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CCM/U4 Topic 1 National Cultures vs. Organizational Cultures

National Cultures

Our national culture relates to our deeply held values regarding, for example, good vs. evil, normal vs. abnormal, safe vs. dangerous, and rational vs. irrational.  National cultural values are learned early, held deeply and change slowly over the course of generations.  

A distinctive set of beliefs, values, and assumptions generally held by members of a national group. National culture difference can be expressed as values on a number of dimensions: power-distance, masculinity-femininity, individualism-collectivism, and uncertainty-avoidance. These dimensions can be quantified and provide country-specific profiles. It is important to recognize that:

(i) Scores on these dimensions are statistical averages, with considerable individual variance and overlap with other national cultures.

(ii) National profiles are useful in predicting behavior, but should not be used to pre-judge or stereotype others.

Organizational Cultures

Organizational culture, on the other hand, is comprised of broad guidelines which are rooted in organizational practices learned on the job.  Experts, including Dr. Hofstede, agree that changing organizational culture is difficult and takes time.  What is often overlooked or at least underestimated when two or more companies merge/integrate is how the underlying personal values of employees impact how they perceive the corporate culture change efforts.  A person can learn to adapt to processes and priorities, and a person can be persuaded to follow the exemplar behaviors of leaders in an organization.  But if these priorities and leadership traits go against the deeply held national cultural values of employees, corporate values (processes and practices) will be undermined.  What is appropriate in one national setting is wholly offensive in another.  What is rational in one national setting is wholly irrational in another.  And, corporate culture never trumps national culture.

An organization is a setup where individuals (employees) come together to work for a common goal. It is essential for the employees to work in close coordination, deliver their level bests and achieve the targets within the stipulated time frame for the smooth functioning of the organization.

Every organization has certain values and follows some policies and guidelines which differentiate it from others. The principles and beliefs of any organization form its culture. The organization culture is the collective behaviour of humans who are part of an organization and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Culture includes the organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits and it affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients, and with stakeholders. It is essential for the employees to adjust well in their organization’s culture to enjoy their work

Difference between organisational and national culture

The national culture relates to deeper held values such as good vs. evil, normal vs. abnormal, safe vs. dangerous, and rational vs. irrational. National cultural values are learned early, held deeply and change slowly over the course of generations as witnessed in all ages. The organizational culture is comprised of broad guidelines, rooted in organizational practices learned on the job. Experts agree that changing organizational culture is difficult and takes time.  When two or more companies merge is how the underlying personal values of employees impact how they perceive the corporate culture change efforts. People can learn to adapt to processes and priorities, and a person can be persuaded to follow the exemplar behaviours of leaders in an organization. But if these priorities and leadership traits go against the deeply held national cultural values of employees, corporate values processes and practices will be undermined. What is appropriate in one national setting is wholly offensive in another.  What is rational in one national setting is wholly irrational in another.

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