Lisa M. Beihoff
MT302 Organizational Behavior
Title of Assignment: Managers Understanding
Differences Across Cultures
We will discuss how managers can use their understanding of differences in values to
communicate more effectively with employees from another culture.
We will examine the cultures of Pakistan and of the United States of America. In order
to understand an effective means of communication, we need to acknowledge the
difference in values.
We can look at previous studies where work related values were examined in order to
understand the varying degrees to which different countries accept and engage in their
roles in society.
We find there are many ways to approach these variables. A widely referenced
approach to understanding these varying cultural values and in interpreting effective
interaction methods we discuss here.
As per Robbins and Judge (2013), A survey was performed by Geert Hofstede in the
late 1970’s which studied employees in 40 countries regarding their work related values
and found they vary on five (5) dimensions of national culture.
1. “Power distance –the degree to which people in a country accept that power in
institutions and organizations is distributed unequally
High power-means large inequalities of power and wealth are tolerated.
Low power-means society stresses need for equality.
2. Individualism versus Collectivism
Individualism is the degree to which people act as individuals rather then groups.
Collectivism is a tight social framework in which they are part of a group and
expected to look after each other too.
3. Masculinity versus Femininity
Masculinity is the degree to which society favors the masculine roles such as
achievement, power, and control as opposed to viewing women as equals.
Femininity is where the culture sees little difference between male and female roles
and women are treated as equals to men in all respects.
4. Uncertainty Avoidance
The degree to which people in a country prefer structure over unstructured situations.
Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance have increased anxiety about uncertainty
and ambiguity and use laws to reduce the uncertainty. Low Uncertainty cultures are
less rule oriented, accept change more readily and take more risks.
5. Long Term versus Short Term Orientation
Long Term People look toward the future and value thrift, persistence and tradition.
Short Term Orientation people value the here and now; they accept change more
readily and don’t see commitments as impediments to change.”
We look at:
Noted are the variances in Power Distance, (accepting organized power) where the US ranks 38
and Pakistan 32. Next a difference in Individualism and Collectivism, great difference in rank
of US-#1 and Pakistan #47-48. Almost surprisingly, Masculinity and Femininity being more
acceptable ranks the US at 15 and Pakistan 25-26. Uncertainty Avoidance where people with
low scores take more risks brings the United States ranking 43 and Pakistan 24-25. A nation
with more long term orientation brings the US to 27 and Pakistan 34.
Examining these differences can help managers realize culture does impact an employees
value system and this can be acknowledged when communicating across the globe. However
the study was performed many years ago and data results may differ today. Never the less, the
charting system gives an intelligent template of which characteristics may differ for cultures.
We realize through the chart there are differences and people may have varying perspectives on
work environments molded by their culture. Managers need to do things differently when
communicating with employees from Pakistan as opposed to the U.S. culture in order to be
We can look at the Centre for Intercultural Learning (2012) which states “When meeting a
female Pakistani, a male should not try to shake her hand until and unless she extends her hand
first. A foreigner female can, however, shake hand with a male Pakistani. There is no set distance
while talking to a Pakistani. Also making a regular eye contact is not important. In fact,
maintaining a constant eye contact with a person of opposite sex is considered rude and
unethical.” (page 1). The introduction of a manager to an employee can mean a lot of differences
in another culture, when working with a Pakistan person it could help to understand their
Also examined can be the qualities a Pakistan person may find important in their manager.
According to the Centre for Intercultural Learning (2012) “Education and experience are regard-
ed as the most important qualities of a local as well as non-local superior/manager.
Family background and personal network are also considered very important for local managers.
Leadership and hard work, though taken positively, are considered the least important.
However, making quick and timely decisions and sticking by your staff are considered extremely
important qualities. Pakistanis are used to giving and taking direct orders and consensus building
and teamwork are considered more of a western thing. Getting to know your subordinate staff
on a personal level helps at times but can create more work related hassles especially if the staff
members are female or of much lower cadre. Getting to know "how your staff view you" is very
difficult and tricky in Pakistan. On the surface, Pakistanis are very polite and would never tell you
on your face if they don’t like you or something about you.
