360 magazine issue65


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Economist Pankaj Ghemawat stirred up controversy when he wrote “just a fraction of what we consider globalization actually exists… [and] globalization’s future is more fragile than you know.” But how can that be? We live in a wired (and wireless) economy where a designer in Amsterdam collaborates with an engineer in Silicon Valley under the supervision of a Parisian manager, to manufacture goods in Shenzhen for the Brazilian market. Isn’t this world supposed to be “flat,” as Thomas Friedman famously declared?

In reality, much of our work is distributed across distant places, and leading organizations identify globalization as one of their key strategic goals. But the potential power of our globalized economy has yet to be fully realized. “In 2004 less than 1 percent of all U.S. companies had foreign operations, and of these the largest fraction operated in just one foreign country… None of these statistics has changed much in the past 10 years,” states Ghemawat in his book “World 3.0.” The incongruous state of globalization is nowhere as apparent as in the physical workplace. Workers’ behaviors, preferences, expectations and social rituals at work around the world can vary vastly, yet many multinational firms that expand to far-flung corners of the world simply replicate their workplace blueprints from home. Should today’s work environments become globalized into a cohesive form? Or should they remain locally rooted? The global business world has shed a bright light on cultural differences and generated an extensive examination of values and behaviors around the world. Yet despite obvious differences in the design and utilization of work environments, little attention has been given to the implications of culture on space design. As a result, leaders of multinational organizations often don’t realize that, when used as a strategic tool, workplaces that balance local and corporate culture can expedite and facilitate the process of global integration.

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360 magazine issue65

  1. 1. Leadership Momentwith LexJet CEOArthur LambertA new space, revitalizedemployees and record sales.Issue 65Exploring workplaceresearch, insightsand trends360.steelcase.comSustainability SpotlightSustainability workshops cultivateout-of-the box thinking aboutthe future.Q&A with PankajGhemawatIs your business a trulyglobal enterprise? Probablynot as much as you think.Culture CodeLeveraging the workplace tomeet today’s global challenges
  2. 2. Learn how media:scaperemoves barriers to innovation.steelcase.com/mediascapeIn an increasingly complex and competitive world, where creativity and innovation arevital, people—everywhere—need to work more collaboratively. The family of media:scape™products brings together people, information and space in a way that augments theirinteraction and amplifies their performance.Collaboration amplified.FrameOne with media:scapemedia:scape standing-height tablemedia:scape loungemedia:scape mobilemedia:scape mini
  3. 3. 2 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 3Global integration is a strategic business goal in today’s interconnected and interdependenteconomy. The workplace is an underutilized asset that organizations can leverage to accelerate thecomplex process of integration. Leading organizations that understand the role culture plays withinthe physical work environment can use space as a competitive advantage.In response to this challenge, the Steelcase WorkSpace Futures team recently completed a studyof 11 countries to better understand culture codes in the workplace. Their insights can helporganizations incorporate important values, employee behaviors and larger cultural contexts intowork environments that work around the world.about this issue
  4. 4. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 5Eles eum as apiet velecae. Nemolorrovitis recatibus vellaccum conseacercipsusa peribeatem volorporibusIPAD Ad360 Magazine is published by Steelcase Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2012. Cover and design by Plural, in collaboration with Steelcase.Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form unless you really want to help people love how they work—just ask us first, okay?CULTURE CODEThe Steelcase WorkSpace Futures team recentlycompleted a cultural study of 11 countries tobetter understand cultural codes in the workplace.Their insights inform how to reflect and incorporateimportant values, employee behaviors andlarger cultural contexts into work environmentsaround the world.18 Q&A with Pankaj GhemawatIs your business a trulyglobal enterprise?Probably not as much asyou think, says economistand author. But its timeto think that way.136 LeadershipMoment withArthur LambertLexjet CEO shares howtheir new space hasrevitalized employees,helped to boost salesto record levelsand cultivated a greatcustomer serviceexperience.140 Meet the ExpertsThree of the country’sleading authorities sharetheir thoughts on designingactive learning spacesand improving educationenvironments.148 A GermanCelebration ofNew IdeasAs part of Steelcase’syear-long, worldwidecentennial celebration,event brings togetherdiverse thinkers to lookahead to future businessinnovations.Join the conversationConnect with Steelcasevia social media and letus know what you’rethinking. Or email usat 360magazine@steelcase.comSearch “Steelcase 360Magazine” on the newstand.Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 3.2 or later.DepartmentsContents24Same but DifferentBy comparing work environments in 11 countries,the study identified distinctions and similarities.The opportunities and challenges in these differentcultures demonstrate how a thoughtfully-designedworkplace can foster trust, improve collaborationand ultimately help an organization go global fasterand more effectively.An Exploration ofEleven CountriesInsights into therelationship betweenworkplace behaviorsand the work environ-ment for each of the 11countries and what ittells us about them.10235Exploring workplaceresearch, insightsand trends360.steelcase.com360 on the ipadSearch “Steelcase 360 Magazine” on the newstand.Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.FIND THE “STEELCASE 360”APP FOR FREE ON ITUNESfacebook.com/steelcaseyoutube.com/steelcasetvtwitter.com/steelcase6 Perspectives 16 Trends 360124 LessonsLearned146 DesignApps152 Atoms Bits126 Insights Applied
  5. 5. 6 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 7Meet some of the people who contributed informationand ideas to this issue.The Culture Code Teamperspectivesperspectives“More businesses than ever are global and that means people have the opportunityto work with others from all over the world. There is a fascinating dimensionto that, but it can also be frustrating because you have to embrace new ways ofthinking,” says Catherine Gall, research director, Steelcase WorkSpace Futures.This was the driving force behind Culture Code, a research study Gall and theinternationally-distributed Workspace Futures team recently completed that examined11 countries to better understand culture codes in the workplace and how companiescan leverage these insights to provide effective work environments in a globalbusiness world (pg. 24).Ilona MaierStrasbourg, France“Evidence points to an increasing shiftin preferences and behaviors as an economygrows and its society changes. Severaldistinct approaches exist side by side.Understanding the disparities of a society inmotion is more important than makinggeneralizations.”CATHERINE GALLParis, France“Global organizations today are heading in thesame direction, were just at different points onthe journey.”Melanie RedmanGrand Rapids, USA“As companies embrace the idea of being trulyglobal, connecting people—both withinand outside the organization—will become themost important function of the workplace.”Wenli WangShanghai, China“User-centered research and the insights itgenerates are fundamental for formulatingdesign principles that lead to new applicationsand new products for different markets.”Annemieke GarskampAmsterdam, Netherlands“I’m focused on creating dynamic workspacesby linking the design of the physical space tothe ambition of the organization.”Sudhakar LahadeGrand Rapids, USA“The world is definitely more interconnected,but that doesn’t mean ‘one size fits all.’Understanding the differences of cultures ismore important than ever.”Izabel BarroS Rio de Janeiro, Brazil“I am particularly interested in the challengesassociated with multicultural innovation,knowledge capital, new ways of working andchange management.”Yasmine AbbasParis, France“As neo-nomads, we’re mobile—physically,mentally and digitally…When you movefrom one culture to another, you adapt andmake cultural adjustments. The more youmove, the more you adjust.”Beatriz ArantesParis, France“I’m a Brazilian global nomad based in Paris,and have split my life between eight differentcountries.”perspectives
  6. 6. 8 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.comwhat if achair couldimprovestudentsuccess?We believe it can. So we designed the node™chair with that goal inmind. steelcase.com/StudentSuccess8:05 a.m.Lecture8:27 a.m.Small group project8:45 a.m.Large group discussionand interactive lecture
  7. 7. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 1110 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.comStudents from architectural schools in Spain recentlyparticipated in a contest sponsored by Steelcase where theywere asked to design new approaches to address theneeds of an interconnected world. This is the second yearwhere students have been asked to explore a designproblem through this contest.“We had a great response—42 projects were submitted from27 universities,” says Pocina. Students could participate on their ownor in groups up to four individuals. Criteria for judging includedoriginality and sustainability, as well as how well the project supportedthe design of principles of an interconnected workplace: optimizingreal estate; enhancing collaboration; attracting, developing and engagingpeople; building brand and culture; and supporting wellbeing at work.“The contest was created to supportthe development of architectureand design students, giving themthe opportunity to connect withprofessionals”— Alejandro Pocina, president, Steelcase Spain PortugalThe projects werejudged by a jury madeup of renownedSpanish architects,including:Edgar GonzálezGerardo AyalaRamón EsteveLuis VidalFermín Vázquez42projects250submissions27universitiesEL ConcursoStudents in SpainExplore Design Solutions
  8. 8. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 1312 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.comSTEELCASE OFFICE BAG THE OTHER WORLD“Creating an oasis of work in any part of the globe was our inspiration.”1st Place WinnersMaría Lozano CorreaSergio Del BarcoPablo Magán UcedaRaúl Olivares Chaparro(Universidad Alcalá De Henares)2nd Place WinnersPaloma García de Soria LucenaMaría Carretero FernándezPilar Fernández Rueda(Universidad de Sevilla)The students created a changeable andcustomizable space, that is portable andapproaching the immaterial. Basic tools aregrouped into a single mobile element(computer, wifi, light, chair) and containedin a ‘backpack’ equipped with an inflatablemechanism that allows easy setup.Inspired by Escher’s “Other World”,environments are presented from differentpoints of view, toying with perspectiveand generating the idea that the floor, theceiling and the walls are all interchangeable.“The walls themselves can be transformed into floors orceilings depending on the users needs.”
