Islamic-revival-in-Asia-and-human-resource-management -...

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Relations 19,4 352 Islamic revival in Asia and human resource management Monir Tayeb Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK Introduction The last three decades or so have seen a lively debate among both academics and practitioners on the role of national culture in the shape and operation of business organizations. Some authors have emphasized the universality and similarities between organizations (e.g. Cole, 1973; Form, 1979; Hickson et al ., 1974; Kerr et al ., 1952; Negandhi, 1979; 1985), and some others the uniqueness of organizations given their cultural contexts (e.g. Hofstede, 1980; Laurent, 1983; Lincoln et al ., 1981; Meyer and Rowan, 1977). However, as Tayeb (1988) argues, the two sides of the debate are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they complement one another. That is, certain aspects of organizations are more likely to be universal, such as shopfloor layout, hierarchical structure, division of functions; and some areas are more culture-specific, such as human resource management (HRM). Notwithstanding this debate, what is certain is that organizations and their employees do not live in a vacuum, separated from their societal surroundings. To start with, national culture, as a set of values, attitudes, and behaviours, includes also those which are relevant to work and organization. These are carried into the workplace, as part of the employees’ cultural baggage. Work- related values and attitudes, such as power distance, tolerance for ambiguity, honesty, pursuance of group or individual goals, work ethic, and entrepreneurial spirit, have been argued to be part of the cultural identity of a nation (Hofstede, 1980; Tayeb, 1988; Wiener, 1981). Moreover, the society at large has certain expectations from its organizations and exerts influences on them, through various formal and informal means. Political, social and economic institutions, such as the economic structure, trade unions, social groups, the educational system, and pressure groups, can all exert their own influences in turn on organizations (Hofstede, 1980; Tayeb, 1996). The societal context can also influence the means by which managers perform their tasks and implement organizational strategies (Smith et al ., 1989a; 1989b; Tayeb, 1995). The question of culture and organization is also relevant within the context of transferring management policies and practices across nations (Beechler and Yang, 1994; Tayeb, 1994; Welch, 1994). There are many factors which contribute to the formation and perpetuation of national culture, of which religion, as we shall see below, is a major one, but by no means the only one (Hofstede, 1980; Weber, 1930). Employee Relations, Vol. 19 No. 4, 1997, pp. 352-364. © MCB University Press, 0142-5455
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2011 for the course HUMAN RESO 110 taught by Professor Rahman during the Spring '11 term at AIU Online.

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Islamic-revival-in-Asia-and-human-resource-management -...

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