strand is the source of strength if put together)."
In other words, we can use the techniques of modern,
Western management to remain Filipino in heart and soul, to
root our corporate structures in traditional grounds, and to
strengthen our basic values as a people. The key to our progress lies in our ability to rise to a higher place of develop-

180

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE"-'

ment without losing or sullying our cultural identity in our


own homeland. This is the essence of management by culture.
The rallying challenge is:
K a y a ko! K a y a mo! K a y a n a t i n !

..

\ Integrating Traditional Structures


_f into Modern Management

Notes
Personal interview, 1983. See also "The S M C Managers and E m ployees: Value Orientation, Roles, and Attftudes," a 2-day symposium on
Organizational Values and Norms that Affect Managerial and Employees' Productivity, San Miguel Corporation, Makati, 29 July 1983.
2

Management:

Tasks,

Responsibilities,

Practices

Andres Soriano III,


Businessman, 1988

(New York: Harper

and Row, 1973), 20.


3

... [An] enterprise must view the external world


and itself objectively, honestly, and dispassionately
and mold itself internally to the external realities.
:

T h e H u m a n S i d e of E n t e r p r i s e (New York: McGraw H i l l , 1960); 29/

There is a pressing need to reorient Philippine


management education ... [to include] the culture
where the Filipino manager must operate i n .

(New York: Warner Books, 1985), 27.

^ I a c o c c a : A n A u t o b i o g r a p h y (New York: Bantam Books, 1984), 53.


6

See F . Landa Jocano and Nadine Teodoro, "Country PaperThe

'

'

Meiito S. Salazar Jr.,


Management educator, 1984

Philippines," i n Q u e s t of H u m a n D y n a m i s m , ed, Shin-ichi Takewaza (To-

kyo: Asian Productivity Organization, 1986), 343-799.


7

See F . Landa Jocano, "Filipino Culture and Values i n Management," delivered before SMC executives in Mandawe Brewery, Cebu, October 1985.
.
8

1985.

This phrase was adopted by SMC-Mandawe as rallying slogan in

ntegrating traditional structures into modern management is a challenge to the imagination, shrewdness, v i sion, and daring of contemporary Filipino managers and
management' education.. Is it possible to modernize through
the industry in the technological order of society without it
having to lose its cultural identity or destroy its moral fabric?
Is it possible to elevate the traditional system to the level of
modernity without Westernization?
- The answer to each question is "Yes." Other countriesJapan, for example-have done it. The Japanese cultural identity is imprinted in every gadget the Japanese manufacture, and no one can say Japanese technology is not modern or is inefficient. The same is true with that of South Korea
and even Taiwan. Modernization does not mean inevitably
Westernization. The machines may be derived from the West,

182

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

but the management of technology, including the giving of


brand names of products, can remain indigenous. This is
meeting halfway the technological needs of the corporation
and the psychological demands of the environment where the
company operates. Engrafting the best from the two
worldsthe East and the West or the North and the
Southis the most viable and effective way of answering the
challenge of modernization and change. We can use the tools
of modern technology to remain Filipino i n culture and-outlook, even as we modernize and improve our economic and social lives.

Why the Traditional System


Calling attention to the integration of traditional
structures into modern corporation does not mean going back
to the primitive ways of doing things. This presumption is r i diculous. Rather, it means elevating the traditional culture to
the level of modernity and implanting the modern corporation
deeply into the traditional ground, thereby providing it with a
solid foundation, supported and nurtured by the cultural psychology of the people. In this context, corporate growth is. enhanced; and modernization becomes an enriching experience,
not a source of frustrations and conflicts.
As pointed out in the preceding discussions, there are
key elements in Filipino social structure, social organization,
and cultural valueslike familism and personalismthat can
be used ,to enhance effective management. Although commonly utilized in practice, these elements are not openly endorsed because they are viewed as sources of problems. That
is why some managers are unwilling to use them. But the fear
is more attitudinal than real. Examples cited to support such
reluctance are often drawn from mismanaged cases. Many
managers, especially in successful companies, have been using
these principles to achieve their managerial ends and have
succeeded. ..-.<.-

INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 183

It is about time that we change our thinking and make


positive and best use of our cultural values and practices.
There have been one too many negative judgments upon our
cultural values and traits as a people. We have been looking at
ourselves in negative rather than positive ways far too long.
This negative psychology has become so ingrained in us, and
we have become victims of it. Thus, we disdain rather than
appreciate our own cultural values and practices. We blame
everybody but ourselves-for what is happening to us now. We
blame the colonialists, Westerners, and multinationals. We
are left with nothing but complaints and despair.
But complaints and despair will not help us. We have
to go back to our roots to discover our strength, deal with the
present, and face the future.
Unless we do away with this negativism in our thinking, we can never make any reform succeed nor succeed in
making this nation move forward. A nation that does not
honor or value its tradition is doomed to fail. We have to learn
from the experiences of other nations. It is about time we
come to terms with our own tradition.
We have to reconsider our skewed judgments of ourselves as a people. Our propensity for examining our cultural
image in the writings of Western scholars, which are quoted
with relish, does not help rectify errors, if there are. The practice, on the other hand, transforms us into inner colonials, no
better than the previous foreign ones. In fact, this transformation is dangerous because we are the very source of our own
alienation, to say the least, of "cultural degradation," which
we complain about, often without realizing it.
We cannot let this state of affairs go on if we are to
make any progress. We have to return to the native grounds.
Stripped of this negative psychology, Filipino cultural values
are positively reinforcive of the Filipino spirit for creativity,
innovativeness, and excellence. Let us harness these potentials to regain our pride and dignity as a people, achieve peace
andharmony in the industry, and ultimately hasten the development of our country.

184

INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 185

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

The best place to begin rethinking and rediscovering


our cultural strength is in the corporate grounds. After all, a
corporation is an organization composed mostly of Filipinos'
who come from relatively the same traditional background
and who share the same value orientation. Traditional structures can be used to link the corporation and the larger community wherein it operates; thereby providing management
with essential sentiments necessary for effective communication and cooperation.'Management by Culture (MBC) is the
answer to many of our corporate problems, particularly i n
management-labor relations. This is also one way of integrating a modern corporation into the external realities of its environment and of drawing from the surrounding, culture the
psychological support of the people needed to achieve corporate ends.
Our hopes of rapid national industrialization is in the
success of our corporations. Successful corporations can serve
as the, living symbols of Filipino capabilitiesmonuments we
can be proud of and from which we can draw inspiration to
excel because excellence is in the Filipino spirit.

Suggestions
.The
following are suggested traditional structures
upon which Filipino corporate values can be nurtured and enabled to flourish.
Suggestion 1: Corporate organization as

angkarf

Filipino social organization is kinship- and family-oriented. In its traditional orientation, Filipino social organization consists of three major structural groupings of people:
the a n g k a n , the mag-anak,
and t h e s a m a h a n . These social
groups serve as sources of the Filipino's sense of identity,
pride, and commitment.
An a n g k a n is a kinship group composed of near and
distant relatives. Members of the a n g k a n are linked to one an-

other through a series of overlapping consanguineal, affinal,


and ritual ties. A number of a n g k a n constitute the building
block of the community.
'
Structurally, the a n g k a n may be viewed vertically and
horizontally. The vertical structure links a person with'sets of
significant kinsmen in the upper generations of parents and
grandparents, alive or deceased. Horizontally,' he* is also
linked with kinsmen through a complex network of overlapping consanguineal, affinal, and ritual ties. The similarity of
this structural orientation with that of the modern corporation is striking.
In the past, the a n g k a n was headed by the oldest and
most respected member of the group, assisted by a council of
elders coming from different families. He was known as the
d a t u . The d a t u of the'ancient barangay came from the largest
group of brave men, known as bagani o t b a y a r i i . These were the
warriors.' They were men of unquestioned principles, character, loyalty, and honesty. They were highly committed' to the
protection of the group and to the enhancement of the general
welfare of the community.
The spirit of the a n g k a n organization still prevails in
contemporary Filipino society. Kinship sentiments are still
dominant in decision making. The concept of a n g k a n can be
used as symbolic representation of native sentiments to enhance teamwork, cooperation, and loyalty among the employees and workers.
Suggestion 2: Corporate manager as b a g a n i '
2