  9. 9. 14 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 15A MATERIAL DIFFERENCE.Make an environmental statement.Rich colors and deep woven textures.Made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester.Easy to maintain, highly durable.steelcase.com/chainmailPERSONAL WORKING UNIT 3rd Place WinnersTamara De Los Muros SevillaJuan José Cobo OmellaBeatriz Rodríguez Martín(Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)Students created a “Personal WorkingUnit” (PWU). These PWUs facilitate acomfortable and linked worldwide workfabric where people can work on theirown or join two or more PWUs in order tocollaborate.“Personal Working Units inflated with helium are able to fly overthe stressful city roofs, or float over the water.”
  10. 10. 16 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 17Living On VideoTRENDS 360Video has become ubiquitous in both our personal and professionallives. Driven by the convergence of technology—smaller, better,cheaper—and sociology—people are social by nature and often preferface-to-face interaction—video traffic is increasing exponentially.In our personal lives video helps us stay connected with family andfriends. In our business lives, video is becoming a critical tool toto help us connect with teams and individuals.Everywhere we are living on video.70%of all data traffic will be mobile video,up from 52%.11 Source: The Cisco®Visual Networking Index (VNI)Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update55%of all consumer internet traffic will bevideo traffic, up from 51%.22 Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index, Forecast +Methodology, 2011- 201672%of the total video traffic is expected tobe web-based video conferencing, upfrom 61%.2Traffic is up4 billionviews per day on YouTube.44 Source: YouTubeBehaviors are changing62%of employees regularly collaborate withpeople in different time zones andgeographies. As collaboration increases,so does the need for video and digitaltools to facilitate interaction.33 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 200940 millionconcurrent Skype users in April 2012.55 Source: Skype dataWhile the use of videoconferencing hasgrown, people are increasingly uncom-fortable with the experience. Interestingly,their dissatisfaction is not only withthe virtual experience, but also with thephysical one. The places people experi-ence video often add to the problems.72%people say they notice their physicalappearance on the screen.658%people say they look tired, or washedout due to the lighting conditions orcamera quality on their computer, whenon a videoconference.6Room for ImprovementWhat role can design play in deliveringan improved video experience? How canwe create ‘destinations’ that augmentthese human interactions? Learn more at:http://go.steelcase.com/J3xPtRExperiences Need to be Designed60%said that they need small, private spacesfor one-on-one videoconferences, plusspaces for large group videoconferences.66 Source: Harris Interactive Survey conducted on behalfof SteelcaseFuture of Video Experience66%of survey respondents say they woulduse video conferencing if it were as simpleand convenient as using the phone.636%agreed that their workplace doesn’tprovide privacy to have a one-on-onevideoconference.6By 2016 By 2016 By 2016trends360trends360
  11. 11. 18 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 19QA withPAnkaj GHEMAWATPankaj Ghemawat was born in Jodhpur, India, educated at Harvard,teaches global strategy at IESE Business School in Barcelona, and consultswith businesses around the world. In his new book, “World 3.0: GlobalProsperity and How to Achieve It”, he argues that contrary to another best-selling book the world is not flat, that local culture, geography, and bordersstill drive individual and corporate behavior.Q: In “World 3.0”, you explain how globalization is farless advanced than many believe.The truth is in the data. Only 1% of postal mail crossesnational borders. Less than 2% of phone calls involveinternational calls. Just 18% of all internet traffic isrouted across national borders. On Facebook, 85% offriends are domestic. Then take a hot topic like trade.Some people say the U.S. consumes so manyproducts made in China that that the country couldcure its unemployment problem just by cuttingimports from China. In reality, the percentage of U.S.personal consumption expenditures accountedfor by products from China is between 1.3% and 2%.Do most companies overestimate how globalbusiness is?Globalization is one of those things that we all feel weexperience in our daily lives, so we don’t feel anyneed to check the data. I like Daniel Patrick Moynihan’sHow can companies understand and work withinternational differences?The three As: adaptation, aggregation, and arbitrage.Adaptation involves strategies for adjusting tocross-country differences; in other words, when inRome, do as Romans do. For example, WalMartschanging its business model for India by managingsupply and logistics and leaving its local partnerto own and operate the stores. Aggregation is theidea that although things may be different, sometimesyou can group them together and do a little bit betterthan just tapping country-by-country scaledeconomies. WalMart put a regional office in Asia,and while the countries are different, there’s arguablygreater homogeneity, and greater geographicproximity between, say, WalMart’s operations in Asiathan between two randomly selected countrieswithin the Wal Mart system. So by putting in aregional headquarters, you realize economies inGhemawat received his bachelor and doctorate degrees from Harvard, and becamethe youngest full professor in Harvard Business School where he taught for 25 years. Hehas worked at McKinsey Company and is currently the Anselmo Rubiralta Professor ofGlobal Strategy at IESE.“You may not be asglobal as you think”quote, “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, butnot their own facts.” I use facts to build a casegrounded in reality, rather than something that fits withhow we might, in a fanciful mode, imagine the worldto be.Why do highly experienced, well-travelled companyleaders underestimate how different countries andculture are as places to do business?Some people running very successful companiesunderestimate how difficult operating abroad will be.Companies usually go overseas when they run out ofroom to grow at home, presumably because theyhave been somewhat successful. And it’s perhapshuman, however misplaced to assume that if we tookcare of all our rivals at home, other countries, lessdeveloped, shouldn’t be that difficult. But borders,geography, and local culture still matter a great deal.terms of overhead support, managerial time andtravel and so forth. The third strategy for dealing withdifferences is not to adjust to or overcome them,but to use an arbitrage strategy: to exploit differences,such as buying low in one country and sellinghigh in another. Generally companies should selecta combination of these strategies, tailored to theirindustry, position, and capabilities.Distributed teams are a fact of life today. How cancompanies help people in different countries andcultures work together?First, make sure that there are an adequate numberof people with experience working across differentgeographies, and not all of them working in theirhome countries. Managers should circulate through aglobal organization. Do they have foreign workexperience? The data that I’ve seen that worries methe most is that at U.S. companies in general, it’s
  12. 12. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 2120 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.comWorld3.0GlobalProsPerityandHoW toacHieve itPankajGHemaWatH a r v a r d b u s i n e s s r e v i e W P r e s stakes longer for expatriates to make their way up thecorporate ladder. It’s usually the people that stayedwithin sight of the corner office, at home. How youidentify people, train them and move them around isimportant. It takes a lot of time because you haveto win internal credibility. You can’t do this as anafterthought and you have to figure out, is mycompany serious about doing this? The stakes arehigher now. For the first 20 or 30 years after WWII,there was a correlation between per capita incomeand market size. So the largest markets for manyproduct categories were typically going to be thesame list of rich countries. In the last 10 or 15 years,for many product categories that’s changed. Thosedistant, different markets that were kind of small anduninteresting are now key customers. In manycompanies, the organization will have to becomemore diverse to support emerging market growthstrategies, and that diversity will create more internaldistance that will need to be bridged.How helpful is technology in bridging distance?We have to become much smarter about the way wemanage interactions among diverse, far-flungemployees. Few companies have gotten very far atexploiting new collaborative tools —they could domuch more to leverage technology to improve internalcommunication. We also know we need to spendtime with other people because that’s when youget to toss around the idea that you had on your ownthat turns into a business innovation and you propel itforward. Research shows that electronic communica-tion needs periodic reset through face-to-facemeetings. Even if two people have a pre-existingrelationship, if they try and get large complex projectsdone over a long period of time just electronically,there’s inevitably going to be some drift in theirperceptions of each other. Trust declines sharplywith distance.How can companies better understand distant marketsand customers?For the really large companies, probably the mosthelpful place to start is pointing out that they may notbe as global as they think they are. Traveling abroadjust isn’t enough. A survey of executives concludedthat it takes at least three months immersed in alocation to appreciate how the culture, politics andlocal history affect business there. We all need tobecome more aware of the world around us, and tomake people more curious about what’s out there,what’s different. That’s what’s lacking in many cases.The Global Attitude Protocol is a good way to beginto measure what’s needed (opposite page).°What’s YourGlobalAptitude?How aware are you of the world’s peoples andcultures? Are you taking advantage ofopportunities of get to know the world better?Take this quiz, a simplified version ofPankaj Ghemawat’s Global Attitude Protocolfor assessing an individual’s exposure tothe world’s peoples and cultures. Answer eachstatement with one of these responses:strongly disagree, disagree, neutral/notrelevant, agree, or strongly agree.Figure your score:-2 points for each strongly disagree-1 for each disagree0 for neutral/not relevant1 for agree2 for strongly agreeTotal of 20+ implies no (serious) gap,10-20 some gap, below 10 a significant gap,and below 0 a huge gap.Quiz results, say Ghemawat, “may suggestways to improve your awareness of the world.An understanding of distant places doesn’tdevelop automatically; it takes personalinitiative. As journalist Walter Lipmann saidnearly eighty years ago, ‘The world that wehave to deal with is out of reach, out of sight,out of mind. It has to be explored, reported,and imagined.’”š š š š šš š š š šš š š š š š š š š šš š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š šš š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š š šdisagreeagreestronglydisagreestronglyagreeneutral/notrelevantI speak multiple languages.I have lived in countries other than my home country.I enjoy traveling to and getting to know people from different partsof the world.Some of my closest friends are of nationalities different from mine.I think I would enjoy working in a country in which I haven’tpreviously lived.When I travel/live in another country I try to learn about the political,legal, economic, etc. nstitutions of that country—and how theydiffer from my own.When I travel/live in another country, I try to learn about the culturaltraditions of that country —and how they differ from my own.I think I can develop an opinion about a person independent of anypreconceived image of his/her national culture or religion.I am comfortable working with people located in different countries.I am comfortable working together with people from differentcultures and backgrounds in the same location as me.I understand the socioeconomic/political ramifications of worldevents and can evaluate how they might affect my business orinvestments.I read newspapers and magazines with significant internationalcontent (e.g., International Herald Tribune, Economist, Fortune).I listen to the world news on international TV channels (e.g., CNNInternational, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera).I have used the Internet to expand my access to internationalnews and commentary.When I travel/live in another country, I make some attempt to lookat local media as well.
