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CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT: A STUDY OF VIETNAMESE CULTURAL

INFLUENCES ON MANAGMENT STYLE

by
Henry Hoang

KATHLEEN HARGISS, Ph.D., Faculty Mentor and Chair


GARY ROBINSON, Ph.D., Committee Member
SHEAU-WEI FU, Ph.D., Committee Member

Kurt Linberg, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business & Technology

A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment


Of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Philosophy

Capella University
April 2008

UMI Number: 3297920

Copyright 2008 by
Hoang, Henry
All rights reserved.

UMI Microform 3297920


Copyright 2008 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against
unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

ProQuest Information and Learning Company


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Henry Hoang, 2008

Abstract
This empirical study focuses on cultural influences on management styles related
to Vietnamese society in the city of Houston which can help to increase self-awareness;
and promote positive interaction with managers from diverse cultural backgrounds. It
provides data which may be needed by managers from other cultures so that they may
adjust their approach to Vietnamese culture which can open new opportunities to expand
and accelerate their business growth and profitability. An understanding of Vietnamese
cultural values will not only provide insight into the Vietnamese character and
background which accounts for their management styles, but may also help bridge the
cultural gap and implement processes that can have a positive impact on the business
community.
Results of the empirical study indicated that there are significant differences in
Vietnam cultural dimensional indices between Hofstede in 2001 and this study. The
power distance index, particularly, was changed from high power distance (found by
Hofstede 2001) to todays finding of a very low power distance culture. The
individualism scores swung from a relative collectivist to this studys finding of strongly
individualistic. The long-term orientation score was also changed from high long-term
orientation to this studys finding of relatively short-term oriented. This studys
masculinity score was roughly equivalent to Hofstedes masculinity score. In addition,
the results of an empirical study also indicated that the Vietnamese management style is
not significantly different from the American. Both American and Vietnamese managers
place significant emphasis on supervisory style, decision making, and control mechanism
the difference seems to be that the Vietnamese managers also place a higher degree of

emphasis on communication pattern than do their American counterparts. Control


mechanism and paternalistic orientation styles seem to be appropriate with the
Vietnamese culture and can be effective in family business or small-scale organizations.
In today's knowledge based global economy, an understanding and appreciating
of cultural differences have become critically important to cross-cultural management.
When cultural differences are properly understood and appreciated it helps to increase
self-awareness, and promote an effective business relationship which can result in greater
cooperation among business men and women from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Dedication
This endeavor is dedicated to my mother, Hoang Thi Chi, and my siblings. They
have always been a great source of encouragement to me, their support and love, keeping
alive the hope that I really could do this scholarly journey.

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Acknowledgments
It has been a long and challenging journey, but in the end, it was all worth it. I
have grown both personally and professionally though this journey. The pursuit of my
education and the completion of my dissertation would not have been possible without
many special people in my life.
First, I would like to thank my dissertation committees, Dr. Hargiss, Dr.
Robinson, and Dr. Fu. Without their assistance and supported, I would not have been able
to complete this study. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the following
individuals who, without their personal support, this study would not have been possible:
Kim Chau Pham and Lois Hancock. I have been fortunate indeed to work with such fine
professions from whom I have learned very much.
Finally, the completion of this study would not be possible without my family. To
my wife, Thao Hoang, my Daughters, Lynn and Lillian Hoang, and my mother-in-law,
Xuyen Van, thank you for your continued love and support in all that I do in life. Without
you, none of this would be possible.

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgments................................................................................................................6
List of Tables .....................................................................................................................10
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................1
Introduction to the Problem ...........................................................................................1
Background of the Problem ...........................................................................................7
Statement of the Problem.............................................................................................11
Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................................12
Significance of the Study .............................................................................................12
Nature of the Study ......................................................................................................14
Rationale of the Study..................................................................................................16
Research Questions and Hypothesis ............................................................................17
Theoretical Framework................................................................................................19
Construct Definitions of Management and Culture...............................................21
Theoretical Model........................................................................................................22
Definition of Terms......................................................................................................22
Assumption of the Study..............................................................................................24
Limitations of the Study...............................................................................................25
Organization of the Study ............................................................................................26
Summary ......................................................................................................................26
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ...........................................................................28
Introduction..................................................................................................................28
Perceptions of Effective Management A Classical Perspective ...............................29
Scientific Management...........................................................................................29
Administrative Theory............................................................................................30
Theory of Bureaucracy ..........................................................................................31
Theory of Administrative Behavior .............................................................................32
Management Styles Concepts ......................................................................................33
Theory X and Theory Y ..........................................................................................33
Theory Z .................................................................................................................35
Achievement Motivation Theory.................................................................................36
Dimensions of Management Styles .............................................................................38
Defining Management Styles .................................................................................39
Supervision Style....................................................................................................41
Decision Making ....................................................................................................42
Communication Pattern .........................................................................................42
Control Mechanism................................................................................................42
Interdepartmental Relations ..................................................................................43
Paternalistic Orientation .......................................................................................43
Dimensions of Culture .................................................................................................43

Defining Culture ....................................................................................................45


Power Distance (PDI)............................................................................................46
Individualism (IDV) ...............................................................................................47
Masculinity (MAS) .................................................................................................48
Uncertainty Avoidance (UA)..................................................................................48
Long-Term Orientation (LTO)...............................................................................49
Cross-Cultural Research ..............................................................................................50
The GLOBE Project.....................................................................................................52
Value/Belief Theory.....................................................................................................53
Some Traits of the Vietnamese Culture .......................................................................54
Religions ................................................................................................................54
Language................................................................................................................55
Education ...............................................................................................................56
Family ....................................................................................................................56
Social Relations .....................................................................................................57
Summary ......................................................................................................................59
CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ...............................................................61
Introduction..................................................................................................................61
Research Design...........................................................................................................62
Validity and Reliability................................................................................................66
Triangulation .........................................................................................................66
Reliability...............................................................................................................67
Validity...................................................................................................................67
Interview Questions .....................................................................................................68
Sampling Design..........................................................................................................71
The Researchers Role .................................................................................................72
Data Collection Procedures..........................................................................................73
Instrumentation ............................................................................................................74
Qualitative..............................................................................................................74
Quantitative............................................................................................................75
Variables ................................................................................................................75
Data Analysis and Interpretations................................................................................76
Ethical Issues ...............................................................................................................78
Data Security .........................................................................................................78
Risks and Benefits of Participants .........................................................................79
Consent Form and Confidentiality Agreement ......................................................79
Summary ......................................................................................................................80
CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS.................................................81
Introduction..................................................................................................................81
The Demographic Context...........................................................................................81
Quantitative Results .....................................................................................................84

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Quantitative Results: Cultural Values ...................................................................84


Power Distance......................................................................................................85
Individualism..........................................................................................................85
Masculinity.............................................................................................................86
Uncertainty Avoidance...........................................................................................86
Long-term Orientation ...........................................................................................87
Quantitative Results: Management Styles Dimensions ...............................................88
Hypothesis....................................................................................................................93
Qualitative Results .......................................................................................................99
Review of Combined Question Results ................................................................101
Summary ....................................................................................................................106
CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS...............108
Study Summary..........................................................................................................108
Purpose of the Study and Research Questions...........................................................110
Theoretical Model Discussion ...................................................................................111
Power Distance....................................................................................................111
Individualism........................................................................................................113
Masculinity...........................................................................................................114
Uncertainty Avoidance.........................................................................................115
Long-Term Orientation........................................................................................115
Demographic Analysis...............................................................................................116
Quantitative Findings.................................................................................................117
Qualitative Findings...................................................................................................118
Cultural Dimensions for Vietnam..............................................................................120
Limitations of the Study.............................................................................................122
Conclusions................................................................................................................122
Recommendations......................................................................................................125
Recommendations for Future Research...............................................................125
Recommendations for Practice ............................................................................126
Implications for Social Change ...........................................................................126
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................128
APPENDIX A. HOFSTEDES ORIGINAL VALUES SURVEY MODULE 1994.......138
APPENDIX B. CULPAN AND KUCUKEMIROGLU PERMISSIONS .......................144
APPENDIX C. PARTS I AND II OF MANAGEMENT SURVEY
QUESTIONNARIES .............................................................................146
APPENDIX D. CONSENT FORM .................................................................................151
APPENDIX E. COVER LETTERS.................................................................................153
APPENDIX F. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ...................................................................155
APPENDIX G. SUMMARIES OF INTERIEW TRANSCRIPTS ..................................157

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List of Tables
Table 1. Profiles of the Managers ..................................................................................... 83
Table 2. Comparison of Vietnamese with United States Using VSM 94......................... 87
Table 3. Constructive Management Valued by Vietnamese Mangers.............................. 89
Table 4. Management Style Dimensions Correlations ..................................................... 91
Table 5. Comparison of Management Styles Dimension Scores...................................... 92
Table 6. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Supervision Style............................. 96
Table 7. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Decision Making ............................. 96
Table 8. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Communication Pattern................... 97
Table 9. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Control Mechanism ......................... 98
Table 10. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Interdepartmental Relations .......... 98
Table 11. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Paternalistic Orientation ................ 99
Table 12. Comparison of Dimension for Vietnam from Hofstede and Current Study ... 120

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List of Figure
Figure 1. Multidimensional analysis of the Management Styles Factors ..........................22

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CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

Introduction to the Problem


The Asian American population has grown rapidly over the past three decades.
According to the 2000 U.S. Bureau of Census (2000), those who identify only as AsianAmerican comprise 3.6% of the American population, approximately 10 million
individuals. The Census Bureau projects that the Asian-American population will grow to
37.6 million individuals by the year 2050, comprising 9.3% of the population (U.S.
Bureau of Census, 2000). The results of this growth present challenges for many business
managers from other cultures in their interaction with Asian Americans. Different
cultures, manners, expectations and perspectives can create awkward situations which
can impact a manager's effectiveness. Many managers who are successful in their
domestic operations often find that the mental maps they relied on for years do not
necessarily apply to the Asian American (Black and Gregersen, 2000). There has been
considerable concern about whether the attitudes, behavior, and management styles are
different across cultures and nations (Adler, 1983; Hofstede, 2001; Trompenaars, 1994).
Knowledge of cross-cultural differences has practical importance for managers and
executives to understand, to address and to meet with their counterparts in their working
environments. Indeed, an understanding of how cultural differences affect management
styles is important to organizational operation. It has implications for the successful
development and implementation of strategic alliances. Mead (1994) notes that the
greater the cultural differences between the partners, the more difficult it is to attain
satisfactory and successful business relationships.

This study focuses on the cultural characteristics of the 12 Vietnamese managers


in the city of Houston. Vietnamese makes up the largest group of Asians population in
the city of Houston according to the 2002 U.S. Bureau of Census (U.S. Bureau of Census
Bureau, 2002). The number of Vietnamese business owners in the city of HoustonBaytown-Huntsville of Texas is 11, 834 (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2002). Although the
Vietnamese firms in Houston are not becoming powerful business units yet, their success
in the past two decades has raised some questions about how the Vietnamese manage
their own businesses in the most effective manner. Robinson and Stephen (1993) stated
that Vietnamese immigrants, generally in this country less than 25 years, now have the
highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the United States (p. 2). The
Vietnameses philosophy to achieve the American dream is hard work leading to a better
life. Through cultural molding, the Vietnamese have learned since their childhood to
endure and to get acquainted with suffering. The early teaching of endurance had the
power to immunize Vietnamese business women and men against eventual hardships and
made them willing to work unusually long hours. The Vietnamese's cultural values
describe abstract ideas about what Vietnamese society believes to be good, right, and
desirable. It is based on four basic tenets: allegiance to the family, yearning for a good
name, love of learning, and respect for other people. In this perspective, cultural values
are often reflected in the behavior, belief, and attitudes of the Vietnamese people.
Therefore, the needs for research on the cultural characteristics of the other subcultures
were most articulated and expressed by Hofstede (1984). His writings are too rich and
relevant to the purpose of this study to summarize. Hence they are presented here in full:

The survival of mankind will depend to a large extent of the ability of people who
think differently to act together. International collaboration presupposes some
understanding of where others thinking differs from ours. Exploring the way in
which nationality predisposes our thinking is therefore not an intellectual luxury.
A better understanding of invisible cultural differences is one of the main
contributions the social sciences can make to practical policy makers in
governments, organizations, and institutions and to ordinary citizens. (p. 8).
As the formation and current growth of many Vietnamese businesses in the city of
Houston has created more opportunities for many corporations to expand, it has also
prompted a subtle obstacle for people and social systems as Western culture clashes with
the Vietnamese culture. In business discussion, for example, the Vietnamese want to talk
about a number of areas of mutual interest whereas the American mentality is lets do a
deal. The issue of cultural factors for many U.S. managers expanding in Asian business
has increasingly attracted academic attention in the field of business (Buckley 2002).
Culture and subculture are the most important aspects in this recent shift of business
behaviors. From the 1960s onwards, management researchers have shown interest in the
concept of culture because it was believed that culture has an influence on managerial
behavior and performance (Lim & Firkola, 2000, p. 133). Culture, when viewed from
this perspective, is a process that influences management by affecting the quality of
coordination, the functions, the roles, and the responsibilities for attaining goals. This
must be true, regardless of individual cultural differences, in order to accomplish a
common purpose within the organization. The main interest of culture and management
research lies in the issues of cultural influences on managerial behaviors. Specifically,

can it be proven that cultural dimensions have an influence on management styles (or can
it be posited that management styles are a consequence of cultural dimensions)? In
essence, is there an acceptable theory that can be used to explain relationships between
culture and managerial behavior in organizations? Bhagat and McQuaid (1982) stated
that current research suggests that there is no general theory describing the relationship
between cultural and management (p. 675).
Hofstede (1993) advised that:
Management as the word is presently used is an American invention. In other
parts of the world not only the practices but the entire concept of management
may differ, and the theories needed to understand it, may deviate considerably
from what is considered normal and desirable in the USA (p. 81).
The author views management" as the way to describe a process and "managers
for the persons involved (Hofstede, 1993, p. 86). He further explains that "management"
in the American sense refers not only to the process but also to the managers as a class of
people.
This class (1) does not own a business but sells its skills to act on behalf of the
owners and (2) does not produce personally but is indispensable for making others
produce, through motivation. Members of this class carry a high status and many
American boys and girls aspire to the role. In the U.S., the manager is a cultural
hero (Hotstede, 1993, p. 88).
As with the concepts of management, Trompenaars (1994) found that some form
of cultural concepts of the management in other counties are not easy to grasp and
unpopular once it is understood (p. 3). Additionally, Trompenaars uses an onion ring

model of culture. He assigns artifacts and products as the visible tip, and relegates values
and norms as the inner layer which surrounds a core of basic management (2003).
Therefore, it can even be argued that proper understanding and proper handling of
cultural and subcultural issues is a prerequisite for successful management.
Although research by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) found that there are
specific U.S management styles that differ significantly in comparsion to Japanese
practice. The authors concluded that Although management is always culture-bound to
some extent, certain management practices are less culture-bound than others. Thus,
some techniques might be nurtured in different environments as long as they are applied
properly (p. 37). Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) compare the management styles in
a conceptual framework consisting of six managerial dimensions (supervision styles,
decision making, communication pattern, control mechanism, paternalistic orientation,
and interdepartmental relations). In studying the economic growth of 20 nations Franke,
Hofstede and Bond (1991) determined that With business becoming more international,
effective strategic management requires accounting for fundamental national differences
(p. 165). Indeed, the meaning and manifestation of cultural characteristics are as unique
as an individuals experience and world view. The authors concluded that national
cultural differences often are treated at the level of gut feeling (Fanke et al., 1991, p.
172).
People and their culture is an issue common to all organizations. Culture is also
an area that has been identified as a cause of organization failure, since everyone brings
their own culture to the organization; but the boundary between culture and management
has become blurred. There are some cross-cultural researchers who ignore factors at both

the individual and contextual levels, and events together. Another serious drawback from
which many of the cross cultural studies of management suffer is the way the researchers
treat culture as a residual factor. The researchers often compare a group of managers and
observe some differences in the way they view certain aspects of their work, and then, in
the absence of non-cultural explanations for these differences, attribute them to culture.
Given the inherent multilayered complexity of studying cultural characteristics and
management styles, DSourza and Peretiatko (2005) suggested that in-depth studies at the
local level could uncover the meaning given to managerial behavior. In discussing the
challenges of finding correlations between cross-culture and management Hofstede
(1983) notes the following:
Both management practitioners and management theorists over the past 80 years
have been blind to the extent to which activities like management and
organization are culturally dependent. They are culturally dependent because
managing and organizing do not consist of making or moving tangible objects,
but of manipulating symbols which have meaning to the people who are managed
or organized. Because the meaning which we associate with symbols is heavily
affected by what we have learned in our family, in our school, in our work
environment, and in our society, management and organization are penetrated
with culture from the beginning to the end (p. 88).
This approach lends support to the idea of the need for study of Vietnamese
cultural influences on management styles at the local level. The purpose of this study is
to identify and describe the cultural characteristics of Vietnamese business management
in the city of Houston and Vietnamese perception of constructive management attributes.

Background of the Problem


Traditional explanations of management behavior based on concepts of values,
norms, ethics, and activity within organizations have been changing. As more and more
organizations develop alliances and cross national borders, the importance of the role
played by culture, and particularly its effect on management behaviors, has attracted
much more interest by many researchers. Culture and subculture are important aspects in
changes to management behaviors. Culture, when viewed from this perspective, is a
process that influences management by affecting the quality of coordination, functions,
roles, and responsibilities for attaining goals. This must be true, regardless of individual
cultural differences, in order to accomplish a common purpose within the organization. In
other words, cultural difference has a great influence on management behavior. Andre
Laurent (1983) believed that individual managers hold their own set of beliefs about good
and bad management behavior that are molded from their own national cultures. Every
manager has his own management theory, his own set of representations and preferences
that in some way guide his potential behaviors in organizations; and it is critical for
managers, management researchers and educators to identify and understand these
theories of management better (Laurent, 1983, p. 76). Mead (1998) indicated that
"differences between national cultures create important opportunities for growth and
development, but also can cause serious problems if they are not understood" (p.3).
Perhaps the most influential of cultural classifications is that of Geert Hofstede,
whose publication, Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related
Values (Hofstede, 1984, 2001) marks an important moment in the field of cross-cultural
studies. Many researchers and social scientists have utilized Hofstede's cultural values

framework in a wide variety of empirical studies related to workplace behaviors, attitudes


and organizational behaviors (e.g., chwartz, 1994; Ronen and Shenkar, 1985). Cultures
Consequences has inspired thousands of empirical studies, and there is no denying the
huge impact his work has had on business thinking over the past two decades. Merritt
(2000) reports the results of a survey of 9,400 workers in 19 countries confirming the
predictive validity of the measures. The author concludes that the successful replication
confirms that national culture exerts a significant influence on senior-level workers
within a specific industry that impacts their behavior beyond the level of professional
factors that would typically affect their behavior in the workplace. Further, cross-cultural
research has found evidence for differences in managerial behavior across different
cultures, especially in situations involving an ethical dimension (e.g. Jackson and Artola,
1997).
In discussing how a managers behavior may be interpreted differently in various
cultures, Michael (1997) gave the example that American managers establish
interpersonal relationships in organizations primarily for political rather than for affect
purposes; Asian managers appear to be motivated more by affect than political (p. 53).
Additionally, Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) explained that culture is strongly linked
to management style and processes in todays business. As long as we have different
cultures, management systems as a by-product of culture will manifest unique
characteristics in given country. Therefore, we need further studies to examine
similarities and differences in managerial styles across nations (p. 39). Managers of
organizations in todays business environment require ability to get under the skin of
people from different cultural backgrounds at all levels throughout the organization. An

understanding of the cultural context and value systems of those they lead has become
vital for the success or failure of any organization, and understanding of the other is often
the essence of successful management.
Understanding management, and what constitutes effective management, has
progressed substantially over the past four decades. The studies on the implications of
cultural influences on management has received special interest since the globalization
revolution, when the need to become more competitive by bringing innovative products
to the market quickly and to access a wider range of consumers over the world become
crucial. Since this form of business was initiated in America and Europe, it is not
surprising that the study of culture and management was largely founded on American
and European cultures. Academic research on management of Asian American business
and private organizations in non-Western countries, however, is sparse. Lowe (2002) and
Sekaran (1983) stated that much research on cross cultural differences has been focused
predominantly on exploring American theories and how they work in different countries
instead of looking at the theories indigenous to a culture and exploring them in depth. In
addition, much of the limited research has focused on challenges, problems and
differences that are particularly culture-specific. However, there has still been no
systematic study of the cultural characteristics of Vietnamese and their perception of
constructive management attributes (Ralston et al., 1999).
One of the keys to understanding the difficulties in cross-cultural and
management research is that the field does not fit into any one standard approach for
application of culture and its consequences in management. For years, scholars argued
about the impact of culture on management. One group of scholars maintained that

managers behaviors, including their values, attitudes, beliefs and identity were becoming
more similar (convergence), while the other scholars concluded that it was maintaining
its dissimilarity (divergence) (Ralston et al., 1995). In addition, a recent perspective,
crossvergence, has argued that when individuals "blend" their cultural values with the
influences from work environment, they develop a unique set of behaviors that borrow
from both culture and work environment (Ralston et al., 1993, 189). Convergency theory
involves pragmatic issues that can push one in the direction of adopting a one best way
approach to the management of organizations. By contrast, the divergency theory
assumes that elements such as different values and behaviors, differing stages of
economic development and unevenly distributed global resources will guarantee global
diversity. Conversely, crossvergence provides a third alternative. Thus, proponents of
crossvergence argue that there will be an integration of both cultural and ideological
influences that results in a unique value system that has borrowed from both culture and
ideology (Ralston, et al., 1993, p. 190). These approaches, convergence, divergence and
crossvergence, represent three sides of the culture and management debate concerning
which approach is most relevant to classify research methods and topics into some
overall framework to examine cross cultural phenomena and management. As discussed
in Ralston et al. (1995), the authors indicated that focusing effort on understanding and
coordinating the different cultural values would be a more beneficial strategy than trying
to force-fit into a single approach used in studying managerial work values.
Culture is a phenomenon that neither management scholars nor practitioners can
afford to ignore when facing the realities of today's business world, regardless of where
they are physically located, where they conduct their work, or what their specific

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discipline or function may be. As Berhard (2000) suggested, it would be necessary for
researchers, educators and practitioners in the fields of international and cross cultural
management to study an analysis of the local cultures in order to critically examine the
way in which they treat and use the concept of culture.

Statement of the Problem


This study will address is the shortage of information on cultural values and
management styles related to Vietnamese managers, particularly the Vietnamese society
in Houston. Culture has been identified as an important determinant of managerial
behaviors because each individual manager holds their own set of beliefs about good and
bad management behavior that are molded from their own national cultures. Because
culture and management influence each other, this study specifically examines and
analyzes the relationships among cultural dimensions and management styles of the
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston.
The Vietnamese community is considered one of the major subcultures in the city
of Houston. Their culture is attained through life experiences and education more than
through wealth or material possession. Therefore, business practices will differ in
Vietnamese society compared to the other Asian cultures. The existing of these
differences is a challenge to other managers from other cultures in dealing with
Vietnamese business managers. In addition, the size of the company, the age and level of
other business associates, as well as their familiarity with Vietnamese business practices
will all have an impact on working relationships. Increasing the level of knowledgeable

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and awareness about Vietnamese business practices and cultures will certainly increase a
managers chance of business success with the Vietnamese.

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this mixed method approach study is to identify and describe the
cultural characteristics of Vietnamese business management in the city of Houston and
the Vietnamese perception of constructive management attributes. This is for the specific
purpose of providing data which could be used in the training of managers and other
industry organizations so that they would be more effective in their interactions with
local Vietnamese managers. The data should enable manager from other cultures to
establish personal practices in keeping with the values of the Vietnamese and an effective
relationship which results in greater cooperation. Also, the contribution to understanding
the values of Vietnamese culture in management will definitely benefit several relevant
current and planned operational works of the businesses which are directly linked to the
Vietnamese businesses.
An understanding of cultural differences helps people adjust their communication
style and behavior appropriately in any business practices. Cultural values are often
reflected in the behavior and attitudes of the people. An understanding of Vietnamese
cultural values can provide insight into the Vietnamese management practices.

Significance of the Study


This study contributes to positive social change by heightening awareness of the
impact of culture differences on management styles, and using that knowledge to tap into

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peoples unique power and potential, thus unleashing the talent that exists. Organizations
which support work environment improvement and understanding of human behavior
would appear to be those best equipped to face the challenging task of management in the
todays competitive market, which, in turn, makes it easier to hire and keep qualified
people. This study will not only contribute to understanding and appreciation of cultural
differences, broaden and deepen worldviews that stimulate our thinking and creativity in
management functions, roles and skills but also contribute to the broader literature on
organizational behavior and commitment, organizational climate, and management theory
creation. Further, the study proposes capability and empirical model of these
relationships that can be used in improving our understanding of and facilitation of crosscultural communication as a fundamental skill for general management.
The resultant information and perspective of the study may be used in the training
of American businesses management to establish an efficient and professional business
relationship with Vietnamese managers, peers, and subordinates. Since business is
becoming more global in nature, multicultural interaction will increase as a part of doing
business and managers will need to become more capable of working with people from
different cultures. Because values differ across cultures, an understanding of these
differences should be helpful in explaining and predicting the behavior of Vietnamese
business owners and managers.
The analytical approach on which this study is based and the scientific objectives
for the specific culture and management styles can serve as a template for conducting
similar studies for other subcultures in other locations. Review of previous management
research has indicated that culture profoundly influences all aspect of management

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behavior (Adler, 1997; Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1987, 1992; Mead, 1994). House et al.
(1997) explained that the vast majority of cross-cultural management studies
operationalize cultures by using national or regional political borders as proxies for the
boundaries of cultures. This approach ignores the possible existence of subcultural units
(p. 543). This study responds, in part, to the need for more research into the interaction
between culture and management styles at the local level. Due to the uniqueness of
practice of management in different countries, the methodology employed in this study
may need some modification for application in other countries.