The a n g k a n structures of the past and of the present


are'not so different from today's corporate structure. The
chairman/president of the board parallels the a n g k a n head;
the board of directors, the council of elders; and the managers
parallel the bagani, the warriorTieads ofthe group. The expectations and roles are essentially the sameto lead, to inspire,
to produce results.
Today, the bagani, as a warrior class, is gone except
among certain indigenous ethnic groupsYiike the Itneg, Gad-

186

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

dang, Agusan Manobo, and the Mandaya. The role of bagani as


warriors in contemporary society has been rendered irrelevant
by time and history, but the principles of integrity, courage,
and devotion to moral obligations that they lived by continue
to hold true as part of the Filipino dream, of the Filipino sentiment. The Filipino term for heroes is bayanipeople who
willingly suffered and died for the bay a n or country. The mention of bayani often evokes feelings of admiration and.reverence.
" > These dormant feelings and valued principles can be
revived in the corporate organization. Group identity, pride,
and commitment to corporate goals must be given historical
depth in the heritage.of the larger society. Historical sentiments are important in creating feelings of identity, pride,
and commitment. They are visions of our heritage,that reveal
a glorious tradition for people to draw.the best put of themselves. That is.why we often hear people say of a leader, "That
person has a sense of history, that is why he is highly motivated." Managers must have a deep sense of history in order
to broaden their vision of leadership.
In the, company, the bagani lives on through peer
groups, composed of young executives with leadership potentials and of older persons with experience; The warrior sentiments, the personal commitment to the visions and goals of
the enterprise are bagani ideals.
Certainly, this is not suggesting that we live in the
past. That would be ridiculous. But since the dynamics of past
events live on in our cultural heritage as contemporary.sentiments, these may.be tapped to improve managerial effectiveness. There is a need today to form a corps of corporate warriorsa group of strategic planners and dedicated personnel for modern corporations. Heroes are needed to
strengthen corporate cultures.
The bagani leadership was based on the leader's superior knowledge or dunong of traditional lore, customs, and
practices of the group. This knowledge was complemented by
the leader's personal charisma and his ability to maintain harmony and cooperation among the members of the group. This
is not very different from what is demanded of managers to-

INTEGRATINQ TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 187

day. Managerial impact is largely a function of the manager's


superior knowledge of human behavior, work ethics, corporate
rules, and the market environment.
Like the ancient barangay,
today's corporation encompasses the critical areas of community life. Leadership.of the
warrior typeds neededmen and women of known-honesty,
principle, probity, and courageto steer the. corporate ship
toward sustained growth and development.
The manager should be the warrior-head. He is in
command. It is his duty to lead by example as the ancient
warrior did. The link to the past is necessary to sustain the
present .burden of leadership that is already strongly influenced by exogenous values and styles. Using historical .sentiments to reawaken the dormant pride in Filipino past
achievements can keep corporate vision alive and enable managers to integrate cultural values and corporate rationality in
order to achieve a better competitive edge in business.
Corporate managers must have a sense of history if
they are able to be effective in the management of men. In the
past, warrior-heads had a very strong sense of tradition that
served as the foundation of their protective spirit of group interests. Managers must develop that protective spirit of company interests that can translate vision into reality. Like the
past warriors, present-day managers are also continuously at
war with their company's competitor(s); the battleground is
the market place. They .need the sustained force of pride inspired by lessons of history. The enemy they face is often a
powerful corporation with considerable financial strength and
sometimes political influence, Only the warrior manager with
a sense of history of his cultural heritage and a sense of vision
and discipline can master the environment, outflank the competitor, as it were, and ensure corporate survival and growth.
As a leader, the ancient bagani was no autocrat. He
ruled through consultation, persuasion, and consensus. A bag a n i counselled, guided; and inspired those whom he led with
his own values, particularly moral integrity. and self-discipline. He led by example. He strove first to become the source
of pride of his family, kinship group, and community before
he imposed the Same standards'oh his followers. Thus, he

