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Sociological Study: "Why are Malaysians in the Klang Valley seen as unpunctual?"

Sociological Study: "Why are Malaysians in the Klang Valley seen as unpunctual?"

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  • 1. Malaysian Time “ Why are Malaysians in the Klang Valley seen as unpunctual?” SO101 SOCIOLOGY (GROUP XX) Adeline Low (B0502100) Celestine Tan (B0402466) Hor Zi Ning (B0502384) Lim Ban Hong (B0502084) Teo Chin Wah (B0600808)
  • 2.
    • Malaysian
      • “ a native or inhabitant of Malaysia.” (“Malaysian”, 2007)
    • Klang Valley
      • “ Klang Valley is the area in central Selangor, Malaysia comprising Kuala Lumpur and its surroundings and suburbs naturally delineated by hilly areas and the Port Klang coastline. The Klang Valley encompasses Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar, Petaling Jaya, Sungai Besi, Subang Jaya, UEP Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Gombak, and Batu Caves, among other towns.” (Wikipedia, 2007)
    • Unpunctual
      • “ not happening or doing something at the agreed … time” (“unpunctual”, 2007)
  • 3.  
  • 4.
    • What is Malaysian Time?
      • “… is plus but never minus” (Star Publications Bhd, 2007)
      • “ A random variable fluctuating wildly anywhere within the range of 60 minutes from the scheduled time” (theCICAK, 2005)
    • Malaysian Time seems to be world-renowned…
      • Even the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (n.d.) states that…
        • “ Punctuality is not important in Malaysia …” (n.d.)
    • Malaysian Time is often attributed to…
      • “ traffic, mood, previous engagements, logistical setbacks” (theCICAK, 2005)
      • Or could it be just the weather? Mueser (1953) has discovered that more people would be late during sunny days as opposed to days with dull weather.
    Introduction
  • 5.
    • Sociological Relevance
      • We will investigate why Malaysians are generally perceived as being unpunctual:
        • By looking at the perception of Malaysians on (un)punctuality.
        • By looking at how people of the same culture (Malaysians within the Klang Valley) behave in a similar pattern (being seen as unpunctual) due to a similar understanding of a concept of time learnt via socialization - which inevitably constructs our social reality. (Berger and Luckman, 1966 cited in Schaefer, 2007, pg .95)
    Introduction
  • 6.
    • Functionalist Perspective
    • “ Emphasizes the way in which the parts of society are structured to maintain its stability”(Schaefer, 2007, pg. 13).
    • Robert Merton (1968; cited in Schaefer, 2007, pg.15)
      • Manifest function : “Open, stated and conscious functions”
        • To show off one’s social position or identity
        • Greenberg (1989): one is more likely to be late when one is meeting someone who is lower ranked.
      • Latent function : “Unconscious, unintended functions that may reflect hidden purposes of an institution”
        • To signal an event is of unimportance or less prioritized
        • Greenberg (1989): stated that the act of causing others to wait indicated the perceived importance of that event because one should have the ability to control their use of time, set their priorities and choose whether or not to be punctual.
    Introduction
  • 7.
    • Functionalist Perspective
    • “ Emphasizes the way in which the parts of society are structured to maintain its stability”(Schaefer, 2007, pg. 13).
    • Dysfunction : “Element or process of society that may disrupt a social system and reduce stability” (Schaefer, 2007, p.15)
    • Groeneveld & Shain (1985; cited in Dishon-Berkovits & Koslowsky, 2002).
      • Unpunctuality causes loss of time and productivity, which in turn lead to an increase in financial costs
        • In a workplace, one person’s unpunctuality affects the team as a whole since appointments and working schedules are disrupted. In an academic setting group work will also be affected if a member is late for discussion.
      • “ Participacon Ciudadana” the group behind the punctuality campaign, stated that unpunctuality costs Ecuador $724 million each year (The Economist, 2003).
      • Abbink, Fischetti, Kroon, Timmer, and Vromans (2004) discovered that punctuality can reduce personnel costs by approximately $4.8 million.