Nature of the Study


This study will be conducted with a specific Vietnamese population in the city of
Houston, in zip code 77072, in the local businesses at a specific point in time. The
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston are the respondents for a purposive
population of a case study. The study will employ a mixed method of contemporaneous
qualitative and quantitative methods in order to yield richly descriptive and scientifically
valid data in the local businesses cultural context. As Creswell (2003) suggested, a mixed
methods purpose statement needs to convey both quantitative and qualitative purpose
statements. Combining qualitative and quantitative methodology in the case study helps
to advance understanding of the complexity of a research problem than either method
alone. When both quantitative and qualitative data are included in a study, researchers
may enrich their results in ways that one form of data does not allow (Brewer & Hunter,
1989; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). Using both forms of data allows researchers to

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simultaneously generalize results from a sample to a population and to gain a deeper


understanding of the phenomenon of interest.
The qualitative methods will be in the form of semi-structured open-ended
interviews, which are used for gathering cultural dimensions and management factors.
Also observation is a primary source in data collection. The observer attempts to record
all relevant information in a unobstrusive way such as careful listening to pick up subtle
cues and nuances. Glesne and Peshkin (1992) explained that through participant
observation-through being part of a social setting-you will learn first hand how the
actions of your others correspond to their words; see pattern of behavior; experience the
unexpected, as well as the expected; and develop a quality of trust with your others that
motivates them to tell you what otherwise they might not (p. 39). The quantitative
methods will be in the form of questionnaires to identify cultural dimensions and
management attributes. The results of the two quantitative instruments will be arranged in
the form of numbers, which can be input into the software Statistical Package for the
Social Sciences (SPSS) and compared to previously published results. The relationships
of cultural dimensions and management attributes are examined in the contextual
framework of previous research which determined that cultural values influence preferred
management styles (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993; Bhaskaran & Sukuraram, 2007;
Herbert & Anvaar, 1998; Hofstede et al., 2002; Hofstede & Bond, 1998; Lung-Tan, 2006;
Munene, Schwartz, Smith, 2000; Prasad, S. & Babbar, S. (2000); Punnett, Dick-Forde,
Robinson, 2006; Ralston, Nguyen, Napier, 1999; Trompenaars, 1994).
The quantitative methods will consist of administering the two existing validated
instruments, the Values Survey Module 94 (VSM 94) (Hofstede & Bond, 1988) and the

15

Management Styles survey questionnaire Parts I and II (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu,


1993). In keeping with the case study protocol (Yin, 2003), the quantitative instruments
VSM (94) will be given first and then Part I and Part II of managers survey questionnaire
second following the oral interviews.

Rationale of the Study


The purpose of this research study is to describe and identify the cultural
characteristics and management styles among the Vietnamese businesses in the city of
Houston. The rationale for using human participants is the need to indentify their
perception of good and bad management behavior and to assess how those behaviors are
influenced by cultural dimensions. Hill (1993) advised that doing business in a different
culture requires adaptation to the value systems, beliefs, and norms of that culture. A
business that lacks cross-cultural literacy-sound knowledge about practices in the culture
is unlikely to succeed. Therefore, by studying culture and management, we will not only
increase understanding and appreciation cultural differences, broaden and deepen our
worldviews that stimulate our thinking and creativity in management functions, roles, and
skills, but also contribute to the broader literature on organizational culture and
management.
This study will add one piece to the growing mosaic of empirical evidence that
will yield a better understanding of how culture values may influence management styles.
It also provides an in-depth review of the development, evolution and management styles
of Vietnamese business in the city of Houston. As many Asian cultures share a number of
characteristics, the findings and conclusions of this research study will be a useful

16

foundation for conceptualizing further research on the topic of the interrelationships


between national culture and management practices.

Research Questions and Hypothesis


Two principal research questions serve to guide this study:
1.

What are the culturally determined values of Vietnamese business


managers in the city of Houston based on the five dimensions of national
culture identified by the research of Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and
Bond (1988)? These five dimensions are power distance, individualism,
masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation.

2.

What do the Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston


consider constructive management, based on the six factors as articulated
by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993)? The six factors are supervision
style, decision making, communication pattern, control mechanism,
paternalistic orientation, and interdepartmental relations.

The two research questions above represent various facets of the national cultures
and management styles to be explored. These two questions are fact oriented,
information-gathering questions that clarify the major objectives of this study, and hence
they are a critical influence to research design and strategies; data collection planning and
sampling schemes.
In addition to two research questions, a linear regression will be conducted to
assess if Vietnamese cultural influences on constructive management. There is one pairs
of hypotheses will be developed for testing as follows:

17

H0:

Vietnamese cultural values do not predict each of the management style


subscales (supervision style, decision making, communication pattern,
control mechanism, interdepartmental relations, and paternalistic
orientation).

HA:

Vietnamese cultural values do predict each of the management style


subscales (supervision style, decision making, communication pattern,
control mechanism, interdepartmental relations, and paternalistic
orientation).

The research design will be employed the used of mixed methods to collect data.
Use of mixed method is advantageous by gathering quantitative data through the used of
the VSM 94 and the Management styles Parts I and Part II surveys as well as gathering
qualitative information from interviews of Vietnamese business manager in the city of
Houston.
Studies conducted by Hofstede (1984, 2001) addressed similar questions but data
were collected quantitatively and aggregated for national samples and did not include the
country of Vietnam. A comparative study of the management styles in marketing studies
by Poon et al. (2005) included China but did not present intranational data. Although
many Asian cultures may share a number of characteristics that help describe, but not
defined, them. Poon et al. (2005) advised that it is possible to predict management style
differences based on cultural differences in a systematic way (p. 48).

18

Theoretical Framework
This study will provide significant insight into the cultural characteristics that
influence Vietnameses perceptions of what constitutes expected, acceptable and
effective management. Cleary, a number of sociological theories are capable of
explaining the behavior of human beings, and various business management theories
provide insight into the influence of cultural value systems. In order to provide insight
into how cultural characteristics influence management, two theoretical frameworks have
been selected to guide this study.
First, there are cultural dimensions which provided the cultural variables and
operationalized, for this study, Hofstedes (1984) and Hofstede and Bonds (1988) model
of the five cultural dimensions has been selected to examine the cultural values.
Examples of this type of research include the national culture (Mead, 1998; Park, Russell
& Lee, 2007; Kwok & Tadesse, 2006; Parboteeah et al., 2005; Smith, 1994), crosscultural research and the international relevance of management theory (Cooper &
Denner, 1998; Earley & Gibson, 1998; Inkpen & Beamish, 1994; Wright & Ricks, 1994).
Hofstede's framework has been used extensively in empirical research, partly because his
cultural dimension indices can be easily used as independent variables in statistical
analyses. In addition, the multiple-dimensions allow for much finer grained comparisons
than are possible when examining differences based purely on geography or the level of
industrialization. Using Hofstedes (1984) and Hofstede and Bonds (1988) theoretical
framework, helps to develop a mechanism to interpret the Vietnamese culture
characteristics.

19

Second, the concept of cross-cultural management provides the basis for


comparative management research directed towards the investigation of specificities of
management practices in different countries. Adler (1983) explains that:
Cross-cultural management is study of the behavior of people in organizations
located in cultures and nations around world. It focuses on the description of
organizational behavior within countries and cultures, on the comparison of
organizational behavior across countries and cultures, and, perhaps most
importantly, on the interaction of peoples from different countries working within
the same organization or within the same work environment (p. 226).
In cross-cultural management, a generally accepted idea appears to be that what
works in one specific cultural may not work in another. This observation captures the
underlying differences which separate the non-Western mind-set from the Western mindset. From this perspective, academic interest in comparative management grew strongly
during the last two decades, partly driven by the challenge of establishing ideas that
Japan's striking economic success seemed to offer. Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993)
stated that Comparative management has received a lot of attention over the last two
decades as global business has increased tremendously (p. 27). In discussing diversity in
management practices, Hofstede (1993) stated that The term comparative management
has been used since the 1960s (p. 82). For the purposes this study, the management
styles characteristics developed by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) will be selected to
focus on the direct effect cultural values have on Vietnamese management styles.
As discussed above, the two theoretical frameworks provide a foundation for this
study. The use of Hofstedes (1984) theory of culture is the primary theoretical construct

20

for the study of culture in this dissertation, although reference will be made to
management styles of the comparative management study (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu,
1993). Management styles are composed of the following theoretical constructs: Pathgoal theory of leadership (House & Mitchell, 1974); Seven S model (Pascale & Athos,
1981); theories X and Y (McGregor, 1960); theory Z (Ouchi, 1981). The components of
management theories will be discussed in chapter 2 of this study.
Construct Definitions of Management and Culture
Management. Management in the organization context may be broadly defined as
getting things done through other people. Managers make decisions, allocate resources,
and direct the activities of others to attain goals. For the purposes of this study, the
definition of organizational management used in the study of Management Scientists are
Human is selected. In the study of Management Scientists are Human, Hofstede
(1994) explained management, in part, as leading and coordinating the work of
employed persons should be geared to the collective mental programs of such persons,
that is their culture (p. 12). The author argued that management scientists are human,
and they grew up in a particular society in a particular period, and their ideas cannot
help but reflect the constraints of their environment (Hofsted, 1993, p. 82).
Culture. As with management, there are many definitions of culture in the
literature depending on the level of analysis and the purpose of the research. Hofstede
(1984) defined culture, in part, as the collective programming of the mind which
distinguishes the members of one human group from another (p. 21). In expanded
Hofstedes (1984) definition, Hofstede (1993) found, differences between nationalities
among individuals from different countries explained over 50% of the variance in

21

members' attitudes, values, and beliefs. The programming of the mind is composed of a
commonly held body of attitudes, values, and beliefs that defined what one should and
ought to do for those who hold them (Hofstede, 1984, p. 21).

Theoretical Model
The following model presents the relationships between cultural dimensions and
management styles factors which will be discussed in chapter 5.

Culture Dimensions

Management Styles

Power Distance

Supervisory Style

Decision-Making

Individualism

Communication
Pattern

Masculinity

Control
Mechanism

Uncertainty
Avoidance

Interdepartmental
Relations
Long-term
Orientation
Paternalistic
Orientation

Figure 1. Multidimensional analysis of the Management Styles Factors

Definition of Terms
The following technical terms which will be used throughout this dissertation are
defined as follows:

22

Cultural Differences: The term describes differences in the behavior of managers


by country of origin that each individual country maintains a unique set of characteristics
that will affect her or his decision-making.
Cultural Dimensions: This always refers to the national cultural dimensions
developed by Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988) to measure the influence of
a persons national culture on their personal values. These five dimensions are power
distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation.
Globalization: The term globalization here can be viewed as the world-wide
integration of economic, political and social activities, and information with common
norms and institutional framework to facilitate international cooperation. The progress
brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication,
and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital,
knowledge, and (to a lesser extent) people across borders (Stiglitz, 2002, p. 9).
Management Styles: This refers to a model consisting of six dimensions
developed by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) to measure the influences of a persons
management styles on their personal perceptions. The six dimensions are supervision
style, decision making, communication pattern, control mechanism, paternalistic
orientation, and interdepartmental relations.
Vietnamese Business: In this study refers to Vietnamese business managers in zip
code 77072 in the city of Houston. The selected managers will be those available during a
daily work period.

23

Assumption of the Study


The goal of this research study is highly specific, to contribute to an
understanding of the relationship between Vietnamese culture and management styles.
While many highly complex questions and issues are related to more philosophical
discussions of management and cultural differences, it is not the goal of this research
study to solve these questions and issues. The following assumptions are made in this
study:
1. Culture influences on management styles offers the conceptual power to
bridge the cultural gap between cultures and worldviews. Such a bridging
structure will allow managers from vastly different experiential contexts to
understand and appreciate cultural differences which results in greater
cooperation.
2. The respondents are able to accurately and honestly assess and provided their
subjective level of culture values, management, and managerial styles.
3. Managers understand the questions and the scales that are used in the survey.
4. Managers express different perceptions of constructive management attributes
due to the different efficiency management background.
5. Cultural backgrounds influence the perception of management.
6. The perception and interpretation of information by Vietnamese managers is
influenced by the national culture as defined by Hofstede (1984; 2001), and
by the management styles as defined by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993).

24

Limitations of the Study


It should be noted that this study is specifically limited in scope to 12 Vietnamese
managers in the city of Houston. It is a case study bounded by the time of the interviews,
the location in the city of Houston, and the particular business and its managers. This
study cannot be thought to represent the experience of other Asian American businesses
in the city of Houston. Due to the fact that Hofstedes IBM data are old, a recent followup to Hofstedes study found that transformational changes have made their way into
various cultural values (Fernandez et al., 1997). There is a need to conduct studies on the
cultural influences on management at the local level and for specific business segments.
The assessments are generalizable to the theoretical constructs of cultural
dimensions and management styles and therefore, the findings may not generalizable to
broader populations or other cultures. Cultures are made up of layers that influence and
are reflected in peoples behavior within a given nation. As defined by Schein (1985),
culture is an iceberg, with behaviors signaling the 10% visible part, and nonobservable
values and norms comprising the 90% below the surface (Rosinski, 2003). The reliability
of the study is, therefore, limited to the population at the time of the interviews. The
study of Vietnamese cultural characteristics and management will need to be repeated in
5 to 10 years given the continuing socioeconomic changes in the America, political
transition in Vietnam, and globalization.
Given the fact that this is a very large subject and there is a great amount of
literatures and theories about cultural characterization and management, there have to be
restrictions on information being used. In addition, in this study only self-reported
responses will be measured, rather than National Culture - Vietnamese actual

25

observations in the workplace. Therefore, the possibility remains that the research
methods of this study fail to fully capture all the cultural influences shaping Vietnamese
business managers cultural characteristics and concepts of management.

Organization of the Study


The dissertation is organized in five chapters. Chapter 1 presents an introduction
to the study and explains why understanding the relationship between cultural
characteristics and management is important. Chapter 2 presents the pertinent literature
and provides the theoretical context and framework for the study. Chapter 3 presents the
mixed method research design used in the study and describes the methods of data
collection and analysis. Chapter 4 presents the qualitative and quantitative results and the
analysis of the findings. Finally, chapter 5 summarizes the findings as well as states
conclusions stemming from the results and makes recommendations for further research.
The results are related to the existing literature and the social significance of the study is
discussed.

Summary
This chapter begins with establishing the subcultures point of view that is relevant
to the subject of management. The rationale for the study stems from the need to better
understand the cultural dimensions which determine what a constructive management is
in different countries in order to better manage workers in cross-cultural settings. The
national cultural differences may vary from those factors that are the visible part in the
iceberg metaphor, such as behaviors to those non-observable factors, such as attitudes,

26

values, and beliefs. The purpose and significance of the study presents the face-to-face
interactions at the local level in which managers of organization must interact to gain
deeper knowledge insight into Vietnamese characters. The theoretical constructs for the
study are a combination of the dimensions of cultural characteristics developed by
Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988), and the management styles
characteristics developed by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993). The qualitative
methodology in combination with the quantitative case study help to advance
understanding of the cultural complexity, and is appropriate for a close look at
Vietnamese values, attitudes, customs, and beliefs.
The next chapter will discuss the development of the theoretical constructs which
guided this study and the research relevant to cultural characteristics and management.

27

CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction
This chapter focuses on a review of the literature and provides the theoretical
constructs which form the frame of reference for a case study on Vietnamese cultural
characteristics and management in the city of Houston. The discussion of management
begins with an overview of effective management theories, concepts of management
styles, motivation theory, and factors of management styles. The relevant theoretical
bases of this case study are the administrative theory (Fayol, 1916), theory of
administrative behavior (Simon, 1958), theory of bureaucracy (Weber, 1958), theory of
scientific management (Taylor, 1947), theories X and Y (McGregor, 1960), theory Z
(Ouchi, 1981), achievement motivation theory (McClelland, 1961), and dimensions of
management styles (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993).
In addition, an overview of cultural characteristics are based on theory of culture
(Hofstede, 1984; Hofstede & Bond, 1988), cross-cultural research, GLOBE project
(House et al., 1999), value/belief theory (Hofstede, 1984), and some traits of the
Vietnamese culture (Pham, 1994; Puffer, 2004; Vuong, 1976).
The literature review is shaped by the variables of cultural values and
management styles as identified in the purpose and significant of study section of this
paper. The review of the literature relative to cultural characteristics is structured around
the five dimensions of cultural values developed by Hosftede (1984) and Hofstede and
Bond (1988). The literature on management focuses on management styles factors

28

developed by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993), and management theories as a subset of


the broader field of management style factors.

Perceptions of Effective Management A Classical Perspective


The industrial revolution of the twentieth century stimulated many management
theories which described the modern business environment. These theories influence
supervision, management, administration, or leadership terms often used
interchangeably in the new patterns of thinking, the process of responding, and new ways
of managing people. Each theory reflects a unique set of roles and functions for the best
practices, principles and techniques in management that many modern managers and
practitioners use to support employees and improve the organizations business
operations. Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol, Max Weber, and Herbert Simon
made major contributions to the theoretical foundation of contemporary management
practices.
Scientific Management
Frederick Taylor (1895), the Father of Scientific Management, believed that the
working environment contained a great deal of conflict and inefficiency because of poor
work design, lack of co-ordination and control, and poor employee commitment. Taylor
(1947) developed a method to analyze tasks performed by individual workers in an effort
to discover those procedures that would produce the maximum output with the minimum
input of energies and resources (Scott, 2003). An example of this theory is the assembly
line where individuals are assigned certain tasks requiring specific motions to perform
their small step in the overall process. His scientific management theory proposed to

29

rationalize the organization from the bottom up (Scott, 2003). Taylor believed that it is
entirely possible to scientifically analyze tasks performed by workers and that
understanding these procedures will help a company use resources more efficiently.
Analyzing and rationalizing labors at the individual task level will lead to changes in the
structure of work arrangements. Scientific management approaches help improve the
work process but ignore the aspects of individual experiences, traits, motivation, etc. that
contribute to the successful accomplishment of a task. The phrase "scientific
management" or Taylorism is seldom if ever used today. However, the principles of
scientific management are still relevant in helping many American companies define the
role of training, wage incentives, employee selection, planning and control in
organizational performance.
Administrative Theory
A French industrialist, Henri Fayol (1916), developed administrative theory
which is completely opposite of Taylors in its overall form. Where Taylor looks from
the bottom up, Fayol looks from the top down. Henri Fayol was the first to identify the
five functions of management: planning, organizing, commanding, directing, and
controlling. He proposed that organizations should operate in a hierarchical structure like
a pyramid, with no one person receiving orders from more than one superior (Scott,
2003). He identified two activities, coordination and specialization, as important
principles. Coordination activities would include the chain of command or the scalar
principle. This principle states that every worker should have only one immediate
supervisor; this is who they report to and receive orders from. This helps to pin
responsibility and fix errors in the system. In order for a manager to effectively manage,

30

the number of subordinates must be controlled. The principle proposes that subordinates
be given the authority to handle routine matters allowing managers and superiors to be
free to deal with exceptional situations. Although administrative theory was proposed
more than 90 years ago, the five functions of management have had a profound impact on
management thinking and practice over the years as a basic framework for describing the
tasks of management. This theory has the advantage of uniformity throughout the
organization; however, in the global business structure, this theory creates many
logistical problems.
Theory of Bureaucracy
A German sociologist/political economist, Max Weber (1958), developed a theory
of authority structures and described organizational activity based on authority relations
(Scott, 2003). Scott (2003) defines bureaucracy as "the existence of a specialized
administrative staff" (p. 41). The notion of bureaucracy was formalized by Weber; his
articulate writings helped to coalesce and interpret bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is a
particular type of administrative structure developed through rational-legal authority.
Weber stressed that the rational-legal form of authority was the most stable system for
both superiors and subordinates as it is more reliable and clear, yet allows the subordinate
more independence and discretion. Subordinates ideally can challenge the decisions of
their leaders by referring to the stated rules charisma becomes less important.
Weber promoted the pyramid-shaped structure and a strong chain of command,
emphasized functional separation within the organization, and methods and procedures to
guide the regular and continuous fulfillment of duties within the organization (Gerth &
Mills, 1946). Key to understanding Weber is his focus on authority, bureaucracy, and

31

feedback as expressed through criticism and appreciation (Scott, 2003). This theory
works well with a good enforcement mechanism. One positive aspect of this principle is
the advantage of removing disharmonious or conflicting guidelines from group tasks and
behavior through guidance by increasingly superior knowledge and skills. The theory
creates uniformity throughout the organization; however, the authoritys decision
becomes less relevant because one individual cannot understand all the technologies of
the job; therefore, this theory would lead to poor decisions and consequentially to poor
performances.

Theory of Administrative Behavior


Simon extended Taylors thesis by measuring personal efficiency in terms of how
efficiently the employee translates managements assigned goals and tasks into
quantitative results in terms of their assigned job function. He was the first theorist to
focus on process and methods of administration, not management like other theorist.
Simons focus tended to be more on the internal decision making which occurs within an
individual worker which brings him into an organization and keeps him actively engaged
within that organizational structure. Thus, Simon drew a conclusion that goals are
effective only in as much as they can influence the decision making of individual workers
(Scott, 2003). Simon went further and noted that decisions are made within a context of
role, thus individuals at the higher end of an organization tend to be focused more on
organizational decisions while those at the lower levels of an organization tend to carry
out the organizational tasks. His theory suggested a hierarchy of goals (Scott, 2003).

32

Simon, in essence, states decision makers perform in an arena of bounded


rationality and that the approach to decision making must be one of satisfying where
satisfactory rather than optimum decisions are often reached. Satisfying successfully
adapts to and is a realistic solution for the limited time and resources a manager has when
considering alternatives in the decision making process. The most important aspect of
Simon's work was the rigorous application of the scientific method. Reductionism,
quantification, and deductive logic were legitimized as the methods of studying
organizations. This theory is task oriented and is efficiently productive. However, it will
not work well with the situations where unforeseen circumstances occur, such as changes
in market, technologies, or personnel.

Management Styles Concepts


The way in which managers approach various situations and the behavior they
display towards subordinate staff in an organization is likely depend on their style of
management. A managers style is likely determined by the culture of the organization,
the situational applications, and the needs of his or her employees. There has been a
significant increase in the number of management theories over the past three decades.
However, McGregor (1960) and Ouchi (1981) described the traits that are necessary for
successful managers in todays management environment. The following concepts make
up the characteristics of managerial styles.
Theory X and Theory Y
In 1960, the psychologist Douglas McGregor proposed two distinct views of
management styles: a basically negative approach labeled theory X, and basically

33

positive approach labeled theory Y. Theory X assumes that employees are lazy and don't
want to work. It is the job of the manager to control worker performance through
intimidation, rigid work rules, and threats of discipline (Brozik, 1994, p. 4). McGregor's
theory X makes three basic assumptions: (1) The employees dislike work and, whenever
possible, will attempt to avoid it; (2) since employees dislike work, they must be coerced,
controlled, directed, and threatened or punished to get them to work toward
organizational objectives; (3) the employees prefer to be directed, wish to avoid
responsibility, lack ambition, and seek job security above ambition. If management holds
theory X assumption, it is likely to manage as follows: (1) Management directs
employees; (2) management is responsible for organizing, planning, coordinating, and
important decision-making; (3) it is managements responsibility to motivate employees
to work toward to the desired goals.
Theory Y, on the other hand, rests on a positive view of employees. Theory Y
assumes that employees are motivated and therefore, managers are seen more as coaches
and mentors who provide employees with opportunities to pursue career goals (Brozik,
1994, p. 4). McGregor's theory Y makes four basic assumptions: (1) Employees view
work as natural as play or rest; (2) employees who are committed to the objectives will
exercise self-direction and self-control; (3) commitment to objectives is a function of
rewards associated with their achievement; (4) the average worker can learn to accept and
to seek responsibility. If management holds theory Y assumptions, they are likely to
manage in predictable ways as follows: (1) Management can delegate important decisions
to employees at lower levels; (2) employees might be given the opportunity to make their
own decisions and implement their own ideas; (3) management establishes the right

34

working conditions, values the opinion of the employees, spends more time listening than
talking, looks for ideas from the bottom-up, but makes the final decision; (4)
management can trust employees.
McGregor believed that theory Y managers offer the "carrot" as opposed to the
"stick" shown by theory X managers (Brozik, 1994, p. 4). McGregor argued that
managers should free up their employees to unleash their full creative and productive
potential. As a result, employees working for a theory Y manager appear to be creative,
imaginative, and eager to satisfy personal work-ego objectives (Brozik, 1994, p. 4).
Theory Z
In 1981, William Ouchi proposed a theory Z style of management. Theory Z
represented a combination of American and Japanese management styles and is
sometimes called Japanese Management. Theory Z assumes that managers must be more
supportive and trusting of their employees, in order to receive the benefit of increased
participation in the decisions of the company. Theory Z managers view their employees
as equals; everyone is a part of the total work team (Brozik, 1994, p. 5). Specific
characteristics included in theory Z are long-term strategic vision that is made clear for
each employee, less specialized career paths, informal control, group decision making,
and a strong human resource management support system. This theory satisfies both
lower order and higher order needs. When management holds theory Z assumptions, they
are likely to manage in this style: (1) Managers are more supportive and trusting of their
employees; (2) emphasis on group decision-making and teams; (3) support for flexible
work schedules, and telecommuting.

35

While theory Z appears to be the management style of choice in the last two
decades, but the assumptions made about employees and as well as managers can be
applied in todays workplace. Sullivan (1983) argued that in the absence of strong
cultural forces to counter its influences, theory Z fosters an environment in which family
ties, traditions, and social institutions are all weak in their impact on individual behavior,
social cohesion, and social stability (p. 133).
Theories X, Y and Z postulate that the management styles have a strong influence
on the behavior of the employees in terms of creativity and innovation. These styles can
either facilitate or inhibit the promotion of innovative ideas, processes and practices. It is
important that managers have a highly developed sense of peoples perceptions and
understand the feelings of staff, their needs and expectations. There is no evidence that
either theory gives all the answers on how to motivate heterogeneous peoples (within a
single culture and nation, across nations) who have different needs, attitudes, values and
beliefs. The managers must, therefore, get to know more about cultural differences as
well as similarities in order to provide a climate conclusive to triggering the motivation
potential in people.

