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Understanding cultural value differences can enable

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Unformatted text preview: s have successfully used teams in North America, as you will see in Chapter 7, our more individualistic culture dictates that careful selection of team members is necessary. Understanding cultural value differences can enable organizations to successfully import management practices by tailoring the practice to the home culture’s concerns. Appreciating Global Customers. An appreciation of cross-cultural differences in values is essential to understanding the needs and tastes of customers or clients around the world. Once relegated to the status of a marketing problem, it is now clear that such understanding fundamentally has to do with organizational behaviour. Errors occur with regularity. For instance, the initial French response to the Euro Disney theme park was less enthusiastic than Disney management expected, probably due, in part, to Disney’s failure to truly appreciate French tastes in food, lifestyle, and entertainment. South Korea’s Samsung recalled a calendar featuring models displaying its products that was destined for overseas customers. Some North Americans were offended by Miss July’s see-through blouse. Appreciating the values of global customers is also important when the customers enter your own culture. Many firms have profited from an understanding of the increasing ethnic diversity in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Developing Global Employees. Success in translating management practices to other cultures, importing practices developed elsewhere, and appreciating global customers are not things that happen by accident. Rather, companies need to select, train, and develop employees to have a much better appreciation of differences in cultural values and the implications of these differences for behaviour in organizations. Gillette is recognized as having one of the best of such programs. The firm produces razor blades, pens (PaperMate), and electrical appliances (Braun) in 28 countries and markets them in more than 200. Over 25 years, it has built a global management team by using a variety of tactics. These include the following: Samsung Electronics www.samsungelectronics.com Gillette www.gillette.com 108 Individual Behaviour ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Part Two Hiring local people as managers outside the United States Finding key talent among overseas students studying in North American universities Moving managers to posts in other countries to sharpen their international exposure Rewarding managers with extensive international experience by putting them in charge of new international markets or joint ventures Bringing groups of young international management trainees to one of three international headquarters (Boston, Singapore, or London) for 18 months of intensive development.15 Other firms use different techniques for developing an international perspective. To get their designers to better appreciate the values of the North American market, Japanese car makers, including Nissan and Toyota, have opened design studios in California. The top ranks of Detroit’s automakers, once the bastion of mid-westerners, are now liberally filled with Europeans or those with European experience. This has led to improved overall performance and the development of cars that are more suitable for worldwide export. Korea’s Samsung sends its most promising young employees overseas for a year to simply immerse themselves in the values of another culture (as one executive put it, “to goof off at the mall”). The company feels that this will pay long-term dividends in terms of international competition.16 As you proceed through the text, you will encounter further discussion about the impact of cultural values on organizational behaviour. Now, let us examine attitudes and see how they are related to values. What Are Attitudes? Attitude. A fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to some specific object, situation, person, or category of people. An attitude is a fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to some specific object, situation, person, or category of people. First, notice that attitudes involve evaluations directed toward specific targets. If I inquire about your attitude toward your boss, you will probably tell me something about how well you like him or her. This illustrates the evaluative aspect of attitudes. Attitudes are also much more specific than values, which dictate only broad preferences. For example, you could value working quite highly but still dislike your specific job. The definition states that attitudes are relatively stable. Under normal circumstances, if you truly dislike German food or your boss today, you will probably dislike them tomorrow. Of course, some attitudes are less strongly held than others and are thus more open to change. If your negative attitude toward German cuisine stems only from a couple of experiences, I might be able to improve it greatly by exposing you to a home-cooked German meal. This provides you with some new information. Our definition indicates that attitudes...
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