Organizational Psychology in Cross-Cultural Perspective

By Colin P. Silverthorne | Go to book overview

2

Foundations of
Organizations and Culture

The careless application of theories of organizational psychology across cultures is fraught with danger because research has found that, while there are similarities, the differences between organizations operating in distinct cultural and societal settings are significant (Lammers and Hickson, 1979). The similarities tend to be consistent for the same types of business and organizational structure (Hickson, Hinings and McMillan, 1981), though there can be considerable variance between organizations operating as similar organizational types but in different societies in such areas as employee-management relations, communication within the organization, and staff involvement in decision making (Maurice, Sorge, and Warner, 1980).

Even though the role of a manager is generally consistent across organizations and cultures, managerial styles can vary substantially. While the evidence available from research on managerial styles in different cultures is limited, distinct social systems can have a considerable impact on management systems, which, in turn, affects managerial styles. Further, research in international settings has clearly shown that management techniques developed in and for a particular culture or country do not always produce the same results in other cultures (Adler, 1997).

The effectiveness of a manager is, in part, based on the values that the manager holds and his or her ability to motivate employees. Values are influenced by both the nationality of the manager and the business environment within which the individual manages (Adler and Bartholomew, 1992). These values guide the selection and evaluation of managerial behaviors such as techniques for motivating subordinates (Terpstra and David, 1990) and enhancing employee job satisfaction (Trice and Beyer, 1993). Style of organizational leadership has also been shown to be a

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