Achievement Motivation Theory


A Psychologist, David McClelland (1961), in his studies of managerial
motivation, he found that he was able to differentiate people with a high need to achieve,
a strong desire to succeed or achieve in relation to a set of standards, from people with a
low need to achieve. In contrast to theories that emphasized a hierarchy of needs (e.g.
Alderfer, 1969; Maslow, 1954), McClelland identified the three type motives of specific

36

needs: need for affiliation, need for power, and need for achievement. Each of these
needs bears some resemblance to needs discussed by Maslow (1954). One of the most
widely studied needs is the need for achievement. Understanding of this need has been
instrumental in helping organizations better match people with jobs and in redesigning
jobs for high achievement and consequentially leading to high performance. In addition,
McClelland and his associates successfully developed methods to help achievement
motivation trained individuals in developing countries to increase their achievement drive
(Hofstede, 1984). For instance, in India, people who underwent achievement training
worked longer hours, initiated more new business ventures, and made greater investments
in productive assets.
The need for achievement refers to the internal drive to excel or succeed, and has
been the subject of numerous studies (Spangler, 1992). Individuals with a high need for
achievement will exert a greater effort to perform than those with a low need to achieve.
They prefer job situations with personal responsibility and feedback for the outcomes.
People with a strong high need for achievement may express their desire to influence
others (McClelland, 1987). Conversely, McClelland (1985) argued that each need is a
predisposition within an individual that is only activated in the presence of specific
achievement incentives. This kind of achievement incentive attracts individuals with a
sense of accomplishment who are more likely to accept work or tasks that are relatively
challenging. In the absence of these achievement incentives there will be little difference
between those with high or low levels of need for achievement.
While McClellands (1961) prescriptions may be theoretically without flaw,
Hofstede (1984) found that economic growth theory is fortuitous; it is an artifact of the

37

particular measures and measuring periods that were chosen (p. 126-127). For example,
there was no consistency between McClellands data for the years 1925 to 1950 among
country scores (Hofstede, 1984). The results of McClelland studies for Anglo countries,
such as Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States were more consistent with his
theories than other countries that suffered from the war. Conversely, the Anglo countries
did not do well as other countries after 1950. Hofstede (1984) concluded that
McClelland, an American, has been describing a typical Anglo-American value complex
the one present in his own environment and offered it as a model to the world (p.
127-128). Hofstede (1984) further explains that even the word achievement is difficult
to translate in most languages other than English (p. 128).
In discussing the need for cross-cultural studies, Hofstede (1984) says
presuppose a systems approach, that any element of the system called culture should
be eligible for analysis, regardless of the discipline that usually deals with such elements
(p. 26).

Dimensions of Management Styles


The meaning and manifestation of management style are as unique as an
individuals experience and world view. The Third New International Dictionary (1986)
defines style as: the peculiarly distinctive technique or methods characteristic of or
identified with a particular individual usu. in the performance of a particular activity (p.
2271). Conversely, management is not an exact science, but is a mix of science, art,
intuition, experimentation, and investigation (Miller & Vaughn, 2001). Therefore, it is

38

important to understand management style as a building block of management, before


exploring specific styles of management.
Defining Management Styles
The term management style generally can be used to describe the functions of
behavior and are linked to personality. Schleh (1977) defined management style as:
The adhesive that binds diverse operations and functions together. It is the
philosophy or set of principles by which you capitalize on the abilities of your
people. It is not a procedure on how to do, but is the management framework for
doing. A management style is a way of life operating throughout the enterprise. It
permits an executive to rely on the initiative of his people (p. 10).
Alaum and Herche in turn defined management style as "a recurring set of
characteristics that are associated with the decisional process of the firm or individual
managers" (1995, p. 2). Alaum and Herche (1995) further explained that management
style characteristics will tend to vary depending on the culture of the business, the nature
of the task, and the environment in which the firm functions.
A variety of formal styles of management have been described and discussed by
many scholars over the past four decades. McGregors theory X and theory Y (1961), and
Ouchis theory Z (1981) postulation that the style of management adopted is a function of
managers attitude towards people and assumptions about human nature and behavior.
Likert (1961, 1967) divided systems of management into 4 categories of management
styles that constitute a continuum: Exploitive Authoritative, Benevolent Authoritative,
Consultative, and Participative Group. Likert (1961) further explained that each category
can be expanded by adding many additional items under each category, can yield a

39

substantial body of information on the performance characteristics of the participativegroup form of management (p. 236). In the book The Management of Innovation,
Burns and Stalker (1961) reported on difficulties facing organizations in adjusting to new
environmental conditions by identifying two types of organization, namely mechanistic
(bureaucracy) and organic (adhocracy) styles of management. Mintzberg (1973)
described the sets of behaviors attributable to the styles of management as being
primarily concerned with interpersonal relationships, the transfer of information, and
decision making. In addition, Mintzbergs theory (1979) on the five basic parts of the
organization contributed to the field of management styles by advancing the two
dimensional lines and boxes view of the traditional organization to a five dimension lens
which includes the operating core, the technostructure, the middle line, the support staff
and the strategic apex. Following Japan's striking economic success, many empirical
studies and literature on management during the 80s and early 90s reflected the
superiority of Japanese management styles. In a comparative study of the British
companies and Japanese-owned subsidiaries in Great Britain, Doyle et al. (1986)
described the style of Japaneses management as informal and had both top-down and
bottom-up communications whereas British companies appeared to emphasize on strong
hierarchical distinctions and bureaucratic structures. Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993)
found in a comparison of U.S. and Japanese management styles found that managerial
styles differ significantly between the two countries.
In discussion of structure and systems, Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993)
developed a model consisting of six dimensions to analyze the U.S. management style in
contrast to the Japanese: (1) supervisory style, (2) decision making, (3) communication

40

pattern, (4) control mechanism, (5) interdepartmental relationships, and (6) paternalistic
orientation. The authors found that both management styles differ in these dimensions
and that American managers emphasize supervisory style, decision making and control
mechanism, the Japanese are more concerned with communication processes,
interdepartmental relations, and a paternalistic approach (p. 27-38). Each dimension
regarding management styles reflects a unique perspective on the purpose of
management. This has important ramifications in how to manage and the manner in
which communication is approached in both the long and short-term, the decision making
to be considered in terms of results and process, and the supervision styles to interact
with and motive employees. Individuals involved in management need to be aware of
their own paradigm, the lens with which they view management and how that will
influence the desired outcomes.
The six dimensions of management styles developed by Culpan and
Kucukemiroglu (1993) were close and similar to the overlapping definitions as discussed
above, particularly in the supervision styles, decision making, and communication
pattern. These dimensions reflected the above overlapping concepts of in coordination,
delegation, decision making, human nature, and material resources in the achievement of
organizational objectives. The management styles that are discussed below can be
recognized by observable artifacts and products, but must be understood by exploring the
cultural values.
Supervision Style
Supervision style relates to the type of interactions between supervisors and their
subordinates in organizations (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). The supervisor can use

41

these concepts in different ways to accomplish the organizations goals and help each
employee grow professionally.
Decision Making
Decision making refers to different methods in which decisions are made to
increase accomplishment and outcomes (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). The concepts
of decision making can also be extended to include how employees can contribute to or
participate in management decision making. Franko (1971) identified the complexities of
decision making from a cultural perspective. Vietnamese, for instance, dont necessarily
make decisions the same way that Americans do. Cultural differences can have
significant influence on decision making.
Communication Pattern
Communication refers to information flow within organizations and departments,
and barriers to information flow. It includes providing informational input to decisions;
establishing missions, duties, roles, and power; achieving cooperation, guiding action
toward goals, instructing, changing, and providing feedback (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu,
1993). Calantone and Zhao (2000) found that the control of communication styles
between Japanese, Korean, and American general managers are significantly different. In
this perspective, cross cultural factors clearly create the potential for increased
communication difficulties.
Control Mechanism
Control mechanism refers to checking and comparing the standard with outcomes
(Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). These concepts can also be extended to help ensure
that all employees meet the organizational standards. According to Geringer and Herbert

42

(1989), control refers to the process of ensuring that things are going as they should
whereby one party influences, to different degrees, the behavior and output of another
party through the use of power, authority, and a wide range of bureaucratic, cultural, and
informal mechanisms.
Interdepartmental Relations
Interdepartmental relations describe the functions crossed departmental lines of
interaction among departments within an organization. It is necessary for accomplishing
departmental objectives and requires various forms of input from other departments
within an organization (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993).
Paternalistic Orientation
Paternalistic orientation refers to the degree of managers concern for employees'
non-work related matters, such as, personal and family life of employees and providing
social support for them (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). In organizations, a highly
paternalistic orientation means that managers care about employees' family life and
provide social support. This creates a family culture so employees feel they are part of an
organization. Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) found that One of the distinguishing
characteristics of Japanese management is its paternalistic nature (p. 32).

Dimensions of Culture
Understanding the important of cultural influences on management practices and
analyzing variations among cultures were concepts recognized by Geert Hofstede (1980;
1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988). Although several studies have examined cultural
differences, one of the most comprehensive was conducted by Geert Hofstede. Hofstede

43

saw that culture influenced cognition, attitudes, emotion, values and how people related
to each other differed from culture to culture. Therefore, an understanding of how
cultural differences affect people and social system is critical to management when facing
the realities of today's business world. Since its publication in 1980, Geert Hofstedes
Cultures consequences have had a profound influence on the field of cross-cultural
studies within organization, in psychology studies, and social sciences. Many business
scholars favor the used of Hofstedes framework to examine how cultural differences
influence management practices which contributed to understanding of the applicability
of various management practices in different cultural contexts over the past two decades
(Bond & Smith, 1996; Cooper & Denner, 1998; Earley & Gibson, 1998; Inkpen &
Beamish, 1994; Wright & Ricks, 1994).
Hofstede's main research on cross-cultural is principally described in Culture's
consequences (1980, 1984, 2001). It was among the first of a handful of a large-scale,
quantitatively based research projects attempting to identify specific cultural dimensions
that could be used to systematically identify similarities and differences among countries.
From 1967 to 1973, Hofstede collected and analyzed data from more than 116,000
individuals working in more than 66 countries. For reasons of stability of data, the latter
were limited to 40 countries (Hofstede, 1984). After analyzing the data from more than
40 countries, Hofstede developed a theoretical framework that identifies four underlying
value dimensions that differentiate cultures. These four dimensions are: power distance,
individualism, masculine, and uncertainty avoidance. Later, with a group of researchers
based in Hong Kong and headed by Michael H. Bond, Hofstede added a fifth dimension,
Confucian dynamism, called long-term/short-term orientation which has been used to

44

distinguish cultures among 23 countries. Understanding differences between cultures can


be complex. Before proceeding to a discussion of specific dimensions of culture, it is
importance to define culture.
Defining Culture
Culture is a complex concept with numerous definitions. The definitions range
from all-encompassing to limited areas of interest. As documented by Kroeber and
Kluckhohn (1985), there are over 160 definitions of culture alone, and a great deal of
material has been published on this topic. Rosinski defines culture as the set of unique
characteristics that distinguishes its members from another group (2003, p. 20). Because
every individual belongs to multiple groups, we operate within multiple cultures that
transcend nationality to include geography, professional disciplines, organizations and
their subcultures, social life, gender, and sexual orientation. Mead (1951) defined
culture as a body of learned behavior, a collection of beliefs, habits and traditions,
shared by a group of people and successively learned by people who enter the society (p.
10). Schien (1996) in turn sees culture as a set of basic tacit assumptions about how the
world is and ought to be that a group of people share and that determine their perceptions,
thoughts, feelings, and, to some degree, their overt behavior (p. 11). Carr-Rufino (2003)
states that, Culture is the collective programming of individuals minds that determines
how a group of individuals perceives reality (p. 19). The author further adds that Its
our programmed beliefs, many of them hidden, our mental map, and our view of reality
(p. 20). However, Hofstedes (1980, p. 25) definition the collective programming of the
mind, which distinguishes the member of one human group from another is the most
cited since 1980s. As defined by Schein, culture is an iceberg, with behaviors signaling

45

the 10% visible part, and nonobservable values and norms comprising the 90% below the
surface (Rosinski, 2003). Trompenaars uses an onion ring model of culture. He assigns
artifacts and products as the visible tip, and relegates norms and values as the inner layer
which surrounds a core of basic assumptions (2003). The dimensions of culture that are
discussed below can be recognized by observable artifacts and products, but must be
understood by exploring the values and norms.
Power Distance (PDI)
Power Distance pertains to the inequality of power in institutions and
organizations. The central concept of power distance is defined as "the extent to which
the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed
unequally" (Hofstede, 1984, p. 831). Hofstede (1984) further explained that the power
distance and stratification systems which operate in a society are extremely culturally
dependent (p. 26). Power Distance, varying from high to low, is designed to measure
how equally or unequally power is distributed within a society and how readily inequality
is accepted. According to Hofstede (1984), individuals with low power distance cultures
are less likely to tolerate class distinctions, are more likely to prefer democratic
participation, and are less afraid of disagreeing with superiors. In contrast, individuals
from a high power distance more easily accept inequality in distributions of power,
perceive differences between superiors and subordinates as natural, and believe superiors
are more entitled to special privileges than are individuals from low power distance
cultures. The questions used in Hofstedes survey best express the relationship between
people with power and their subordinates. These questions deal with perceptions of the
superiors style of decision-making and colleagues fear of disagreeing with superiors,

46

and with the type of decision-making which subordinates prefer in their boss. PDI scores
differ strongly across occupations as well (Hofstede, 1984, p. 65).
In discussion of the power distance norm, Hofstede (1984) explained that the
societal norm is meant to be a value system shared by a majority in the middle classes in
a society (p. 93). The societal norm as identified by Hofstede was used to measured high
and low power distance.
Individualism (IDV)
Individualism is the degree to which people in societies prefer to act as
individuals rather than as members of groups. Individualism is the belief that everyone is
expected to put their own interest ahead of that of the group (Golden & Veiga, 2005).
Hofstede (1984) used the dimension of Individualism in which ties between individuals
are loose or tight. Further, he explained that individualism is a fundamental component of
societal norms and it affects both peoples mental programming and the structure and
functioning of many other types of institutions besides the family: educational, religious,
political, and utilitarian (p. 149). According to Hofstede (1984), in societies with high
individualism, people focus on themselves rather than on the group(s) to which they may
belong. In this perspective, an individual is seen as unique and whole, or having a selfidentity which is separable from and does not depend on group affiliation. In contrast,
societies with low individualism had an emphasis on person as a whole only when
considered in terms of an in-group affiliation. It is the group, not the individual that is
seen as the basic unit of society.
The concept of individualism as the degree of relation between the group and the
individual has been widely studied in cross-cultural research (Gudykunst, 1998; Triandis,

47

1989; Triandis et al., 1988). This is because in some cultures, individualism is seen as a
blessing and a source of well-being; in others, it is seen as alienating (Hofstede, 2001).
Hofstede suggests that individualist cultures are characterized as a loosely knit social
fabric in which individuals focus on taking care of themselves and their immediate
family.
Masculinity (MAS)
Masculinity refers to the orientation a culture has to be more assertive, aggressive,
tough, and focused on material success (Golden & Veiga, 2005; Hofstede, 1993). This
dimension concerns the division of roles between the sexes in society and it is a social,
rather than biological, sex role division. Hofstede (1984) used the dimension of
Masculinity in his cross cultural studies based on his perception that the predominant
socialization pattern is for men to be more assertive and for women to be more nurturing
(p. 176). Hofstede further explained that in business organizations have masculine
goals and tend to promote men; hospitals have more feminine goals and, at least on the
nursing side, tend to promote women (p. 176). Hofstede (1985) defined Masculinity as
"a preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material success" (p. 348). A
high score on the MAS dimension is characterized by competitive, assertive, aggressive
and achievement material success. Conversely, a lower score is considered "feminine"
and is characterized by humble, nurturing, attaining and concern for a higher quality of
life.
Uncertainty Avoidance (UA)
Uncertainty avoidance refers to the extent that members of that culture feel
comfortable with unknown situations (Golden & Veiga, 2005; Hofstede, 1993). It refers

48

to the degree to which individuals deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity in life. This
dimension demonstrates "the degree to which members of a society feel uncomfortable
with uncertainty and ambiguity, leading them to support beliefs promising certainty"
(Hofstede, 1985, p. 347). Hofstede suggests that societies that exhibit high uncertainty
avoidance prefer to have many rules and procedures emphasizing on behavior,
formalization of organizational structure, and standardization of procedures. By contrast,
societies with low uncertainty avoidance exhibit greater tolerance and are more flexible
and tolerant of behavior and opinions that differ from their own. Hofstede explained that
Uncertainty about the future is a basic fact of human life with which individuals try to
cope through the domains of technology, law, and religion (p. 110). Hofstede (1984)
noted that coping with the inevitable uncertainties in life is a partly non-rational process
which different individuals, organizations, and societies resolve in different ways (p.
118).
Long-Term Orientation (LTO)
The Long-Term Orientation dimension also referred to as Confucian dynamism,
which was only recently added to Hofstede's national culture framework, measures
people's consideration of the future. The Confucian dynamism as original labeled by
Hofstede refers to the cultures that value either long term or short term rewards (Golden
& Veiga, 2005). Hofstede and Bond (1998) explained that cultures with a LTO are
characterized by values such as persistence, adaptations of traditions to new
circumstances, perseverance toward slow results and the idea that most important events
in life will occur in the future. Hofstede defined this dimension as fostering of virtue
oriented towards future rewards, in particular, perseverance and thrift (2001, p. 359).

49

Individuals in high LTO reflect a cultures tendency toward a future-minded mentality


whereas individuals in low LTO reflect a cultures tendency to pursue the short-term
effects. House et al. (1999) stated that this scale reflects support for entrepreneurship in
the countries scoring high on it (p. 582).
Hofstede (2001) noted that this dimension is also related to the ability to solve
well-defined problems (p. 351). A long term perspective would see the problem as part
of the process and persevere through it.
From the discussion above, the five cultural dimensions identify core values that
attempt to explain the similarities and differences in cultures around the world. While the
different phenomena can be distinctly global, the consequences are profoundly local.
Culture is a significant key to an organization's behavior and commitment; ability to
adapt to changes; recognizing the capital market and regulations; and viewing of the
world through news and media, and insight into all parts of societal life. For this study,
Hofstedes framework provides explicit constructs that managers and others can benefit
from when examining the influence of culture on management styles.

Cross-Cultural Research
Cross-cultural research generally takes a comparative approach to the complex
problems by raising a number of important issues of methodology. Although this study
does not attempt to make multiple cross-cultural comparisons, the review of the literature
addresses the issues of the generalizability of cultural dimensions across cultures.
Hofstede (1984) stated that The comparison of cultures presupposes that there is
something to be compared; that each culture is not so unique that any parallel with

50

another culture is meaningless (p. 32). House et al. (1999) explained that the two aspects
of culture frequently discussed in the cross-cultural literature as etic and emic (p. 22).
Den Hartog et al. (1999) explained that the etic approach makes the assumptions that
universal present all in cultures, which can be identified and then measured scientifically.
Conversely, the emic approach assumes that most cultures are unique. Hofstede (1980)
suggested that a key decision that has to be made is whether one is looking for what is
similar or for what is different.
The purpose of this study is to use mixed qualitative and quantitative
methodology for the selection of a case study. Therefore, when examining the link
between national culture and management, the selection of methodology is based on
those dimensions that can be theoretically linked with management and are also common
to Hofstedes framework. As such, the five cultural dimensions are considered. These
five cultural dimensions scheme has dominated management research and is one of the
most cited works in the Social Science Citation Index. The implications of five cultural
dimensions developed by Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988) are very
important in examining the relationship between culture and management styles.
Kostova's (1997) recommended use of only those cultural elements that theory suggests
are most relevant to the issue under investigation. The etic approach makes the
assumptions that there are universal constructs that transcends individual cultures, which
can help in more thoroughly understanding national cultures and cultural cluster but will
not be sufficient in preparing management styles. Therefore, using six components of the
management styles developed by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) in this study along
with a qualitative and quantitative examination of cultural characteristics provide the

51

richness of data needed for management styles. Hofstede (1998b) explains that "different
social disciplines have traditionally taken different positions on the emic-etic continuum.
Emic-etic approaches are complementary. The first without the second gets stuck in case
studies that cannot be generalised, the second, without the first in abstractions that cannot
be related to real life" (p. 9).

The GLOBE Project


The GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness)
project is a large research project based on the data collected by 170 social scientists and
management scholars from 61 cultures throughout the world to examine the
interrelationships between societal culture, organizational culture and practices, and
organizational leadership (House et al., 1999). In addition, Culture and Leadership
Across the World: The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies (Chhokar,
Brodbeck & House, 2007) provide the large-scale project on international management
research featuring contributions from nearly 18,000 middle managers from 1,000
organizations in 62 countries. The theoretical model proposed by the GLOBE research
program is based on an integration of four theoretical perspectives: implicit leadership
theory (Lord & Maher, 1991), value-belief theory of culture (Hofstede, 1980), implicit
motivation theory (McClelland, 1985), and strategic contingency theory of Organizations
(Donaldson, 1993).
The nine dimensions of culture used by GLOBE with respect to the national
studies in according to House et al. (1999): (1) Uncertainty Avoidance, (2) Power
Distance, (3) Collectivism I: Societal Emphasis on Collectivism, (4) Collectivism II:

52

Family Collectivisitc Practices, (5) Gender Egalitarianism, (6) Assertiveness, (7) Future
Orientation, (8) Performance Orientation, and (9) Humane Orientation ( p. 24). House et
al. (1999) further explained that These dimensions were selected on the basis of a
review of the literature relevant to the measurement of culture in previous large-sample
studies and on the basis of existing cross-culture theory (p. 24). Each of GLOBE's nine
dimensions of culture has a normative value component (the way it should be in this
culture) and a practice component (the way it is in this culture).
Due to its being largely based on Hofstedes framework, the GLOBE project
faces some of the same limitations. Since three out of nine variables are taken and
modified from the scales developed by Hofstede, they share the limitation of not having
an underlying theory for the cultural variables. Hofstede (2006) has criticized the
GLOBE study as too abstract. Another criticism is that large-scale multi-country studies
of managerial beliefs may not be as useful as many proponents would hope because they
do not directly measure organizational phenomena (Earley, 2006).

Value/Belief Theory
Hofstede (1984) defines a value as "a broad tendency to prefer certain states of
affairs over others. Because our values are programmed early in our lives, they are nonrational and determine our subjective definition of rationality (p. 18). With this frame of
reference Hofstede describes culture as including a system of values and concluded that
values are among the building blocks of culture (p. 21). Hofstedes version of
value/belief theory includes four cultural dimensions, power distance, individualism,
Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance in his framework. Later, Hofstede added the

53

fifth dimension, Long-Term Orientation (LTO) after collaborating with Bond (Hofstede
& Bond, 1988).
The mechanism through which management styles are influenced by cultural
values can be explained from value/belief theory of culture perspective (Hofstede, 1980;
1984; 2001). According to the value theory of culture (Hofstede, 1980), cultural values
underlie management practices, and individuals behaviors depend on the cultural beliefs
of the members of that culture.
Some Traits of the Vietnamese Culture
Vietnamese culture is very complex, in part due to a history of internal and
regional conflicts, and characterized by many dominations whose impacts were profound
in Vietnamese history. The longest and oldest domination by the Chinese lasted over
1000 years, the French for 100 years and the American for 20 years. Throughout the
invasions, wars, strife, and pain, the culture remained firm and in place. Vietnamese share
many cultural traits with other Southeast Asians, but they dont operate with all the
cultural limitations. Engholm (1995) acknowledged that Vietnamese are individualistic
where most Asians are group-oriented; theyre openly aggressive where other Asians
might be more passively aggressive (p. 214). With that caveat, in the broadest term, the
Vietnamese culture can be generally describes as follows:
Religions
Religion is a way of life to the Vietnamese. Pham (1994) explained that it would
be almost impossible to separate religion from the way of life of the Vietnamese and
other people in Asia (p. 213). With respect to religions, currently there are six major
religions have had a profound impact on the Vietnamese culture. They are Confucianism,

54

Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Cao Dai, and Hoa Hao (Pham, 1994). These
religions have strongly shaped the Vietnamese way of viewing life and their beliefs, and
the results are radically different from the Western perspective.
Language
The Vietnamese language is monosyllabic and tonal language (Pham, 1994). The
meaning of the words that are spelled the same can change according to the inflection
used in the pronunciation of a word. Written Vietnamese uses the Roman alphabet;
however, accent or inflection makings are placed above or under the word to indicate the
appropriate inflection. In Vietnam, the family name (last name) is written first, followed
by the middle name and first name. The most common middle name Thi as a part of the
Vietnamese indicates that the child is a girl whereas Van is a boy. The majority
surname in the Vietnam is Nguyen. It should be noted that the Vietnamese prefer to be
called by their first name (Mr. first name), or, if she or he carriers a particular title, it
would be appropriate to refer her or him as Madam Director or Mr. Minister. In addition,
Puffer (2004) stated that Pronouns change according to speakers' ages, sex, social status,
and level of intimacy, with every pronoun establishing and reinforcing right relationship
(p. 204).
In discussion of the Vietnamese Language, Puffer (2004) explained the often
incorrect assumption by the Westerners that yes mean agreement, but the phrase only
means I am listening (p. 207). The words for affirmation during business negotiations
are agree or consent (Puffer, 2004, p. 207). To be sure, when Vietnamese business
managers say yes, yes, it always good to clarify whether they mean agree (p. 207). In
addition, Vietnamese rarely say no because a refusal causes of loss of face. Loss of

55

face is painful in any society, but unbearable in Vietnam. The Vietnamese have an
expression: Better to die than to lose face (Puffer, 2004, p. 207). Puffer (2004) further
explained that Vietnamese have ways of relaying negative decisions, but Westerners
often misunderstood and misinterpreted these messages (p. 2007). For instance,
Vietnamese may say they understand when they really dont. And they may make
commitments before they are sure they can live up to those commitments. Falling to
perceive or understand these situations in business interactions with Vietnamese have led
some Westerners to complain about duplicity.
Education
Education has traditionally been held in very high regard in the Vietnamese
community. The emphasis comes not only from familys reputation, a desire to have
stable finances, but also from Confucian beliefs that a persons level of education reflects
his status and identity. In the traditional social system the scholar is at the top of the
social hierarchy, followed by the farmer, the artisan, and the tradesman. Vuong (1976)
explained that Good education has always been considered most important and
accordingly given the highest status in Vietnam (p. 61).
Family
The family is traditionally extended, with parents, unmarried children, married
sons and their families, all living in the same household. When it is not possible to live in
the same house, married offspring choose to live close to their parents house. Even if far
away, the families will visit each other frequently. Vuong (1976) explained that Not
only do the Vietnamese feel deeply attached to their families, but they are also extremely
concerned with their family well fare, growth, harmony, pride, prestige, reputation,

56

honor, filial piety, etc. (p. 17). Families maintain strong ties and provide each member
with assistance and support as needed. Children are expected to be obedient and
respectful toward elders and their parents, and to help with household chores. Any
attempts to disobey parents are interpreted as a threat toward the parents authority.
Family values and bonding of the Vietnamese is the strongest source of motivation in
their lives. These factors also have a strong influence on their socialization. It is through
the family that sound values and a strong work ethic are passed down. The Vietnamese
have a proverb: Nhap gia tuy tuc (pronounced nyap ya twee took: "When entering a
family, follow its practices), which is akin to the Western saying, "When in Rome, do as
the Romans do" (Puffer, 2004, p. 205).
Social Relations
In social relations, the Vietnamese are very formalistic regarding etiquette. They
are gentle, friendly, and hospitable even thought they have suffered war and devastation
over the past five decades. A standard nostrum about doing business with the Vietnamese
is based on personal relationship. The relationships with Vietnamese are often based on
family relations, a shared past, as well as friendships built up over time. Engholm (1995)
stated that if you are warm, sincere, tolerant, and respectfully, the Vietnamese will
eventually come to trust you. And they can trust in return. (p. 218). The Vietnamese
hold in contempt those persons having a shameful life, but they sincerely respect people,
particularly, elderly people (Pham, 1994). Puffer (2004) explained that By giving
respect, one gains respect. The essential principle is: Show other people more respect
than they apparently deserve; simultaneously expect and assert less respect than you

57

deserve (p. 204). As common lore one hears, treat the Vietnamese well and with respect
and they will do almost anything for you. You will have their complete loyalty.
In discussing the indirectness, Puffer (2004) explained that:
Vietnamese tend to be indirect, Westerners direct. In Western communication, the
main point comes first and details follow. Vietnamese often use proverbs and
parables that tell seemingly irrelevant anecdotes, describing context while
spiraling so subtly toward the issue at hand, that Westerners may miss the point.
This indirectness is a question of tact, not of sincerity (p. 204).
The authors further explained that Vietnamese will be direct once they know
you (Puffer, 2004, p. 204). Vuong (1976) further explained that the Vietnamese do not
look straight into the eyes of the person with whom they conduct a conversation; doing so
is considered very impolite and might cause uneasiness on the others part if he is
Vietnamese. In the United States, however, such behavior is completely acceptable and
regarded as a sign of straightforwardness (p. 33-34).
As for the Vietnam War, it meant different things to different Vietnamese people.
In the South, the Vietnamese do not appreciate the stereotype of the Vietnamese as an
aggressive, war-like people, because they think of themselves as defenders of their
national territory. (The official name of the country is Socialist Republic of Vietnam.)
People will feel more comfortable with the Vietnamese if you can replace the images of
war-torn Vietnam with images of its events and festivals or its natural beauties of
mountains and unspoiled beaches.
As noted above, the Vietnamese culture can be generally described as based on
the family and community values. Its core values embrace the principles of religion,

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education, respect, honor and allegiance to the family. In term of Hofstedes framework
(1980; 1984), the Vietnamese culture is described as high individualism, high power
distance and moderate uncertainty avoidance (Ralston et al., 1999; 1993).

