Individualistic trade cultures


As per Hofstede journal in Individualistic Trade Cultures

Me First Countries Value Independent Achievements

National culture is about people's behavior and their mental concepts transmitted from one generation to the next in the society (Counseling across culture, edited by Paul. B. Pederson, 5th edition). Culture can be visible and invisible, cognitive and affective, concise and un-concise, internal and external, rational and irrational, coercive and permissive at the same time. This thing says that culture is generally out of site and out of mind due to which no one think about it they rather take it. So our way of thinking, perceive things go according to it. India is full of national cultures, due to which it is not easy to describe Indian national culture. But it's not possible to place India under Individualism or Collectivism, Masculinity or femininity only; it doesn't even show Low or High Power distance, Low or High Uncertainty avoidance and Universalism or Particularism. Rather then this it's actually more of Collectivist, Masculinity, rather than Individualistic and Femininity. Due to this it has low level of education level. And if you would compare Indian national culture with any other national culture where Individualism and Femininity is high you would be able to analyze that their level of education and living standard is higher in comparison. Moreover National culture of a country reflects the culture used in the organizations of that particular country i.e. ethical behavior of employees of an organization, the way company's employee react, and the way they take their decisions and interact with their supervisors (Higher Management) and subordinates.

Greert Hefstede described that Indian culture is high in Power Distance, Masculinity and low on Uncertainty of Risk.

This is as per Greert Hefstede mentioned in the link mentioned below.

A survey with students has been done in India by Sinha & Tripathi (1994) and they found that most of master's students behave more of idiocentric i.e. individualistically rather than allocentric i.e. collectivist due to Western influence on the society, immediate life concerns and exposure to mass media. Verma & Triandis (1999) observed that Indian students are more vertical collectivist that U.S. students. 'Morris et al. (1994) found that emphasis on either individualism or collectivism tends to produce less entrepreneurship than a balanced emphasis. Bhawuk & Udas (1996) observed that Nepalese entrepreneurs are both individualists (idiocentric) and collectivists (allocentric), but it depends on the situation (work or family). Wilson (1998) noted that the majority of entrepreneurs fall in the middle of the spectrum of individualism and collectivism, but women tend to be more collectivist in their approach to business, blending their personal lives with their careers'. Now here it says that individualism and collectivism depends more on situation then rather then people behaviors, but for women they can have been considered into collectivist approach in entrepreneurship as they they balance their personal life with their carrier approach.

Now as considering the fact that Indians are more on the side of vertical collectivism this survey can be helpful to understand it better:

This study has been done on Teachers (Working class), Executives (Working in corporates) in office, Enterpreneurs (Business class).Data has taken from total of 240 participants for this study. The working groups were College lecturers, Executives and Entrepreneurs. Data of Undergraduate students of university studying in classes was also taken. The educational level of these three groups was undergraduate and above.

Executives were selected from two organizations each from the Northern and the Southern parts of Calcutta. Students, Teachers and Business class were also selected from four universities and from different scale units from the Northern and the Southern parts of Calcutta. The data was collected from every individual separately and in small groups. Now when the results came out of the studies it was found that teachers and executives were higher in vertical collectivism rather then other than others, and entrepreneurs were found more on horizontal individualism side. This study here describes that they all are independent but they do believe in equality among all. Result also reflects that both teachers and executives are more different from the entrepreneurs and students with respect to horizontal individualism. Whereas result of Executives and students shows that they want to be self-dependent but must be in status with others. Teachers are also found to differ significantly from executives, entrepreneurs and students with respect to vertical individualism.

This study shows that different occupational groups (executives and lecturers) and student groups (undergraduates and masters) has different understanding of individualist-collectivist orientations in Indian culture.

'Triandis (1995) emphasized that all individuals have both individualist and collectivist values and response tendencies, but the response tendencies are determined by situation'.

Management in India is not similar in every company. In Multinational Companies they work more with rules, regulations and policies but in domestic companies they don't follow the rules and regulations that often because their main motive is to get the work done as soon as possible. Although multinationals sets target as well for their work but they do it with proper process whereas domestic companies work according to the work priority i.e. if the work is urgent then you don't need to follow any process to get it done. In India employees work more in domestic company's rather then Multinational companies because domestic company keeps all the setup in their home country only i.e. India in case of Indian company due to which all the main and important activity for any Indian company will take place in India first. Like if any Indian company starts it's business in any other country it will still get managed from India only because it's main setup and operation is in India. Subordinate always say "Boss is always right" and he will follow his decision without any objection even if they do not want to. This is a give-in attitude most of the times and seniority takes precedence over talent as well very often. Because to secure the job in the company ever subordinates does this. They always judge the growth in terms of title and not on the basis of knowledge and skill. Although they have to think from this point as well that Doctors and Engineers do not promotions that often but they are still considered as respected professionals in the organizations.

