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The Cultural Divide Three critical issues have been raised in the case.

These are:

Cultural dimensions on which Indians differ from westerners both American and British. Impact of differences: Do they facilitate or impede the process of empowerment. Need for management models, which are culture-sensitive and performance-oriented.
THE CULTURAL DIMENSION

1.

Indian culture affecting empowerment:

British legacy
Colonisers were considered superior They created emotional distance to reinforce the above Power too was centralised for the same reason

Denigration of manual work by the ruling elite in the past:


Upper casts got it done by the low cast Zamindars gave it to their tenants/ subjects British made the natives work [may be because of this association Indians fit better into the British work culture]

Our religious tradition has conditioned us to respect age, seniority, etc.

We like to be directed, rather than take decisions.

Organisations promise job security in return for loyalty (this is of course fast disappearing).

It

is consensus driven (consensus of the elders in society, which again is prevalent in some areas only).

We do not have the benefit of social security.

2.

American culture affecting empowerment: Strong performance-driven culture. It is a contract for a desired performance. It is individual oriented. Self reliance: Parents do not want children living with them after 18- 20 years. And the vice-versa is also true. Consumerism, liberalism and hedonism are prevalent.

Strong social security system

IMPACT OF CULTURE ON EMPOWERMENT Indian Hierarchical Culture


Seniors maintain a great level of authority / power distance and do not encourage behaviour that may

be a threat to their position.

Juniors are more submissive or even servile. Strong in-group behaviour is noticed.

Superior defines goals and evaluates performance of subordinates.

Hierarchy is considered important.

Promotion is generally from within.

Compensation in such systems consists of fixed salaries + perquisites (denoting status, hierarchy,

etc).
Performance bonus is a small part of total earnings.

Creates a mutual long-term contract.

Suitability of this culture:

Such a culture and management style may be suitable for mature, big and steady organisations. It
encourages clan culture and discourages risk-taking behaviour and innovation.

This

approach will be ineffective in a business environment, which requires innovation, speed of response and entrepreneurial spirit. American Performance-Driven Culture:

It promotes market culture i.e. hire and fire.

Focus is on results and then renewal of contract.

Employee development is not the focus, it happens by default.

Career planning of a long-term nature may be ignored.


Promotion is substituted by hiring from outside.

Focus on quantitative results, results in a compensation package having performance bonus as a

significant amount.
Organisation does not promise job security nor does it expect loyalty in return.

It need not foster high levels of team spirit as individualism is pronounced.

Suitability of this culture:

Ideally suited for young, evolutionary firms since they need to move fast in a competitive environment
to establish and thrive. Need for Culture-Sensitive & Performance-Oriented Management Model

Both (American & Indian) have their relative merits and demerits.

India is now globalising and integrating with the global economy.

We have to face invasion of multiple organisational cultures.

As

future managers we have to be prepared to flourish and succeed in different organisational cultures.

A sound Indian professional manager should be able to lead this cultural revolution following a few
simple steps: A
1.

Focus on results:

At the end it is this that really matters. There has to be sufficient empowerment in an organization to achieve results.

2.

Achieve executional excellence:

Know the basics of each task and strive for perfection in each.
3.

Learn the art of empowerment:

First handle responsibility at ones own level without resorting to upward delegation (i.e. no looking up to the boss for advice). Then downward delegation will come easily.

That managers and organisations can both adapt themselves and their cultures to changing circumstances and needs, is certainly a hallmark of professionalism.