Summary
The literature review is focused on the two principle research questions: What are
the cultural characteristics of the Vietnamese business managers and what do the
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston consider constructive management?
The review is guided by two theoretical constructs; one being the five cultural
dimensions developed by Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988), and the other
the six management styles characteristics developed by Culpan & Kucukemiroglu (1993).
As the literature indicated, Hoftstedes (1980; 1984) Cultures Consequences, is
the most influential work to date in the study of cross-cultural management. Many
business scholars and cross-cultural researchers have referred to Hofstedes framework
over the past two decade for their studies in the effort to better understand what
determines the formation of a cultural characteristic. The GLOBE project, for instance,
initiated by Robert House, expanded Hofstedes (1984) cultural dimension to nine
dimensions of culture and began the process of collecting data from 62 countries across
the world in an effort to describe, understand, and predict the impact of cultural
variables on leadership and organizational processes and the effectiveness of these
processes (House et al., 1999, p. 2). While empirical validation of cultural dimensions
developed by Hofstede is far from complete, these dimensions provide explicit constructs
for analyzing cross-cultural management variations.

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With these thoughts in mind, this study moves on to the next chapter on the
methodology for the research. As discussed in the literature review, the theoretical
constructs provide a point of reference and a way to keep the research on course. The
next chapter describes the methodology used in this study including the research design
strategy and describes the sample selection which will attempt to better understand the
views and perceptions of the relationship between cultural context and management.

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CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Introduction
The study is designed to explore and identify the cultural characteristics of
Vietnamese managers in the city of Houston, and to examine what Vietnamese managers
consider constructive management styles. The study will be conducted and guided by the
theoretical constructs of cultural dimensions described by Hofstede (1984), Hofstede and
Bond (1988), and the management styles articulated by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu
(1993).
This research will utilize a mixed method approach contains elements of both
qualitative and quantitative methodology. The qualitative aspect of this research attempts
to describe, translate, and interpret phenomena in specific situations on the basis of
interview data. This method is often used in phenomenological research in which the
question of the research is answered through experientially acquired knowledge. Taylor
and Bogdan (1984) stated that the goal of qualitative research is to understand the social
phenomenon from the actors perspective through participation in the life of the actor.
The phenomenological method of research provides the researcher inside knowledge of
the core descriptions of what is being researched and additional knowledge through
detailed interview and observation. By contrast, with the quantitative research, the
researcher generally obtains data with minimal interaction between the researcher and
subject(s). Disassociation from the subject(s) allows the researcher to make neutral
categorizations of the data and is imperative to the validity of quantitative research.
Quantitative research is usually based on a positivist philosophy which assumes that there

61

are social facts with an objective reality apart from the beliefs of individuals. Its purpose
is to explain the causes of changes in social facts, primarily through objective
measurement and quantitative analysis (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984). The data gathered in
quantitative research allows the researcher to draw conclusions and make generalizations.
When qualitative analysis is used in a supportive role with quantitative analysis as
the dominant method, which is the case in this study, the researcher will be able to
simultaneously generalize results from a sample to a population and gain a deeper
understanding of the phenomenon of cultural context and management styles, by taking
advantage of the strong points of both types of research.

Research Design
Cooper and Schindler (2006) define research design as the blueprint for fulfilling
research objectives and answering questions. This proposed research study will utilize the
combination of qualitative and quantitative methodology in order to examine the cultural
context influencing the subjects perceptions of constructive management qualities. As
Brewer and Hunter (1989) and Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998) indicated , qualitative
methodology in combination with quantitative methodology in this case study helps to
understand the complexity of a research problem than either method alone. Integration of
quantitative and qualitative methodology in a study of management and its contextual and
cultural influences, allows the researcher to achieve more comprehensive results in ways
that one form of data does not allow.
The qualitative methodology is chosen by this researcher in order to get close to
participants, penetrate their internal logic and interpret their subjective understanding of

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the interaction between Vietnamese cultural characteristics and management styles in the
city of Houston. For the purposes of this study, the used a specific Vietnamese in the city
of Houston, interviewing will result in a greater understanding of cultural context and
management styles. This approach is really a more appropriate lens to capture the
complexity and depth of the issues. It allows the researcher to focus on control variables,
and add more questions to the survey if needed in order to understand and explain how
culture influences managerial styles. Looking at a particular group of people is most
appropriate when studying culture since culture is a social phenomenon and must,
therefore, be studied at the group or societal level where it comes into being (Hofstede,
1984; House et al., 1997; Triandis, 1989).
The quantitative research design is appropriate for developing theoretical
constructs of the cultural dimensions and management styles being studied. It seeks to
explain the causes of changes in social facts, primarily through objective measurement
and quantitative analysis. According to Cooper and Schindelar (2006), a dominant
method for quantitative research is the survey measurement (p. 198). Thus, the cultural
dimensions VSM 94 and Management Style Parts I and II survey questionnaires are
selected for their record of use in cross-cultural management research and for the
applicability at the local level. Because the results of this research will be compared with
previous research to provide a view of Vietnamese subculture, the research design must
be compatible with methodology used in previous research. Specifically, the research will
be fixed in design and use the survey instruments that have been used in previous studies.
Although the survey instruments include specific questions, the interview form will be
flexible and allows for lengthy responses and further clarification by the researcher. This

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qualitative and flexible approach will give more complex answers in some areas while
the quantitative and fixed method approach will define the numerical measures (Robson,
2002). Thus a mixed methodology approach using both quantitative and qualitative
methodologies is the best way to fully capture all the cultural influences shaping the
management styles.
The research instruments consist of the interviewer who, in qualitative research, is
an instrument (Maxwell, 1996), the Values Survey Module 94 (VSM 94) (Appendix A)
by Hofstede (1994), and Parts I and II of Management Styles survey questionnaires by
Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) (Appendix B). The VSM 94 is selected for the
purpose of measuring the five cultural value dimensions of Vietnamese managers in the
city of Houston, which are Power Distance (PDI), Individualism (IND), Masculinity
(MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), and Long-Term Orientation (LTO) (Hofstede,
1984; Hofstede & Bond, 1988). Hofstedes theoretical framework for cultural dimensions
has been utilized as one of the most widely referenced approaches for analyzing
variations among cultures and social systems (e.g., House et al., 1999; Trompenaars,
1994). In addition, Hofstedes cultural dimensions have been used to examine the impact
of culture on issues such as management control (Chow et al., 1994) as well as the impact
of culture on national financial (Salter & Niswander, 1995).
The six principle management dimensions measured by the Parts I and II of
Management Styles survey questionnaires are supervision style, decision making,
communication pattern, control mechanism, paternalistic orientation, and
interdepartmental relations (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). For the purposes of this
study, Parts I and II of Management Styles survey questionnaires will be in conjunction

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with the questions used in the in-depth interview. Self-administered questions were
designed to explore what the Vietnamese consider to be constructive management.
Twelve Vietnamese managers of various businesses in the city of Houston will be
interviewed. The interviews will be conducted by a researcher and follow Pattons
directives (1987) regarding the techniques of data collection: (1) open-end
questionnaires, (2) interviews, (3) direction observation, (4) written documents, including
articles and personal experiences to back up the primary data.
Kvale (1996) defines qualitative research interviews as "attempts to understand
the world from the subjects' point of view, to unfold the meaning of peoples' experiences,
to uncover their lived world prior to scientific explanations" (p. 1). For the purposes of
this study, the interviews will be audio tape recorded and transcribed by the researcher
upon gaining permission from the interviewee. When audio taping is declined, this
participant will be removed from the roster list and next participant and so on will be
asked to participate in the interview. A code name will be used for each participant and
for specific names mentioned by the participants.
An Access database will be developed for the qualitative methodology and the
case study protocol will be followed for reliability (Yin, 2003). This process is fairly
straightforward and similar to that used to manage any structured database. Construct
validity will be based on the interviewers reading and evaluation of the draft of the study
and the triangulation of evidence with data from the results of the VSM 94 and
Management Style Parts I and II of survey questionnaires.
The original VSM 94 and Management Style Parts I and II survey questionnaires
will be translated into Vietnamese by a Vietnamese professional manager. Then, it will

65

be translated back into English by Vietnamese professional social worker who will not
have had access to the original to compare and ensure the meaning of questionnaire
items.

Validity and Reliability


Triangulation
The triangulation method allows the researcher to double check the assumptions
and conclusions and in some cases examines different aspects of the problem.
Triangulation is typically a strategy (test) for improving the validity and reliability of
research or evaluation of findings. Patton (1987) clarified the notion that the purpose of
triangulation is to test for consistency rather than to achieve the same result using
different data sources or inquiry approaches. Thus multiple sources of evidence will be
examined in establishing construct validity to determine if there is a convergence of data
reflecting cultural characteristics and management dimensions of the Vietnamese
managers in the city of Houston. Sources of data will include transcripted interviews, and
two survey questionnaires. Then triangulation is defined to be a validity procedure
where researchers search for convergence among multiple and different sources of
information to form themes or categories in a study (Creswell & Miller, 2000, p. 126).
A case study protocol as described by Yin (2003) will be followed to increase the
reliability of the qualitative component of the study. Addtionally, data collection
procedures will be carefully, including obtaining the informed consent of the subjects.

66

Reliability
Reliability is concerned with estimates of the degree to which a measurement is
free of random errors (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, p. 321). In order to determine
reliability, Hofstede (1984) initially developed and tested his questionnaires in a study of
40 different countries and later expanded the study to 67. Comparative correlations and
factor analyses were conducted between items in various language versions. Country
scores obtained with the VSM were compared with country scores published by the other
authors based on data which showed some conceptual similarity (Hofstede, 1984, p.
40). The VSM 94's indices have been shown to have high reliability (Shane, 1993).
Validity
Cooper and Schindler (2006) explain that the validity determines whether the
research instrument actually measures what it was designed to measure. Hofstede's (1984,
1991) five key cultural dimensions provide the background to better understanding
national differences in management. The VSM 94s robustness and validity has been
tested and recognized by many researchers over the past two decades who have
independently replicated Hofstedes country rankings by using the VSM 94 (Ralston et
al., 1993; House et al., 1999). These findings showed that the stability and consistency of
the VSM 94 cultural dimensions over the past two decades. Hofstede's survey has been
subjected to more validity checks than any other cross-cultural research instrument
(Sondergaard, 1994).
To study of the reliability and validity of Parts I and II of the Management Styles
survey questionnaire, Truong and Nguyen (2002) examined forty one responses from
enterprise sector and thirty six managers in Vietnam. Using confirmatory factor analyses

67

their study provided evidence for construct validity. In addition, Lu (2006) conducted
empirical research using confirmation factor management styles to understand of how the
international joint ventures impacted by the cultural fit between partners, which is
through by international human resource issues: management styles, role stress, and
conflict resolution strategies (p. 197). Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) initially
developed and tested their questionnaires in a study of U.S and Japanese management
styles. The questionnaires were mailed to all firms medium-and large-sized companies
employing more than 100 employees. Two hundred twenty five responses were received
from American managers and sixty-five Japanese managers responded the survey.
Comparative correlations and factor analyses are consistent with earlier theories and
findings on the comparison of the U.S. and Japanese management (Ouchi, 1981; Pascale,
1978; Hatvany & Pucik, 1981). The test results show that American management style
is different from the Japanese The variability between two countries lies among the all
six managerial dimensions as well (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993, p. 39).
The VSM94 is copyrighted and freely used for research purposes (Appendix A).
The Part I and Part II of Management Styles survey questionnaire is granted permission
to be included in this dissertation (Appendix B).

Interview Questions
The aim of the interviews will be to make direct contact with participants and
learn from their perceptions and experience about the cultural dimensions and the
management characteristics identified in the theoretical constructs of the study. Kvale
(1996) explained that an interviews whole purpose is to obtain descriptions of the life-

68

world of the interviewee with respect to the meaning of the described phenomena (p. 56). In this perspective, the qualitative research interview is the method used to collect the
descriptions (data). For this study, the primary source of data collection will consist of
open-ended questions in semi-structured interviews. The open-ended questions will be
used to encourage participants to express their perceptions and reactions about cultural
and management dimensions. The interview questions are constructed to answer the
research questions, and to get as much information as possible about the Vietnamese
managers cultural values, perspectives and attitudes toward constructive management.
Participants will be interviewed individually to assure confidentiality. Interview
sessions will be about 40 50 minutes in length and designed to gain information about
the interaction of culture and management styles. Not all the questions must be used if the
interviewer feels that the respondent had sufficiently covered the issue raised by the
question. The questions merely provide the interviewer with a guide to the minimum data
needed from the interviews. As Maxwell (1996) has suggested, the respondents were
encouraged to be candid in their opinions so that the data collected would not be limited
to the predetermined interview questions. The interviewer will ask the subjects for
additional explanations of their comments when they are too brief. The interview
questions are as follows:
1. Describe the qualities of an ideal manager.
2. What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for your
culture? Please explain why?
3. Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates.

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4. How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
5. Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
6. Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain that
employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
7. In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and family
life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
For this next question, please think about Part I of the Management Style survey
questionnaires.
8. Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
a. Decision Making
b. Communication Pattern
c. Control Mechanism
d. Interdepartmental Relations
e. Paternalistic Orientation
9. In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with respect
to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
a. Power in society
b. Individualism

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c. Gender's roles in family


d. Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
e. The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Sampling Design
Cooper and Schindler defined sample as a group of cases, participants, events or
records consisting of a portion of the target population, carefully selected to represent that
population (2006, p. 717). The focus group methodology employed for this study will
use nonprobability, convenience sampling. This sampling method is considered
purposive in that it targets the experiences and opinions of subjects regarding a specific
research phenomenon. Purposive designs such as judgment and quota sampling allow
researchers to choose participants who have unique characteristics that they wish to
study. Creswell (2003) explained that the idea behind qualitative research is to
purposefully select participants who will best help the researcher to understand the
problem and research question.
The participants selected for the study are managers of Vietnamese businesses in
zip code 77072 Houston, Texas. There are 12 participants, 6 females and 6 males. These
businesses are most known and respected within the Vietnamese community in the city of
Houston. Burns (1998) stated that the sampling based in the local level is important to
cross-cultural management study because there are no global cultures. A target sample of
12 participants is selected for this study based on their expertise in their field, their
experience, and level of education. This number of participants will result in sufficient

71

replies to provide a reliable and valid amount of data to analyze. In the event that all 12
participants can not or will not take part in the interview, there should still be sufficient
statistics to gather meaningful results. A mixed method research methodology written by
Dana B. Queener (2007) shows that only five teachers were chosen for interview.
Therefore, even if the number of participants is reduced to 10, this should still be
sufficient for this study. Alternatively, a standby list will be used if the participant rate is
below 10.

The Researchers Role


The interviews will be conducted by the researcher who is familiar with
Vietnamese culture and language. As Hofstede (1984) and House et al. (1999) have
advised, those most familiar with a culture and its language should be involved in data
gathering. In this case an interviewer who is fluent in Vietnamese and English will
conduct the interviews and administered the questionnaires.
The researchers role is to assist the participants in exploring and elucidating their
ideas during the interview. The researcher listens, thinks, and then asks additional
focused questions to probe beneath the surface of a subject. As Denzin and Lincoln
(1994) explained, Qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings,
attempting to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people
bring to them (p. 2). During the interviews, observations will be made in order to
compare nonverbal behavior with the verbal accounts. The researcher will use these
observations of behaviors and artifacts to validate information obtained in the interviews.

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Data Collection Procedures


Data collection in this study will take place through the use of the two existing
instruments of the survey/questionnaires, which have been well established as viable for
culture and management research. Qualitative data will be gathered during semistructured interviews.
Appointments to interview the 12 subjects will be made by telephone. The
researcher will meet with the interviewee, and conduct a very informal conversation. The
interviews will be conducted in the privacy of the subjects offices. The interviews will
begin with a brief statement of the research purpose, assurance of protection of the
interviewees identity, and an outlined of how the interaction is expected to proceed.
Participants will be provided the opportunity to ask any questions regarding the
personally identifiable information, the study format and the methodology prior to
beginning each interview session. Then the interviewer will then ask the interviewee to
fill out the Capella University Consent Form (Appendix C), the VSM 94 and Parts I and
II of Management Styles survey questionnaires in the presence of the interviewer. This
sequence has been chosen in order to get the respondents thinking in terms of cultural and
management factors prior to the interview.
Utilizing the code number, each participant will be specifically identified on audio
tape by the participants or the researcher. The date and time will also be identified for
each interview session. This process ensures accurate identification of subjects for those
portions of the transcript. Audio taping ensures accurate recording of individual opinions
and helps to prevent the possibility that the interviewers own bias might be transferred to
any notation. The interviewer will take notes as well as tape the interview as a double

73

check on the accuracy of the interview responses. Permission will be requested from the
participants to use specific quotes, along with validation of authenticity. A second back
up audio tape recorder is available and utilized if the first one malfunctions, or if the tape
runs out on the first recorder. The audio tapes and any incidental notes will be destroyed
after two years upon completion of the study to protect confidentiality.

Instrumentation
The quantitative research employs a survey methodology which is widely
accepted in social science research (Robson, 2002). Also, the proposed VSM 94 and Parts
I and II of Management Styles survey instruments are already available and have been
tested for construct validity in previous research. Using the same research methodology
as previous studies will allow drawing conclusions about a broader perspective of cultural
influences on management styles. Conversely, the qualitative research allows the
researcher to adapt the approach as new details become known (Robson, 2002). The use
of qualitative methods allows the researcher to provide sufficient range of response to
capture all the relevant information, in the hopes that more coherent, cohesive theory will
result. Using a mixed methodology tends to be the best way to fully capture all the
cultural influences shaping the management styles.
Qualitative
As Miles and Huberman (1994) have explained, the interviewer or researcher is
an instrument in qualitative data gathering since her or his interviewing skills, powers of
observation, and note taking ability, in the case of field notes, will influence the quality of
the data. The researcher has therefore proposed using face-to-face semi-structured

74

interviews, audio tape recording, and transcription to obtain honest and uninhibited
response from the subjects, and to achieve an in-depth understanding of cultural and
management dimensions. Robson (2002) explained Face-to-face interviews offer the
possibility of modifying ones line of inquiry, following interesting responses and
investigating underlying motives in a way that postal and other self-administered
questionnaires cannot (p. 272-273). The interviewer will assure the respondents that
their responses will be aggregated and not individually identifiable in the text of the
dissertation.
Quantitative
The Values Survey Module 94 (VSM) (Appendix A) and Management Style Parts
I and II of survey questionnaires (Appendix B) are the standardized instruments which
will be used in this research. Each of these instruments have been developed by the
authors of the theoretical constructs which they are designed to measure and have been
tested for reliability and validity in research by the originating authors as well as other
researchers in cross-cultural management in different languages, including Vietnamese
(Chow et al., 1994; House et al., 1999; Truong & Nguyen, 2002; Salter & Niswander,
1995; Ralston et al., 1999; Trompenaars, 1994).
Variables
The variables are cultural values and constructive management qualities. The
research questions which the qualitative and quantitative methods will address are:
1. What are the culturally determined values of Vietnamese business managers
in the city of Houston?

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2. What do Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston consider


constructive management?
The five variables of cultural values, based on Hofstedes (1984) theory of
cultural dimensions and measured by the VSM 94 are as follows: Power Distance (PDI),
Individualism (IND), Masculinity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), and Long Term
Orientation (LTO) (Hofstede, 1984; Hofstede & Bond, 1988). The six variables of
management styles characteristics measured by the Management Style Parts I and II and
articulated by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) are: supervision style, decision making,
communication pattern, control mechanism, paternalistic orientation, and
interdepartmental relations.

Data Analysis and Interpretations


To effectively contribute to the understanding of cultural and management
dimensions, two existing survey questionnaires will be used as well as interview
questions. The data for the qualitative research will be gathered from a conceptual
analysis of transcribed interviews including the observation notes and any information
gleaned from written documents.
The transcribed interviews will be prepared by the researcher for coding with
numbering each line of the transcriptions and follow Miles and Hubermans directive
(1994) coding procedures. Miles and Huberman (1994) define codes as tags or labels for
assigning units of meaning to the descriptive or inferential information compiled during a
study (p. 56). The process of analyzing the data is related simultaneously to its
collection, reduction, and representation (Miles & Huberman, 1994). In this perspective,

76

first data from different sources such as debriefing questions, audio tapes, notes and
observation will be reduced into categories of aspects in the cultural and management
dimensions. The reduced data for each category will be displayed in a summary table
form. Each table will represent a main category and the subcategories for the main
category will have the total frequency the subjects indicate. The summary table will also
represent the information according to the level of subjects, pretest result.
The codes represent the cultural dimensions reflected in the theoretical constructs
of Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988), and the management styles
characteristics identified by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) and which are measured
by the VSM 94 and Parts I and II of Management style survey instruments, respectively.
A plus or minus sign is placed next to the code to indicate if the respondent was
expressing positive or negative feelings about the concept and dimension being
discussed. This is done since the mention of a cultural dimension without a valence
would result in a meaningless frequency of responses in the analysis. Hofstede
considered cultures as having high PDI values with scores of 49 and above, and low PDI
values at 40 or below on a scale of 0 to 100 as measured by the VSM 94. By counting the
plus codes as highly valuing a dimension and the minus codes as giving it a low value,
meaning relevant to the theoretical constructs and research questions guiding this study
could be extracted from the interviews.
Matrices will be developed with the columns for subjects and the rows for cultural
and management characteristics. A final column will show the total number of times a
code appeared for each characteristic. The matrices will be set up on Excel software. The
number of times each cultural and management dimension is mentioned will be totaled in

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each matrix. The dimensions of cultural and management characteristics will be arranged
in tables in an ordinal format from most to least frequently mentioned and the ratio of
each dimension to the respective total will be indicated.
The results of the two quantitative instruments will be arranged in a table format
in the order of most to least dominant characteristics of cultural and management
dimensions. Comparisons will be made between the tables of cultural and management
dimensions as determined by the quantitative research instruments and the qualitative
methodology.

Ethical Issues
Cooper and Schindler defined ethics broadly as "norms or standards of behavior
that guide moral choices about our behavior and relationships with others" (2006, p. 116),
citing ethical standards as one of the nine key characteristics of good research. Robson
defined ethics as "referring to rules of conduct; typically, to conformity to a code or set of
principles" (2002, p. 65) pointing out the importance of ethical considerations into the
research early in the planning stages and throughout the research. The goal of ethics in
this research is to ensure that research activities do not cause harm or adverse
consequences to others, and research participants must be protected physically as well as
against deception and violation of privacy rights. To uphold this impartiality in research,
the following ethical concepts are considered during this dissertation process:
Data Security
Data collected during the research process will be adequately protected against
breach of confidentiality with passwords and encryption. Personal identifiers will be

78

removed where practical to ensure that data remains anonymous. Also, all data (both
paper and electronic forms) will be stored in secure sites and destroyed after storage
terms have expired.
Risks and Benefits of Participants
There are no risks for participating in this study. In the event participants
experience stress or anxiety during their participation in the study they may terminate
their participation at any time. Participants may refuse to answer any questions they
consider invasive or stressful.
Vietnamese managers may request to receive the summary findings of the
research. This information may provide insights to assist in the future formation of
management training programs. Application of the information gained from the research
may offer an important benefit and opportunity for increasing effective management.
Apart from the knowledge gained in understanding of Vietnamese cultural values. This
insight may help to bridge the cultural gap and implement processes that will have a
positive impact on the business community.
Consent Form and Confidentiality Agreement
The Consent Form and Confidentiality Agreement for this study will be
disseminated to all volunteer participants at the first meeting prior to the beginning of
each interview session. A detailed explanation of the overall research purpose,
participants rights, the use of records, data security research, and research study
contracts to ensure confidentiality and anonymity will be provided to the participants.
This explanation includes the risks and benefits associated with voluntary participation in
the study, with freedom to withdraw at any time without prejudice or adverse reaction.