188

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

treated the privilege of leadership and of being a leader as a


sacred trust, which he upheld with dignity and honor.
The same standards are required of contemporary
managers. A l l books on human resource management require
managers to lead by example. This requirementleadership
by examplemust include moral responsibility to create corporate structures that best support corporate goals. Even formal structures must be modified if these do not serve to promote management-labor relations or translate corporate v i sions into sales and profits.
.

INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 189

As head of the family, the father was expected to be


honorable, hardworking, and persevering. He was firm as he
was compassionate. His major role was to socialize the members of the m a g - a n a k to the a n g k a n sense of honor, dignity, uprightness, andabove all, economic productivity. Each family
member was expected .to be an industrious, honest, and productive contributor,^ as-soon as possible, to the family larder.
This familial role continues to be the: dominant theme
of contemporary Filipino community life, belt in the rural or
urban setting. Observers of Filipino social behavior and institutions have noted the-familial orientation of Filipino social
organization. Familial sentiments also dominate Filipino behavior, be it in the home, community, bureaucracy, or'corporation. This fact has to be recognized and used to enhance the
management and the development of the corporation's human
resources.

. -
<
;

There are basic traditional : sentiments attached to


community leadership that can be used to enhance effective
managerial leadership. True, the a n g k a n organization is past
and its role in contemporary society is minimal, but its animating principle of paternalismpersonal conce-r-n, reciprocal loyalty, and moral- integrityhas remained intact. The bag a n i principle is much alive in the .leadership spirit of p a g babahala
and m a l a s a k i t . The core values attached..to "leadership by example" continue to underlie contemporary expectations and demands.for disciplined leadership. Filipinos still
yearn for paternal but disciplinarian leaders. They continue
to expect their leaders to inspire loyalty with affection, management with honor.
Perhaps, the principles of a bagani-type
of leadership
can be revived and utilized to operationalized managerial
leadership in terms of Filipino cultural values in a corporate
setting. The corporate structure may be Western or modern,
but the substance-must be attuned to Filipino cultural sentiments and value orientation if these Structures are to be effective as frameworks for corporate behavior.
Suggestion 3: Filipino corporation as m a g - a n a k
The a n g k a n was composed of a number of families or
mag-anak.
The family was the basic building block of Filipino,
social organization. As it is still today, it was headed by the father and, in his absence, the mother. In the absence of both,
the eldest child (son or daughter) took care of the younger siblings and so on down the line.. -.

'Some executives interviewed for views on this suggestion vehemently objected to using familial principles in business. "The reason why my first venture in business failed was
the family. M y relativeswhether by blood or through marriagemeddled inthe management' of the company. P a t a y (It
was fatal)! Now,- I have learned to keep niy relatives out of
business management," said one businessman. Another executive narrated his difficulty fending off the interference by and
pressures from relatives in business management. "It is much
simpler to keep relatives out. Gulo lang ang a a b u t i n k a p a g p i nay agan mang manghimasok
ang mga p i n s a n sa pagpapalakad
ng
negosyo (All you'll.get is trouble if you allow-cousins to each
have his say in running your business)." : ',.

