The impact of culture and law on Organizational Behaviour Introduction In the era of globalization more and more managers are confronted with ever increasing need to interact with different cultural and law situations. Not only the environment where the organization is operating, the management, the workforce, the suppliers and the customers can be coming from different cultures. So when they strive together to achieve the objectives of the organization there various cultural influence and the influence of overall culture of the environment can come in to conflict with each other.
Thus the cultural impact will manifest in the Organizational Behavior in numerous forms. In the case of law we can see time to time in accordance with aspirations of political regime, changes in political climate, international exposure to investors, markets etc. can also result in changes in Organizational Behaviour. In the following study we are going to examine what the impact of culture and law on OB. What is culture and law Culture is indeed a too complex item to be precisely defined in few words.
According to various thinkers and authors of this area culture could be described in following ways: Tylor (1871): culture is a “complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Herskowits, (1955): culture is human-made part of the environment” etc. 1. Hofstede (1980, 1997), tried to describe culture with five dimensions, which are prominently displayed in different cultures. They are Individualism – Collectivism, Power difference, Uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity – Feminity, Short term – Long term orientation.
We will briefly examine them one by one. Individualism – Collectivism: This describes the general behaviour of members of certain culture is individualistic or collectivistic, when dealing with an issue. ie whether they take the personal opinion/preference over a group or organization need. Japan is a good example for collectivism in dealing with organizational problems. USA, UK are more tend to be individualistic in their nature. In our opinion Sri Lanka tend to be also having an individualistic culture where “I” is more predominant than “We”. Ex: in a traffic situation all the drivers try to use the road from any free space available, disregarding the lane allocations, pedestrian walkways etc. , They do not think their action further intensify the traffic and hazardous to other parties who use the roads and pavements. ) Power difference: Here we see the difference of power and status within the hierarchy of various units of the society. It could be manager-worker, employer-employee, father-children, husband-wife etc. In high power difference society those who wield the power will not be questioned by the others.
Sri Lanka could be described as a society with higher power difference. (Ex: Managers/directors word is the final, others use “Sir” to address them. Father’s decision is not questioned by children. Tutor’s version is the “right” thing for the disciple. ) Uncertainty avoidance: Societies with high uncertainty avoidance tend to have guides and rules and having everything on predictable manner. Also the deviation from acceptable manner will be less tolerated in a high uncertainty avoidance society. Ex: If somebody tries to bypass the queue in a super market, others will quickly protest. ). On the other hand, societies with lower uncertainty avoidance tend to show more tolerance about deviations from accepted norm. In our opinion Sri Lanka can be rated as a lower uncertainty avoidance culture. (Ex: Different outlets of the same supermarket chain uses different guidelines when attending to customers. i. e. some have speed counters, some will not allow to take empty bottles to the liquor counter, some will demand to bill the liquor purchase separately, etc. Masculinity-femininity: Here the society is compared with characteristics of stereotypes of masculinity — aggressiveness and dominance — and femininity — compassion, empathy, emotional openness etc. Sex differentiated occupational structures, stronger emphasis on achievement, growth and job challenge, assertiveness, less concern about individual needs and feelings are some prominent signs of masculine cultures. Where as, concern for working conditions, job satisfaction, employee participation are signs of femininity cultures.
In our opinion Sri Lanka could be considered as a culture showing more femininity characteristics. This may be owing to long term influence of Buddhism over majority of people. It is interesting to note that we have very wide female participation in various areas of industry and also have considerable number of females occupying professional jobs (i. e. engineers, doctors, accountants etc. ) high profile offices (directors, ministry secretaries, CEOs etc. ), as well as female participation in judiciary and parliament. So culture in brief is partly inherited and partly acquired from the society we are living in.
For example, when an organization going through an internal cultural change through the implementation of a productivity enhancement programme, most of the members of the organization will start acquiring the new habits which were not there earlier, for instance, conducting a meeting according to an agenda. But if the program is discontinued after some time, the members will eventually relapse back to the old habits which were inherited in the earlier period. One of the greatest challenges of this digital information era is to maintaing cultural values while reaping the maximum benefits of the information technology.
Networking websites like Facebook, tweeter etc. , can create a new culture of digital savy workforce, but could be a big problem from the stand point of efficiency, motivation etc. However we need to understand the natural inclination of the humans to network with other fellow humans, so doing it in responsible manner is a big challange ahead of us. During industrial actions Unions try to keep people away from their products Enron scandal, Credit Crunch International influnence = GSP plus Maslow theory What is law What is OB