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The informed consent document includes phone numbers of the primary


researcher, dissertation committee chair (Kathleen Hargiss, PhD) and the Capella
University IRB office, and, by request, the for-profit facility IRB phone number. The
study will comply fully with all requirements of Capella University for research
involving human participants, including completion and submittal of application with
Capellas Institutional Review Board.

Summary
In cross-cultural management, managers must understand differences as well as
concentrating on similarities across cultures in order to promote a healthy and effective
business relationship. This requires that managers understand one anothers cultures,
values, and points of view.
A mixed methodology case study of a specific group of people in the city of
Houston will enable researchers to explore the cultural and management characteristics of
those people. The enormous complexity of forces that shape a culture is embodied and
finds expression in the people themselves. As managers become more adept and aware of
cultural differences, they come to understand each other better and understanding is often
the essence of successful management.
Finally, it is appropriate to follow all rules and regulations imposed by the Capella
University's IRB. In this study, the methodology has been constructed in a way that
reduces the potential for the researcher's own values and ethics to unduly influence
research results, and participants will also be protected.

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CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

Introduction
This chapter reports the results of a mixed methodology study that seeks to
identify the cultural and management characteristics of Vietnamese managers in the city
of Houston. The analyses are derived from quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews
that examined the relationship between cultural characteristics of Vietnamise managers
and their management styles. The data follows the format of the research questions and
hypotheses provided in Chapter 1: that culturally determined values of the Vietnamese
managers in the city of Houston will be explored in relation to perceptions of what an
effective manager should be. The data relevant to cultural values, management styles
dimensions, and hypothesis will be discussed first followed by and analysis of the
qualitative interview questions. The interpretation of the data and the conclusions the
research draws from them will be discussed in the final Chapter 5.

The Demographic Context


One important use of descriptive statistics is to summarize a collection of data in a
clear, simple, and comprehensive way with more supporting details. The target
population for this study consisted of 12 managers in the city of Houston, 6 females and 6
males. They were interviewed in their offices and given the research survey
questionnaires (VSM 94 and Management Styles Parts I and II) and a cover letter
explaining the rationale and importance of completing the questionnaires. It also provided
the participant with the assurance of anonymity. Each of the respondents had a bachelors
degree, and two had post baccalaureate studies.
81

Data on participant demographics are organized according to age, gender,


education, field of education, years in present position, and years with their company.
The profiles of respondents are presented in Table 1. They averaged 47.67 years old,
16.42 years of education, 10 years in present position, and 10.75 years with the company.
Forty-one percent of the participants were older than 55 years. Thirty-three
percent of the participants were between 46 and 55 years old. Twenty-five percent were
between 36 to 45 years old. The managers were 50% female and 50% males from
Vietnamese businesses in zip code 77072. The majority of the participants (72.7%) had
16 or more years of education. Only 9.1% of participants had less than 15 years of
education. The majority of the participants were in Engineering (33.3%) and Science
(33.3%) followed by 16.7% in Other, 8.3% in Business, and 8.3% were in the Social
Sciences. The average experience of the managers was 10 years in their present position,
which reflected the professional knowledge and working experience also contributes to
the worth of their comments. The demographic variables were collected to capture
relevant variables important for use in providing context and controls. For example, the
age of participants is relevant in a study of their cultural values since opinion and shared
history will vary within the various age groups (Hofstede, 1984).

82

Table 1. Profiles of the Managers

Vietnam (N = 12)
Number

Mean (S.D.)

47.67 (8.35)

Age:
0 25
26 35
36 45
46 55
56 and above

0
0
3
4
5

0.0%
0.0%
25.0%
33.3%
41.7%

Gender:
Male
Female

6
6

50%
50%

Education level (years):


0 10
11 15
16 20
21 and above

0
1
8
2

0.0%
9.1%
72.7%
18.2%

Field of Education:
Business
Engineering
Social Science
Science
Others

1
4
1
4
2

8.3%
33.3%
8.3%
33.3%
16.7%

Years in Present Position:


01
25
6 10
11 15
16 and above

0
3
2
2
5

0.0%
25.0%
16.7%
16.7%
41.7%

10 (6.08)

Years with the Company:


01
25
6 10
11 15
16 25
26 and above

0
2
2
3
5
0

0.0%
16.7%
16.7%
25.0%
41.7%
0.0%

10.75 (5.53)

83

16.42 (2.57)

Quantitative Results
The section describes both quantitative results of cultural values (VSM 94) and
the management styles dimensions (Parts I and II of Management Styles), and
hypotheses.
Quantitative Results: Cultural Values
The results relative to the research question concerning cultural values are
discussed in this section. The research question is as follows:
What are the culturally determined values of Vietnamese business managers in
the city of Houston based on the five dimensions of national culture identified by the
research of Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede and Bond (1988)?
One of the dominant ways in which cultural values has been examined is in the
form of cultural value differences (Westwood & Low, 2003). The VSM 94 consists of 26
questions developed for comparing culturally determined values of people from two or
more countries or regions (Hofstede, 2001). The 20 content questions allow scores to be
computed on five dimensions of national or regional culture. The remaining six questions
are demographic (e.g., age, gender, education level, kind of job, present nationality, and
nationality at birth). For each of the variables developed by Hofstede, there is an existing
index formula for calculating scores. The following section summarizes and discusses the
results of data collection from the VSM 94 questionnaire developed by Hofstede (1994)
for comparing culturally determined values of Vietnamese.

84

Power Distance
Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of institution and
organization within a society accept that power is distributed unequally (Hofstede, 1984,
2005). Scores on power distance have been calculated based on the following formula:
PDI = -35m(03) + 35 m(06) + 25 m(14)-20m(17)-20
Where, m(03) is the mean score for question 3, m(06) is the mean score for
question 6, m(14) is the mean score for question 14, and m(17) is the mean score for
question 17. The index normally has a value between 0 (small Power Distance) and 100
(large Power Distance), but values below 0 and above 100 are technically possible. The
Power Distance Index result for Vietnamese is -5.0 versus 40 for the U.S as recorded in
Table 2.
Individualism
Individualism is the characteristic of a person who looks after himself or herself
and his or her immediate family only rather than as members of groups. Collectivism on
the other hand, is characteristic of a society in which people from birth onward are
integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which continue to protect them throughout
their lifetime in exchange for unquestioning loyalty (Hofstede, 2005). The index formula
is as follows:
IDV = 50m(01) +30m(02) +20m(04) 25m(08) +130
Where, m(01) is the mean score for question 01, m(02) is the mean score for
question 2, etc. The index has a value between 0 (strongly collectivist) and 100 (strongly
individualist), but values below 0 and above 100 are technically possible. The

85

Individualism Index result for Vietnamese is 84 versus 91 for the U.S. as recorded in
Table 2.
Masculinity
Masculinity stands for a society where emotional gender roles are clearly distinct:
men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are
supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life (Hofstede,
2005). The index formula is as follows:
MAS = +60m(05) 20m(07) +20m(15) 70m(20) +100
Where, m(05) is the mean score for question 05, etc. The index normally has a
value between 0 (strongly feminine) and 100 (strongly masculine), but values below 0
and above 100 are technically possible. The Masculinity Index result for Vietnamese is
48 versus 62 for the U.S. as recorded in Table 2.
Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance is the extent to which the members of institutions and
organizations within a society feel threatened by uncertain, unknown, ambiguous, or
unstructured situations (Hofstede, 2005). The index formula is as follows:
UA = 25m(13) + 20m(16) 50m(18)- 15m(19) +120
Where, m(13) is the mean score for question 13, m(16) is the mean score for
question 16, m(18) is the mean score for question 18, and m(19) is the mean score for
question 19. The index has a value between 0 (weak Uncertainty Avoidance) and 100
(strong Uncertainty Avoidance), but values below 0 and above 100 are technically
possible. The Uncertainty Avoidance Index result for Vietnamese is 79 versus 46 for the
U.S. as recorded in Table 2.

86

Long-term Orientation
Long-term Orientation is particular to a society that fosters virtues future rewards,
in particular, perseverance and thrift (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). Short-term orientation
is definitive a society that fosters virtues related to the past and present, in particular
respect for tradition, preservation of honor "face," and fulfillment of social obligations
(Hofstede, 2005). The formula for calculating the index is as follows:
LTO = -20m(10) +20m(12) +40
Where, m(10) is the mean score for question 10, etc. The index normally has a
value between 0 (very short-term oriented) and 100 (very long-term oriented), but values
below 0 and above 100 are technically possible. The Long-term Orientation Index result
for Vietnamese is 24 versus 29 for the U.S. as recorded in Table 2.

Table 2. Comparison of Vietnamese with United States Using VSM 94

Cultural Dimension
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-Term Orientation

Vietnamese
-5.0
84
48
79
24

USA
40.00
91.00
62.00
46.00
29.00

Note: The data in Column 3 are from Cultures Consequences: Comparing Values, Behavior, Instituions,
and Organizations Across Nations (2nd ed.) (p. 500) Geert Hofstede, 2001, Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage
Publication.

The USA scores reported in Table 2 were obtained during Hofstede (2001)
international study conducted in 1973-1978 of the cultural values of IBM employees.
According to Hofstede (2001) and Hofstede and Hofstede (2005), the USA scores were
calculated from the IBM database. Although there are many independent variables which

87

may cause differences in the scores of the two different samples reported in Table 2,
Hofstede stressed that the VSM 94 scores become more meaningful when they are
compared across cultures at the professional, regional or national levels so that their
relative positions may be examined. The American samples were selected for the
comparison in Table 2 because of American management theories may not be applicable
to other cultures since different contexts and cultural values can determine which theories
and management styles are effective (Hofstede, 1984; House et al., 1999). As the data in
Table 2 indicate, the Vietnamese sample scored lower in power distance, and
masculinity, higher in individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and close to the same in
long-term orientation when compared to the American sample.

Quantitative Results: Management Styles Dimensions


The results relative to the research question concerning constructive management
are discussed in this section. The research question is as follows:
What do the Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston consider
constructive management, based on the six factors as articulated by Culpan and
Kucukemiroglu (1993)? The six dimensions are supervision style, decision making,
communication pattern, control mechanism, paternalistic orientation, and
interdepartmental relations.
Management Style Part I consists of 45 questions developed for identifying and
measuring six dimensions of management styles; Part II consists of 7 questions
developed for collecting demographic (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993). The scores of
management styles dimensions by the respondents in this study are listed in Table 3.

88

Table 3. Constructive Management Valued by Vietnamese Mangers

Dimension
Supervision Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation

M
3.49
3.51
3.53
3.79
2.78
2.79

S.D.
0.44
0.44
0.44
0.54
0.56
0.84

Minimum

Maximum

2.45
2.67
2.67
2.43
1.57
1.50

4.00
4.08
4.50
4.43
3.43
4.00

Note. Rating scale: 1 = Never; 2 = Infrequently; 3 = Sometimes; 4 = Frequently; 5 =


Always

The aggregate scores for Vietnamese managers in this study indicated that the
constructive management dimensions most valued is control mechanism at a score of
3.79. As indicated by the constructive management scores in Table 3, the dimension of
communication pattern was valued within the range of any of the constructive
management. The score for management by decision making was valued less than
communication pattern followed by supervision style, paternalistic orientation, and
interdepartmental relations.
According to Norusis (2006), the correlation coefficient can range from -1 to +1,
with -1 indicating a perfect negative condition, +1 indication a perfect positive
correlation, and 0 indicating no correlation at all. By definition, any variable correlated
with itself has a correlation of 1. As shown in Table 4, there were statistically significant
differences at the .05 level between the means of the following dimensions: supervision
style and decision making (p = .024), decision making and interdepartmental relations (p
= .026). There were statistically significant differences at the .001 level between the
means of the following dimensions: supervision style and communication pattern (p =

89

.006), supervision style and control mechanism (p = .005), decision making and control
mechanism (p = .009).

90

Table 4. Management Style Dimensions Correlations


Supervision
Style

Decision
Making

Communication
Pattern

Supervision Style

Pearson
1
.644(*)
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.024
N
12
12
Decision Making
Pearson
.644(*)
1
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.024
N
12
12
Communication
Pearson
.737(**)
.522
Pattern
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.006
.082
N
12
12
Control Mechanism Pearson
.745(**)
.716(**)
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.005
.009
N
12
12
Interdepartmental
Pearson
.456
.638(*)
Relations
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.136
.026
N
12
12
Paternalistic
Pearson
-.146
-.097
Orientation
Correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
.650
.765
N
12
12
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

91

Control
Mechanism

Interdepartmental
Relations

Paternalistic
Orientation

.737(**)

.745(**)

.456

-.146

.006
12

.005
12

.136
12

.650
12

.522

.716(**)

.638(*)

-.097

.082
12

.009
12

.026
12

.765
12

.565

.406

-.040

12

.056
12

.190
12

.903
12

.565

.340

-.107

.056
12

12

.280
12

.741
12

.406

.340

-.174

.190
12

.280
12

12

.588
12

-.040

-.107

-.174

.903
12

.741
12

.588
12

12

The management dimensions scores using Parts I and II of Management Styles


questionnaires vary not only by national culture but also by region and professional as
shown in Table 5. As Table 5 indicates, the Vietnamese managers in this section of
Houston scored differently than a stratified random sample of the American population in
manufacturing industries used in a study by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993). The
study by Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) used the top and middle managers from
American manufacturing consists of six management styles dimensions as shown in
Table 5. As Culpan and Kucukemiroglu (1993) have pointed out the comparative
management has received a lot of attention over the last three decades as global business
has increased tremendously.
Table 5. Comparison of Management Styles Dimension Scores

Dimensions

Vietnamese
Mean (S.D.)

1. Supervision Style
2. Decision Making
3. Communication Pattern
4. Control Mechanism
5. Interdepartmental Relations
6. Paternalistic Orientation

USA
Mean (S.D.)

6.29 (0.788)
6.33 (0.791)
6.35 (0.797)
6.81 (0.965)
5.16 (1.008)
5.03 (1.509)

5.823 (0.661)
5.628 (0.703)
4.824 (0.843)
5.533 (0.677)
4.500 (1.000)
4.080 (1.640)

Note: The data for U.S. managers is from A Comparison of U.S. and Japanese Management Styles and
Unit Effectiveness (Culpan & Kucukemiroglu, 1993, p. 36).

In this section, managerial practices are analyzed according to the six managerial
dimensions as previously presented. The same Liker-type scale technique was conducted
in each sector to point out any difference regarding this aspect among the sectors under
study. Table 5 shows that only the control mechanism and communication pattern differs
significantly between the target sectors. The rest, namely supervision style, decision-

92

making, interdependent relations, and paternalistic orientation did not differentiate


statistically significantly in level from one sector to another.

Hypothesis
Although the concepts and dimensions of cultural values and management style
are not new, and have been studied widely, the connection between them is new. The
following hypotheses present the possible relationship between cultural values and
management styles dimensions:
H0:

Vietnamese cultural values do not predict each of the management style


subscales (supervision style, decision making, communication pattern,
control mechanism, interdepartmental relations, and paternalistic
orientation).

HA:

Vietnamese cultural values do predict each of the management style


subscales (supervision style, decision making, communication pattern,
control mechanism, interdepartmental relations, and paternalistic
orientation).

To examine these hypotheses, six linear regressions were conducted to examine if


the cultural values (power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance,
long-term orientation) predict each of the management style subscales (supervision style,
decision making, communication pattern, control mechanism, interdepartmental relations,
and paternalistic orientation). The assumptions of linearity and homoscedasticity were
assessed. In regression analysis, homoscedasticity means a situation in which the
variance of the dependent variables is the same for all the data.

93

The F-value is based upon the number of participants. The F value is the actual
output of the regression used to see if the independent variables reliably predict the
dependent variable. Estimates of parameters can be based upon different amounts of
information which is called the degrees of freedom (DF). In general, the degrees of
freedom of an estimate is equal to the number of independent scores that go into the
estimate minus the number of parameters estimated as intermediate steps in the
estimation of the parameter itself (Norusis, 2006). In this study, there were N=12
participants, so the DF for total is 11.
The p-value is often referred to as the probability value which is a number that is
obtained from the statistic as different or more different from the parameter specified in
the null hypothesis as the statistic computed from the data. P-value is based on the
empirical data, and it tells the probability of result or a more extreme result when it is
assumed that there is no relationship in the population. The calculations are made
assuming that the null hypothesis is true. If the p-value is small enough (usually less than
0.05), reject the null hypothesis. Traditionally, the significance level that is usually used
in education is 0.05 as a threshold for small enough and therefore, if the observed
significant level is less than 0.05, the results are said to be statistically significant at the
5% level. On the other hand, if the observed significant level is less than 0.01, the results
are said to be statistically significant at the 1% level.
The probability of a Type II error is denoted by the Greek letter beta (). A Type
II error occurs when there is no effect in the population, when, in reality, there is. In other
words, it is an error of failing to reject the null hypothesis. However, it is not an error in
the sense that an incorrect conclusion was drawn since no conclusion is drawn when the

94

null hypothesis is not rejected. The beta () presents the standardized coefficient. The
standardized predicted values are the unsdandardized predicted values in z score form
(Norusis, 2006). That is, they have a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1 for cases
used to build the model, if list wise missing value treatment is used. Unstandardized
predicted values are the predicted of the dependents variables obtained from the
regression equation (Norusis, 2006). The output values for predicting the dependent
variable from independent variables are shown by the letter B.
According to Norusis (2006), because hypothesis testing depends on probability
statements and not on certain knowledge, the conclusions researchers can correctly draw
are limited. If the observed p-value is small than 0.05, the researcher can reject the null
hypothesis and tentatively accept the alternative hypothesis (Norusis, 2006). The author
further explained that if the null hypothesis is true, the researcher would expect to see
results (as extreme as the ones researcher has observed fewer than five times out of an
100). If the researcher observes p-value greater than 0.05, researcher can say that he/she
failed to reject the null hypothesis (Norusis, 2006). Their observed results are not all that
unlikely if the null hypothesis is true. In this study, the probability value and significant
level are at the heart of hypothesis testing.
A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict
supervisory style. Results of the regression indicate that cultural values did not
statistically predict supervision style, 44.0% of the variance in supervisory style can be
predicted from the cultural values, F (0.943) = 12, and the p-value associated with this F
value is 0.516. The coefficient for supervision style (.000) is not statistically significantly

95

different from 0 using alpha of 0.05 because its p-value > 0.05. Table 6 presents the beta
coefficients for culture values predicting supervision style.

Table 6. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Supervision Style


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
.000
-.002
.003
-.003
-.018

SE

.003
.005
.002
.002
.013

.053
-.237
.486
-.583
-.575

t
.144
-.546
1.364
-1.602
-1.378

Sig.
.890
.605
.221
.160
.217

A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict decision
making. Results of the regression indicate that cultural values did not statistically predict
decision making, 40.4% of the variance in decision making can be predicted from the
cultural values, F (0.813) = 12, and the p-value associated with this F value is 0.581. The
coefficient for decision making (.000) is not statistically significantly different from 0
using alpha of 0.05 because its p-value > 0.05. Table 7 presents the beta coefficients for
cultural values predicting decision making.

Table 7. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Decision Making


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
-.003
.003
.002
-.001
-.010

SE

.003
.005
.002
.002
.013

-.390
.331
.354
-.258
-.317

96

t
-1.031
.740
.962
-.687
-.736

Sig.
.342
.487
.373
.518
.489

A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict
communication pattern. Results of the regression indicate that cultural values did not
statistically predict communication pattern, 55.1% of the variance in communication
pattern can be predicted from the cultural values, F (1.474) = 12, and the p-value
associated with this F value is 0.322. The coefficient for communication pattern (.000) is
not statistically significantly different from 0 using alpha of 0.05 because its p-value >
0.05. Table 8 presents the beta coefficients for cultural values predicting communication
pattern.

Table 8. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Communication Pattern


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
.000
-.001
.003
.003
-.022

SE

.003
.004
.002
.002
.012

-.056
-.089
.354
-.476
-.698

t
-.170
-.230
1.750
-1.460
-1.871

Sig.
.871
.826
.131
.195
.111

A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict control
mechanism. Results of the regression indicate that cultural values did not statistically
predict control mechanism, 45.1% of the variance in control mechanism can be predicted
from the cultural values, F (0.985) = 12, and the p-value associated with this F value is
0.496. The coefficient for control mechanism (.000) is not statistically significantly
different from 0 using alpha of 0.05 because its p-value > 0.05. Table 9 presents the beta
coefficients for cultural values predicting control mechanism.

97

Table 9. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Control Mechanism


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
-.004
.002
.004
-.003
-.004

SE

.004
.006
.002
.003
.015

-.403
.153
.538
-.430
-.100

t
-1.108
.357
1.527
-1.194
-.243

Sig.
.310
.734
.178
.278
.816

A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict
interdepartmental relations. Results of the regression indicate that cultural values did not
statistically predict interdepartmental relations, 27.1% of the variance in control
mechanism can be predicted from the cultural values, F (0.445) = 12, and the p-value
associated with this F value is 0.804. The coefficient for interdepartmental relations
(.000) is not statistically significantly different from 0 using alpha of 0.05 because its pvalue > 0.05. Table 10 presents the beta coefficients for cultural values predicting
interdepartmental relations.

Table 10. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Interdepartmental Relations


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
-.002
-.002
.004
.000
-.020

SE

.005
.007
.003
.003
.019

-.144
-.116
.502
-.048
-.505

t
-.344
-.234
1.234
-.116
-1.062

Sig.
.742
.822
.263
.911
.329

A linear regression was conducted to assess if the cultural values (power distance,
individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation) predict

98

paternalistic orientation. Results of the regression indicate that power distance,


masculinity, and long-term orientation did not statistically predict interdepartmental
relations. The coefficient for power distance, masculinity, and long-term orientation
(.000) is not statistically significantly different from 0 using alpha of 0.05 because its pvalue is larger than 0.05. Results of the regression also indicate that individualism and
uncertainty avoidance cultural values significantly predict paternalistic orientation, F
(4.213) = 12, and the p-value associated with this F value is 0.054; individualism and
uncertainty avoidance accounted for 77.8% of the paternalistic orientation variance.
Table 11 presents the beta coefficients where for every one-unit increase in
individualism, paternalistic orientation increases by 0.15; and for every one-unit increase
in uncertainty avoidance, paternalistic orientation increases by 0.009. This data indicates
a strong correlation.

Table 11. Regression on Cultural Values Predicting Paternalistic Orientation


Predictors
Power Distance
Individualism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation

B
-.007
.015
.000
.009
-.002

SE

.004
.005
.002
.003
.015

-.435
.746
.018
.812
-.041

t
-1.884
2.733
.082
3.548
-.155

Sig.
.109
.034
.937
.012
.882

Qualitative Results
This section reviews qualitative results of cultural values (VSM 94) and
management styles dimensions (Parts I and II of Management Styles). Nine open-ended
questions were developed and administered by this researcher in the city of Houston, zip

99

code 77072. Interview appointments with the population of 12 Vietnamese business


managers were arranged by telephone and conducted in the privacy of the office of each
respondent. The appointments began with an introductory overview of the purpose and
content of the interview. The Capella University consent form was given to each
respondent to read and sign. The interviews took place between January and February of
2008. A complete summary of all interviews is included in the Appendix F.
Each interview appointment took approximately 50 to 60 minutes. The first 20 to
30 minutes consisted of the administration of the two survey instruments, the VSM 94
and the Management Styles Part I and Part II, in that order. The instruments were given
before the interview questions in order to provide the respondents with a frame of
reference for answering the open ended questions. The questions were developed for the
purpose of getting the respondents talking about the cultural values and management
styles dimensions central to the theoretical constructs guiding this dissertation.
The interview section was conducted in bi-lingual (English and Vietnamese) by
the researcher. All interviewees were given a list of interview questions ahead of time in
order to provide for answering the open ended questions. During the interview, the
respondent may change his/her interpretation and therefore, the interviewer followed up
an answer with more probing questions for clarification or understanding. The key is to
establish rapport and trust. The interviews were audio recorded and notes were taken to
ensure accurate recoding of the responses. The audio recordering were transcribed by the
researcher. Templates were created for data collection and sequence of steps for each
interview to ensure the reliability for the study.

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The participants were given the opportunity to review their transcribed interviews.
This process gave the participants a chance to catch any errors in the material and to
express their opinion as to whether the report accurately captures what they were trying
to say.
Review of Combined Question Results
The following is a summary of all respondents answers to the nine open-ended
questions used for interview purposes:
Question 1:

Describe the qualities of an ideal manager.

All respondents agreed that people skills is a quality of an ideal manager that
directly impacts the success or failure of any organization: If the manager lacks people
skills then the employees will be disgruntled and will either make efforts to oust the
manager or leave that immediate employment. The managers role in the organization is
not doing the job but getting things done through other people. Therefore, managers with
good people skills are able to communicate with employees, listen to employees,
understand the needs of employees, and motivate them to accomplish the organizations
visions and goals. Good people skills also allow managers to attract and retain employees
for the long-term success of the organization.
The other qualities of an ideal manager included technical expertise, knowledge
of their job, honesty, creating a friendly and fun working environment, being supportive,
decisiveness, and the ability to build good relationships with employees.
Question 2:

What management characteristics are most effective and


appropriate for your culture? Please explain why?