  13. 13. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 23Hosu–by Patricia UrquiolaCOALESSE.EU
  14. 14. 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 2524 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 26 Defining the Code 34 An Exploration of Eleven Countries 102 Same But Different: Mapping the Patterns of Work Culture 110 Unlocking the Code: What multinationals are doing to address cultural challenges in the workplace 122 The Research TeamThe Steelcase WorkSpace Futures research study of 11 countriesreveals what organizations need to know about the role of culturein high-performing global workplaces.Leveraging the workplace to meettoday’s global challengesCulture Code
  15. 15. Culture Code:Defining the Code360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 2726 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.comDefining the CodeEconomist Pankaj Ghemawat stirred up controversy when he wrote “just a fractionof what we consider globalization actually exists… [and] globalization’s futureis more fragile than you know.” But how can that be? We live in a wired (andwireless) economy where a designer in Amsterdam collaborates with an engineerin Silicon Valley under the supervision of a Parisian manager, to manufacturegoods in Shenzhen for the Brazilian market. Isn’t this world supposed to be “flat,”as Thomas Friedman famously declared?In reality, much of our work is distributedacross distant places, and leading organiza-tions identify globalization as one of theirkey strategic goals. But the potential power ofour globalized economy has yet to be fullyrealized. “In 2004 less than 1 percent of all U.S.companies had foreign operations, and ofthese the largest fraction operated in just oneforeign country… None of these statisticshas changed much in the past 10 years,” statesGhemawat in his book “World 3.0.”The incongruous state of globalization isnowhere as apparent as in the physical work-place. Workers behaviors, preferences,expectations and social rituals at work aroundthe world can vary vastly, yet many multina-tional firms that expand to far-flung cornersof the world simply replicate their workplaceblueprints from home. Should today’s workenvironments become globalized into a cohesiveform? Or should they remain locally rooted?The global business world has shed a brightlight on cultural differences and generatedan extensive examination of values and behaviorsaround the world. Yet despite obvious differ-ences in the design and utilization of workenvironments, little attention has been given tothe implications of culture on space design.As a result, leaders of multinational organizationsoften don’t realize that, when used as astrategic tool, workplaces that balance localand corporate culture can expedite andfacilitate the process of global integration.
  16. 16. 28 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 29The Geographyof TrustThough globalization can appear to be a scaryprospect for some, it is an inevitable anddesirable direction for many business leaders.Globalization can be a force of interculturalinterchange and increased productivity. TakeIBM, for instance.The computing giant holdsonline chat sessions among employees from75 nations to discuss the company’s prioritiesin so-called “jam sessions.” Think how muchknowledge can be harnessed when your organiza-tion successfully engages knowledge fromworkers of all backgrounds and cultures.Imaginehow much stronger the organization canbecome when it brings together value creationfrom around the world.So what can organizations do to accelerateglobal integration more rapidly and effectively?First and foremost, it’s important to betterunderstand and address the notion of trust.Citing 5th century Greek historian Herodotus,Professor Ghemawat declares that people“trust their fellow citizens much more than theydo foreigners.” Ghemawat goes on to arguethat trust decreases as the differences betweentwo peoples’ languages and proximity in-creases, adding that “differences in howmuch people in a given country trust peoplein other countries greatly affects cross-border interactions.”Companies cannot afford to ignore the trustissues stemming from cross-culturalencounters. “If businesses really respectdifferences, they will improve their busi-ness performance in ways that also bettercontribute to society at large, fostering aclimate of broader trust and confidence.”When designed to foster cross-cultural col-laboration and innovation, work environmentscan help build trust—the currency of collabo-ration—among coworkers, and between em-ployees and managers. Establishing trust isparamount to success abroad—and can beaccomplished by studying the local culturaltraits that outwardly manifest themselves inthe workplace.Steelcase WorkSpace Futures began thisstudy in 2009 with Office Code: BuildingConnections Between Cultures and WorkplaceDesign that explored the central questionof how cultural differences manifest them-selves in the way work is done; what workersneed; and how workplaces are or should bedesigned.The publication studied patterns of behaviorsand design tendencies in six European nationsto demonstrate how various cultural dimen-sions manifest themselves in the work environ-ments. By investigating the key cultural factorsthat shape the workplace, this exploratorystudy identified the forces that shape the workenvironment today.Responding to businesses’ increasing needand desire to integrate global operations, in2011 Steelcase WorkSpace Futures continuedwith the second phase of the ongoing project,Culture Code. Collaborating with a diverseroster of business leaders, designers andsocial sciences experts in Asia, Europe, Africaand North America, Steelcase has built uponthe earlier study to further understand culturecodes in the workplace. By focusing on theinterplay of typical work cultures and work-spaces in 11 nations, the research has yieldedspecialized insights into how to reflect andincorporate important values, employee behav-iors and larger cultural contexts into the workenvironment.More important, the study has resulted in aset of filters that can be taken beyond the11 countries in the study and applied aroundthe world to decode the spatial manifestationsof culture.BalancingGlobal + LocalThe global/local tension is well-known to multi-national organizations. What can be globallystandardized and what needs be kept local doesnot follow universal laws.Designing and managingwork environments globally requires a deepunderstanding of cultural ramifications and is abalancing act.The way in which we perceive and use spaceis a vital and culturally variable dimension.But most people are not aware of this until theytravel to another country and are confrontedwith an altogether different notion of space (i.e.:amount and kind of light, noise, smells, objects,people). Underlying how space is organizedare subtle,unwritten rules.Anthropologist EdwardT. Hall, known for his study of people’s relation-ship with their direct surroundings, observedthe same paradox about culture: “Culture hidesmuch more than it reveals and, strangelyenough, what it hides, it hides most effectivelyfrom its own participants.” Therefore, under-standing the cultural significance of space isessential in managing the global/local equation.Fortunately, there are some common threadsthat run through all cultures.An intentionally designed workplace is a power-ful tool for driving global integration within anorganization. Understanding the local culture anddrawing strengths from each location helpsorganizations build a corporate culture that worksaround the world. Diverse cultural preferencespose different barriers as well as opportunities forcollaboration. Cross-cultural collaboration isthe driving force behind value creation today. Inorder to foster creativity and collaboration, theimplicit and explicit cultural codes embedded inthe workplace must be deciphered and leveragedto the organization’s advantage.Culture Code:Defining the CodeThe GlobalVillage Inside theWorkplace
  17. 17. 30 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 31The work of Geert Hofstede and Edward T.Hall, Jr., social scientists who conductedbreakthrough intercultural research, is inte-gral to Steelcase’s Culture Code study of therelationship between culture and the work-place in countries around the world.By analyzing data collected from IBM em-ployees in more than 70 countries dur-ing 1967-1973, Hofstede, a Dutch professorand researcher, developed the first empiri-cal model of dimensions of national cul-ture, described in his 1980 book “CulturesConsequences.” Subsequent studies andpublications by Hofstede and colleagueshave extended and updated the original IBMstudy. Hofstede’s findings and theories areused worldwide in psychology and manage-ment studies.Hall was an American anthropologist andcross-cultural researcher who developedthe concept of proxemics, a term he coinedto describe how people behave and react indifferent types of space. With the publica-tion of Hall’s 1976 book,“Beyond Culture,”proxemics became widely regarded as animportant subcategory of nonverbal com-munication. His definitions of “High Context”and “Low Context” as a metric of culturehave been particularly influential in a widerange of communication and organizationalbehavior studies.Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions—PowerDistance, Individualism Collectivism,Masculinity Femininity, Uncertainty Avoid-ance and Long-term Short-term Orien-tation—plus Hall’s High and Low Contextcommunication scale create a framework forSteelcase’s investigation of the factorsthat influence workplace design in differentcountries and cultures.Hofstede HallThe researchers are quick to point out thateach of the cultures studied is rich anddiverse and that every insight may not applyto every country or company. Sweepinggeneralizations can be misleading. Thevalue in identifying broad trends andpatterns of behavior rooted in culture is toraise cultural empathy and help inform thedirection of workplace design, so people inglobally integrated enterprises can buildtrust and work together more effectively.Key MethodologyBetween 2006 and 2011, Steelcase set out to delineate the connection between spaceand culture in 11 countries —China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Morocco,the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, and the United States.Dutch social scientist Geert Hofstede’s seminal works on cultural differences providedone of the core frameworks for the inquiry. The researchers combined his work with thatof anthropologist Edward T. Hall Jr., who developed the concept of proxemics, whichexplored how people react and behave within defined spaces. By synthesizing Hofstede’sdimensions and Hall’s theory, Steelcase uncovered new insights into cultural influenceson the workplace. The researchers observed over 100 workplaces in 11 countries, usingsix dimensions from Hofstede and Hall.Culture Code:Defining the CodeThese models provide a practical foundationfor understanding the differences betweennations and their attitude toward work/life.How do cultural differences manifest them-selves in interpersonal relationships, confronta-tional situations, or verbal and nonverbalcommunications? Can workplace design helpreconcile cultural differences and foster trust?Steelcase’s team of multicultural researchersconducted workshops, interviewed businessleaders, designers and social scientistsand benchmarked findings in 11 countries. InIndia alone, the researchers visited 12 multi-national and homegrown companies to high-light emerging design philosophies. In additionto site visits, a total of 30 workshops were car-ried out in four different continents, bringing ex-perts from different fields to offer insights intodesign practices from varying vantage points.
