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As the national and regional cultures form a broad base of expectations of how important commitments and their fulfillment are and how their importance varies by culture, the individual relationships of managers in outsourcing provider and client companies also goes through a fine-tuning process on how deadlines of projects are handled. It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult aspects of attaining CQ is overcoming the major differences in the perception of time between national and organizational cultures. For CQ to realize its full potential, measures of cultural variation need to also be included in the learning sequences, syllabus design and continual reinforcement of concepts and practical application. The Hofstede Five Cultural Dimensions Model (Hofstede, 1983) is commonly used specifically for this part of ensuring managers and their team attains a high level of understanding as they are given instruction and coaching on how to increase their CQ levels.
Hofstede's Contributions to Cultural Intelligence
In analyzing how country cultures vary on the five cultural dimensions Hofstede uses in his Cultural Dimensions Model there are insights for managers looking to increase their CQ levels as well. As a result of its insightful analysis of cultural dimensions, the Five Cultural Dimensions Model (Hofstede, 1983) quantifies the differences between two or more national cultures. Geert Hofstede specifically created this framework to measure cultural variations between nations with the intent of assisting IBM executives assimilate faster into other cultures. The implications of his Five Cultural Dimensions however have become much more pervasive in the study of emerging economies, specifically Asian and Indian-based ones where outsourcing partners are pervasive (Hofstede, 2007). The Five Cultural Dimensions of Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity, (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), and Long-Term Orientation (LTO) comprise the index and when the United States is compared to India for example the following results are produced. Using the scaling application provided on http://www.geert-hofstede.com/Figure 2 was produced. The United States and India are compared on the five dimensions.
The Five Cultural Dimensions Analysis Applied to the U.S. And India
The most significant differences are in the IDV Dimension, which is the extent to which individuals are integrated into groups. In India affiliation and collectivism is much more important than in the U.S. For example. According to Hofstede (1983) the lower the IDV score the more there is a strong sense of individuality throughout the given country while the higher the score the greater amount of collectivism or strength of group affiliation. In the case of the differences between India having a high level of collectivism, products would need to be launched and positioned as contributing to the greater good. There is a definite egalitarian type of dynamic in India as evidenced by the Hofstede data. Conversely in the U.S. The sense of individuality is quite strong ands the level of affiliation is low. As a result, the leadership strategies aimed at increasing and sustaining the level of EQ needs to concentrate on managing Indian subordinates to their specific unique strengths while concentrating on their need for a degree of latitude and egalitarianism in how they are managed.
While the level of affiliation need vs. individuality is the most significant across the two countries used in this example, there are significant differences to their Power Distance Index (PDI), while similarities in Masculinity, (MAS) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) scores. This translates into managerial approaches on the part of American managers leading Indian-led teams to pay particular attention to alleviating or at least significantly reducing uncertainty combined with a long-term orientation in how they manage these Indian subordinates. On these factors the cultures of the U.S. And India are congruent. The critical focus on long-term value and risk avoidance on the part of a U.S.-based management team would do better than one that promised fast yet unsustainable results.
The critical aspect of using the Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Model is the focus on being able to align management strategies to the specific needs of each specific subordinate. While this discussion has concentrated on American managers responsible for leading Indian subordinates, the converse is certainly seen in the analysis as well.
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is essential for any manager or professional to continue growing their career in the 21st century as globalization has become a market dynamic influencing nearly everyone daily. The need for cross-collaboration with companies whose internal organizational cultures and national cultures vary significantly from each makes CQ a critical prerequisite for anyone looking to make contributions in a global working environment. The focus on outsourcing providers and clients, paralleling the myriad of relationshuips between India and the U.S., has been used as the basis of comparison throughout this paper. The use of Hofstede's Five Cultural Dimensions Model (Hofstede, 1983) for providing insightful analysis to managers looking to optimize their levels of CQ as they interact with other nations' organizations is critical. Variations in the perception of the five dimensions as evidenced by how foreign companies interact with each other, communicate both verbally and non-verbally, and work to accomplish key tasks are all based on cultural variations in communication. Having insights into how these variations influence management and the attainment of CQ over time is critical for collaboration to accomplish shared objectives.
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