    Introduction
  • 8.
    • Functionalist Perspective
    • “ Emphasizes the way in which the parts of society are structured to maintain its stability”(Schaefer, 2007, pg. 13).
    • Related to this perspective…
    • Equilibrium model : “If changes occur in one part of the society, adjustments must be made in other parts.” (Schaefer, 2005, pg. 528).
      • Virilio (2000) mentioned that a lot of factors including technology (i.e. mobile phone, public transport) speeds up the whole world.
      • Hence, Malaysians in the Klang Valley are lagging behind because they fail to adjust their time in proportion to the speeding-up of time
    Introduction
  • 9.
    • Conflict Perspective
    • “ Social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups” (Schaefer, 2007, pg. 14).
    • Levine (1987; cited in Greenberg, 1989) stated that status determines who waits.
    • People who are dominant in society (e.g. the VIPs) infringes on the time of those they are dominant over, thus depriving them of their time.
      • Schwartz (1975) noted that the dominant individual has power over another person, therefore can make him wait. Thus, those with less power will have to adjust or adapt to the time concept of the dominant groups.
      • People with higher position can command longer delays (Mann, 1969; cited in Schwartz, 1975). This type of “status-associated delays”, also called “ritual insult” (Schwartz, 1975, pg. 171) can make the waiting reasonable and worthwhile because high status is associated with value and resources.
    Introduction
  • 10.
    • Conflict Perspective
    • “ Social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups” (Schaefer, 2007, pg. 14)
    • Greenberg (1989) found that delays are closely related to differences between two status.
      • Therefore, those of lower status have to wait longer for the dominant group.
      • Since time is closely associated with production (The Economist, 2003) and consequently money, conflict theorists would argue that constant unpunctuality of the dominant groups will deprive the less dominant groups of their time and consequently also their money.
    • Unpunctuality is also the authorities’ way of reconfirming the fact that they have more power over the rest (Cornyn-Selby, 2004). For meetings involving these two groups, the dominant groups will allow themselves to be unpunctual but expect the rest to be on time.
      • For instance, the Prime Minister seems to have an unsaid right to be unpunctual for certain events.
    • On the other hand, unpunctuality could be seen as employees’ way as resisting the group that is dominating them (i.e. employer).
      • For instance, employees coming in late on Monday mornings or taking some extra time on their lunch break
    Introduction
  • 11.
    • Feminist Perspective
    • “ Inequity in gender as central to all behavior and organization” (Schaefer, 2007, pg. 15)
    • Unpunctuality of the Malaysian society is attributed to male dominance
      • Dominance in power: According to Azizah (2002), there are currently only 20 women in parliament out of 193 members
      • Dominance in numbers: “In Census 2000 there were 104 males for every 100 females” (Department of Statistics of Malaysia, 2005)
      • According to Eagly (2000) women are generally more likely to manifest behaviors that are socially sensitive and more concerned with the wellbeing of others. Hence women are more likely to comply to social influences and are more cooperative.
    • Therefore unpunctuality among women is caused by men who infringed on the time of women and taking advantage of their so-called “feminine traits”
    • Also according to Dudycha (1938, cited in Kanekar & Vaz, 1993) females are more considerate when someone is unpunctual.
      • However, it should be noted that the journal was published quite long ago, therefore, differences and perceptions between men and women might have changed in current age.
    Introduction
  • 12.
    • Interactionist Perspective
    • Uses “everyday form of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole” (Schaefer, 2007, p. 16)
    • Unpunctuality is a trait learnt via socialization – “the lifelong process in which people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture.” (Schaefer, 2007, p. 74)
      • Therefore unpunctuality is developed via interaction with members of the society.
      • According to Dishon-Berkovits and Koslowsky (2002) one’s unpunctuality influences another party to be late and vice versa.’
    • Unpunctuality can also be seen as a symbol of social status (Shils, 1970; cited in Greenberg, 1989), hence employers who arrive late can reinforce their relatively high status. This point is supported by Cornyn-Shelby (2002) who stated that being late means busy and having a lot of commitments, which also mean “I am important.”.