  18. 18. 32 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 33Power Distance Index (PDI)Is power distributed evenly (consultative) ordisproportionately to a few (autocratic)?Individualism vs. CollectivismDo people identify themselves as individuals oras members of a group?Masculine vs. FeminineDoes the culture show more male (competitive)or female-like (cooperative) behaviors?Uncertainty ToleranceWhat is the culture’s attitude toward uncertainand ambiguous situations?Long-term or Short-term OrientationIs the culture more concerned with immediateprofit or future benefits?High or Low ContextDoes the culture require indirect, implicitcommunication (high context) betweenindividuals or a more direct and explicitapproach (low context)?Power Distance Index (PDI):This index measures how equally or hierarchicallypower is distributed in any given culture. Incultures with a high PDI, an individual worker hasless chance of exerting power. In such autocraticplaces, the ideal boss plays the role of a goodparent with decisive and authoritative power—withphysical spaces to represent such authority. Incontrast, consultative countries see everyone par-ticipating actively in the decision-making process.While some might mistake one end of the spectrumas superior to the other, these values are actuallyneutral, merely reflecting what most employees findappropriate. An employee in a more autocraticwork culture can be just as content as their counter-parts in consultatiave cultures, as long as theirexpectations are met.Individualism Collectivism:In a collectivist society, strong integration in groupsis valued over individual achievement. In suchcultures, confrontations are to be avoided and, toa large extent, being in harmony with the groupis a universal law. On the other hand, an individualistsociety expects self-reliance and autonomy from itsworkers. Promoting frank exchange of opinionsis a crucial challenge for managers in such societies.Masculine Feminine:Hofstede considered masculine and feminine traitswithin cultures, though these monikers may seemmisleading. Masculine—or competitive—culturesfoster performance-oriented goals. On the otherhand, feminine—or cooperative—societies placegreater importance on personal relationshipsand collaboration. In such countries, work/life balanceis one of the foremost priorities.Uncertainty Tolerance:The fourth scale measures a culture’s tolerance lev-els for uncertainty. In uncertainty-tolerant societiespeople tend to handle unpredictable situations well:ambiguity and diversity are prized values. Thesecultures prefer limited rules and are more comfortablewith change and facing unknown situation. Security-oriented cultures, on the other hand, seek solutionswith clear rules and preventative measures. Theparadox is that cultures with a low tolerance foruncertainty may ignore the rules they’ve established,but feel better that the rule exists.Long-term or Short-term Orientation:This dimension gauges a culture’s temporalperspective. A short-term oriented society tends toemphasize immediate results and value free time.It focuses on the present while also respecting tra-dition. Conversely, long-term oriented culturesare concerned with the future, upholding traits likethrift and perseverance.Low or High Context:This dimension from Hall’s research explores thepowerful effect that cultural conventions haveon information exchanges, included its unstated rulesand styles. In High context cultures (HCC), anunderstanding of unspoken rules of engagement isrequired, therefore indirect implicit communication isessential. In Low context cultures (LCC) a directand explicit approach is key to cooperation betweenindependent individuals.Six Dimensions of CultureCulture Code:Defining the CodeAutocraticIndividualistMasculineLow ContextConsultativeCollectivistFeminineUncertaintyTolerantSecurityOrientedShort-termOrientedLong-termOrientedHigh Context
  19. 19. 34 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 35An Explorationof Eleven CountriesSteelcase researchers compiled reams of dataon each workplace in every country theyvisited. After an initial understanding phase inwhich they gathered relevant secondaryresearch, the team moved into the observationphase in which they used a variety of ethno-graphic techniques to study the activities andinteractions of workers in diverse environ-ments. This data was synthesized into keyfindings for each country. The following sectionincludes insights from those observations,findings from the secondary research, scoreson the Hofstede/Hall dimensions as wellas thought starters and considerations foreach country.RespectingCultureNew paradigms of knowledge creation haveprofoundly transformed our ways of working.Information is created corroboratively in a widearray of spaces around the world. Yet evenas information technology has made the virtualworld prominent, the physical space remainscrucial in fostering trust, creativity, sharinginformation and shaping a company’s identity.In addition, in the next decade, for the firsttime in 200 years, more economic growth isexpected to come from emerging marketssuch as Brazil, Russia, India, China or SouthAfrica, than from developed markets.* Inthis new global marketplace, work and workersare shifting locations, and working acrossorganizations, time zones and physical/virtualspaces. As a result, cultures are colliding.Business leaders, real estate professionals,architects and designers need new waysto think about how to design for global andlocal values.” People think and see the worlddifferently because of differing ecologies, socialstructures, philosophies and educationalsystems that date back to ancient Greeceand China and has survived in the modern world,”observes Richard E. Nisbett, codirector, Cultureand Social Cognition, at the University ofMichigan. Understanding the tension pointsbetween global rationalization and local identityis key to providing users globally with highperformance work experiences.Today’s interconnected economy requiresextensive knowledge of the markets in whichbusinesses operate. Understanding how thecultural issues translate into the workspacehelps organizations to leverage the physicalenvironment—an often under-utilized asset—intheir efforts toward global integration. In fact, itcan be a prerequisite to success. Ghemawatsummed up the purpose of this research whenhe wrote: “For many companies, the greatestchallenge may be fostering the human capacityto connect and cooperate across distancesand differences, internally and externally. Howmuch would your profitability increase if youcould broaden circles of trust and cooperationacross departments, countries, and businessunits so people really work together rather thanagainst each other? What if your people couldstretch their perspectives to care more deeplyabout customers, colleagues and investors?People can broaden their sympathies to bringthem a little closer to us, with inspiring results.”While the needs of organizations are asunique and varied as the countries in whichthey operate and “one size does not fit all”.The conceptual drawings and design consider-ations for each country share ideas fordesigners who seek to balance the organiza-tional culture with local culture. This initialexploration will be followed by ongoing studyand prototypes of spaces that reflect andrespect the local culture code.36 China42 France48 Germany54 Great Britain60 India66 Italy72 Morroco78 Netherlands84 Russia90 Spain96 United StatesCulture Code:Defining the Code*The Great Rebalancing, McKinsey Quarterly, June 2010.
  20. 20. 36 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 37Fast-forwarding the pace of progressThe pace and scope of economic growth in China defies descrip-tion. Rising prosperity has fueled one of the largest rural-to-urbanshifts in history—at least 300 million Chinese have moved intocities during the past 20 years—and by one estimate at least 50,000new skyscrapers will be built in China’s cities during the next 20years, according to McKinsey Company.As businesses from all over the globe are pouring into China tobecome part of the action, competition is stiffening and the tempoof change keeps accelerating. The Chinese government is on aquest to move the country beyond being just the world’s manufac-turing center; to drive continued economic growth, China is tryingto develop a services and a knowledge-oriented economy. Innovationis the new buzzword, and it means evolving centuries-old culturaltraditions as well as the Chinese approach to education. There’s agrowing difference between attitudes and expectations of oldergenerations and those born after 1980.NOTABLE Businesses in China, includingmultinationals, must spend a significantamount of front-end time cultivating guanxiwith clients. A distinctly Chinese concept,cultivating guanxi is more complex thanrelationship-building as practiced in the West.Guanxi is about understanding the responsi-bilities intrinsic in each role within a relation-ship, and it can take years to develop. Withoutguanxi, a business can’t be successfulin China.Country PRofilesCHINAChina
  21. 21. 38 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 39Gender EqualityMedium scores for gender equality and humandevelopment, 28th in the world.Gender participation in the labor forceSource: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011Ambitious young Chinese women are makingstrides in the workplace and government.Job SatisfactionJob-hopping is common due to talent scarcity.Many workers are attracted to multinationalsbecause they provide opportunities to workabroad. There’s a recent trend for youngerworkers to prefer state-owned enterprises dueto benefits, stability and shorter working hours.Key FactsChinaScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows China as a society that acceptshierarchy and is influenced by formal authority. People are highlydependent on their society and tend to act in the interests of theirgroup versus themselves.Work Dynamics​Flexible work arrangements and/or mobilework are the exception due to inadequateinternet infrastructure, small homes andcultural norms.Maintaining harmonyand showing respect tosuperiors is highlyvalued; employees arereticent to express theirown ideas, though that’sbeginning to change.Collaboration can be strong within depart-ments, but limited interdepartmentally becausetrust is stronger within close-knit groups.Employees tolerate dense work environments.A paternalistic leadership model meansworkers’ immediate supervisors are expectedto be hands-on and personable. Managers areexpected to socialize with employees.Workers expect explicit directions on tasks.Qualified workers switch companies easily.Work HoursChinese people are among the longest workingin the world; the workday is officially set at8 hours, but at least 25% put in 9—11 hoursevery day.Source: NetmanLong lunch breaks provide time to eat, rest oreven take a nap to re-energize.Quality of LifeOverall life satisfaction in China is low, despiteunprecedented economic growth andincreasing life satisfaction among those withhigher incomes. Only 9% of populationconsider themselves thriving, 14% suffering.Among Asian nations, 41 countries scorehigher in wellbeing and only 5 score lower.Source: Gallup Global Wellbeing Report, 2010ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedLow context High contextAutocratic/ConsultativeHierarchy means harmonyMost Chinese companies are hierarchical.Before economic reform in the late ‘70s, busi-nesses were run by the state according tocommon principles. Workers were simply ex-pected to complete their tasks and decisionswere made at the top. Today, privilege and re-spect are still dependent on rank, and peopleaccept hierarchy as a means to maintain har-mony and order.Employees look to their managers for mentor-ship and guidance; most are cautious aboutvoicing ideas and opinions. Attitudes aboutpower are slowly starting to change due tooutside influences and as younger, Western-trained executives assume leadership roles.Individualist/CollectivistTrust trumps allBusiness in China is about relationships, linkedto the traditionally collective nature of its cul-ture. Once people establish a relationship, bothparties are bound by rules of behavior, whichentail rights and responsibilities—a complexsystem of etiquette known as cultivating guanxi.Trust is highly personal and earned. Thereforeit exists only within your in-group (department).Relationships are cooperative within in-groups,but interdepartmental collaboration may bevery low or nonexistent.Masculine/FeminineQuiet strengthChina is a masculine culture—success-orient-ed and driven. Many Chinese routinely sacrificefamily and leisure time in order to work.Yet most find it difficult to admit to being com-petitive in the workplace. Competition is moreobvious between departments than amongindividuals. Overly aggressive words and pos-turing are shunned. Strength is displayedthrough decisiveness and earned achievement.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedAmbiguity and pragmatism: facts of lifeThe Chinese are tolerant of uncertainty, andthis serves them well in the dynamic natureof their economy today. They are comfortablewith ambiguity, and their language reflectsthis. Many directives and rules in China retainthe spirit of Confucius: worded so vaguely thattheir purpose can’t be immediately grasped.As a result, adherence to rules can be flexibleto suit situations, and pragmatism frequentlyguides actions.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedPatience and flexibilityPersistence and perseverance are normal inChinese society. People tend to invest in long-term projects, such as education for their chil-dren and real estate. Doing business in Chinais about putting in the time to learn about yourclients, developing relationships and gainingpersonal trust. Establishing guanxi with theright people is widely regarded as the best wayto navigate through the business environment.Low Context/High Context“Yes” may not mean “yes”Chinese culture is high context. Language isfull of ambiguity—it’s considered rudeto say “no,” for example, even if you disagree.To resolve conflicts or navigate sensitivesituations, it’s common to use third parties asgo-betweens.Communication can’t take place outside of re-lationships. People rely on unspoken signals formeanings and often “read between the lines.”Therefore, videoconferencing can be far moreeffective than a phone call for distance com-munications, and small group discussions areoften more successful than large ones.67%80%womenmenCountry PRofilesCHINA