These arguments are valid. Relatives must be kept out


of management. What is'suggested is the use of the principles
and sentiments of the'Filipino family as the binding spirit of
corporate identity, pride, and commitment to corporate goals.
The feeling that the company is one bigfamily to which everybody belongs with pride enhances the strengthening of corporate culture. Keep the physical presence or the meddling behavior of relatives out of management but keep alive the sense
of familial unity with its parent-like concern for the welfare, of
the employees. ,
.. . - . :

190

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 191

This familial-corporate feeling has to be transformed


into the personalized internal code of behavior of employees.
This is m a l a s a k i t in action. One way is to involve the spouses,
parents, and siblings of employees in the social action pro4
grams of the company. For example, "soft loans" may be extended to the wives of employees to'enable them to start a
small' business, thereby augmenting the family income.- The
relationship must be businesslike but warm and expressive of
corporate concern for the families of its employees. In many
instances, the psychological problems employees bring to the
company are caused by economic problems at home. Assisting
the families in augmenting their income can help solve financial problems and improve labor-management relations.
This approach had worked quite welkin a number of
successful companies. For example, the San Miguel projects
in Laguna and Pampanga involved the wives of their rankand-file emloyees in livelihood programs. In Caniubang, the
housewives were engaged in rag sewing, which the company
bought for use in the machine shops. In Quebiawan, Pampanga, the housewives were encouraged, with the company's
financial assistance, to undertake projects in piggery, garments, food vending, and rag making. Soft loans extended to
housewives varied from P-1,000 to P-30,000. In addition, seminars on entrepreneurship, technical skills, and budget planning were given.to,the participants.
..
3

This approach translates the principle of familism into


concrete corporate management. As family income improves,
the workers' efficiency in work and their loyalty to corporate
goals are ensured. As one San Miguel official declared: "SMC
acknowledges, the value of its employees and sees to it that
their welfare is looked after." Another said: "Our goal is to develop a cohesive and self-sustaining worker.with the capacity
to pursue and manage his own livelihood project to benefit
each member of the community,"

' In other words, the principle of mag-anak,


as the productive unit of the community, can be used to further
strengthen the commitment of employees to the corporation.
One of the.many pitfalls of a.modern corporation is that of focusing attention only on the welfare of the employee and not

on that of his family: The experience of Nicfur Furniture Co.


is another example of how the workers' job performance improved by assisting their families augment their family incomes.
.'"''

' In the shop floor of office, relationships between management and labor can be improved if managers are able to influence the employees to develop a familial-type of sentiment
that gives high premium to discipline, teamwork, cooperation,
and responsibility. This can be done through productivity circles. The members of the circles must by imbued with the
spirit of group identityconsidering the circle as a peer
group unit within the larger corporate organization (the family) whose welfare each one is responsible for. Cine of the techniques to achieve this is to encourage the employees to ad dress each other in kinship terms, l i k e t a t a n g , m a n a n g , i n a n g ,
a t e , and so on. Such usage often results in closer ties that provide the team with the cohesive force of "togetherness" and
cooperation, .
5

Suggestion 4: Quality circle as a s a m a h a n

Outside of the a n g k a n and the mag-anak,


there was in
ancient times a strong community spirit of cooperation called
s a m a h a n . In contemporary rural and urban communities, this
spirit is still pervasive. It is known as bayanihan
or barkadah a n . In'the past, the samahan was the dominant sentiment that
held small groups of kinsmen or peers together, thus allowing
them to undertake collective social and economic activities
without much conflict. Today, the term samahan
is also used
to" describe groupings of peers; sometimes the group itself is
called samahan
(cooperative). The moral force that governs
samahan behavior emanates from the traditional norms of p a g babahala
(splicitousness), p a n a n a g u t a n (accountability), and
k a r a n g a l a n (honor, dignity),.among others.
These principles can be taken from their traditional
usages to define the modern management of human resources
in present-day corporate cultural context. Peer groups in
every division, especially those in the junior managerial lrvrl,

192

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES 193

can be organized into samahan


units or cadres for strategic
planning or for standard and quality control. The earlier these
young men and women, who will eventually become managers, assimilate such corporate norms as p a g b a b a h a l a , p a n a n a g u t a n , and k a r a n g a l a n , among others, the better for the company.
Even seasoned managers, may improve their skills through
.and learn from this approach. In this way, corporate management can be brought closer to the psychology of the workers,
projecting the values of the larger society where the corporation operates, .
7

