Organizational Psychology in Cross-Cultural Perspective

By Colin P. Silverthorne | Go to book overview

8

Managerial Values and Skills

Managerial effectiveness is based on shared values, the organizational culture, and the fit between them. While the role of managers is basically consistent across organizations and cultures, managerial styles can vary significantly. The evidence available from research on managerial styles across cultures is limited, but different social systems have been found to have a significant impact on management systems and this, in turn, influences managerial style.

In Europe, there is variability in approaches to management, between Western and Eastern Europe and between Northern and Southern Europe (Smith, 1997). It has also been suggested that there are five major approaches to business. Two of these are Western approaches, while the other three are rooted in the Asian cultures. Asian cultures have a tradition of keeping the organization together as a dynamic group. Since Asian organizations tend to be hierarchical and reflect the collective norms of Asian culture, the dynamic approach works well in these kinds of organizations (Redding, 1992). In addition, when individuals and organizations need to assess events in order to help decide what action to take, they frequently use values that are reflective of their culture. As a result, multinational managers face special problems when choosing, adopting, and using a particular managerial style. While some differences in preference for leadership styles across cultures have been identified, actual management behavior can vary a great deal (Hui, 1990).

Effective management in organizations has been studied by a number of major researchers. While all of the theorists suggest that there are general sets of rules, which, if followed, will result in more-effective management, managerial values seem to be strongly dependent on national culture (Ralston, Gustafson, Cheung, and Terpstra, 1993) and are also related to issues of gender (Oskamp and Costanzo, 1993). Further, in order to fully understand the organizational environment of a national culture,

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