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It was made clear that blending Western management values (such as effective
communication and mindfulness) with Vietnamese cultural values (such as respect,
trust, and regarding co-workers as family members) is the most effective and appropriate
management characteristic for Vietnamese business owners. Because most of the
Vietnamese businesses are based on family, these characteristics are the most effective
and appropriate, and also deliver the best of results
Question 3:

Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and


commitment from team members and/or subordinates

Respondents do agree that without support and commitment from team members,
there is no way a manager can get the jobs done. Team members are the ones who do
the work, they are very important people. Therefore, if managers listen, treat fairly,
show respect, faith, and motivate their team members, then they will have their team
members support and commitment. When people feel that they have been listened to and
their ideas are validated and taken into consideration they will use 100% of their
brainpower on the work.
Question 4:

How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or

subordinates?
Respondents had mixed answers including trust, listening, encouragement,
reward, motivation, respect, and honesty. One respondents answer speaks for everyone:
Show employees that each one of them is a valuable asset to the team. Find the good
things each employee does and make them feel good about it. It was clear that the way
managers should inspire trust from team members is to treat them the same way they
would wish to be treated.

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Question 5:

Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is


it for managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions
for change?

All respondents were in consensus that it is important for managers to be open to


and listen to their employee suggestions for change. This practice is good for both
employees and managers. One respondents answer speaks for everyone: Managers
should hold regular meetings once a week or once a month (depending on the nature of
the work) to share ideas on how to improve the working environment, efficiency, and
productivity. To be a good manager, one must listen to employees and encourage them
to voice their concerns, appreciate employees contributions, and make them realize that
every suggestion for change can have a positive impact on the organizations overall
success.
Question 6:

Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making
certain that employees adhere to the principles and standards that
an organization holds? Please explain.

All respondents agreed that managers should spend time and energy making
certain that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds.
The organization holds itself accountable to the public and maintains internal controls
and therefore, adhering to the organizations principles and standards is everyones
responsibility. One respondents answer speaks for everyone: Understanding the
principles and standards that an organization holds is essential for team work and the
success of an organization.

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Question 7:

In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal


and family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social
support for them? Please use examples if possible.

Respondents had an overwhelming yes to this question. Vietnamese managers


often regard employees as members of a family. One respondents answer speaks for
everyone: Managers work with the people not with the machines, humans always have
personal or family problems. So, managers have to understand that concept, truly
embrace it, and accept the fact that managers are dealing with human beings. It was
clear that it is important for managers to pay attention to and respond to the changing
needs of their employees if they want the organization to remain competitive and retain
the most important asset of organization: its human family of workers employees.
Question 8:

Which of the following areas would you say is the most important
in Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
a. Supervisory Style
b. Decision Making
c. Communication Pattern
d. Control Mechanism
e. Interdepartmental Relations
f. Paternalistic Orientation

All respondents were in consensus that the communication is the most


important aspect of Vietnamese management practice. It provides the ability to convey
what needs to be accomplished and fosters openness. Communication is pervasive in
most everything that happens, or fails to happen, in an organization. One respondent

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believed that the Vietnamese tradition emphasizes understanding each other and
therefore, a business practice will be conducted within a warm relationship and
atmosphere. Effective communication helps managers build a proper chain of authority,
foster motivation, and improve relationships. It is a key ingredient to successful
organization and personal development. One respondents answer speaks for everyone:
Without communication, nothing can be done.
Question 9:

In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture


with respect to the following areas? Please use examples if
possible.
a. Power in society
b. Individualism
c. Gender's roles in family
d. Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
e. The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances,
and the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Respondents do agree in Vietnamese culture, the power in society is not as


important because people tend to accept what they have and show respect to those who
have the power even if they are not using their power for any good to the community. In
term of individualism, one respondents answer speaks for everyone: it is not as
important as community and family. In regarding to Genders roles, male is more
dominant in the family as a head of a household, female is tender and more concerned
with the quality of family. One respondents answer speaks for everyone: it is acceptable
for males to have an offensive demeanor as a manager while this is not so for females

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which can make it hard for a female in a management role. For uncertainty and
ambiguity in life, Vietnamese are used to uncertainty and ambiguity in life because of
Vietnams history of unpredictable changes in society; it is because of this that
Vietnamese are well equipped to deal with these things. Vietnamese are very good at
adapting to new circumstances by combining efforts, talents, and even finances. One
respondents answer speaks for everyone: Vietnamese are strongly focused on
perseverance and saving for in the future.

Summary
The research questions seeking to identify the cultural characteristics of the
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston and their perception of
management qualities guided the presentation of data and the discussion of results in this
chapter. Using the VSM 94 and Management Styles Parts I and II survey questionnaires,
in conjunction with a qualitative interview transcript analysis, a profile of the cultural
values and management styles of the respondents emerged.
The analysis of data from the VSM 94 indicates differences in four of the cultural
value dimensions between the sample and scores which Hofstede (2001) obtained from
the United States. Long-term orientation (LTO) was the only score similar for both
populations. When this data was compared to the results of the analysis of the interview
transcripts it was found that the respondents agreed with the VSM 94 scores for long term
orientation by stating that they valued planning and saving for the future.
The results of the Management Styles Parts I and II indicated that the sample
control mechanism is the most desirable of the constructive management styles. The

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communication pattern was as valued of the five management styles dimensions, when
ranked, it was clear that more active forms of managements were attributed.
The quantitative data and the hypothesis testing using the VSM 94 and
Management Styles Parts I and II gave a significant prediction between the perceptions of
cultural values and management style dimensions. In summary of all qualitative
information results, it is clear that the interviews added dynamic qualifications to the
study and further clarified and put focus on the primary quantitative data. The use of
mixed methods best suits the intent of this research converging qualitative as a supportive
role with quantitative being the dominant methods. The complexity of cultural values
reflected in the data and the management styles preferred by the sample in the case study
will be discussed as the meaning and implications of the study are examined in the next
chapter.

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CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS


This chapter concludes the study and contains the study summary, conclusion
remarks, and recommendations applicable to this study, which examined the relationship
of Vietnamese cultural values and management styles dimensions. Restatement of the
purpose of the study and research questions followed by the theoretical model discussion,
demographic analysis, quantitative findings, qualitative findings, and limitations of the
study will aid reader prior to a review of the conclusions and recommendations.

Study Summary
The need for this study became evident to this author to address the shortage of
information on Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston. The Vietnamese
community is considered one of the major subcultures in the city of Houston with the
population estimated at over one hundred and fifty thousand in the Houston-Galveston
area. The total sales of Vietnamese businesses in Houston-Galveston were over 1.3
billion dollars according to U.S. Bureau of Census (2002).This information could be used
to prepare managers from other cultures for communicating, negotiating, and socializing
with the Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston or in other cities in the
United States. The formation and current growth of many Vietnamese businesses in the
city of Houston and possibly other cities in the United States has created more
opportunities for many corporations to expand, but it has also brought different cultures
into contact. Understanding cultural differences should be the starting point in
determining how to manage in different cultures rather than trying to fully understand
another culture. Laurent (1983) describes culture as the way in which people solve

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problems and shows that different cultures have different ways of solving common
problems.
There are many ways that cultures can be different and there is no universal set of
cultural dimensions (Javidan & House, 2001). Hofstede (1984) found, however, that by
consistently using the field tested VSM 94 as a way of making cross-cultural
comparisons based on five dimensions which exist in all cultures, he was able to identify
characteristics that can be used to differentiate one culture from another. Additionally,
most management theories have been written in a North American context and, as
Hofstede (1984) has explained, published as if they were universal truths. Given the
complexity of cross-cultural and management preferences, this study provides a wide
spectrum of culture and management within the Vietnamese business community in the
city of Houston. Using Hofstedes (1984) conceptual framework in understanding and
appreciating cultural differences helps to bridge the cultural gap and promote a positive
interaction between managers from diverse cultural backgrounds.
In order to achieve the purpose of this study, the researcher sought to use
descriptive research using a mixed method approach. The purpose of descriptive research
is to identify and describe the characteristics of a population or of a phenomenon. This
approach allows for the greatest amount of quantitative and qualitative data to be gleaned
from respondents. The quantitative instrument sought respondents self-report answers to
survey questions on cultural values and management styles. In addition, qualitative data
collected through face-to-face interviews, audio tape recording, and transcription gave the
opportunity to provide extended insight which allows for a more complete understanding
of the quantitative data.

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The VSM 94 and Management Styles Parts I and II survey instruments were used
in this study. The VSM 94 has excellent reliability and validity and has been used
extensively worldwide. Researchers such as House et al. (1999), Hofstede et al. (2002),
Lung-Tan (2006) have shown this instrument to be strongly predictive of cross-cultural
management practices. The management styles Parts I and II survey, with its six
dimensions, were used as the variables against the predictor of the VSM 94 survey. This
study demonstrates that cross-cultural environment, and its relation to organizational
management, is a phenomenon that neither management scholars nor practitioners can
afford to ignore when facing the realities of today's business world, regardless of where
they are physically located, where they conduct their work, or what their specific
discipline or function may be.

Purpose of the Study and Research Questions


The purpose of this study is to identify and describe the cultural characteristics of
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston and the Vietnamese perception of
constructive management attributes. The two research questions answered by the study
that are as follows:
1. What are the culturally determined values of Vietnamese business managers
in the city of Houston?
2. What do Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston consider
constructive management?
The study was conducted with a specific Vietnamese population in the city of
Houston, zip code 77072. The Vietnamese community is considered one of the major

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subcultures in the city of Houston. Their culture is attained through life experiences and
education more than through wealth or material possession. It was, therefore, the context
chosen for this study.

Theoretical Model Discussion


The culture is defined by five dimensions (power distance, individualism,
masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation) and management style is
measured by six dimensions (supervisory style, decision making, communication pattern,
control mechanism, interdepartmental relationships, and paternalistic orientation). There
are 30 (5x6) possible relationships and only when all relationships are the same, can the
similarity of cultural influence on management styles be discussed. Other questions arose
when this researcher developed a model to explain if the data fits to reality: does the
model consider all variables connected with management styles as well as with culture,
are variables really independent from each other, are they residual factors, should the
model include an extra variables (time), etc. The approach to explaining the models is
follows: First, the overall significance of the model comprising all antecedents and
moderators was evaluated. Then, the interaction of culture with the influences on
management styles was examined. If the similarity of culture influence on management
styles is significant, it indicates the presence of a moderating effect.
Power Distance
Power distance was given a low value of -5.00 by respondents in the study as
measured by the scores in the VSM 94 as well as the analysis of their interviews.
Everyone seeks high power (self-esteem), subordinates as well as a manager. Hofstede

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(2001) describe power distance as dealing with the need of a society for dependence
versus interdependence. The theory of needs - McClelland argues that the need for power
is the desire to have an impact, to be influential, and to control others. Individuals high in
power enjoy being in charge, strive for influence over others, and tend to be more
concerned with gaining prestige and influence over others. Also, Individuals with a high
power or need to achieve prefer job situations with personal responsibility, feedback, and
an intermediate degree of risk. Power distance is defined as the extent to which people
accept inequal distributions of power (Hofstede, 1984). When a person exhibits high
power distance with or attachment to the organization, he/she is more likely to accept
inequal distributions of power. It might take away decision making, control mechanism,
or power from them, but if they have high power distance they will accept the situation
much easier then those with low power distance. However, there are other factors that
might strongly influence power distance such as economic system, environment, etc.
Hofstede(1984) noted that political trends as well as increased educational levels in many
countries have contributed to lower power distance scores.
In this study, power distance did not statistically predict management styles.
Respondent 5 stated that power in society also depends on backgrounds, positions and
environments. It was concluded that power distance in the opinion of respondents are
achieved and rewarded based on technical skills, knowledge, and working hard to reach
to their goals, as was indicated in this study of Vietnamese business managers in the city
of Houston.

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Individualism
The results of the VSM 94 scores and the interview analysis indicated that
respondents put less value on the group and more on the individual. House et al. (1999)
explained that the degree of individualism and collectivism may vary depending on the
context. Hofstede (2001) considered the individualism dimension as having a strong
relationship with the domain of work. Individualism was given a high score of 84.00 as
measured by VSM 94 which suggests that people may consider personal issues relating to
their time, individual opportunities, and following ones own interests more valuable than
the emotional and social ties to work that collectivism societies value (p. 235-240). High
individualism is positively related to independence and power seeking. It means focusing
on personal goals and this leads to competitiveness. The goals and competitiveness may
positively influence management styles. But on the other hand high individualism
seeking does not lead to sharing power of decision making and, if supervision (relates to
the type of interactions between supervisors and their subordinate) means delegation of
decision making power, then supervision is reversely related to individualism. Therefore,
the factor of individualism can play a significant role in management styles as well as it
can be an obstacle.
In this study, individualism did not statistically predict management styles. The
degree of individualism may vary depending on the context (House et al. 1999). A
society may value the individual at the personal level and the collectivity in the family
and organizations, as was indicated in this study of Vietnamese culture.

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Masculinity
Masculinity was given a relatively low score of 48.00 by respondents in the study
as measured by the VSM 94 although the interview responses indicated a high frequency
of comments valuing aggressive achievement oriented behavior. The more frequently
mentioned aggressive behavior was reflected in the response patterns of the subjects
when they were explaining behavior in their business environment. Hofstede & Hofstede
(2005) explained that the reason for labeling this dimension masculinity versus
femininity is that this dimension is the only dimension on which the men and women
among Hofstede's sample (IBM employees) scored differently. In the organizational
context, the masculine features of competitiveness and willingness to make tough
decisions, contrast with feminine traits necessary for nurturing teams and fostering
collaboration across and outside the organization. But if rules, policies, guidelines or
procedures exist, then treating people equally and fairly is important for organizational
characteristics. Hofstede (2001) found that there was a negative correlation between
wealth, educational levels, age, and masculinity scores. As trends studied by Hofstede
(2001) have indicated, masculinity scores drop as a population ages and becomes more
prosperous. There are no factors of masculinity which can server as constraints or shapers
management styles.
In this study, the opinion of the respondents is that male is more dominant in the
family as a head of a household, female is tender and more concerned with the quality of
family. It is acceptable for males to have an offensive demeanor as a manager while this
is not so for females which can make it hard for a female in a management position, as
was indicated in this study of Vietnamese culture.

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Uncertainty Avoidance
The subjects of this study valued uncertainty avoidance as measured by the VSM
94, at a relatively high 79.00, and the analysis of qualitative interviews. As example of
high uncertainty avoidance is seeking clarification prior to decision making. The
uncertainty avoidance is reflected in the cultural tolerance based on technology, laws and
religion, etc. In a low uncertainty avoidance society, people are relatively more secure,
whereas people are less secure in the strong uncertainty due to the fact that the future is
unknown. Therefore, uncertainty avoidance can play a significant role or be an obstacle
to management styles as well as it can be an obstacle. This is because human beings are
not comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity situations and has a deceiving tendency
to think, feel and act from their own experiences, especially when they are facing these
unstructured situations (Hofstede, 2005).
In this study, the opinion of the respondents is that Vietnams histories of war
and unpredictable changes in society have equipped them to adapt to new circumstances
and deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in life, as was indicated in this study of
Vietnamese culture.
Long-Term Orientation
Long-term orientation was given a relatively low 24.00 by respondents in the
study as measured by the VSM 94 although interview responses indicated that it is
important to plan for the future. Hofstede (2001) noted that this dimension is also related
to the ability to solve well-defined problems (p. 351). A long term perspective would
help someone see the problem as part of the process and persevere through it. Long-term
Orientation means an orientation towards future rewards, in particular, perseverance and

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thrift (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). If LTO is correlated with the organizational growth
which stress on the future-oriented values of thrift and perseverance, then the work ethic
where long-term rewards are expected as a result of hard work and dedication are very
well supported. Therefore, there are no factors of LTO that can serve as constraints in
shaping management styles.
In this study, the opinion of respondents is that one must adapt to new
circumstances to survive, regardless of the understanding that it is important to have a
long-term orientation.

Demographic Analysis
The sample of 12 business management participants is small as a basis for
significant findings, but it revealed broad representation in employment status, gender,
educational preparedness, age and years of experience. The demographic variables were
collected to capture relevant variables important for use in providing context and
controls. Specifically, the age of participants is relevant in a study of cultural values since
the opinion and shared history will vary within the various age groups (Hofstede, 1984).
In a country that has gone through unpredictable changes in society of Vietnam in the last
30 years, the age of respondents as well as their position with the company are
considerations in any discussion of their cultural values or opinions on management. The
range of the participants age is between 46 and 55 year olds, and years with the company
is between 10 and above.

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Quantitative Findings
The main objective of the hypothesis was to predict the significance of
management style subscales against cultural values. The cultural values did not appear to
influence the respondents perceptions of the constructive management attributes. To
examine the hypotheses, six linear regressions were conducted to examine if the cultural
values (power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term
orientation) predict each of the management style subscales (supervision style, decision
making, communication pattern, control mechanism, interdepartmental relations, and
paternalistic orientation). The assumptions of linearity and homoscedasticity were
assessed. In regression analysis, homoscedasticity means a situation in which the
variance of the dependent variable is the same for all the data. The linear regression
conducted did not predict five of the six variables which are supervision styles, decision
making, communication patterns, control mechanism, and interdepartmental relations.
Only individualism and uncertainty avoidance cultural values significantly predicted
paternalistic orientation varible.
As a result of the statistical analysis, there is not enough evidence to either accept
or reject the null hypothesis. The data is not sufficient to show convincingly that a
difference between means is not zero and does not prove that the difference is zero. Such
data may even suggest that, but does not make a strong enough case that the null
hypothesis is false. Lane 2007 explains that, if the probably value were 0.15, then one
would not be ready to present ones case that the null hypothesis is false to the (properly)
skeptical scientific community. More convincing data would be needed to do that.
However, there would be no basis to conclude that the null hypothesis is true. It may or

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may not be true; there just is not strong enough evidence to reject it. Not even in cases
where there is no evidence that the null hypothesis is false is it valid to conclude the null
hypothesis is true (Lane, 2007).

Qualitative Findings
To contribute to the understanding of the relationship between cultural values and
management styles dimensions, the research focused on an elaboration of the three main
questions.
Question 1:

Describe the qualities of an ideal manager.

Question 2:

What management characteristics are most effective and


appropriate for your culture? Please explain why?

Question 7:

In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal


and family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social
support for them? Please use examples if possible.

The results of the interviews form a consensus that cultural values do influence
management styles. The consequence of cultural values influence on management styles
can either facilitate or inhibit the promotion of innovative ideas, processes and practices
within the organizations. Results of qualitative interviews indicate that management
styles have a strong influence on the behavior of the employees in terms of creativity and
innovation. Many Vietnamese are extremely familiar with their products as the
cornerstone to the effectives of their organization operation. They subscribe and
contribute fully to their business mission. They were more willing to encourage
horizontal coordination and collaboration, to build a friendly and fun working

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environment, to be open minded to the new ideas, to have an open communication


system, a fair decision making in treating everyone alike, respectful and courteous to
employees. In these work setting, the family dinners and company picnics are often
organized to improve the relationship within the organization and to promote a sense of
loyalty to the organization.
In todays increasingly competitive and demanding workplace, successful
management required both the technical expertise and nontechnical interpersonal skills
(Lee, 1999). Lee (1999) explained that the lack of interpersonal skills is greater
contributors to organizations failure than are technical errors. The knowledge-based
organization requires interpersonal skills in collaboration between peers, and consultative
relationships with others in the organization. Many Vietnamese managers are blending
Western management values (such as effective communication and mindfulness) with
Vietnamese cultural values (such as respect, trust, and regarding co-workers as family
members) to have the most effective and appropriate management characteristics for
Vietnamese business owners. Because most of the Vietnamese businesses are based on
family, these characteristics are the most effective and appropriate, and also necessary for
successful management.
Family values are still predominant in the Vietnamese culture. Many Vietnamese
managers tended to adopt a paternalistic approach in their management style by often
regarded their employees as members of a family. This feature is visible in the way the
Vietnamese managers run their businesses. They are not only concerned with their
employees at work, but also are interested, and sometimes involved, in the family life of
their employees and usually do their best to provide social support. Managers often give

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employees flexible time, and advance paid when it comes to work/life balance. It is also a
practice to have some funds to help employees overcome their personal financial
problems. In order to attract and retain employees for the long-term success of the
organization, these managers often expressed an attitude of taking care of employees,
advising and guiding them in developing their skills.

Cultural Dimensions for Vietnam


The values Hofstede (2001, p. 502) reported for Vietnam in 2001 are significantly
different from the ones found in Table 12 of this study. Hofstedes research showed
Vietnam with a high power distance, low uncertainty avoidance, low individualism, low
masculinity, and high long-term orientation. The Vietnam reflected in this study, showing
a significant change in the personal values of Vietnamese, could be the result of many
factors. A key consideration in this comparison is the origin of the dimension scores
published by Hofstede in 2001. According to Hofstede (2001), his Vietnam scores were
based on observations and descriptive information.

Table 12. Comparison of Dimension for Vietnam from Hofstede and Current Study
Cultural Dimension
Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
Individualism
Masculinity
Long-Term Orientation

2001

Current Study

70
30
20
40
80

-5.0
79
84
48
24

This study showed that the Vietnameses low score in power distance (PD)
characteristics is present in the daily life of Vietnamese as well as in business. Hofstede

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(2001) explained that low PD societies generally have value freedom as being more
important than equality, and assume that all people should have equal rights. The
Vietnamese are very low in PD and so tend to be influenced more through bargaining and
reasoning. Vietnamese culture displays a high degree of uncertainty avoidance (UA).
Hofstede explained that uncertainty about the future is a basic fact of human life with
which individuals try to cope through the domains of technology, law, and religion (p.
110). People feel threatened by ambiguous situations and try to avoid these situations by
providing greater job stability, establishing more formal rules, and rejecting deviant ideas
and behavior. Vietnamese culture displays high individualism characteristics is presented
at the personal level. People in high individualism cultures were found to have attached
significant importance to freedom and challenging jobs and also tend to show a high
degree of responsibility for themselves (Hofstede, 2001, p. 227). Vietnamese culture
displays moderate masculinity. In the family, sons and daughters have to obey parents
orders. Within organizations in Vietnamese society, there is a clear subordinate-superior
relationship which places significant emphasis on titles, status, and formality. Vietnamese
culture displays a relatively low index for long-term orientation (LTO). Long-term
Orientation means an orientation towards future rewards, in particular, perseverance and
thrift (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). Low LTO societies show a high degree of respect and
tolerance for other people, have much respect for tradition, do not consider status a major
issue in relationships, and value leisure time (Hofstede, 2001, p. 360). One of the
distinctive features of Vietnamese society is indirect speech, resulting from the
importance of saving face. In compensation, the Vietnamese have a very good sense of
humor that surface in every opportunity and conversation.

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Limitations of the Study


This study involved conducting research that was limited in scope to 12
Vietnamese American managers in the city of Houston. It is a case study bounded by the
time of the interviews, the location in the city of Houston, and the particular business and
its managers. This study cannot be thought to represent the experience of other Asian
American businesses in the city of Houston. The final sample size of 12 Vietnamese
business managers is small in relationship to the number of Vietnamese business
managers employed at the zip code 77072. This is typical of qualitative studies. Because
the Vietnamese, as a group, are relatively young in term of presence in America, there
was no representation of a third generation participants in this study. Another limitation is
that all questions were developed based on the literature reviews. So, the research
certainly may not cover all the aspects of the related culture and management issues.

Conclusions
This study confirmed that in order to understand what effective and constructive
management styles is in a given culture, one must understand the culture (Hofstede 1984,
House et al. 1999). This study found that the cultural characteristics of Vietnamese
managers in the Houston area were generally high in individualism and low in power
distance, and the constructive management control mechanism that was considered most
desirable. This study also revealed that the complexity of socioeconomic transition and
its influence was reflected in the survey scores and the interview responses, which were,
on some values, inconsistent with each other. The most pronounced inconsistency of data
was between the power distance scores on the VSM 94, which were low at -5.00, and the

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respondents interview comments, which characterized high power distance by accept the
unequal distribution of power and tended to follow the others. According to Hofstede
(1984), individuals with low power distance cultures are less likely to tolerate class
distinctions, are more likely to prefer democratic participation, and are less afraid of
disagreeing with superiors. Long-term orientation scores on the VSM 94, which were low
at 24.00, and the respondents interview comments, which reflected a belief in the value
of planning for the future strongly focused on the perseverance and thrift. As Bass (1985)
and Hofstede (2001) indicated, a collectivistic culture typically values a long-term
orientation. Individualism scores on the VSM 94, which were high at 84.00, and the
respondents interview comments, which reflected a strong belief in the family values.
According to Hofstede (1984), people with high individualism focus on themselves rather
than on the group(s) to which they may belong. In this perspective, an individual is seen
as unique and whole, or having a self-identity which is separate from and does not
depend on group affiliation. In terms of uncertainty avoidance, Vietnamese may be used
to uncertainty and ambiguity in life because of Vietnams history of unpredictable
changes in society, Vietnamese management characteristics tended to adopt a
paternalistic approach in their support and concern for their employees. They often gave a
great deal of direction to ensure that the work is done well.
This case study looked at the dilemmas, values, and aspirations of the Vietnamese
business management in the city of Houston and revealed that they are not that different
from those of Americans in terms of their broad objectives. The results of an empirical
study indicated that the Vietnamese management style is not significantly different from
the American. Both American and Vietnamese managers place significant emphasis on

123

supervisory style, decision making, and control mechanism the difference seems to be
that the Vietnamese managers also place a higher degree of emphasis on communication
pattern than do their American counterparts. Control mechanism and paternalistic
orientation styles seem to be appropriate with the Vietnamese culture and can be effective
in family business or small-scale organizations. The challenge for managers in todays
increasingly competitive and demanding workplace is to understand differences between
specific cultural contexts and to act accordingly.
The results of this study can be used to provide managers from other cultures with
insights on culture and management that will enable them to establish personal practices
in keeping with the values of Vietnamese managers and an effective relationship which
results in greater cooperation.
The study serves as an example of the importance of recognizing the differences
in subcultures such as Vietnamese and their implications for a constructive quality
management. As Hofstede (1984) and House (2004) have pointed out, most management
theories have been developed in an American context and are not necessarily applicable
in other cultures. Understanding how other cultures differ from the dominant culture is,
therefore, a prerequisite for functioning as an effective manager in those cultures (Javidan
& House, 2001).
As many managers from other cultures try to expand their business with the
Vietnamese American, their success, as indicated by this study and the referenced
literature, will require that they understand how the values of the Vietnamese differ from
their own and adopt their generally accepted business principles to local mores,
traditions, and values. As the study indicates, universal dilemmas must be solved by

124

culturally specific responses. Culture is not consciously recognized until it is contrasted


with a different one. Therefore, an understanding and appreciation of cultural differences
helps to increase self-awareness, promote an effective business relationship which results
in greater cooperation among people of diverse cultural background, and often the
essence of successful management.