How to integrate traditional structures and values into


modern corporate organization may.be effected through many
approaches. Each corporation has. its own unique organizational culture. The technical requirements for managing
manufacturing companies are certainly different in service
companies. Thus, to be rigidly prescriptive as to procedures of
changing corporate cultures may be unproductive in the long
run. A very generalized scheme, such as conducting seminars,
workshops, social action programs, rites, ceremonies, and the
like, may be applied. Through these activities, the perceptions
and expectations employees and managers have of each other
can be institutionalized as part of management. Procedures
are of minor consideration. What is most important is the in'clusibn and positive use of traditional structures in modern
corporate organization.
In sum, Filipino traditional structures and values can
be positively used to achieve corporate goals and to ensure industrial peace and harmony. Efforts have to be exerted to
make management principles in the corporation congruent
with the elements of the culture in the environment where the
corporation operates. Managers must go outside of the gates
of the company.and touch the.lives of the employees. Unless
there is harmony in the families- of the people who work in the
company, there will. be no [ harmony in the office or plant,
.Similarly, unless there is quality in the lives of the people who
make the products and provide the services, there will be no
quality in the products and services they provide. "Quality is
the expression of human excellence."
;

Thus, (1) the a n g k a n principle can be used to symbolize the sentiment of the corporation as a group: (2) management, as a. control mechanism of the corporation, can be imbued with strong bagani sentiment to work not only for the
profit of the company but also for the welfare, and well-being
of the employees; (3). the rank-and-file employees can be imbued with mag-anak
sentiment of p a n a n a g u t a n , p a g b a b a h a l a ,
and k a r a n g a l a n not only to their respective personal or familial interests but also towards the interests of the company.
The principle of reciprocal loyalties in traditional samahan
can be utilized to effect standard and quality control over
products, positive relations between labor and management,
standardization of wages, and motivation for excellence in
task performance. The rallying sentiment shall be:
IS A N G ANGKAN,
IS A N G D I W A , IS A N G K O M P A N Y A !
(ONE KIN GROUP, ONE SPIRIT, ONE COMPANY!)

Notes
J

F o r details, see F . Landa Jocano, F i l i p i n o P r e h i s t o r y (Quezon City:


P U N L A D Research House, Inc., 1998); F i l i p i n o S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n (Quezon City: P U N L A D Research House, Inc., 1998).
2

See F . Landa Jocano, F i l i p i n o I n d i g e n o u s E t h n i c C o m m u n i t i e s (Quezon City: P U N L A D Research House, Inc., 1998).


3

Cf. Alya B. Honasan, "From Rags to Riches," S u n d a y I n q u i r e r M a g a z i n e , 8 May 1988, 23-25; Panorama Staff, " A Sleepy Barrio i n Pampanga
Wakes Up," P h i l i p p i n e P a n o r a m a , 8 May 1988, 26-28.
4

Ibid.

Personal interview, 16 March 1988.

F o r detailed discussion, see " A Symposium on Corporate Culture:


The Proceedings," M a n p o w e r F o r u m 5, no. 2 (Philippines: Meralco Foundation Manpower Information Center, November 1985):44.

t
194

FILIPINO CORPORATE CULTURE

Cf. Marie Edralin-Aganon, "The Bayanihan System at Unilab: A


Case Study of Workers' Participation in Management" and Elias T. Ramos, "Trade, Unionism, 'Kumpadre' System and Filipino Plant-level Industrial Relations," P h i l i p p i n e J o u r n a l o f I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s

1, no. 1 (1st

Semester, 1978):33-63.
8

Cf. Philip Alexander, "Quality's T h i r d Dimension," Q u a l i t y P r o c e s s


21, no. 7 (July 1988):22.

Selected Bibliography
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Tradition a n d Innovation.

re in
r,e of
help create an idea environment that woulcfenhance the
development of Filipino identity with, pride in, and
commitment to that heritage
assist in forging a national moral consensus that would
allow Filipinos to realize their potentials as a people and
as members of Philippine society; and
disseminate research findings through various means,
such as publications and seminars
t