Pakistanis try their best to get along with their superiors and would seldom complain about the
management style. But if you are a good manager, it will definitely show in your staff’s
performance at work. Good managers can usually get a lot of mileage out of their staff in
Pakistan. Pakistanis are usually hard working people and don’t mind working overtime and on
weekends. But they expect due recognition and appreciation. Cash compensation works well
with low-paid staff while commendation letter, gifts and upgrading of position/title goes well
with other, senior staff.” (Page 1).
Here we notice their views which may differ from the “western ideas” of teamwork.
Understanding they do in fact want to be individuals as well, can aid the communication
Yet contrary to the freedom of individuality, they also have strict religious , ethnicity and
As per a local Pakistan perspective states (the Centre for Intercultural Learning 2012),
“Pakistan has a purely male-dominated society where very little recognition is accorded to
female segment of the society. Mostly consisting of a tribal set-up, the Pakistani society is
run by norms and traditions set by men. The religion of Islam also provides enormous
powers to the men and all decisions about women’s involvement in the society e.g.
education, marriage, work, travel etc. are made by their family male members. Pakistanis
don’t like to discuss their women in public and gender equality/women’s rights are
commonly perceived as a western effort to undermine their society. “ (page 1).
The United States has been through the feminist movement and women are
fighting for equality even today. The US even has organizations
such as the National Organization for Women which take action for women's equality.
As per Now 2012, “The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization
of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550
chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all
women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools,
the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and
reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism,
sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.” (about now para
1). When managers are dealing with foreign cultures they need to be sensitive to the belief
systems of the other colleague.
Normal small talk to Americans regarding family may need to be avoided with Pakistan as
they do not want to discuss women.
This information can be applied regarding the differences in values of another culture to
make daily interactions outside of the work environment more successful. This can be
done by being more aware of the culture differences and value. Being more observant and
more sensitive to others ideas can create better environments.
Another way to apply this is understanding their daily routine procedures. As per the
Centre for Intercultural Learning 2012, “But those coming for the first time to Pakistan, it
takes a while to get to know the right people. While in business or at work, you get to
know people fast as they would like to know you on a more personal basis. Invite someone
for lunch or dinner and you will also be invited - Pakistanis do things on reciprocal basis.
But it is most likely that you, being a foreigner or outsider, will get the invitation first.
Make sure you invite them as well. Occasional after-office meetings and dinner parties
are important to further such relationships. Gifts like souvenirs from your country, a tie, a
pair of socks, a sweater or a scarf, are usually highly appreciated and taken very
personally. “ (Page 1).
Learning what another finds acceptable and inviting can help initiate a better
Robbins and Judge 2013 states “Values provides understanding of the attitudes,
motivations and behaviors. This influences the perception of the world around us.”
(Chapter 5). In knowing that values influence behaviors we see that values of others
truly have a great impact on views of right and wrong.
In order for a manager to have the employee be the right fit for the occupation, they can
use Personality Evaluation Methods such as self reports.
As per Robbins and Judge 2013, “There are two (2) dominant frameworks to describe
personality. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and The Big Five Model” (Chap 5).
Use of these and other evaluations can help indicate if a personality matches the position.
Testing results would be interesting in the responses comparing answers from US
and Pakistan. These values and personality traits could help determine the work
behavior such as performance, team-work related attitudes,
ability and absenteeism and level of commitment to the organization.
Once managers understand there is indeed a difference in values its moving towards
more effective communications. Managers then understand they need to communicate
As per AMF 2010, Managers when increasing their understanding of culture and cross-
cultural interactions helps to develop their awareness and cross-cultural communication
skills. “They can then
•Conduct a diversity analysis of their business strategies and operations
•Develop an action plan for managing cultural diversity in their businesses
•Learn about available resources and support services” (Page 7).
This process also helps us in everyday life as we become more educated and
understanding of cultural differences, and better communicators globally.
Centre for Intercultural Learning (2012). Cultural Information – Pakistan.
Retrieved from: http://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/ci-ic-eng.asp?iso=pk
ClipArt (2012) Images. Retrieved from Microsoft Office Clip Art Search
Now.org (2012). About NOW. Retrieved from:
Robbins, S. P. & Judge, T.A. (2013). Organizational Behavior (15th ed.). Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Australian Multicultural Corp. (2010). Managing Cultural Diversity Training Manual.