Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Cross-Cultural Management: Establishing a Czech Benchmark

Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Cross-Cultural Management: Establishing a Czech Benchmark

Article excerpt

Introduction

Vast amounts of literature are available on Cross-Cultural Management whereas, little is readily available in English for both practitioners and researchers specific to the Czech Republic. Furthermore, the scholarly articles pertaining to Czechia lack substance. Even the Hofstede cultural dimensions for the Czech Republic are based on replications or estimates [16]. The Czech managerial environment is specific in many aspects. As with the introduction of any 'foreign' management practices, enterprises analyse the cost of introduction and if substantial benefits exist, implement oftentimes, to the chagrin of employees. In recent history, the introduction of Knowledge Management [5] or ISO 9000 quality standards met with substantial reticence both on the side of corporations (costs) and employees (resistance to change). Issues are not technically related but as one director summarises, 'the cooperative aspects seem too much like old socialist (communist) brigades, and it is difficult to teach workers the difference" [6] (The word communist added by the authors). It seems that it is difficult under the best conditions to have Czechs rally behind a cause other than a hockey match that invokes a sense of national pride. Literature reviews conducted in the 20042005 period provide little insight into the Czech cultural psyche [3]. The recent consultation on the body of literature demonstrates that there has been little or no movement in this area. Rankings, classifications, and categorisations generated by the leading cross-cultural anthropologists as well as other organisations, continue to portray the original Czech cultural dimensions devised in the early 1990s. Furthermore, studies identify significant discrepancies with the Hofstede ratings [3]. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to expose the current state of Czech cultural dimensions and consequently, stimulate an open discussion on this topic.

1. Culture and Cross-Cultural Management: Literature Review

Culture, as with other terms of this nature does not possess a single definition that is universally accepted. One merely has to enter the noun using any search engine on the Internet to be astounded by the number of results 'which is more than for 'politics', 'war', 'environment', or 'sex'" [47]. Three of the definitions found to be appropriate to this study, view culture as an abstract from the concrete manifestation of comportment transmitted through symbols, and artefacts [30]. Trompenaars and Turner [49] view culture as the method groups resolve problems and Hofstede [15] defines it as the collective programming of the mind that differentiates one group from another.

Despite the number and variety, three elements are consistent in most definitions in that culture is shared through groups ; culture is intangible as it consists of meaning, symbols, and values; culture is confirmed by others as witnessed through the findings of Hofstede and other cultural anthropologists.

Hall provides three cultural elements based on field experience and observations: high/low context cultures, space, and time orientations. Within high context cultures, ..transactions feature programmed information that is in the receiver and in the setting" with little actual information in the message. The opposite is true with low context cultures as 'the information must be in the transmitted message" [14].

Space is yet another dimension to Hall's portrayal of cultures. He identifies three as being intimate, public, and social observed in different ways depending on the culture. 'Each person has around him an invisible bubble which expands and contracts depending on a number of things." [14]. Hall's time orientation depicts how cultures utilise and structure time. High context cultures usually deal with various issues simultaneously whereas, low context, sequentially.

The Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck construct [30] consists of six orientations:

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