cd_dp_88.pdf

Athletes have very high expectations placed on them

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athletes have very high expectations placed on them by the public, and are severely criticised when their performance drops. In the business arena, rapid deregulation of the economy from the mid-1980s has opened our firms to international competition, and removed almost all governmental subsidies and protection. New Zealand was recently ranked first out of 47 countries on the criteria of lack of protectionism, lack of price controls, and accessibility to foreign financial institutions (IMD International, 2000). These factors, together with geographical isolation from most of our trading partners, have put pressure on companies to lift their performance to (or above) international standards. A comprehensive survey of New Zealanders’ values (Gold & Webster, 1990) suggests an age split in the attitudes towards performance. Younger people were less likely to agree that success was a function of hard work, or that "competition brings out the best in people". In the absence of longitudinal studies, however, it is not possible to ascertain whether this represents the beginning of a shift in societal attitudes. 3.2 Uncertainty Avoidance
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11 New Zealand respondents also rated our society as comparatively high on Uncertainty Avoidance (ranking 8th highest in the sample). The scale includes items such as the extent to which laws or rules exist to cover most situations, the tendency for people to lead structured lives, and the relative emphasis on orderliness and consistency. Many commentators have argued that government has been far too involved in the detailed regulation of business activities (Easton, 2000). Employers need to deal with a wide range of legislation covering issues such as safety and health, minimum requirements in employment contracts, compensation for workplace accidents, and discrimination. A comprehensive state- funded accident insurance and rehabilitation scheme largely removes the right to sue for personal injury, in return for providing universal coverage for injuries. Hofstede’s earlier work (1980) indicated that New Zealanders were more tolerant of uncertainty than suggested by the GLOBE findings, and common cultural stereotype themes of independence support this. However, the New Zealand Survey of Values found that of a list of six important life qualities (comfort and prosperity, excitement, security and stability, accomplishing things, being respected, salvation) security was ranked first, accomplishing things second, and comfort/prosperity third. In regard to important job characteristics, job- security and good pay were ranked at the top of the list. (Gold et al., 1990). Writers have often attacked the pressure for conformity in New Zealand. Charles Brasch (quoted in Geraets (1984, p. 81)) writes of New Zealanders trying to “seek escape from a life which the pressure of conformity has helped to make intolerably drab and empty” . Author Dan Davin vividly captures elements of the emphasis on structured lives and consistency (1984, p.105):
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12 "In New Zealand everyone knows everyone more or less: those you don’t know personally
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