Recommendations
This study gives a picture of the characteristics of culture and management of the
Vietnamese business managers in the city of Houston. Although a case study, by design,
is narrow in focus and generalizable only to population studied, it nevertheless, by its
contribution to a body of knowledge, has implications for future research, practice, and
social change. This final section of the chapter will address the recommendations
resulting from this research.
Recommendations for Future Research
Seeking an understanding of what management styles are appropriate in different
contexts requires a conceptual framework with explanatory constructs for the level of
competitiveness of the firms rather than a development of universally applicable styles.
The case study technique, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative
methodology, as in this study, can contribute to the further development of a conceptual
framework. By finding meaning in the variances of cross-cultural management research
the case study has the potential of making important contributions to the body of
knowledge. This study could be expanded to other subcultures to verify if the correlations
between cultural values and management styles dimensions expectations persist or if they

125

vary from subculture to subculture. If the correlations between these two sets of variables
persist, then an important empirical framework would be established for predicting
management styles.
This study presented an unexpected low score of -5.00 for power distance on the
VSM 94. This was a surprising outcome that has not been documented in the literature.
Hence, this area should be replicated with a different group of Vietnamese managers to
determine if similar results would reoccur.
Recommendations for Practice
The Western saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" (Puffer, 2004, p.
205) certainly applies to cross-culture management. Therefore, management in another
culture means more than collecting information about that culture, as Trompenaars
(1998) noted, it requires developing a cultural awareness by understanding states of
mind, your own and those of people you meet (p. 201). Developing a frame of reference
for understanding peoples world view and having an awareness of ways in which
people attribute meaning to the world around them (p. 201) is the competency needed by
geocentric managers who are preparing to manage in a global economy (Trompenaars,
1998). The challenge remains for researchers to determine which management styles are
effective and expected in various cultures and how to achieve desired outcomes in
contexts which give different meanings to a mangers actions.
Implications for Social Change
In an era of globalization and increasing contact and interaction between different
cultures, it is the responsibility of good management to embrace the importance of
understanding and appreciating cultural differences. This study, using a subcultures

126

context, contributes to understanding differences in cultural values and the roots of those
differences.
Improving the ability to manage cross-cultural global businesses and develop
management with cultural awareness helps to promote more effective interactions and
results in greater cooperation among people of diverse cultural backgrounds. As Hofstede
(1984) and House (2004) have pointed out, most management theories have been
developed in an American context and are not necessarily applicable in other cultures.
Therefore, understanding how other cultures differ from our own is a prerequisite to
functioning as an effective manger in those cultures. Knowledge of Geert Hofstedes five
dimensions of culture can assist managers in predicting with some certainty how different
cultures will behave and enables them to adapt their generally accepted business
principles to local traditions, and values. Success in todays global economy will require
managers to broaden their ways of thinking and develop new understandings of how
different subcultures relate to their values. Hofstedes (1984) quote the survival of
mankind will depend to a large extent on the ability of people who think differently to act
together (p. 8) presents an ideal view of American democracy.

127

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137

APPENDIX A. HOFSTEDES ORIGINAL VALUES SURVEY MODULE 1994

VSM94
VALUES SURVEY MODULE 1994
QUESTIONNAIRE
English version

MAY BE FREELY USED FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES


FOR REPRODUCTION IN COMMERCIAL PUBLICATIONS,
PERMISSION IS NEEDED

Copyright Geert Hofstede BV


hofstede@bart.nl

138

INTERNATIONAL QUESTIONNAIRE (VSM 94)


Please think of an ideal job, disregarding your present job, if you have one. In choosing
an ideal job, how important would it be to you to ... (please circle one answer in each line
across):
Xin vui lng ngh v mt cng vic l tng. Nu qu v ang c vic lm hy b qua
cng vic hin ti. Nu qu v c c hi chn la mt cng vic lm l tng th vic lm
ny c tm quan trong nh th no? (Xin khoanh trn con s m qu v cho l thch ng
tr li cu hi)
1 = of utmost importance
2 = very important
3 = of moderate importance
4 = of little importance
5 = of very little or no importance
1 = Qu quan trng
2 = Rt quan trng
3 = Quan trng
4 = t quan trng
5 = Rt t hay khng quan trng
1. have sufficient time for your
personal or family life
C thi gian cn thit cho
c nhn hay cuc sng gia nh
2. have good physical working
conditions (good ventilation
and lighting, adequate work
space, etc.)
C iu kin tt ti s lm
(nh sng, thng gi, v phng
c rng thong)
3.

have a good working relationship with your direct superior


C mi quan h lm vic tt vi
ngi trc tip qun l cp trn

4.

have security of employment


C cng vic lm bo m lu di

5.

work with people who cooperate


well with one another
Lm vic vi ng nghip, bit hp
tc vi ngi khc

6.

be consulted by your direct


superior in his/her decisions
c tho lun bi ngi trc

139

tip cp trn v nhng quyt nh


ca ng/B y
7.

8.

have an opportunity for advancement to higher level jobs


C c hi thng tin cho cng vic
cao hn
have an element of variety and
adventure in the job
Gi nhiu yu t khc nhau v
c phiu lu hc hi trong cng vic

In your private life, how important is each of the following to you? (please circle one
answer in each line across):
Trong cuc sng ring t ca qu v, nhng iu sau y quan trng nh th no? (Xin
hy khoanh trn mt cu tr li hang ngang)
9.

Personal steadiness and stability


S im tnh v kin quyt c nhn

10.

Thrift
Tnh tit kim

11.

Persistence (perseverance)
Tnh Bn b

12.

Respect for tradition


S tn trng tryn thng

13.

How often do you feel nervous or tense at work?


1. never
2. seldom
3. sometimes
4. usually
5. always
C thng hay lo lng v cng thng ti s lm khng?
1. Khng bao gi
2. t Khi
3. Thnh thong
4. Thng thng
5. Lun lun

14.

How frequently, in your experience, are subordinates afraid to express


disagreement with their superiors?
1. very seldom
2. seldom
3. sometimes
4. frequently
5. very frequently

140

Theo kinh nghim ca qu v, nhn vin ngi cp di c thng xuyn


cm thy s khng dm pht biu s bt ng kin i vi v qun l ca
h khng?
1. Rt him
2. Him khi
3. Thnh thong
4. Thng Xuyn
5. Rt thngxuyn
For question # 15 20. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the
following statements? (please circle one answer in each line across):
1 = strongly agree
2 = agree
3 = undecided
4 = disagree
5 = strongly disagree
Qu v ng hay bt ng ti mc no cho mt iu sau y (xin hy khoanh trn
mt cu tr li hang ngang)
1 = ng tuyt i
2 = ng
3 = Khng quyt nh
4 = Bt ng
5 = Bt ng tuyt i
15. Most people can be trusted
Hu ht ngi ta c th tin tng c
16. One can be a good manager without
having precise answers to most
questions that subordinates may
raise about their work
Mt v qun l gii khng cn tr li mt
cch t m nhng cu hi ca nhn vin
lin h n vic lm ca h
17. An organization structure in
which certain subordinates have
two bosses should be avoided
at all costs
Bng mi gi chng ta phi trnh
tnh trng nhn vin c hai v qun l
18. Competition between employees
usually does more harm than
good
S cnh tranh gia nhng nhn vin
vi nhau thng c hi hn l li
19. A company's or organization's
rules should not be broken not even when the employee

141

thinks it is in the company's


best interest
1
2
3 4
5
Cho d c li ln cho cng ty nhng nhng lut l ca cng ty vn phi c
tn trng
20. When people have failed in life
it is often their own fault
1
2
Khi ngi ta tht bi trong cuc sng,
thng l chnh l nhng lm li do h gy ra

Some information about yourself (for statistical purposes):


Mt vi chi tit v qu v (cho mc ch thng k)
21. Are you:
1. male
2. female
Qu v l:
1. n ng
2. n b
22. How old are you?
Qu v bao nhiu tui
1. Under 20
2. 20-24
3. 25-29
4. 30-34
5. 35-39
6. 40-49
7. 50-59
8. 60 or over
23. How many years of formal school education (or their equivalent) did you
complete (starting with primary school)?

Qu v hon tt bao nhiu nm trng (hoc tng ng) bt u vi


trng trung hc s cp
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

10 years or less
11 years
12 years
13 years
14 years
15 years
16 years
17 years
18 years or over

24. If you have or have had a paid job, what kind of job is it / was it?
1. No paid job (includes full-time students)
2. Unskilled or semi-skilled manual worker
3. Generally trained office worker or secretary
4. Vocationally trained craftsperson, technician, informatician, nurse, artist or
equivalent

142

5. Academically trained professional or equivalent (but not a manager of people)


6. Manager of one or more subordinates (non-managers)
7. Manager of one or more managers
Nu qu v c hoc c cng vic lm c lng bng, cng vic l g?
1. Khng c vic tr lng bng (bao gm hc sinh hc ton thi gian)
2. Cng nhn lao ng chn tay khng c k nng hay bn k nng
3. Nhn vin lm vic c hun luyn hay th k
4. Th th cng c hun luyn trng dy ngh, nha k thut, ngi cung cp
tin tc, y t, ngh s hay tng ng)
5. Gio s dy hc hoc tng ng (nhng khng phi l ngi qun l)
6. Qan l cua mot hay nhieu nguoi cap duoi (khng phi qun l)
7. Qun l trng ca mt hay nhiu qun l
25. What is your nationality?
Qu v thuc quc tch no
26. What was your nationality at birth (if different)?
Quc tch ca ni qu v sinh trng l g? (nu khc nhau)

Thanks for your participation and Cooperation


Cm n rt nhiu cho s tham gia v hp tc ca qy v!

143

APPENDIX B. CULPAN AND KUCUKEMIROGLU PERMISSIONS


Date: October 17, 2007
Professor: Refik Culpan, Ph.D.
Professor: Orsay Kucukemiroglu
Dear Professors Culpan and Kucukemiroglu,
I am a doctoral candidate at Capella University developing the concept and plan for my
dissertation on A Study of Vietnamese Culture Influence on Management Styles. A
major element in my research is collecting information from the Vietnamese business
community in the Houston metropolitan area. Based on my investigations thus far, one
of the best tools described in the literature is your A Comparison of U.S. and Japanese
Management Styles and Unit Effectiveness.
I am requesting for permission to include in my dissertation Parts I and II of the Survey
Questionnaires from A Comparison of U.S. and Japanese Management Styles and Unit
Effectiveness, Management International Review; 1993; 33, 1; 27-42. My dissertation
will be made available to the public on the Web through Capella University Libraries. In
addition, the dissertation will be microfilmed by UMI Dissertation Publishing (ProQuest
Information and Learning). If you allow me to use your instrument, a full
acknowledgement will be made in my prefatory comments as well as the bibliography.
If you grant permission, please indicate your approval by signing in the space provided
below and send or email me the Survey Questionnaires. Please return the signed letter to
me by either email or by faxing it to me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
If you require any additional information, please contact me. I can be reached at:
Henry Hoang
Mailing address
Phone:
Cell:
Fax:
Email:

144

145

APPENDIX C. PARTS I AND II OF MANAGEMENT SURVEY QUESTIONNARIES


Parts I Management Styles
(Circle the correct number that corresponds with your response):
Key: 1 = Never; 2 = Infrequently; 3 = Sometimes; 4 = Frequently; 5 = Always.
Supervisory Style:
1.
Amount of discretion given to subordinates
1
2
3
4
5
2.

Degree of delegation of authority to employees


1
2
3
4
5

3.

Soliciting for worker inputs


1
2
3
4
5

4.

Freedom of employees to schedule their own work


1
2
3
4
5

5.

Democratic supervision
1
2
3
4

6.

Only supervisor handling work problems


1
2
3
4
5

7.

Decisions and work problems delayed in supervisors absence


1
2
3
4
5

8.

Supervisory back-up for his/her employees


1
2
3
4
5

9.

Supervisors sacrifice for his/her employees


1
2
3
4
5

10.

Amount of direction given from the top


1
2
3
4
5

11.

Clear and detailed supervision (Close supervision)


1
2
3
4
5

Decision Making:
1.

Soliciting for workers inputs


1
2
3
4
5

146

2.

Tackling unusual work problems


1
2
3
4
5

3.

Trying innovative methods and products


1
2
3
4
5

4.

Number of suggestions from the unit members


1
2
3
4
5

5.

Wasting time and effort by incorrect estimates


1
2
3
4
5

6.

Accepting unpopular projects


1
2
3
4
5

7.

Initiating improvements
1
2
3
4

8.

Decision delegation to the lowest level


1
2
3
4
5

9.

Consensus decision making


1
2
3
4
5

10.

Amount of supervisory direction


1
2
3
4
5

11

Individual decision making


1
2
3
4

12.

Employee freedom to select their own course of actions


1
2
3
4
5

Communication Pattern:
1.

Supervisory awareness of unit performance meeting standards


1
2
3
4
5

2.

Free flow of information


1
2
3
4

3.

Supervisors awareness of things happening within unit


1
2
3
4
5

4.

Complaints reaching top management


1
2
3
4
5

147

5.

Employee unawareness of changes in policies and directives


1
2
3
4
5

6.

Communications are blocked


1
2
3
4
5

Control Mechanism:
1.

Managers being on top of everything


1
2
3
4
5

2.

Emphasizing on production as a goal


1
2
3
4
5

3.

Freedom of workers to schedule their own activities


1
2
3
4
5

4.

Democratic supervision
1
2
3
4

5.

Relying the unit without checking


1
2
3
4
5

6.

Following-ups and checking in goal realization


1
2
3
4
5

7.

Clear and detailed supervision (Close supervision)


1
2
3
4
5

Interdepartmental Relations:
1.

Providing assistance to other units for favors


1
2
3
4
5

2.

Making trades and deals with other units


1
2
3
4
5

3.

Bargaining with other units


1
2
3
4

Frictions with other units


1
2
3
4

4.

5.

Coordination with other units


1
2
3
4
5

148

6.

Criticized by other units for being uncooperative


1
2
3
4
5

7.

Getting into conflict with other units


1
2
3
4
5

Paternalistic Orientation:
1.

Involving in family matters of employees


1
2
3
4
5

2.

Helping employees with non-work related matters


1
2
3
4
5

Part II Profile of the Managers


(Choose one response that best describes you):
1.

Are you employed full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time (less than 40 hours
per week)?
Full-time
Part-time

2.

What is your gender?


Male
Female

3.

What is your current age?


24 or under
25 30
31 35
36 45
46 55
56 or above

4.

What is your education level (years)?


0 10
11 15
16 20
21 and above

5.

What is your field of education?


Business
Engineering
Social Science
Science

149

Others
6.

How long have you been in present position?


0 1 year
2 5 years
6 10 years
11 15 years
16 years and above

7.

How long have you been with the Company?


0 1 year
2 5 years
6 10 years
11 15 years
16 25 years
26 years and above
Thanks for your participation and Cooperation

150

APPENDIX D. CONSENT FORM


Overview of the Research:
You are invited to participate in a mixed methodology of quantitative and qualitative
research study conducted by Henry Hoang as part of his graduate studies with Capella
University, under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Hargiss. The purpose of the study is to
identify and describe the cultural characteristics of Vietnamese business managers in the
city of Houston and their perceptions of constructive management attributes. The data
should enable managers from other cultures to establish personal practices in keeping
with the values of the Vietnamese and an effective relationship which results in greater
cooperation.
Your participation will involve filling out the Consent Form and sign it, completing the
enclosed surveys questionnaires, and then following a personal interview. This sequence
is to get the respondents thinking in terms of the cultural and management dimensions
which the questionnaires were designed to define prior to the interview. The study will be
conducted in the privacy of the subjects offices and consume approximately 40 50
minutes.
This study is being conducted by: Henry Hoang a doctoral candidate at Capella
University.
Participant's Rights:
I understand I was selected for participation on a random basis from the participant roster
and my participation is purely voluntary. I may refuse to participate and/or refuse to
answer survey questions without consequences, but my participation is needed by the
researcher to investigate cultural influences on management styles. There are no physical
or emotional risks involved in this study or will there are any monetary costs or benefits
related to participation in the study. Also, while I may learn more about myself and
attitudes towards management practices, there are no benefits or compensation for my
participation.
Use of Records and Data Security:
The results of this study are for research purposes only. Only summary data, conclusions
and recommendations will be published. The researcher will not disclose the names of
survey respondents or reported survey responses in a manner that identifies answers
given by individual survey participants. The researcher will maintain all results at his
home using reasonable security precautions and destroy the results within two years or at
the conclusion of the study.
Research Study Contacts:
The principal researcher is Henry Hoang. If I have questions about this research project I
may reach him at xxx-xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxx-xxxx or by e-mail at xxx-xxx-xxxx. This
research study has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board,
Capella University at xxx-xxx-xxxx. For research-related problems of questions

151

regarding subjects' rights, the Institutional Review Board may be contacted through Dr.
Hargiss, dissertation committee chair, at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Agreement to Participate:
I have read and understand the explanation provided to me and voluntarily agree to
participate in this study. A copy of this consent form will be mailed to you.
Participants Name (Please print): ______________________________________
Participants Email/Phone No.:

______________________________________

Participants Signature: __________________________________Date:___________

152

APPENDIX E. COVER LETTERS


Date:
Dear Participant,
I am currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Business and Technology at Capella
University. I am working with Dr. Kathleen Hargiss on a project for study of
Vietnamese Cultural Influences on Management Styles. A major element in my
research is collecting information from the Vietnamese business community in the
Houston metropolitan area. You are inviting to participate in a research to study the
Vietnamese cultural influences on management styles. You were selected as a possible
participant because of your knowledge, experience related to the topic, and levels of
education. The results of this study will help inform management like you, as well as the
managers from other cultures, about the Vietnamese cultures and management practices
which help to bridge the cultural gap and implement processes that are best for the
business community. Please read this form and ask any questions you may have before
acting on this invitation to be in the study.
Background Information
The purpose of this study is to identify and describe the cultural characteristics of
Vietnamese business management in the city of Houston and their perceptions of
constructive management attributes.
Procedures
If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to fill out a consent form, complete the
surveys questionnaires, and a personal interview. Answer questions during the personal
interview will be recorded and transcribed for academic purpose. The questionnaires will
be bilingual (Vietnamese and English) and it requires you about 40 50 minutes to
complete.
Confidentiality
Please be assured that your answers are completely confidential and your anonymity is
assured. There is no code on the survey that can be used to identify you with your
responses, and the results will be reported for the entire sample of participants as a group.
No individual responses will be reported. The audio tapes and any incidental notes of this
study will be destroyed after two years upon completion of the study to protect
confidentiality.
Voluntary Nature of the Study
Your participation is strictly voluntary. By deciding to participate, you will have a direct
and measurable impact on the assessment of the Vietnamese cultural influences on
management styles. Regardless of whether you choose to participate, please let me know
if you would like a summary of my findings. To receive a summary, please send an email to xxx-xxx-xxxx.

153

Risks and Benefits of Being in the Study


There are no risks for participating in this study. In the event you experience stress or
anxiety during your participation in the study you may terminate your participation at any
time. You may refuse to answer any questions you consider invasive or stressful.
Compensation
There is no compensation for participating in this study.
Contacts and Questions:
If you have any questions or concerns about being in this study, you may contact me at
xxx-xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxx-xxxx. If e-mail is more convenient, you may contact me at
xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Thank you for your considering this invitation. We hope that you will be able to
help us in this very important research.
Sincerely,

Henry Hoang
Doctoral Candidate
Capella University

154

APPENDIX F. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


The primary source of data collection consists of open-ended questions in semi-structure
interviews. The interview questions were designed to get the respondents talking about
the cultural dimensions and the management factors identified in the theoretical
constructs of the study. The interview questions are as follows:
Ti liu ch yu ca cc d kin thu thp bao gm nhng cu hi c tnh cch ci m
trong phn phng vn bn cu trc. Nhng cu phng vn c son tho ngi
c phng vn ni v s o lng vn ha v nhng yu t v s qun l c nhn
bit trong vic vn dng l thuyt ca vic nghin cu. Sau y l nhng cu phng vn:
1.

Describe the qualities of an ideal manager.


Xin qu v hy m t nhng phm cht lng ca mt ngi qun tr l tng?

2.

What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for your
culture? Please explain why?
Nhng c im ca li qun tr no th hiu qu nht v thch hp nht cho nn
vn ha ca qu v? Xin hy vui lng gii thch ti sao?

3.

Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment from team
members and/or subordinates.
Xin qu v cho bit nhng ng li m v qun tr nn c c s h tr v s ht
lng ca nhn vin.

4.

How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Lm th no v qun tr c th gy c lng tin ca tt c nhn vin?

5.

Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for managers


to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Trong nhng li lm vic ca cng ty, quan trng nh th no cho nhng ngi
qun tr m rng tm nhn v lng nghe nhng ngh ca nhn vin v s thay
i?

6.

Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain that
employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds? Please
explain.
Qu v c cm thy rng ngi qun tr nn dnh thi gian v nng lc chc
chn rng nhng ngi nhn vin tn trng trit nhng nguyn tc v tiu chun
m c quan gi? Xin qu v gii thch thm v vn ny.

7.

In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and family life of
employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please use
examples if possible.
Theo kin ring ca qu v, ngi qun tr c nn quan tm n cuc sng c
nhn v gia nh ca nhn vin khng? Nu ng , ngi qun tr c nn cung cp

155

nhng h tr x hi cho nhn vin khng? Xin hy dng nhng th d nu c th


c.

For this next question, please think about Part I of the Management Style survey
questionnaires.
Cho cu hi k tip, xin hy ngh v Phn mt ca nhng cu hi thm d kin cch
iu hnh qun tr.
8.

Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in Vietnamese
management practice? Please explain why?
Nhng cch iu hnh no di y qu v cho l iu quan trng nht v ng
li thc hnh qun tr ca ngi Vit Nam? Xin hy vui lng gii thch ti sao?

9.

Supervisory Style (ng li qun tr nhn vin)


Decision Making (S quyt nh)
Communication Pattern (Kiu Giao tip)
Control Mechanism (Qui nh ca s kim sot)
Interdepartmental Relations (Nhng mi quan h lin b)
Paternalistic Orientation (Khuynh hng Gia Trng)

In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with respect to the
following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Theo kin ring ca qu v, qu v s gii thch nh th no v vn ha ca ngi
Vit Nam v mi quan h vi nhng iu di y? Xin hy dng nhng th d nu
c th c.

Power in society (Quyn lc trong x hi)


Individualism (Ch ngha c nhn)
Gender's roles in family (Vai tr gii tnh trong gia nh)
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
(Gii quyt vi nhng iu khng chc chn v khng r rng trong cuc sng)
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the values in
particular of perseverance and thrift in future
(S quan trng ca vic thch nghi vi truyn thng trong mi trng mi, v
ga tr c bit ca tnh bn b v tit kim trong tng lai.

156

APPENDIX G. SUMMARIES OF INTERIEW TRANSCRIPTS


Position of Interviewee:
General Management

Participant ID No.
1

Audio Tape No.


1A

Interview
Date:
January 16,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager must have a vision, clear understanding of the work,
creativity, and knowledge of their job. It is also important to bring people together by
creating friendly and fun working environment, and recognizing the productivity of the
employees. An ideal manager must have a combination of people skills and technical
expertise such as good communication and technical details or subject of work.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: Adapt management styles and set goals for employees to get things done.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: In order for managers to gain support and commitment from team members,
they should have employees in part of the process, treat them fairly, and recognize the
performance and efforts of each employee. It is also important to listen to employees
concerns and to what they can share.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: Sharing the spotlight is an example of how to inspire trust from team members,
also encouragement and open dialogue with team members.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: A meeting once a week or a month, depending on the nature of the work, to
share ideas on how to improve the working environment, efficiency, and productivity. It
also allows employees to discharge frustration, understand the situation, and promotes a
comfortable and competitive environment.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds? Please
explain.
Answer: It is a company policy. Every employee must understand the procedures, goals,
and guidelines. A manager should listen to see if employees can adapt to the company
policy and if the individuals are a part of the team work, otherwise they will be
discharged.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Managers should not be involved with employees personal life unless there is
a tragedy such as death.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
157

Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: Vietnamese management practices are supervisory style and communication.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: Vietnamese people work hard to reach to their goals. They make
money to advance themselves economically.
Individualism: Vietnamese try their best to achieve what they want to achieve which
is very much an example of individualism.
Genders: Traditionally, men always have power whereas a female respects her
husband and family. Females usually dont go to work.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese are very conservative people. The culture doesnt
equip them to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in life.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese are open to new values and new cultures,
but they still want to keep their values, traditions, and heritages. In terms of future,
community and family foster virtues and future rewards.

Position of Interviewee:
CEO

Participant ID No.
2

Audio Tape No.


1B

Interview
Date:
January 16,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager must understand the work of their employees, have
knowledge and understanding of the situation of their employees, and put themselves
into situations so that the managers can help employees. The managers must create a
friendly and fun working environment. It is important for an ideal manager to have
people skills; the technical expertise is considered secondary for managers.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: Management characteristic is like a Boss by telling people to listen and to do
what the boss wanted is not a good approach. The most effective manager is open to
new ideas and trusts their employees.

158

Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: Make sure employees are happy, and support employees in their personal and
family life. This helps to improve the productivity and improve the relationship. In
addition, listening is most the most important way to gain support and commitment
instead of talking.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: To create trust managers must keep and exercise all the promises. Sharing the
spotlight is another way to inspire trust from team members. In addition, encouraging
team member to come to a manager with problems will also inspire trust from team
members.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is very important because the work is done by employees. Managers must
understand what employees are doing and what they need to do. In addition, managers
must support employees and make sure they have everything for them to do their jobs.
Managers must also keep communication open.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds? Please
explain.
Answer: Yes. A manager must talk to the employees to make sure that employees
understand all the rules and regulations. This is because if employees dont follow the
principles or rules something might happen different from the managers expectation.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, managers should be concerned with the personal and family life
employees because if they are happy they can be more productive. Managers need to
provide social support for them.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I think the Supervisory Style is the most important if they have open
communication with their team members. It is important for managers to understand
what they have to do and not go into details. The managers must leave the employees to
do the detail work.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
159

Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life


The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Answer:
Power in society: This is for the one who has success in business. They can do the
work of what good for their lives.
Individualism: This is a very low for Vietnamese.
Genders: It depends on the education of the Vietnamese. If a person has a high level
of education, they will respect their partners. In terms of Genders roles, it is equal
for the Vietnamese in America.
Uncertainty: Usually the man is the one who can make a decision. The Vietnamese
are more conservative and therefore they have to know something before they do.
Long-term Orientation: Vietnamese can easily adapt and easily adapt to a new life.
The Vietnamese want to get along with the new life. In terms of future, the
Vietnamese plans and with the traditional values they want to keep the good things
in the past to the present and make adjustments to improve in the future.