    Introduction
  • 13.
    • Hypothesis
    • Malaysians in the Klang Valley are seen as “unpunctual” (DV) because they have a “flexible conception of time” (IV) which varies depending on the “corresponding party” (IVV)
    Methods
  • 14.
    • Independent variable: “flexible conception of time”
      • The notion that there is a parameter of an agreed (whether formal or informal) time frame before one is considered late
    • Dependent variable: “unpunctuality”
      • “ not happening or doing something at the agreed … time” (“unpunctual”, 2007)
    • Intervening variable: “corresponding party”
      • the party with whom someone has made agreements with for something to happen at that specified time
    • Sample Question:
    • “ Lunch appointment with a friend (IVV)” At what time would the average Malaysian probably arrive? (IV)
    • DV: (Un)punctuality
  • 15.
    • Malaysians in the Klang Valley are not necessarily unpunctual as others view them to be.
    • There might be a perception that there is a parameter of an agreed (whether formal or informal) time frame before one is considered late.
    • The “time frame” differs according to the “corresponding party”, whether it is a family member, a friend or a business partner.
    Methods
  • 16.
    • Survey
    • Structured Questionnaires
      • Contents were derived from Levine et al. (1980)
      • Divided into 5 parts:
        • Part 1: Frequency of lateness
          • Participants were asked to rate from a scale of 1 to 5
        • Part 2: Perceptions of late and early
          • Participants were asked to give the exact time
        • Part 3: Attributing lateness
          • Participants were asked to distribute 100% among 3 factors attributed to lateness
        • Part 4: Feelings after being late
          • Participants were asked to rate from a scale of 1 to 5
        • Part 5: Perceived factors of unpunctuality
          • Participants were asked to rank from 1 to 7, seven predetermined factors
    Methods
  • 17.  
  • 18.
    • Survey
    • 100 Participants
      • Only Malaysians in the Klang Valley
        • 25 male college students
        • 25 female college students
        • 25 male working adults
        • 25 female working adults
    • Haphazard quota sample
    Methods
  • 19.
    • Tabulation of results
    • Microsoft Excel
      • Means scores
    • Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS)
      • Correlation
      • To check for statistical significance
    Methods
  • 20.
    • Part 1 - Frequency of lateness:
    • Generally people are more often late for social gatherings/dates (M=2.32) than appointments and meetings (M=1.91)
    Results
  • 21.
    • Part 1 - Frequency of lateness:
    • Comparing working adults and students
    • Both parties are more punctual for meetings compared to social gatherings
    • Working adults are less frequently late for appointments or meetings (M=1.7) and social gatherings or dates (M=2.26) compared to students (M=2.12, M=2.38)
    • Students are more frequently late compared to working adults
    • According to Kanekar & Vaz (2001), punctuality demands are less stringent for lower status occupations which expects less responsibility and credibility. In this context, students are of “lower status occupation” than working adults, therefore are not expected to be as punctual as adults, and are given more room to be late.
    Results
  • 22.
    • Part 2 - Perceptions of late and early:
    • Respondents claimed that they will be early for all events except for their nephew’s birthday party
    Before what arrival time would you consider the person early? After what arrival time would you consider the person late? At what time would you probably arrive? At what time would the average Malaysian probably arrive? If the person was late, at what time would you conclude the person was not going to come? Meetings with your employer to discuss your pay raise -29.79 10.2 -13 -1.38 26.6 Meetings with a lecturer -23.59 11.55 -8.87 6.59 29.77 Lunch with elder relatives -29.2 18.74 -10.5 9.99 49.91 Two people are meeting up for a romantic date -26 22.64 -9.97 12.46 53.2 A lunch appointment with a friend -19.21 21.62 -5.21 17.94 50.96 A birthday party for a 5-year old nephew -25.62 40.81 0.75 28.12 85.22 Results
  • 23.