  22. 22. 40 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 41Considerations for addressing THE five key workplace issuesOptimize Real Estate Chinese workers will tolerate fairly denseworkstation planning, which affords extraroom for alternative spaces. A more progressive interpretation of executivespaces could include a smaller footprint, elim-inating the traditional private retreat for restor study, and creating zones for individualwork and for receiving guests both inside andimmediately outside the private office.Enhance Collaboration Including videoconferencing spaces that areeasy to use will help foster collaboration withcolleagues distributed in other areas. For highcontext cultures such as China, non-verbalcues are critical to build effective communica-tion and trust. Centrally locate collaboration zones to en-courage inter and intra-departmentalcommunication.Attract, Develop Engage Chinese workers change jobs often, and aworkplace that reflects modern values withdesirable amenities is becoming a tool to at-tract talent. Younger workers desire a better work experi-ence and appreciate informal areas to social-ize or relax.Build Brand Activate Culture Brands are highly valued in China. Make sureto provide zones to reinforce brand messagesnot only for visitors, but for employees as well. A range of collaboration spaces should beintegrated in work areas to foster newbehaviors among workers and develop aculture of innovation.Enrich Wellbeing Natural light should be equally available toworkers and leaders. Transparency and access to a variety ofspaces will help employees to stay engagedin their work and have a stronger sense ofbelonging.Change is accelerating in China and work-places need to keep pace. Hierarchy continuesto be embraced by workers to maintain harmonyand order. Executive and manager officesare important symbols of respect and order.Due to cultural norms of reticence and taskorientation, collaboration is a significant behav-ioral change for Chinese workers. Yet attitudesabout space are shifting as outside influencesexpose Chinese organizations to new waysof working. Spaces that promote collaborationand innovation should be blended with tradi-tional views of hierarchy.Thought StartersChinaCountry PRofilesCHINAProgressive spaces in Chinaare exploring ways to fostercollaboration in semi-en-closed spaces, close toleaders and workers.Enclosed collaboration areaswith glass walls communicatedesired behavior. Openbooth seating encouragesalternative postures.ArrivalManagersCollaborationZoneCollaborationZoneCollaborationZoneResidentNeighborhoodExecutiveLeadershipThe spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.
  23. 23. 42 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 43Joie de vivre vs. travailCompared to their European counterparts, the French have a uniquerelationship with work. On the one hand, they are deeply investedin their professional roles and career advancement. On the other hand,they prize the overall quality of their lives and consider protectingit a serious matter. Moreover, the desire for self-fulfillment throughwork exists alongside a deeply embedded acceptance of hierarchy.This duality, coupled with the economic instability of high unemploy-ment and other problems in the labor market, can lead to feelings ofinsecurity and disillusionment. As a result, high emotional engage-ment in work—evident in vivacious discussions and creative think-ing—is frequently juxtaposed with a contradictory desire: to escape tothe personal sphere.As tradition bends to progressive innovation, traditional layouts aregiving way to open-plan spaces that promote interaction andflexibility. French workers are still attached to territory, however, andclear attribution of spaces and accommodations for privacyremain very important. The ongoing evolution to open-plan settingsis a significant culture change that requires careful planning andabundant two-way communication.NOTABLE The French preference for central-ized power has made Paris the unquestionablefinancial, cultural and political heart of France.The “city of light,” along with newer satellite cit-ies created around it, far outweighs the rest ofthe country in terms of national and multina-tional headquarters, and the prestigious jobsthat come along with that.Country PRofilesFRANCEFrance
  24. 24. 44 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 45Work Dynamics​The office is still the primary space for work,although mobile technologies and globalizationare generating interest in alternative work options.The French leadership styleis outgoing and declarative;management is typicallycentrally located so theycan influence daily work.Decision-making can be slow due to theneed for vetting and approval at multiple levelsof leadership.Collaboration traditionally occurs in structuredmeetings.Punctuality is a loose concept; meetingsusually don’t start on time and often run over.Work HoursPersonal time has high value, and, overall,workers in France tend to work fewer hoursthan those in many Western countries.If a meeting runs long, it’s considered a signthat things are going well.The average lunch break in France is nowabout an hour. Taking time to enjoy lunch,versus eating at your desk, isn’t consideredincompatible with a strong work ethic.Staying late at the office is common, especiallyfor those in senior positions.Legislation passed in 2001created a standard 35-hourwork week for hourlyworkers; however mostsalaried office workers putin more time, includingworking into the eveningat home.Quality of LifeAmong European nations, 17 countries scorehigher in wellbeing and 22 score lower.Key FactsFranceScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows France as a country with a distinct cultureof paradoxes that can create conflicting situations.ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedAutocratic/ConsultativeLeadership is in chargeAutocratic leadership and hierarchical allocationsof authority still prevail in France, perhapslasting traces from its history as an aristocracy.Rules, titles and formality are taken seriouslyas reference points for stability.Individualist/CollectivistLiberty and equalityFrench people value the freedom and autono-my to exert their rights, while at the same timethey show a strong sense of duty to their re-sponsibilities in designated roles. Smooth re-lationships depend on everyone following theirduties and everyone’s rights being respected.Masculine/FeminineBalancing assertiveness and cooperationThe French hold an ambiguous position onthis dimension. Though moderately coopera-tive, the French also view assertive criticism asan often-necessary step toward improvement.Both reason and emotion play a part in mostdebates and decisions. Additionally, masculineand feminine qualities compete with each otherbecause the French value both their careersand quality of life, creating a paradoxical rela-tionship to work among both men and women.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedStrict rules, flexible practiceThe French show a high preference for security.In general, they adhere to structure, formalityand rules to satisfy emotional needs. If a ruledoesn’t function well, the French are apt to justignore it; they rarely openly question or chal-lenge its validity.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedBalancing today’s enjoyments andtomorrow’s gainsMore long-term oriented than most otherEuropean countries, the French trust relation-ships built over time and tend to make deci-sions slowly and prudently through thoroughanalysis. A concern for future results is appar-ent in many aspects of business, such asinvestments in research, development andfacilities maintenance. At the same time,quarterly results are important and leadersare expected to generate short-term gains.Low Context/High ContextBehind a maskThe French culture is high context. Becauseof its culture of autocracy, French people oftenhave a difficult time being spontaneous atwork. Instead, they tend to mask personalityand what they think. Many things are leftunsaid, and nonverbal signals can also be hardto read.35%6%of population considerthemselves thrivingsufferingSource: Gallup Global Wellbeing Report, 2010Gender EqualityA very high rating for gender equality andhuman development, 20th in the world.Percentage of women with at least secondaryeducation is closely comparable to men: 80%vs. 85%.Gender participation in the labor forceSource: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011Most employed women work fulltime.Job SatisfactionSatisfaction varies widely.Feeling in control and being rewarded at workare valued; workers are quickly alienated whenthese are absent. 60%73%womenmenLow context High contextCountry PRofilesFRANCE
  25. 25. 46 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 47Considerations for addressing THE five key workplace issuesOptimize Real Estate Moderate density is acceptable to Frenchworkers, while assigned space is still preferred. Defining boundaries through storage ele-ments and screens will increase workers’comfort with closer proximity to colleagues.Enhance Collaboration Collaboration areas that are defined withexplicit protocols are important, and opencollaboration areas help promote speedand innovation. A café in close proximity to work areas sup-ports an important part of the French workculture, and also supports connection and in-teraction with peers.Attract, Develop Engage Workers in France are drawn to spaces thatare professional and inspiring, without beingplayful or trendy. Collaboration areas will support learning andengagement with peers and leadership.Build Brand Activate Culture A distinct brand color palette can help toreinforce identity. Innovation-oriented brands will benefit fromspaces that encourage employeesto experiment and prototype new ideas.Enrich Wellbeing Provide a range of spaces that allow employeesto control stressors by amping up or downthe amount of sensory stimulation they want,based on the work they need to do and theircomfort level. Open spaces that reflect clear brand valueshelp employees feel a greater sense of mean-ing and purpose in their work.Workplaces in France are evolving from tradi-tional layouts to more open plans that promoteinteraction and flexibility. Employees, facinguncertainty and instability in the economy andlabor market, value emotional engagement andcreative collaboration at work. Quality of life isimportant, although some signs of work andlife blurring are emerging. This thought starteris intended to promote a strong sense of resi-dency and balance hierarchy within an egalitar-ian space.Thought StartersFranceCountry PRofilesFRANCEManagersExecutiveLeadershipCollaborationZoneResidentNeighborhoodResidentNeighborhoodCommunityCaféA café area adjacent to opencollaborations spaces and“I” work zones can encouragemore fluid shifts betweenmodes of work.Consider increasing the visibilityof leadership areas, withadjacent, open collaborationzones to support a cultureof transparency.The spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.
