Paradoxes in Vietnam and America: "Lessons Earned" -- Part II
Tuan, Vu Van, Napier, Nancy K., Human Resource Planning
In the previous issue of Human Resource Planning, we indicated that all cultures and countries have their own set of inconsistencies or paradoxes. We rarely identify them in our own cultures but instead see them as something that "others have." Our discussion began with Paradox 1: When losing face is not. In this issue, we continue to illustrate such paradoxes and how employees who work abroad and their organizations can use these inconsistencies as a way to better understand and work within an environment that is not their own.
During this project, we've wrestled to understand our views regarding some of the "paradoxes" we found in each other's country. For this reason, we call these ideas "lessons earned," rather than simply "lessons learned."
Paradox 2: Good Collectivism Does Not Breed Good Teams
Research and consulting on cultures often references work in the 1980s by Hofstede, who studied IBM in many countries and identified several cultural "dimensions" he claimed reflected differences in the values and behaviors people hold. One dimension was the extent to which a culture is "collectivist or individualistic" -- are people more comfortable in groups or on their own; do they seek rewards that single out individuals or promote and strengthen group efforts?
Many researchers and managers who study and work in Asia note that the "group" is important to the way people work and live. Offices are structured as "open," with everyone working publicly, rather than in private, closed-door settings. People in a country like Vietnam live publicly often in houses that open onto the street. Further, people assume often that …
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Publication information: Article title: Paradoxes in Vietnam and America: "Lessons Earned" -- Part II. Contributors: Tuan, Vu Van - Author, Napier, Nancy K. - Author. Journal title: Human Resource Planning. Volume: 23. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 2000. Page number: 9. © 1999 Human Resource Planning Society. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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