    • Part 2 - Perceptions of late and early:
    • Respondents assumed that most Malaysians will be late for all events except when meeting an employer to discuss pay rise
    Before what arrival time would you consider the person early? After what arrival time would you consider the person late? At what time would you probably arrive? At what time would the average Malaysian probably arrive? If the person was late, at what time would you conclude the person was not going to come? Meetings with your employer to discuss your pay raise -29.79 10.2 -13 -1.38 26.6 Meetings with a lecturer -23.59 11.55 -8.87 6.59 29.77 Lunch with elder relatives -29.2 18.74 -10.5 9.99 49.91 Two people are meeting up for a romantic date -26 22.64 -9.97 12.46 53.2 A lunch appointment with a friend -19.21 21.62 -5.21 17.94 50.96 A birthday party for a 5-year old nephew -25.62 40.81 0.75 28.12 85.22 Results
  • 24.
    • Part 2 - Perceptions of late and early:
    • People place more importance on appointments with people who have more authority than themselves
    • The events of which people are more cautious about being punctual are ranked in this order:
      • Meeting with an employer to ask for a pay rise - a mean of 13 minutes earlier
      • Meeting with a lecturer - mean of 8.87 minutes earlier
      • Lunch with elder relatives - a mean of 10.5 minutes earlier
      • Meeting for a romantic date - a mean of 9.97 minutes earlier
      • Lunch appointment with friends - a mean of 5.21 minutes earlier
      • Nephew’s birthday party - a mean of 0.75 minutes later
    Before what arrival time would you consider the person early? After what arrival time would you consider the person late? At what time would you probably arrive? At what time would the average Malaysian probably arrive? If the person was late, at what time would you conclude the person was not going to come? Meetings with your employer to discuss your pay raise -29.79 10.2 -13 -1.38 26.6 Meetings with a lecturer -23.59 11.55 -8.87 6.59 29.77 Lunch with elder relatives -29.2 18.74 -10.5 9.99 49.91 Two people are meeting up for a romantic date -26 22.64 -9.97 12.46 53.2 A lunch appointment with a friend -19.21 21.62 -5.21 17.94 50.96 A birthday party for a 5-year old nephew -25.62 40.81 0.75 28.12 85.22 Results
  • 25.
    • Part 2 - Perceptions of late and early:
    • From the conflict theory perspective, “social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups” (Schaefer, 2007, pg. 14)
    • In this context, it is the group that has more authority (e.g. employer) who is competing for time with the one with less authority (e.g. employee). Being the one with more authority, they have the power to infringe the rights of those who have less dominant.
    • Cornyn-Selby (2004) contended that punctuality or tardiness is the authorities’ way of making a statement and reconfirming the fact that they have more power over the rest.
    • Hence these people who are less dominant are expected to adjust themselves to the times of the dominant ones.
    Results
  • 26. Results
  • 27. Results
  • 28. Results
  • 29. Results
  • 30. Results
  • 31. Overall, it appears that males tend to be more punctual than females, and expect more of others to be punctual. They set an earlier arrival time, give less allowance to be late and reported themselves being earlier. Results   Before what arrival time would you consider the person early? After what arrival time would you consider the person late? At what time would you probably arrive? At what time would the average Malaysian probably arrive? If the person was late, at what time would you conclude the person was not going to come? Two people are meeting up for a romantic date Male -29.1 21.76 -12.2 12.8 60.5 Female -22.8 23.52 -7.74 12.12 45.9 A lunch appointment with a friend Male -24.9 25 -3.6 20.1 55.02 Female -13.52 18.24 -6.82 15.78 46.9   A birthday party for a 5-year old nephew Male -30.5 40.7 0.4 27.3 84.14 Female -20.74 40.92 1.1 28.94 86.3   Lunch with elder relatives Male -34.3 18.42 -10 8.9 48.32 Female -24.1 19.06 -11 11.08 51.5 Meetings with a lecturer Male -27.9 12.44 -9.8 5.5 29.44 Female -19.28 10.66 -7.94 7.68 30.1   Meetings with your employer to discuss your pay raise Male -34.3 10 -14.2 -0.54 24.06 Female -25.28 10.4 -11.8 -2.22 29.14
  • 32.