Position of Interviewee:
CEO

Participant ID No.
3

Audio Tape No.


2A

Interview
Date:
January 19,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager must know their work and must know how to manage their
employees. An ideal manager must also have people skills because a manager must
know what employees want and how they do their jobs such as if an employee is happy,
he/she can work hard and be more productive.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: The manager must be flexible. Managers must encourage employees to do a
good job and discuss with employees if they have done something wrong. Good
communication and listening to employees are most important and effective.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: It all depends on how the manager treats and respects their employees.
Respecting and treating employees well will result in employees support and
commitment.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: Encourage, reward, and motivate employees. In some situations, a manger
must be a person to do it first. This sets an example for employees to learn from what
managers practice.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: A manager can not walk on water. They must be open to ideas and accept
criticism from employees.

160

Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds? Please
explain.
Answer: Yes, managers must spent time to ensure that employees following the
principles and standards. For example, when managers start a project, they must
communication with employees by telling them how to do it for good productivity.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, treat employees like family members. A manager must be concerned with
the personal and family life of employees, and provide social support for employees.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: The Vietnamese management practice is based on Supervisory Style. This is
because the Vietnamese practice emphasizes results and treating employees like they are
family members.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: This is applied to everyone in society because everybody wants to
have power in society.
Individualism: The Vietnamese emphasize I more than We.
Genders: The males role is more important than the females even in American
society. The females roles are taking care of children, cooking, and being
concerned with the quality of the family. The males role only shares a portion of
that and is more concerned with material success.
Uncertainty: In my view, I always ask for advice from family, friends, or the elderly
when dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese easily adapt to new traditions and
circumstances. The older generation has difficulty adapting traditions to new
circumstances; whereas the younger generation more easily adapts traditions to new
circumstances. In terms of future, the Vietnamese want to keep the good traditions
but also make adjustments in the future.

161

Position of Interviewee:
Manager

Participant ID No.
4

Audio Tape No.


2B

Interview
Date:
January 21,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager must know their work and must know how to manage their
employees. First of all, an ideal manager should be competent in the area of work. In the
functional, he/she has to be able to understand the context of the work that his/her
employee is working on, he/she has to be competent but also at the same time has to
know how to motivate and understand the work. The managers role is not doing the
job, but getting other people to do job. A manager gets the job done through other
people therefore, he/she has to understand other peoples jobs and also motivate
employees so that they can do the job for him and bring out the best. The best manager
is one who can build and develop the skills and best of his employees and bring the best
to be able to achieve the missions of organization.
The technical manager tends to look at things for what is black and white and if there
are some facts. But the job of measure is that manager is getting done through other
people. Without interpersonal or people skills, without understanding the people, who
are working with them, how can a manager build team work so that people can work
and deliver the job. The managers roles are to coordinate, assign resources accordingly,
and motive people so that people can own the tasks and deliver the tasks.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: The Vietnamese manager tends to get consensus and harmony so that they can
consolidate and coordinate. Managers try to solve problems so they need to be open and
listen to other people in what they have to say. Understanding workers and being open
minded is the most effective and appropriate.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: First of all, managers must understand the need for workers. I strongly believe
in motivation. People are motivated by different things. Managers sometime must align
the job that they assign to an employee so that the employee can be motivated and that
will bring out the best in the employee. The key here is to understand and align the
personal goals of employees with the goals of organization.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: Showing respect is the most important. Show employees that each one of them
is a valuable asset to the team with sincerity to employees. Find the good things in each
employee and make them feel good about what they are doing well. To achieve
something, a manager must always give a credit to the whole team. It is also noted that
the Vietnamese culture tends to be humble and therefore it is their weakness.

162

Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for


managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: Absolutely important! If a manager wants a team that can function well
without the manager present, he/she has to encourage employees to think, discuss and
bring them out of the box. In order to be a good manager, you must listen to employees,
encourage them to discuss, and make them feel safe to talk with the manager. If a
manager wants the team to blindly follow his/her instruction, it is not going to be a very
successful organization.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds? Please
explain.
Answer: It is important because managers lead by example. It is sort of like ethics. If the
managers are not upholding the standards for themselves, how can they expect
employees to adhere to those principles and standards?
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: I dont think the manager should interfere with the personal and family life of
an employee, such as a divorce, but it is good to aware of whether they have an issue at
home. A manager does not need to be immediately involved with the family at all.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: It is hard to generalize. In the Vietnamese culture, we follow orders. It is likely
a control environment and obeys the boss. Therefore, the management practices should
be based on control mechanism.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: The Vietnamese tend to accept what they have. The Vietnamese
tend to follow other people. They dont want to take risks.
Individualism: The Vietnamese culture is very family oriented. So, individualism is
not as strong as in America. The Vietnamese tend to sacrifice their own life for the
good of the family.

163

Genders: Male is always more important then female. For example, the Father is the
head of the family. When the father dies, an older brother will be the head of the
family, but not the mother.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese are conservative. The Vietnamese are very
comfortable with what they have and they dont want to go out of their box or deal
with uncertainty.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese are adjusted very well. In terms of future,
the Vietnamese are strongly focused on perseverance and thrift.

Position of Interviewee:
Director

Participant ID No.
5

Audio Tape No.


3A

Interview
Date:
January 22,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is someone who is supportive. The ideal manager needs to
be open minded to new ideas from the workers. The ideal manager should also walk
the talk, meaning that manager needs to do what he is saying not just talk about it; be
a role model and actually do what they promise or do what he/she set out as goals;
possess the collaboration just because you are a manager doesnt mean that you know
all the jobs. Therefore, managers must ask for others to assist a manager on the job.
The collaboration that I refer to is the interpersonal skills or people skills. If you dont
have interpersonal skills, then you are not going to be able to listen to people,
understand what the needs are, and figure out whether to solve the problem or whether
to set a goal to improve the production whatever the situation might be.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: In Vietnamese culture, the management characteristic is the top-down. So, it
is a matter of if the boss tells you to do it, you have to do it. There is no collaboration,
no feedback from employees, and no input from employees.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: It all depends on the type of project. If you are working on a project, you
would need to get the support and commitment from team members. Without team
members, how can a manager get the job done? In my opinion, the ways to get support
and commitment from team members are to collaborate, talk to employees, discuss and
point out goals, and share with them and let employees have input and feedback on
those goals. Employees have to understand the vision that a manager has, goals the
manager is setting, and how they are getting there. So, it takes planning, sitting down to
talk to people, listening to their ideas, and then compromising. In my experience, when
people feel that they have been listened to, their ideas are validated and taken, then
they are more open to working with you instead of against you.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: Based on my experiences, it is about being there for the employees, being
visible, being out there working with people, and also working from the heart because
you are dealing with people. To inspire trust from team members a manager has to

164

make a job fun, collaborate, listen, and be there for employees.

Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for


managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is very important that managers listen to their employees especially when it
comes to suggestion for change. The boating analogy, for example, if you want to row
the boat to certain destinations but you dont have the other people in the boat rowing
with you, understand your vision and work together, youre never going to get to that
destination by yourself. To be a manager, it is very important to minded and listen
because you dont know it all as an individual, therefore, you need to listen to other
peoples ideas and see what new ideas they might spark that you have never thought of,
that helps you to think out of the box too. One person cant do the job; it takes a lot of
different people to get the job done.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: As a manager, you should have done that at the beginning. If a manager takes
time to be proactive and to build from beginning, meaning that you have to take time to
explain the rules and procedures to team members from day one and really walk
through rules and expectations with employees, then the messages are very clear, the
expectations are clear, so that team members have no questions as to where you are
going which adds support to what they are doing. Therefore, it shouldnt lead to a time
or to a point that you have to spend time and energy. Yes, managers should spent time
and energy to help employees to understand that the rules and expectations clearly, not
just as perceptions.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes. When you are a manager, you are working with the people not with the
machines. Therefore, people are human and humans have problems at home or what
not; you have to understand that concept and truly embrace that and accept that for
whom you are dealing with. An ideal manager must know their people and therefore
managers should provide social support to a certain extent while maintaining
professionalism.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I would say the most important thing is Decision Making. I think
Vietnamese in management positions tend to hang on to that a lot. Lets say
supermarket owners, I am the owner, I am the manager and I say you do it. This
165

seems to be the style and common practice when you encounter it.

Question 9:

In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and the
values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Answer:
Power in society: In general, power in society is not as important in the Vietnamese
culture. It also depends on the backgrounds, positions, and environments.
Individualism: We are always talking about individualism as far as we need to be
proud of what we have accomplished, and we impress this upon our children too.
That is probably the problem because the Vietnamese people sometimes dont
know how to collaborate well because there is lots of individualism there.
Genders: It is very clear. If you are the older, you have all the pressure on you.
Male is the bread bringers to the family and more dominant; whereas the female is
soft spoken, and stayed behind the man.
Uncertainty: As for culture, I dont think we ever think of uncertainty and
ambiguity. The Vietnamese tend to know where they are going. We look for the
future and plan ahead. The uncertainty and ambiguity in life are something that the
Vietnamese do not take into account.
Long-term Orientation: It depends on the generation. The young generation is
quicker to adapt to new circumstances whereas the older generation tends to resist
adapting to the new changes. In terms of the future, yes, it is very strong because
we are always planning ahead. Perseverance and thrift are embedded in the
Vietnamese culture.

Position of Interviewee:
CEO

Participant ID No.
6

Audio Tape No.


3B

Interview
Date:
January 24,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is the one that determine, fair, punctual, and thoughtful to
people. Expertise is not as important when compared to communication skills. When a
manager knows how to communication with people, he/she can use the expertise of
other people and make it work. So, a general manager does not need to be an
academic expert, but needs to be a communication expert (which implies people
skills).

166

Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: I think to the oriented culture, we have to be soft and gentle and make people
feel like you are close to them, blending to them, not from a superior standpoint or
position. You have to be a friend or within the family.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: Well, we should have a very clear philosophy and communicate very well
with employees what a manager wants and expects, and listen to employees. It has to
be a mutual relationship. Make employees feel like they are involved and being
listened to and in return employees will have full support and commitment.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: A manager has to create a good image for employees. You have to be honest
and a role model for employees to look up to. Praising and recognizing when
employees do a good thing is also a way to inspire trust.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is the most important for business to go up. Listening and being open
minded to employees suggestions for change and considering those suggestions is the
key for an organization to grow.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, of course. You need to spent time and energy to make sure that the
organizations principles and standards are respected, definitely.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: We should be concerned definitely within a certain level, but not 100%. In
case an employee needs social support, a manager should be considered.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I think communication is the most important. This is because the Vietnamese
tradition is that we should understand each other and work closer with each other. We
do business in warm relationships and warm atmospheres. We dont do cold blooded
business like lots of other cultures.

167

Question 9:

In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Answer:
Power in society: Vietnamese culture is similar to other Asian cultures which
respect power in society.
Individualism: Individualism, to the Vietnamese is not as strong. They dont think
about themselves as much.
Genders: Males are still dominate in the family, but not details and gentles.
Females still control a family and keep a family together.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese are conservative and most of the time they want to
be sure before dealing with uncertainty ambiguity in life. The ability of the
Vietnamese to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in life is not as good as
compared to other cultures.
Long-term Orientation: I think the Vietnamese try to adapt to new circumstances,
but they still want to keep their traditions. They try to blend in by keeping their
traditions but also dont mind trying to adapt to new circumstances. In terms of
perseverance and thrift in future, it is definitely.

Position of Interviewee:
Director

Participant ID No.
7

Audio Tape No.


4A

Interview
Date:
January 24,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: I think an ideal manager needs to understand his/her employees jobs and
company, and be aware of everything going on within a company and with their
employees. I think an ideal manager needs to have both people skills and technical
expertise. You need the technical expertise to be a manger because people skills alone
cant make you a manager. But a manager without people skills will have a hard time
fulfilling the job.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: I would really like to apply the same management techniques that most
American companies use. But since all my employees are Vietnamese and working on
the communication structure, so I didnt have compromise a lot by the basic standard
that I can never compromise, but as the same time, I try to explain every step in a way
why we are different from most other Vietnamese companies. I think the
communication is the best and most effective.
In addition, I think blending Western management values with Vietnamese cultural
values are the most effective and appropriate, but also bring the best of results.
168

Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: Without support and commitment from team members, there is no way you
can do the job as well. There is no one person who is better than lots of people
combined. So, even managers and subordinates, without support from the employees,
the managers cant get to where they are supposed to be. So, again, I think the support
and commitment has to be mutual. If a manager shows support and commitment to
his/her team members, then a manager will get theirs. It is much easier for a manager
to provide that faith support and commitment and naturally he/she will get support and
commitment back from their team members. Set an example for whatever you want
from your employees, you have to prove it first. I think the way I get the most support
and commitment from the team is that I always remind them that this is not the job
that they should be, they can always be better than it. But they can never be better
without proving that they are best at what they are doing.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: A manager has to gain employees trust first to inspire them. A manager has
to win employees trust and respect by showing her/his people skills, her/his
understanding about the jobs and her/his generosity. I believe that a manager is not a
boss to be served. It is also noted that sharing the spotlight is not working in my
business as opposed to other businesses on this skill. I always remind people that it
very easy to be on the spotlight, but to stay on the spotlight is totally different.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is very important because I dont think an organization can be improved
without listening to other people, especially to the people who are doing their job. In
my organization, I dont want employees being told what to do, but I really want them
to come to me and tell me what they can contribute to the organization (a company).
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, I think that is really a managers job. Any company has principles and
standards and if you dont make certain that employees respect them, there is no way a
company can succeed. I believe that any principle or standard can be improved or
changed so that means you should listen to suggestions for changes or improvement.
If the employee refuses to cooperate with the principles and standards the organization
holds, then they dont belong in the organization
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, but not during work hours. In my organization, when an employee has
trouble to fulfill their jobs or comes in late, I dont want to hear explanations about
personal reasons. After hours, I can stay and listen to the employees. Yes, we have
some kind of a little support fund that can help employees for personal things.

169

Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I am just a member of the company and there is always room for
improvement. I believe communication is the best. I believe that most Vietnamese
management practice is control mechanism and supervisory style.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: The Vietnamese have a lot of respect for the people who have
power. Sometimes, I dont understand why? Most of the time those powerful
people dont use their power for any good for the community, and they still get a
lot of respect. I think that is one thing the Vietnamese culture should change a
little bit.
Individualism: The Vietnamese dont have the most individualism. They are
thinking in term of community and family. This is what makes Vietnam a special
country and what makes us a strong people.
Genders: This is something that I guess Vietnamese women are still struggling
with. For example, a man can be angry, yelling, and bossy and it is acceptable
whereas this is not acceptable for a woman in Vietnamese culture. It is harder for a
woman in a management position; a male manager can speak loudly, but a woman
manager must speak nice and sweet. In the family, the female holds a special
place.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese are used to uncertainty and ambiguity in life.
Throughout the countrys history and society unpredictable changes happen all the
time and therefore the Vietnamese are more equipped to deal with it.
Long-term Orientation: I think we have proven that the Vietnamese are one of the
best ethnicities at adapting to all new circumstances. In terms of the future, it is by
combining efforts and talents and even the finance needs. The Vietnamese have
been through many hardships, death, separation, and losses, but that is what makes
the Vietnamese so strong, stronger people than any other Asian culture.

170

Position of Interviewee:
CEO

Participant ID No.
8

Audio Tape No.


4B

Interview
Date:
January 28,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is one who has vision, is highly motivated, and is smart
enough to get inputs from his/her team members. I think people skills are more
important than technical knowledge because if you are a good manager especially
with good people skills, you can hire technical team members to help you accomplish
the tasks.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: I think the people skills. I think learn to respect the different situations that
your team members are in and really treat them as part of a family. This approach will
promote loyalty. Also, the other key thing is open mindedness and taking inputs from
your team members.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: You set your agenda, your goals for what you want to accomplish, and then
ask for inputs. More importantly, when you ask for inputs you need to listen to the
inputs, versus asking just for the sake of asking and not acting on them. Listening is a
really a hard thing for me, and it is important to treat employees. Basically, there is
nothing that I do that my staff does not know. I give them all responsibilities that they
can handle and it is up them to fail.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: I think giving employees responsibilities from day one is what I learned to
do. There is an old saying: I will give everybody on my staff as much rope as
possible for them to hang themselves meaning that there is the responsibility, and I
hire you because I believe that you can do the job and I would give you as much
responsibility as possible until you prove to me that you cant do it. I think the key
here is that people feel trust and responsibility within an organization.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is critical. It is the most important skill that a manager should have. Being
open minded and listening for suggestions for changes is considered open
communication.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, it is important that a manager makes sure that all the team members
adhere to the principles and standards that the team has. But, as far as spending a lot
of time and energy to do this, I think if you have a team member who doesnt adhere
to those principles and standards then you have a wrong team member in your team.

171

Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes. I think it goes back to treating them as family. So, I give my employees
a flexible time to take care of their young children first. For example, I have provided
financial help for one of my staff managers on her wedding, and two extra paid
vacation weeks for one of my employees to visit her home country.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I think communication pattern is by far the most important. It took me a little
while. You are only as strong as to your weakest link, so I try to be very open to
everyone here in my staff. It is the ability for me to convey what we need to
accomplish.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: There is a generation gap here. I think it is true for the older
generation that one should keep quite and not disturb the pot. For me however, if
you want to make change then you have to be involved in society.
Individualism: I think the family comes first. Individualism only applies for
younger Vietnamese generations.
Genders: For whatever reasons, the Vietnamese culture places big emphasis on the
male. Males are more concerned with material success and females are more
concerned with quality of the family.
Uncertainty: There is always uncertainty and ambiguity in life. For me, I see it as a
challenge and forward. It is part of the journey in my life.
Long-term Orientation: As far as keeping the traditions, I learned to assimilate
well into new circumstances. As far as for perseverance, I think that when you
were young, you hopped in the boat and came here and if you can survive that it
teaches you perseverance.

172

Position of Interviewee:
Executive

Participant ID No.
9

Audio Tape No.


5A

Interview
Date:
January 30,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is the one who has to understand his duties and know how
to handle of people. This is referred to as people skills.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: I think blending Western management with Vietnamese cultural values is the
most effective and appropriate. This is because most Vietnamese businesses are small
and based on family type.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: The way of management is not bossy, but more like a friendship. The most
important is to motivate the employees instead of criticizing them. I would like to
underline the motivation.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: I have to say honesty, caring about employees, and being candid.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is important. I have to say being open minded and listening to employees
suggestions.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, that is something the manager should do.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes. The manager should provide social support for employees.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I think it is the supervisory style.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism

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Gender's roles in family


Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Answer:
Power in society: People who have more power have more voice in society even if
their ideals might not correct.
Individualism: The Vietnamese culture does not emphasize individualism. For
example, one should respect the elderly and love the younger ones. However, the
Vietnamese tend to fall into individualism.
Genders: Males are still the head of the household.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese culture is equipped for dealing with it.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese resist adapting to new circumstances. For
example, most Vietnamese business owners do not care about utilizing technology
in their business transactions.

Position of Interviewee:
Manager

Participant ID No.
10

Audio Tape No.


5B

Interview
Date:
January 30,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is the one open, happy, and harmony with employees. Of
course, the ability is must have. However, people skills are considered fundamental
for an ideal manager.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: In my understanding, managing your employees as a big family, respecting
them, and being open to employee suggestions for change are the most effective and
appropriate. It is noted that for business success, a manager needs to have the best of
two different cultures, Vietnamese culture and Western value.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: It requires a manager to have an open mind for new ideas and suggestions,
and to listen to feedback from team members to have employees support and
commitment.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: Treat employees as a big family. Sometimes, you have to put yourself in the
employees situation in order to understand their issues, but within boundary. Of
course, employees have to deal with their job problems and managers might offer a
solution in order to inspire trust from team member.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: Yes, managers should have an open minded to listen to employees and
evaluate the changes on the case-by-case basis.

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Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: If you treat employees as a big family, then most often the employees will
follow the principles and standards the organization holds. For me, it is not important.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, with limitations. This is because the Vietnamese family values
encompass many other factors.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: Communication pattern is most important.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: The perception of the Vietnamese culture with regards to the
position in society is high. This is because most parents encourage their children to
study hard to get degrees and to get positions in society.
Individualism: It is not important. The Vietnamese culture does not emphasize
individualism. The Vietnamese work together as a group or family.
Genders: Males are still the head of the household. Females are tender and more
concerned with the quality of the family.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese culture is strong in any situation. This is because
Vietnam has had many wars over the century, and therefore they are equipped to
deal it.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese are willing to adjust and adapt to new
circumstances with some limitations. In terms of perseverance and thrift,
endurance and patience are characteristics of the Vietnamese culture.

175

Position of Interviewee:
Manager

Participant ID No.
11

Audio Tape No.


6A

Interview
Date:
January 30,
2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is the one well trained in management, must have kindness
of heart and care for all employees, and organize all the tasks in advance. An ideal
manager must understand the changes in the culture in order to keep a harmony in the
working environment. People skills, technical expertise, and education are very
important to an ideal manager.
Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: In any organization or business, the working atmosphere between manager
and employee is very important. The work place is considered a second home for
employees. Therefore, a manager needs to be flexible by blending Western
management values with Vietnamese culture such as caring. These are the best for
business.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: A manager must care for employees, divide tasks equally, and treat them
fairly. In order to be fair with employees, a manager must be able to listen. Listening
is important in order to gain support and commitment from team members.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: If you want to win a trust, a manager must have ability, reputation, and
consistency. In our organization, we have a weekly meeting to encourage employees
to share their problems and solutions. This will result in trust from team members.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is very important. As I pointed out in question # 4, we have a weekly
meeting to encourage employees to share their problems and solutions.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, but with some limitation. For example, if an employee suggests a
change which is not consistent with the organizations principles and standards, then it
should not b e accepted.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, with some boundaries. In my opinion, if a manager is not concerned
with the personal and family life of employees, it is cool. But if they are more
involved in personal and family life of employees, then the distance between manager
and employees seems to be dismissed. There will be a small social support for
employees such as additional sick leaves if needed.

176

Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: Communication pattern is the most important. It allows a manager to express
his/her thoughts and feelings, which includes the paternalistic orientation. Without
communication, nothing can be done.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life
The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future
Answer:
Power in society: It is not important. In America, the geography spreads out so far
therefore, the recognition of who has more power is not important.
Individualism: The Vietnamese culture does not emphasize individualism, it is
based on family values. But after settling down in American for about 5 10
years, the Vietnamese have changed to individualism.
Genders: Who makes more money plays an important role in the family. For
females, it is equality in family.
Uncertainty: For the Vietnamese to survive in America they are willing to adapt to
new circumstances and therefore they are equipped to deal it.
Long-term Orientation: The Vietnamese are very equipped to adjust and adapt to
the new circumstance such as learning English and tradition of a foreign country.
If you dont adapt to new circumstance, then you will be left out from the society.

Position of Interviewee:
Manager

Participant ID No.
12

Audio Tape No.


6B

Interview
Date:
February
02, 2008

Question 1: Describe the qualities of an ideal manager


Answer: An ideal manager is one that makes good decisions, understands his/her team
members or subordinates, and creates a pleasant working environment. An ideal
manager must have both technical expertise and people skills. A manager has to have
technical expertise in order to understand the work so that he/she can explain to
his/her team members, but without people skills he/she cant get the job done.

177

Question 2: What management characteristics are most effective and appropriate for
your culture? Please explain why?
Answer: The effective and appropriate management characteristics are being fair,
making the right decisions, and thinking quickly and clearly. Because of the culture
gap between Vietnamese and Americans a manager should blend Western
management values with Vietnamese cultural values so that he/she can do a better job.
Question 3: Discuss ways in which managers should get the support and commitment
from team members and/or subordinates
Answer: A manager should meet often with employees and discuss if there are any
problems. Sometimes, a manager needs to sit down and brainstorm the works and
listen to employees to gain employees support and commitment.
Question 4: How can a manager inspire trust from team members and/or subordinates?
Answer: As mentioned in the question # 3, a manager must have meeting with
employees often to discuss if there are any problem, this is the way to inspire trust
from team members.
Question 5: Within an organizations ways of doing business, how important is it for
managers to be open to and listen to employee suggestions for change?
Answer: It is important. As mentioned in the question # 3, a manger must have
meetings with employees to discuss if there are any problems and listen to team
members suggestions for change.
Question 6: Do you feel that a manager should spend time and energy making certain
that employees adhere to the principles and standards that an organization holds?
Please explain.
Answer: Yes, employees should be trained correctly so that they can perform as
expected. It is unacceptable if employees refuse to cooperate with the principles and
standards the organization holds.
Question 7: In your opinion, should a manager be concerned with the personal and
family life of employees? If yes, should they provide social support for them? Please
use examples if possible.
Answer: Yes, a manager should be concerned with the personal and family life of
employees.
Question 8: Which of the following areas would you say is the most important in
Vietnamese management practice? Please explain why?
Supervisory Style
Decision Making
Communication Pattern
Control Mechanism
Interdepartmental Relations
Paternalistic Orientation
Answer: I think management practice should include all of these styles. We need to
have all of these factors to be a good manage.
Question 9: In your opinion, how would you explain the Vietnamese Culture with
respect to the following areas? Please use examples if possible.
Power in society
Individualism
Gender's roles in family
178

Dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in life


The importance of adapting traditions to new circumstances, and
the values in particular of perseverance and thrift in future

Answer:
Power in society: Some what important. Because the Vietnamese culture is
sometime much closed culture and the power in society influence styles.
Individualism: For the Vietnamese, the culture rests more on society than
individualism.
Genders: The male is more likely superior and the female is more like to take care
of the family.
Uncertainty: The Vietnamese are more conservative and therefore you need to
have some information for dealing with it.
Long-term Orientation: It is important to adapt to new circumstances. Regarding
perseverance and thrift, they are very important. The Vietnamese culture is very
family oriented, and society oriented, one should respect others especially the
elderly.

179