  26. 26. 48 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 49Precisely innovativeAs one of only a few countries in the world that’s referenced byinhabitants as “he” versus “she,” Germany flexes a masculinemuscle throughout the entire body of its culture. Individuality andcompetition are leading traits. Within organizations and networks,power and influence are important to everyone, and shared invarying degrees.Hard work, commitment and loyalty come easily for Germans, andachieving financial success and status at work are often prioritized.Change and new ideas require in-depth, detailed analysis, which canboth slow and strengthen innovation. A cultural penchant for actingon facts means Germans take others’ input into account on mosttopics and decisions.Privacy is a must-have. Closed doors are standard, people don’tenter unless invited and touching things in another person’s officeis unthinkable.NOTABLE A prosperous economy and highstandards for quality have made Germanworkplaces among the most well equipped inthe world. Buildings all over the countryboast first-rate architecture and premium fur-nishings. Workers expect abundant personalspace, superior functionality, well-engineeredergonomics and close proximity to daylightand outside views.Country PRofilesGERMANYGermany
  27. 27. 50 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 51Work Dynamics​Flexible work hours are the exception versuswidespread.Autonomy and flexibility are most frequentlyallocated to certain workers who do not needsupervision.Leaders readily solicit workers’ opinions;disagreements are encouraged.Acoustical, visual andspatial privacy areconsidered rights foreveryone.The dress code is generally formal and consid-ered a sign of professionalism and respect.Meetings start and finish on time; participantsare expected to come prepared, and workthrough a detailed agenda.Work HoursGermans like to start early and leave early;people are highly productive during work hours.Typical workdays are structured, with a setamount of time for breaks.Distractions at work, such as social celebrations,are kept to a minimum.Quality of LifeRelatively high sense of overall wellbeing;43% of population consider themselves thriving,7% suffering.Among European nations, 12 countries scorehigher in wellbeing, 27 score lower.Source: Gallup Global Wellbeing Report, 2010Gender EqualityGermany scores very high for gender equalityand human development, 9th in the world.The percentage of women with at leastsecondary education is high and closelycomparable to men: 91% vs. 93%.Gender participation in the labor forceSource: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011Job SatisfactionGerman companies trackemployee satisfactionand address any issuespromptly.Ongoing training and educational opportunitiesbuild high satisfaction.Germans like their jobs and are proud of theiremployers; they want to be high-performersand tend to hold themselves as accountablefor their own satisfaction.Key FactsGermanyScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows that competitiveness (“masculinity”)and individuality are strong factors in German culture, along with a securityorientation that makes rules and structure important.ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedAutocratic/ConsultativeMore information, better decisionsDespite a tendency toward egalitarian,“flattened”power structures, hierarchy is a valued wayof organizing, and is evident in the organizationof the workplace. Germans prefer leaderswho are open to debate. Workers expect cleardirection from superiors, but also opportunitiesto discuss alternatives. Leaders are receptiveto this, because they depend on employeesfor information and insights that lead to better,fact-based decisions.Individualist/CollectivistPrivacy protectionGermans have a strong need for maintainingpersonal space. They reject invasions ofany sort—acoustic, visual or physical—thatbreak the protective “bubble” of their distancefrom others. Because they feel exposed innon-territorial settings, open-plan office settingsneed to be low density with considerabledistances between workstations. Soundmasking plus some degree of partitioning orother privacy accommodations are essential.Masculine FeminineLive to workAmong European nations, Germany is themost competitive (“masculine”). Work iscentral to life—striving to be the best and risein the ranks is a constant challenge andoften enjoyable.Complementing their high prioritization of work,Germans place high value on the workplace.Spaciousness, attractiveness, natural lighting,comfort and overall high quality are expected.In this sense, the physical workspace addsa nurturing, “feminine” sensibility that balancesthe traditionally masculine traits that arehighly valued in Germans’ professional world.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedCertainty is in the detailsGermans’ aversion to uncertainty is expressedin extreme punctuality and a disciplinedapproach to every task. They tend to regulateeverything in great detail, including architec-tural and office design standards. Being averseto uncertainty, however, doesn’t stop Germansfrom innovating. It simply means they’recautious throughout the process, minimizing riskby building on knowledge and thorough analysis.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedPredictability as a passionThe German passion for time management andorganization is manifest in a mid-to-short-term orientation. Germans prize knowing whatthey will be doing at a specific time on aspecific day, and they’re averse to improvisa-tion and last-minute changes.A longer view is evident in business strategiesthat tend to balance the need for short-termresults with an eye on market position overtime. Moreover, organizations and individualsare conscious of their ecological impact andtend to favor sustainable solutions.Low Context/High ContextContent and contextAlthough they put high importance on thetime and space of a meeting, in other respectsGerman culture is low context. Sharedexperiences are quickly established to forma basis for communication, and providingas many details as possible is considered agood way to build understanding. Little timeis allotted for building deep relationshipswith co-workers or business partners, andgroupings change easily as circumstanceschange. What gets communicated is farmore important than how it’s communicated.Punctuality isregarded as avirtue.53%67%womenmenLow context High contextCountry PRofilesGERMANY
  28. 28. 52 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 53Considerations for addressing the five key workplace issuesOptimize Real Estate Private offices designed for one or two work-ers should feel spacious with glass walls andnatural light, while occupying a condensedfootprint. Workstations in the open plan should incorpo-rate screens and storage to define boundariesand increase privacy.Enhance Collaboration Collaboration areas should be located at“crossroads” between groups to promotecross-disciplinary interaction. Structured collaboration areas with space todisplay information are important to Germanemployees, and informal areas should be situ-ated throughout the space to encourage im-promptu collaboration.Attract, Develop Engage Spacious work areas with plenty of naturallight and a range of settings are critical toattract German employees. As mobility increases in Germany, loungeareas and unassigned desks will help supportnew behaviors.Build Brand Activate Culture Hierarchy is more about efficiency than privi-lege; executives offices should model visibilityand openness. To support a culture of innovation provide arange of spaces that promote both collabora-tive teamwork, and focused individual work.Enrich Wellbeing Settings designed for socialization andcollaboration will increase healthy interactionand engagement. Workers should be able to easily shiftfrom ergonomic seating, to standing orother postures.German workplaces have some of the higheststandards in the world, and employees expectnothing less. Privacy is important but shouldbe balanced with the need for collaborationand openness, while exploring ways to provideample dedicated personal space.Thought StartersGermanyCountry PRofilesGERMANYEnclavesResidentManagersCollaborationZoneCollaborationZoneResidentNeighborhoodResidentNeighborhoodNomadicBenchesWith a low tolerance fordensity, workers value enclosedshared offices where they canfocus, with adjacent informalcollaboration areas to connectwith teammates.A range of open collaborationdestinations allows Germanworkers a blend of structureand informality.The spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.