    • Part 3: Attributing Lateness
    • Generally, Malaysians think that it was not their fault that they were late and unforeseen circumstances were the major cause of their unpunctuality (M = 39.88)
    • Malaysians also think that when their friend was late, it was also perceived as (M = 34.855) it was not their friend’s fault for their lateness and stated that unforeseen circumstances were the major causes of their unpunctuality
    • However, Malaysians perceived that occasions when people generally are late for appointments were due to the fact that the particular person did not care about arriving on time (M = 40.13).
    Results
  • 33.
    • Part 4: Feelings after being late
      • Overall on a scale of 1 to 5, Malaysians are generally very sorry for being late for meetings (M = 4.40) but slightly lesser for social gatherings (M = 3.43).
      • Malaysians are also generally very tense when they are late for meetings (M = 4.36)
      • In general, Malaysians place greater effort in being early for meetings (M = 4.18) than for a social gatherings (M = 3.52)
      • Malaysians are more fearful for being late for a meeting (M = 4.05) than for a social gathering (M = 3.00).
    • According to Clayman (1989) formal events or meetings have a more structured frame compared to informal social events and thus it is somewhat more rigid and people are expected to arrive at the meeting time, which is why generally the scores tend to lean towards meetings than social gatherings
    • More importantly, in line with the conflict perspective: the general score leans towards meetings because people are subjected to those who are dominant over them. Hence “people” here basically means the general Malaysian population.
    Results
  • 34. Overall, females are found to be sorrier, tenser and more fearful being late compared to males. They also seemed to put in more effort to be early for an event. Results   How sorry do you feel for being late for meetings? How sorry do you feel for being late for social gatherings? How tense do you feel for being late for meetings? How tense do you feel for being late for social gatherings? How much effort do you put in for being early for meetings? How much effort do you put in for being early for social gatherings? How fearful do you feel for being late for meetings? How fearful do you feel for being late for social gatherings? Males 4.32 3.32 4.22 3.12 4.06 3.3 3.9 2.88 Females 4.48 3.54 4.5 3.36 4.3 3.74 4.2 3.12
  • 35.
    • Part 5: Perceived factors of unpunctuality
    • Ranked as follows:
      • The lack of time management (M = 2.99),
      • There is an understanding that being late is alright (M = 3.64)
      • Convenience of informing others of lateness via handphones(M = 3.86)
      • There is no point in being early because everyone is going to be late anyway (M = 3.88)
      • Poor transport system (M = 3.98)
      • Traffic congestion (M = 4.33)
      • Unexpected events (M = 4.96)
    Results
  • 36.
    • Interesting findings:
    • There is a statistically significant correlation between…
      • the frequency of lateness and how sorry one is for being late for meetings (r=-0.261)
        • Those who are frequently late will feel less sorry for being late
      • the frequency of lateness and effort put in for being early for meetings (r=-0.367)
        • Those who are frequently late will put less effort for being early
    Results
  • 37.
    • Interesting findings:
    • There is a statistically significant correlation between…
      • the frequency of lateness and how sorry one is for being late for social gatherings (r=-0.198)
        • Those who are frequently late will feel less sorry for being late
      • the frequency of lateness and effort put in for being early for social gatherings (r=-0.294)
        • Those who are frequently late will put less effort for being early
      • the frequency of lateness and how fearful one is for being late for social gatherings (r=-0.204)
        • Those who are frequently late will be less fearful
    Results
  • 38.
    • Strengths
      • We had a balanced amount of working adults and students and there was also an equal ratio of male and female participants.
      • Our questionnaire covered a wide variety of scope in detail and its based on Levine et al.’s (1980) questionnaire
      • We correlated using SPSS to find out if there is significance between sorryness, tensity, and fearfulness for being late for an event and the amount of effort placed to be punctual and the frequency of them being late to such events.
    Conclusion
  • 39.
