Cultural Limitations Essay

< Academy oi Management Professional, 1993 Volume. 7 No . 1

Ethnical constraints in

management theories

Geert Hofstede, University of Limburg, Maastricht, the Netherlands Business Overview

Managing as the term is at present used can be an American advent. In other regions of fhe globe not only fhe pracfices however the entire concepf of managing may differ, plus the theories needed to understand that, may deviate considerably by what is considered normal and desirable in fhe USA, The reader is definitely invited on vacation around the world, and both community management methods and hypotheses are discussed from the diverse contexts and histories of the places visited: Germany, Asia, France. The netherlands, the countries of the abroad Chinese, South-East Asia. Africa, Russia, and finally mainland China. A model in which worldwide differences in national ethnicities are categorized according to five 3rd party dimensions can be useful for explaining fhe differences in managemenf found: although the sifuafion in each counfiy or location has one of a kind characferisfics fhaf no unit can accounf for. One particular pracficai appiicafion of fhe mode] is in displaying the comparable position of the U. H. versus other parts of the world. Within a global perspective. U. S. management theories contain a range of idiosyncracies not necessarily shared by simply management in other places. Three this kind of idiosyncracies are mentioned: a stress in market procedures, a anxiety on the specific, and a focus on managers rather than upon workers. A plea is made for an internationalization not only of business, although also of management ideas, as a way of enriching hypotheses at the national level.

Within my View

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland contains the well-known story of Alice's croquet game with all the Queen of Hearts.

Aiice thought the lady had hardly ever seen this kind of a inquisitive croquef-ground in all her life; it had been all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, as well as the soldiers had to double themselves up and also to stand prove hands and feet, to help make the arches.

You probably know how the story goes: Alice's flamingo mallet turns the head whenever she desires to strike with it; her hedgehog ball runs apart; and the doubled-up soldier arches walk around on a regular basis. The only regulation seems to be the Queen of Hearts always wins.

Alice's croquet playing problems are very good analogies to attempts to make culture-free hypotheses of supervision. Concepts designed for this purpose are themselves alive with culture, having been developed in a particular ethnic context. There is a tendency to guide our considering toward the desired summary.

As similar reasoning may also be applied to the arguments in the following paragraphs, I better tell you my personal conclusion before I continue—so that the guidelines of my personal game are understood. In this article we take a trip around the world to demonstrate that there are not any such things as general management ideas.


School oi Administration Executive

Diversity in management procedures a h we go around the world continues to be recognized in U. T. management literary works for more than 30 years. The term " comparative management" has been used since the 1960s. However , they have taken considerably longer for the U. S. academic community to accept not only methods but likewise the quality of theories m ay stop at nationwide borders, and I wonder if even today everybody would accept this statement. An article I published in Organizational Mechanics in 80 entitled " Do American Theories Apply Abroad? " created even more controversy than I anticipated. The article contended, with empirical support, that generally accepted U. S i9000. theories just like those of Maslow, Herzberg, McClelland, Vroom, McGregor, Likert, Blake and Mouton may not or perhaps only very partly apply outside the borders of their nation of origin—assuming they do apply within all those borders. Among the requests for reprints, a greater number were from Canada than from the United States. Administration Theorists are Human

Personnel and managers...