  29. 29. 54 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 55Island of individualistsAs some of the most individualistic people in the world, the Britishmaintain loose ties with others and pride themselves on beingindependent and self-reliant. For example, spouses usually keepseparate bank accounts. The British have high needs for privacy, andtend to speak softly so their words don’t intrude on any unintendedaudience nearby. Great Britains market-driven economy, withminimal interference from government, meshes well with thecountry’s individualistic culture.NOTABLE London has had a radical 21st-century facelift. Due to ever-increasing land pricesand the work of visionary architects, severalspectacular high-rises have been constructed,including the recently completed Shard,Europe’s tallest building at 309.6-metres (1,016-feet) designed by Renzo Piano. In general,office design is focused on aesthetics morethan functionality for workers.Country PRofilesGreat BritainGreat Britain
  30. 30. 56 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 57Work hoursWorking conditions are generally demandingwith constant pressure to do more, stay longer. Executives rarely leave the office before7:00p.m.and work at least“Deskfast” (breakfast at your desk) and lunchbreaks in front of a computer are norms.The work week sometimes ends at a pub withco-workers.Work dynamics​Great Britain has become a mature market formobile work and teleworking; workers arevery comfortable using technologies that allowthem to communicate in a distributed team.Independent thinkingis highly regarded, andpeople rely moreon facts than feelings.Conflict resolution can be combative, anddecisions are often made outside meetings vialobbyingPunctuality is practiced, but being up to 15minutes late is tolerated due to heavy trafficand congestionOpen plan is dominant; only executivemanagement has private offices.People switch jobs andcompanies often.Job satisfactionMany workers are stressedand dissatisfied withtheir working conditions.Gender EqualityVery high scores for gender equality and humandevelopment, though it ranks lower (28th) thanmany other Western world countriesThe percentage of women with at leastsecondary education is slightly higher thanmen (69% cf. 68%)Gender participation in the labor forceSource: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011Key FactsGreat BritainScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows individuality as the dominant factorin British culture. A short-term orientation, tolerance for uncertaintyand strong competitiveness “masculinity” are also strong influences.ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedAutocratic/ConsultativeCareer LatticeWork relations between employees and lead-ers tend to be consultative and open, andworkers don’t believe status inherently differen-tiates people. Many workers choose lateral jobchanges instead of incremental climbs that canbe perceived as requiring more work withoutsignificantly more pay. Although hierarchicalstructures are flat, paradoxically, status is oftenderived from deeply embedded notions, suchas accents, titles and education.Individualist/CollectivistIndividual focusHigh ranking in individualism means there areloose ties between people and organizations.People commonly switch jobs and companiesevery few years. Employees aren’t concernedwith deep work relationships and don’t staywith jobs just for security. Mostly, workers areconcerned with getting the most out of theirsituation, including salary. If they feel they’renot, they move on.Masculine/FeminineWork is competitionBritish workers are more competitive “mascu-line” than cooperative “feminine”, long workhours and skipped meals are common. Menand women are mostly convinced they have tobe tough to succeed in business.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedKeep calm and carry onThe British are at ease with unstructured,unpredictable situations. They look to formalrules only in cases of absolute necessityand are convinced that people can solve mostproblems on their own.At work, change is generally accepted as a factof life, reversals in decisions are taken in strideand a general sense of chaos is status quo.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedMaking every today countAs a short-term oriented country, Great Britainis attached to its past and lives in its present.The British put their primary focus on achievingshort-term performance metrics. Driven byquarterly financial goals, businesses look toquick profits. The goal is to make a bigimpact today.Like many short-term oriented nations, however,Great Britain is taking a longer view in thearea of sustainability. Companies are looking toimprove the sustainability of their businesses, andrequiring suppliers to follow suit.Low Context/High ContextStaying at arm’s lengthBritish culture is low context. In general, thereserved British prefer to keep some distancebetween themselves and others. Closerelationships are not considered important tobusiness. People rely on words versusemotion to carry meaning, and they prefer tokeep communication minimal, controlledand on their terms. Telephones go unansweredif a person doesn’t want to be interruptedand, in general, email or other written commu-nications are preferred for precision.Quality of lifeAmong European nations, only 8 countriesscore higher in wellbeing and 31 score lower.54%2%of population considerthemselves thrivingonly suffering50hours perweek. 55%70%womenmenCountry PRofilesGreat BritainLow context High context
  31. 31. 58 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 59Considerations for addressing the five key workplace issuesOptimize Space Dense benching solutions can save onhigh-cost real estate while thoughtfulaccessories make it easier for employeesto unpack quickly and be productive. Incorporate storage elements at benches to provide boundary separationfor workers.Enhance Collaboration Equip project spaces with virtualcollaboration technology to foster a blendof team and individual work. Provide informal collaboration spacesthroughout areas for individual workto promote the flow of “I” and “we” workthroughout the day.Attract, Develop Engage Offer a range of spaces that allow workersto shift between work modes easily, withgreater choice and control over where andhow they work. media:scape®setting near individual workareas will encourage quick review sessions toshare work in process and get feedback.Build Brand and Activate Culture Designate zones to reinforce brand messagesfor employees. A variety of spaces and transparencywill promote a culture of openness andcollaboration.Enrich Wellbeing Enclosed areas in close proximity to openspaces will support the need for privateconversations. Access to ample natural light is not a givenin Great Britain as it is in other Europeancountries—but it’s highly valued by employees.Workplaces in Great Britain today tend to befairly crowded and sometimes austere dueto high real estate costs. This concept offersideas for maintaining density to control ex-penses, by literally surrounding employees witha options they can choose from to supportthe work they’re doing. A range of collabora-tion areas, from open and informal to enclosed,large-scale spaces will attract highly mobileBritish workers into the office to connect withteam members, and as a result, feel moreconnected to the organization.Thought StartersGreat BritainCountry PRofilesGreat BritainResident NeighborhoodResidentHubCollaborationZoneCollaborationZoneA range of progressivespaces with nearby videoconferencing offer choicesfor how to connect withlocal and distributed teams.Highly mobile workers in GreatBritain are motivated to cometo the work workplace for accessto technology and access toother people.The spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.
  32. 32. 60 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 61Welcoming the worldA multicultural, multiethnic and vibrantly democratic country, Indiahas a rich history of absorbing customs, traditions, and heritages.It’s often said that India didn’t come to the world; instead, the worldcame to India.When economic liberalization opened up India’s economy in 1991,multinationals discovered its labor force and market potential,and the nation was quickly transformed into a global business hub.In some ways, Indians’ fascination with movies, both Bollywoodand Hollywood, is a way for them to see their own lives come toreality. Whereas in the past, passive fatalism was a dominantattitude, today’s Indians—especially the younger generations—arefull of can-do ambition and entrepreneurial spirit. As their countrycontinues to evolve rapidly, Indians are creating a new identity thatwears a distinctly hybrid stamp, blending traditional values withcontemporary attitudes and lifestyles.NOTABLE Families dominate Indian culture,although the tradition of multiple generationscomprising the same household is beginningto disappear in larger cities.Country PRofilesINDIAIndia
  33. 33. 62 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 63Work Dynamics​Flexible work arrangements and/or mobilework are limited; managers want to observeworkers, and workers want to be seen.Decision-making is based on hierarchy, thoughleaders may solicit employee input.Indians gravitate easilytoward group activities, abehavior that’s easilyleveraged for collaboration.Interaction often happens at individualworkstations; work environments tend tobe noisy.Employees tolerate dense work environments.Conflict with co-workers is avoided in everyway possible.With seemingly limitless opportunities, workersswitch employers easily.Work HoursChaotic traffic and overcrowded publictransportation lengthen the average workday.Arriving at work on time is expected, but at thesame time, being late is accepted.Indians don’t mind delaying meetings andprojects if it means the right people canparticipate.Bringing lunch from home and eating at yourdesk is common.Companies are expected to hostcelebrations of national events for employeesand their families.Quality of LifeWith poverty still a fact of life, overall lifesatisfaction is low; only 10% of populationconsider themselves thriving, 21% sufferingAmong Asian nations, 36 countries scorehigher in wellbeing and 9 score lower.Source: Gallup Global Wellbeing Report, 2010Gender EqualityMedium scores for gender equality and humandevelopment, 134th in the world.The percentage of women with atleast secondary education is significantlyless than men.33% of women participate in the labor force vs.81% men.Source: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011India values women’s strengths but many strivefor higher status and recognition in theworkplace.Job SatisfactionTurnover is high due to booming employmentopportunities, especially in high-tech and media.For young Indians,challenging work is asimportant as thereputation of thecompany and salary.Key FactsIndiaScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows India as a society with strong leaningstoward autocracy and group loyalty, although the rapid and profoundcultural transformations underway are making India’s younger generationsmore self-focused.ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedAutocratic /ConsultativeControl as psychological securityIndia scores high on autocracy. According toIndian beliefs, equality doesn’t exist in nature,and it’s accepted that social rights andprivileges vary with status. In the past, powerwas associated with family names, buttoday people increasingly gain power throughaccomplishments.In the workplace it’s common to leave deci-sion-making to leaders. Workplaces are de-signed to reflect hierarchy, power and status.Executives and managers get large privateoffices, while employees usually work in open,high-density environments, and it’s a disparitythat goes unquestioned.Individualist/CollectivistFor self and countryCollectivism is an important cultural trait inIndia. Over centuries, Indian people have beentaught to be loyal to family and community,for protection and security as well as the hap-piness they provide.Gen Y in India is trending toward strong indi-vidualistic behaviors, including little loyalty tojob and company. They see personal ambi-tions as the way to bring their country forward.Masculine /FeminineSuccess and harmonyAs a society that places high importance onsuccess and power, India scores “masculine,”although in the moderate range. Indian peopleeasily embrace brands boldness as visiblesigns of success.At the same time, spiritual values and a drivefor harmony are at the heart of Indian culture.Progressive Indian companies as well as mul-tinationals are realizing opportunities to appealto Indians’ softer side by making workplacesmore nurturing, hospitable environments.