Discussion: Typical American Managers

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Discussion: Typical American Managers

Discussion: Typical American Managers

Organizational Strategy and Information Systems

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Even though the world may be becoming “fl atter,” cultural differences have not totally disappeared. But some leadership traits, such as being trustworthy, just, and honest; having foresight and planning ahead; being positive, dynamic, encouraging, and motivational; and being communicative and informed are seen as universally acceptable across cultures. 21

The generally accepted view is that the national culture predisposes citizens of a nation to act in a certain way along a Hofstede or GLOBE dimension, such as in an individualistic way in England or in a collectivist way in China. Yet, the extent of the infl uence of a national culture may vary among individuals, and culturally based idi- osyncrasies may surface based upon the experiences that shape each person ’ s ultimate orientation on a dimension. Having an understanding and appreciation for cultural values, practices, and subtleties can help in smoothing the challenges that occur in dealing with these idiosyncrasies. An awareness of the Hofstede or GLOBE dimensions may help to improve communications and reduce confl ict.

Effective communication means listening, framing the message in a way that is understandable to the receiver, and responding to feedback. Effective cross‐cultural communication involves each of these plus searching for an integrated solution that can be accepted and implemented by members of diverse cultures. This may not be as simple as it sounds. For instance, typical American managers, noted for their high‐performance orientation, pre- fer direct and explicit language full of facts and fi gures. However, managers in lower performance‐oriented coun- tries like Russia or Greece tend to prefer indirect and vague language that encourages the exploration of ideas. 22

Communication differences surfaced when one of this book ’ s authors was designing a database in Malaysia. She asked questions that required a “yes” or “no” response. In trying to reconcile the strange set of responses she received, the author learned that Malaysians are hesitant to ever say “no.” Communication in meetings is also subject to cultural differences. In countries with high levels of uncertainty avoidance such as Switzerland and

Geographic Lens: Does National Culture Affect Firm Investment in IS Training? In a massive study of 6,000 fi rms in 21 countries, Hilla Peretz and Zehava Rosenblatt found that differences along Hofstede ’ s cultural dimensions do affect employee training. In particular, fi rms in countries that embrace low power distance (i.e., Germanic countries, Anglo‐American countries, the Netherlands, and Israel) tend to invest more in training than fi rms in countries with high power distance (i.e., some Asian, Latin America, and Middle Eastern countries).

Why might this be the case? Perhaps fi rms in high power distance societies view investment in training as less favorable because it might narrow the power gaps by making a higher level of skills available across all levels of the organization. Those in power might not want to see a leveling of power throughout the organization.

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.

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