I worked as a Technical Consultant with WIPRO BPO in New Delhi for 1 year (2005-06). During my tenure in WIPRO I was working in a technical team. My job was to provide customers online technical support. One day our manager called our team to the meeting room for a discussion. Actually she called all of us to inform that we have been assigned a group task which needs to be done in 4 weeks and after that we are going to be nominated for Outstanding team work award. And a part from this we might get some monetary incentives as well for extra efforts. Now we all decided to share the work in such a way that task gets finish before the dead line. Actually the task was to collect information on the most frequent problem faced by the customers on last 12 month and how well that problem has been resolved by our technical consultants. Now this data was supposed to be collected first and then it was required to be compared with the similar data of last year. Actually this was not a big task to do for all of us but the task should have been completed on time with presentation a part from our daily operational work and our daily schedule was very tight those days due to heavy workload. Moreover some of the team members were on vacation as well. So we have decided to work on extra shift every day to get this thing done. Now we have started doing the work together and we started doing meeting and discussion regarding it in every 1-2 days. After 2 weeks our manager came to us and asked that if we require any help on the task and referred us to one of the girl working on the task from other team. We straight away said "No Thanks" because we did not wanted to include any female to our team because as per all of us they can't work firmly and can't co-ordinate properly with guys. Finally we have submitted the task before the time and all of us got nominated for the Outstanding team work award and we have received that award in the 2nd quarter of the year as well. This incidence can be related to the HOFSTEDE model of Masculinity/Femininity because in this case it shows Masculinity as no female was taken in the group and all the guys decided that. So, we can say that "Femininity and masculinity or one's gender identity (Burke, Stets and Pirog-Good 1988; Spence 1985) refers to the degree to which persons see themselves as masculine or feminine given what it means to be a man or woman in society (Femininity/Masculinity, Encyclopedia of Sociology, Revised Edition. New York: Macmillan). Males generally decide to call themselves as masculine while females will generally define themselves as feminine. These all are the definitions given to them (for male it's masculinity and for female it's feminine) by society and it is possible for one to be female and see herself as masculine or male and see himself as feminine. Because a person with a more masculine identity should act more masculine, that is, engage in behaviors whose meanings are more masculine such as behaving in a more dominant, competitive, and autonomous manner (Ashmore, Del Boca, and Wohlers 1986). Some people are perhaps mixture of both i.e. one of our team member who was ok when he has been asked to work with a female team member. He was the only one of us who was ok to work either way but we had decided not to work with any female which shows that we were Masculine. India has more masculine culture rather then feminine because males act more dominant in Indian culture and are mainly decision makers. As per Hofstede: "India has Masculinity as the third highest ranking Hofstede Dimension at 56, with the world average just slightly lower at 51. The higher the country ranks in this Dimension, the greater the gap between values of men and women. It may also generate a more competitive and assertive female population, although still less than the male population". Methodology for Understanding Indian, Culture JAI B. P. SINHA AND RAJESH KUMAR,

Now I have faced one more incident in my carrier which I can relate to Power distance model of Geerd Hofstadter. This incident took place when in 2008 when I was working with COLT (City of London telecom) Technology India Pvt. Ltd. I was working there as a Billing and revenue Assurance analyst so whenever I had been given any case to analyze I was supposed to do it in a specific time frame. Now I was also supposed to get instant feedback on the same so that the data can be amended quickly. All the activities were going smooth but all of sudden my reporting got changed to another manager who was very famous in the organization for his lazy behavior. And when I have started working with him I felt that the information I have got about the person is right. Earlier whenever I use to finish my task I had been provided complete feedback on the same but since when this new manager came in he started escaping from the work and never provided me proper and complete feedback. Now this activity was affecting my performance in front of higher management so I asked the guy to judge my performance completely and give me proper and instant response on the same (i.e. through e-mail) as I was also responsible to send my work for further analyses to higher departments. But this guy showed me his power by telling me that he is the one who will send my feedback to higher management and if I'll carry on asking him for the explanation like this on my work he will ruin my year end appraisal. I got worried about it but there was no point to argue with him at that time because he was right. After that he started encountering irrelevant problem in my work which was not even important. So at the end I have started to work according to his policy. Now in this case the management was responsible for this inequality as they were also aware of this situation but they didn't took any action on the same. This is very common in Indian industry that if you will against your seniors they'll get you down by their power in the organization. So the level of power distance is quite high in Indian industries, whereas this is not that much often in UK and US companies. "India has Power Distance (PDI) as the highest Hofstede Dimension for the culture, with a ranking of 77 compared to a world average of 56.5. This Power Distance score for India indicates a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the population as a cultural norm". Methodology for Understanding Indian, Culture JAI B. P. SINHA AND RAJESH KUMAR,


  • Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal Vol. 15 No. 4, 2008 pp. 367-378 # Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1352-7606 DOI 10.1108/13527600810914157 Methodology for Understanding Indian Culture JAI B. P. SINHA AND RAJESH KUMAR
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