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedTrendsettersIndian people are very tolerant of uncertainty.Their adaptability helps explain the speed andmagnitude of change going on in their countryas India leapfrogs its way to becoming a worldeconomic power.Because Indians are so comfortable withchange, adapting employees to new workprocesses and environments may not requireextensive change management efforts. Formultinationals especially, India can be an ideal“laboratory” for experimenting with radically dif-ferent approaches or all-new investigations.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedKeeping karmaAlthough leaning towards a long-term orien-tation, Indian people’s relationship to time iscomplex. Their belief in life after death andkarma generates a focus on long-term versusshort-term gains. In fact, in Hindi the word fortomorrow and yesterday is the same: kal. Thiscan lead to a belief that there’s no rush for get-ting things done today—the focus of life is onbuilding relationships versus immediate profit.Because this often conflicts with today’s ex-pected business behaviors, it can be confus-ing at best and maddening at worst to othercultures.Low Context/High Context“Yes” may not mean “yes”India’s culture is high context. Because peoplerely on close-knit groups, they try to avoid con-flict, making it difficult to “read” what they reallythink. Communication is full of nuances thatcan be easily misunderstood. Notably, the in-famous Indian headshake: a side-to-side tiltingof the head that can mean yes, no or maybe.Indians would rather say “yes” than “no” toavoid hurting someone’s feelings, which wouldlead to bad karma.Forming questions in a positive way can help en-courage more open discussions. Face-to-facecommunication, whether virtual or physical, isusually most successful, and taking the time toestablish a relationship is an essential first step.Low context High context27%50%womenmenCountry PRofilesINDIA
  34. 34. 64 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 65Considerations for addressing the five key workplace issuesOptimize Real Estate In a country very familiar with close livingconditions, Indian workers tolerate high levelsof density. Working remotely is limited andemployees highly value having an assignedspace they can personalize. Leadership spaces should reflect theaccepted hierarchy, but can be condensed toallow more space for collaboration areas.Enhance Collaboration Indian’s collective nature lends itselfto collaboration, although it is still a newbehavior that needs to be fostered byproviding a range of collaboration options. Eager to build relationships with globalcounterparts, videoconferencing spaces willhelp workers in this high-context culturegain deeper understanding and trust withdistributed teammates.Attract, Develop Engage Technology-rich spaces are important toworkers in an economy with boomingemployment and high turnover. Offering amenities, such as informal collabo-ration spaces and a modern aesthetic,sends a message to employees that theyare highly valued.Build Brand and Activate Culture Transparency is important for Indian employ-ees who want to see and be seen byleadership. Create spaces where leaders andemployees can interact and share ideas. Brand messaging throughout the spacehelps build loyalty among workers andinfluences behavior.Enrich Wellbeing Tight deadlines and productivity quotas canbe stressful within a culture for which timeis not a strictly linear progression. Providingspaces for respite or refreshment canhelp balance the natural rhythms of relaxation. Ergonomic seating at the work station iscritical for India’s long work hours. Areasfor alternative postures are important toget employees out of their seats and movingthroughout the day.Workplaces in India today are steeped intradition, designed to support a widelyaccepted autocracy. Lavish executive officesreflect status and power, juxtaposed withemployee spaces that are modest andcompact. Booming employment has causedhigh employee turnover, causing Indianorganizations to think about the workplace as atool to attract the best and brightest. Considerdesign strategies that recognize the role ofhierarchy and go on to explore ways to supportrapidly evolving work styles.Thought StartersIndiaCountry PRofilesINDIAResidentNeighborhoodExecutiveLeadershipZoneResidentNeighborhoodResidentNeighborhoodArrivalZoneCollaborationZoneHigh density work environmentscan feel spacious when plannedin open areas with high visibilityand access to natural light.Gen Y workers in India valueinformal areas for collaborationor relaxation.The spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.
  35. 35. 66 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 67Rooted in traditionFor the most part, Italy remains a traditional society where hierarchyand seniority are visible. New ways of working are not widelyembraced or translated into user-centered office design. Instead, eco-nomic considerations and aesthetics usually lead the design process,although countertrends supporting new concepts of workplaceimpact are emerging, largely due to the influence of multinationals.NOTABLE Italians embrace social networkingvia the Internet and are more digitally connect-ed in their personal lives than many of theirEuropean counterparts.* The technology infra-structures as well as the underlying impetusfor telework and flexible workstyles, however,remain underdeveloped. There’s persistentbelief in Italy that managers need to superviseworkers closely throughout the workday.*European Commission Information Society.Country PRofilesITALYItaly
  36. 36. 68 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 69Work Dynamics​The office is still where most work happens;few people work in alternative settings,though there are emerging signs of readinessto change.Italian workers expect directions fromtheir leaders, but they also don’t hesitateto challenge a decision.Leaders listen and may ask for employees’opinions, usually during casual interactionsversus formal meetings.Italians are accustomed toworking individually witha lot of social interaction,versus as a team followingcollaborative techniques;the workplace culture ishighly competitive.Meetings are intense and lively, usually led bymanagement, and often start late.Italians pride themselves on improvisinglast-minute solutions to sudden problems.Workers treat their company like family,which can be an obstacle for newcomersor outsiders.Work HoursHard work is equated withlong hours behind a desk.Coffee breaks are important social times inthe workday.Managers feel obliged to be the last to leave atthe end of the workday.Quality of LifeAmong European nations, 15 score higher and24 score lower.Source: Gallup Global Wellbeing Report, 2010Job SatisfactionWorker satisfaction tends to be low.Workers often stay with employers for securityeven if theyre unhappy.Italy’s economic situation has generatedmore mistrust of business leaders and generaluneasiness.Gender EqualityItaly scores very high for gender equality andhuman development worldwide, though itranks lower (24th) than most other Westernworld countries.The percentage of women with at leastsecondary education is lower than men (68%vs. 79%).Gender participation in the labor forceSource: United Nations Development Programme Report, 2011Key FactsItalyScores on Cultural DimensionsThe distribution of scores shows that competitiveness (“masculinity”) andindividuality are overriding factors in Italian culture. This is clearly apparentin a high value placed on aesthetics, fashion and outward appearances.ConsultativeCollectivistFeminineSecurityorientedLong-termorientedAutocraticIndividualistMasculineUncertaintytolerantShort-termorientedAutocratic /ConsultativePatriarchal leadership is traditionalAutocratic leadership and hierarchical alloca-tions of authority prevail. The ideal modelof a superior has traditionally been a benevo-lent autocrat who may listen to opinionsbut is a hard driver and always holds the reins.Workers expect explicit directions fromtheir leaders and may feel uncomfortablewith collaboration.Individualist/CollectivistThe power of oneItalians score very high on individualism.Though they value close personal relationshipsto family, friends, co-workers and businessassociates, their identity at work remains moreindividualistic than team-oriented. Italianspride themselves on personal creativity, andthey generally prefer to work alone.Masculine /FeminineCompetitive and privateItaly has strong masculine cultural values,especially in the workplace. Most organizationsare male-dominated and have assertiveand competitive cultures; workers protecttheir projects and ideas until they they’re readyto be showcased in the limelight ofpersonal achievement.Uncertainty Tolerant/Security OrientedA legacy of security and structureAn aversion to uncertainty in Italian culturesupports energy, emotional expressiveness anda high need Typical of security-oriented cul-tures, Italians seek job stability and tend to re-main attached to a company evenif they don’t love their jobs. Employment in thepublic sector is highly valued because it’sreliable, even if routine or unfulfilling. At work,predictable hours and close supervision arecomfortable norms.Although not knowing what to expect can gen-erate uneasiness, Italians improvise all the time.Theirs is a culture of getting around obstacles.Short-term Oriented/Long-term OrientedLive for todayLeaning toward a short-term orientation,Italians strive for fast rewards more than long-term value. Like other short-term orientednations, they’re attached to the past androoted to familiar environs. For many Italians,changing jobs or moving to another placeis considered a major disruption to be avoidedif at all possible.Low Context/High ContextBonds that bindItaly is a high-context culture, with a strong senseof tradition and history that creates a solidcommunication framework for people in eachnew generation. With strong bonds to familyand community, “in” groups are clearly distinctfrom “out” groups. Voices can carry a lot ofemotion as a form of body language more tell-ing than words.39%7%of population considerthemselves thrivingsufferingLow context High context38%61%womenmenCountry PRofilesITALY
  37. 37. 70 | Issue 65 | 360.steelcase.com 360.steelcase.com | Issue 65 | 71Considerations for addressing the five key workplace issuesOptimize Real Estate Italian workers are comfortable in dense workareas where boundaries are clearly defined. A progressive executive space can be moreopen, with zones for administrativesupport, receiving guests and interactionwith employees immediately outside theprivate office.Enhance Collaboration Transparent collaboration settings within theresident neighborhoods encourage employeesto shift between individual and collaborativework more often. Positioning collaboration zones near individualwork areas can reinforce the messagethat these spaces are desirable and shouldbe used often.Attract, Develop Engage Italian workers tend to stay in their jobs—the workplace can help them stay engagedin their work by increasing transparency,so workers feel a part of the organization’spurpose. Positioning leadership close to employeeshelps foster a greater sense of connection.Build Brand Activate Culture Italian workers are highly loyal, and co-workersare like family. Include spaces that leveragethat tendency to foster socialization of ideasat work. Provide zones to reinforce brand messagesnot only for visitors, but for employees as well..Enrich Wellbeing Younger workers especially are seeking morepersonal fulfillment from their jobs. Createspaces that encourage more interaction withall levels of the organization Access to a variety of spaces with multiplepostures will help employees to stay engagedin their work and have a stronger senseof belonging.Work happens at the office in Italy, a culturethat highly values a distinction betweenwork and life. Like other cultures with hightendencies toward masculine values,making hierarchy visible in the workplacedesign is important. Highly individualistic,this culture is most comfortable withassigned workplaces where workers candevelop ideas on their own, then bringinto more structured collaboration sessions.Thought StartersItalyCountry PRofilesITALYCollaborationZoneResidentNeighborhoodResidentNeighborhoodExecutiveAdministrationCollaborationZoneExecutiveLeadershipZoneEnclavesPosition collaboration zonesoutside of executive officesto encourage informalinteractions with workers.Collaboration can take place atthe bench with nearby teammates, while video conferencinghelps connect workers with theirdistributed team.The spaces shown here are intended to help spark ideas. Every product is not available in every country.