Culture and Organizations
Cultural differences are important variables in understanding social and organizational behavior (Leung and Bond, 1984). Culture is such an important determinant of behavior that it has been proposed that it be included when psychological theories are constructed (Triandis, 1976). However, given that we accept that culture is important, we still need to define what the concept of culture encompasses. There are unique methodological issues that arise in research on cultures. For example, as mentioned in the last chapter, cultural differences exist in the way that people respond to questionnaires and surveys. In addition, sample size takes on added importance if there are many individual differences within a culture. Because of these and other issues, individual and cultural differences require distinct approaches if we are to understand how culturalvariation patterns affect behavior. The identification of cross-cultural differences based on an analysis at either the individual or cultural level alone is not a sufficient focus in cross-cultural research; cultural differences need to be considered at both levels (Leung, 1989).
Several important aspects of cross-cultural management are influenced by cultural differences. For example, consumer preferences are often dictated by cultural values, where culture generally refers to the culture of a country. Researchers and theorists in organizational behavior have introduced the idea that organizational culture plays an important role in various aspects of an organization's daily life. Cultural values influence managerial and employee perceptions of their environment, expectations, and individual behavior. If people, even in the same organization, have different assumptions, then they will see events and react to them differently (Sims and Gioia, 1986). People from different cultures approach problems differently and have different ways to resolve and apply solutions to problems (Abramson, Lane, Nagai, and Takagi, 1993). When there are many cultural differences in an organization, there is a