Analyzing the Effect of Culture on Curricular Content: A Research Conception

By Bureik, Vladimir; Kohun, Frederick G. et al. | Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, Annual 2007 | Go to article overview

Analyzing the Effect of Culture on Curricular Content: A Research Conception


Bureik, Vladimir, Kohun, Frederick G., Skovira, Robert Joseph, Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology


Introduction

This paper is an expansion of a previous work (DeLorenzo et al., 2006) exploring the bridge between culture and business education. In this work, a research conception (influenced as it may be by the authors' own shared systems of meanings) is developed, based on Hofstede and Hofstede's work (2005). Its purpose is to enable qualitative and quantitative research on the claim that a society's culture effects theories of management and organizations. People living in different societies view organizational behavior and structure differently. These views vary according to the dominance of either the power distance dimension or the uncertainty avoidance dimension. Different cultures have different models of management and ideas of the nature of organizations (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). In light of this claim, the conception raises the issue of the effects of a society's culture on the globalization of business and information systems curricula (theories of organization, management, and information use). As Hofstede and Hofstede (2005, p. 63) write: "The authors of management books and the founders of political ideologies generate their ideas from the background of what they learned when they were growing up." Hofstede and Hofstede (2005) are skeptics about any organization's or person's ability to ignore and not be affected by the enduring and stable shared systems of meanings and values (culture) surrounding them. According to Hofstede (2001), "[n]ationality constrains rationality" (p. 381).The conception also assumes that any organization is an infoscape; a place of information flows and use. An infoscape or informational landscape is a view of an organization that envisions people, information flows, and business processes as constituting a holistic and dynamic multidimensional system (Skovira, 2004). Of course, the metaphor of an organization as an informational landscape is culturally bound.

A Global Context

In this era of extreme globalization (sometimes called the Information Age), businesses pursue strategic advantage by shifting from being multinational to being transnational organizations (Drucker, 1997; Friedman, 2000; Friedman, 2006). The idea of globalization represents an evolutionary and integrative system that pulls people and societies together into a common market of not only goods and services but also knowledge. The common backbone of this interconnectivity is the World Wide Web. Globalization enables quicker, more in-depth, more economically efficient, and more individualized access to and use of markets and knowledge. The hegemony of nation-states over their internal markets is destroyed by global competition which forces deregulation and privatization. Globalization generates a conflict-oriented tension between individuals and their societies' cultures and the shared systems of meanings inherent in the "dynamic ongoing process" of globalization (Friedman, 2000; Friedman, 2006). As Friedman (2000) writes, "...globalization has its own dominant culture, which is why it tends to be homogenizing to a certain degree" (p. 9).

Business and information system curricula must also change to face the "new world." It can be argued that business education in its attempts to make business a science, objectifies its theories and their application essentially homogenizing them. Essentially formulas of success are studied and applied in multiple formats in a variety of cultural environments with varied success. With the standardization of the MBA, for instance, through accreditation such as The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business--AACSB International the homogenization is insured without regard to when, where, how and why it is applied.

This thinking may be flawed. It can be argued that "...global business and media not only fail to homogenize the world, but the net effect of their influence may be precisely the opposite" (Hooker, 2003, p. …

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