    • Weaknesses
      • Some participants might give socially desirable answers in the questionnaire, which will cause inaccuracy in the findings
      • The sample we have may not be representative of the entire population of the Klang Valley because of our focus on mainly working adults and college students and our sampling was done haphazardly
      • Our questionnaire was quite confusing and long to some and hence might have lead to maturation.
    Conclusion
  • 40.
    • Review of hypothesis:
    • Malaysians in the Klang Valley are seen as “unpunctual” (DV) because they have a “flexible conception of time” (IV) which varies depending on the “corresponding party” (IVV)
    Conclusion
  • 41.
    • Malaysians in the Klang Valley (MITKV) are more punctual for meetings than for social gatherings (events – meetings vs social gatherings. Note: can also be corresponding party)
      • Meetings are usually formal (Clayman, 1989) and a stricter conception of time is applied for meetings compared to social gatherings, hence there is no room for lateness.
    Conclusion
  • 42.
    • Respondents placed more importance on appointments with people who have more authority than themselves (i.e. employer)
      • Give the least allowance for lateness, and would probably arrive the earliest among other appointments. (corresponding party – more authority vs less authority)
    • A more stringent conception of time is applied for appointments with people of more authority and vice versa
    • It is could be assumed that MITKV generally meet up with people who have same or lesser authority over them (i.e. social gatherings or informal meetings) which could attribute to the general unpunctuality of the population
      • This is an example of stratification – “a structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society” (Schaefer, 2007, pg. 183) – which results in people of the same rank or status to mingle more frequently with each other
    Conclusion
  • 43.
      • The fundamental attribution error explains that people have an unjustified tendency to assume that a person's negative actions depend on what "kind" of person that person is (internal attribution), rather than on the social and environmental forces that influences such action. On the other hand, people tend to explain their own negative actions depending on the social and environmental forces (external attribution) (Ross, 1977).
    • As a whole, respondents blame on unforeseen circumstances when they or their friends are late for an appointment (external attribution).
    • Therefore MITKV give more allowance for their friends to be late because they believe that their lateness is caused by external factors. This perpetuates the cycle of unpunctuality among the MITKV.
    • In contrast, they perceived that Malaysians are generally late simply because they did not care about arriving on time (internal attribution) .
    Conclusion
  • 44.
    • Respondents viewed that lack of time management is seen as the major cause of unpunctuality while unforeseen circumstances is seen as the least cause of unpunctuality
    • Again the fundamental attribution error could be observed here
      • When the corresponding party is someone close, a more flexible conception of time is given (blaming external causes). Hence, this leads the individual who is late to feel less sorry, tense and fearful for being late. This will then encourage the increase frequency of lateness.
    Conclusion
  • 45.
    • It is also inferred that the later the respondents assume that others would arrive, the later they would arrive themselves (general)
      • According to Suroweicki (2004) it is only rational to be late in a country where everyone is late. This is because, being early would only result in having to wait for others, which is a waste of time (Edmund Jr, 2004). Therefore, it is only rational to have a flexible conception of time and be less punctual when it is also assumed the corresponding party has a very flexible conception of time.
    Conclusion
  • 46. Hence, our hypothesis is supported Conclusion
  • 47.
    • Best theoretical perspective
    • Interactionist perspective
    • Uses “everyday form of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole” (Schaefer, 2007, p. 16)
      • It clearly explains that the conception of time is being transmitted through cultural transmission whereby it is learnt and socialized through everyday interactions (Schaefer, 2005). Thus, the flexible conception of time practiced by Malaysians is due to socialization with other Malaysians.
      • It also illustrates the symbolic meaning of unpunctuality: lateness = status . Hence, it explains the frequently occurring phenomenon whereby higher status individuals are often more unpunctual than lower status individuals.
      • Our results are consistent with this view as respondents believed that one of the most important factor of unpunctuality is because there is a common understanding among Malaysians that being late is alright (Ranked #2). (socialization)
    Conclusion
  • 48.
    • Possible future topics of research
      • “ Perception of time across cultures and its relations to perceived punctuality”
      • “ Gender differences in punctuality”
      • “ Ways to overcome unpunctuality”
    Conclusion
  • 49. References