People are richer than others but wealth carries no

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people are richer than others, but wealth carries no great prestige and no prerogative of leadership” (Sinclair, 1969, p. 285). In the years since those words were written, the gap between rich and poor has increased significantly (Ansley, 2000). As we would expect in a country with low tolerance for power distance, 80% of New Zealanders consider the increasing differences in wealth to be ‘unacceptable’ (Gold et al., 1990), and a majority would like to see the gaps reduced (Calcott, 2000). 3.6 Future Orientation New Zealand’s rating on this dimension ranks 43rd among the surveyed countries. The average of 3.47 suggests that we place a comparatively low emphasis on future-oriented behaviours such as planning, investing in the future, and delaying gratification. At the time of the GLOBE data gathering, New Zealand was debating proposals for a compulsory superannuation savings scheme. Savings can act as a safety net, a form of insurance in times of ill health, unemployment or old age. They require a person or household
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15 to forego the pleasure of current expenditure in order to provide for some possible event in the future, and savings decisions are therefore partly a reflection of future orientation. New Zealand household saving is low by OECD standards, and has been falling in recent years (Savage, 1999). Historically New Zealand has had a comprehensive social welfare scheme. Unlike most other countries, the New Zealand scheme is non-contributory; benefits are financed from general taxation, and wage and salary earners are not required to pay regular contributions to a social security fund. This reduces the risks associated with non-saving, and may encourage a ‘live for the day’ mentality. In an organisational context, recent surveys suggest that New Zealand companies are not paying sufficient attention to long-term planning. A study of manufacturing companies found evidence of a short-term orientation among many of the sampled firms (Knuckey, Leung- Wai, & Meskill, 1999). A more comprehensive survey of all sectors concluded that managers were excessively focused on short-term goals and need to take a longer-term strategic view in order to achieve sustainable adaptation (Wevers International Ltd/Centre for Corporate Strategy, 1996). These examples are consistent with the relatively low rating given to Future Orientation by the managers in our sample. They also suggest the reasons for such a high emphasis being given to the “Should Be” rating. Over recent years, increasing public attention has been paid to the inadequacy of most households’ preparations for the future. Demographic trends and government reductions in social security provision have highlighted the need for individuals to adopt a longer time horizon for their planning, while economic deregulation and removal of subsidies have created similar pressures on businesses.
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