Ultural Differences and People Management

a?Hofstede, Hall and Trompenaars see the world as composed of national cultures with a?distinctive values, languages, management styles, and ways of doing businessa(Holden,2002: 226). How useful do you think this approach is for todayas interconnected and fluid business world?a?

This question relates to the material we have been covering for the first half of the module and the resources that come from your main textbook (French,2010) and the resources on the study material site and e-readings.
You are being asked to show familiarity in particular with the comparative, or dimensional approach represented by Hofstede, Hall and Trompenaars, i.e. one that tries to compare national cultures across a number of dimensions identified by the theorists from their research. This is also sometimes referred to as an a?essentialista approach which argues that people carry with them mental programming that relates to their early learning in a specific culture. National cultures exist along continuums regarding these dimensions eg collectivism individualism: some cultures rank extremely high on individualism, some extremely high on collectivism , some in the middle etc.
We have also covered some critiques or rather questions relating to this approach, such as whether it captures the richness of a specific culture, or the diversity within a national culture. Gannon ( 2010) and his metaphoric approach, for example, considers an emic or in-depth approach is needed to complement the dimensional approach.
It will not be possible to cover all of the dimensions of Hofstede, Hall and Trompenaars in your essay and indeed you should not try to just describe all of their dimensions. Rather you should select parts from them or concentrate on one theorist, in order to explore the question set, bringing in examples to support your answers from case studies, your experiences, DVDs etc. You need to address the question directly from the start and use your chosen material to build an argument, showing the ways in which you believe these writers are still relevant to understand national cultures today. This will include assessing how these dimensions continue to impact on the business world (in terms of management styles, communication preferences etc); and to what extent the changes brought be globalisation and greater connection between cultures means that other approaches need to be considered.
A note of caution: be careful that any critiques are rigorous. For example, it is common to say that Hofstede is a?outdateda as his first research was many decades ago. However, he is still researching and updating constantly and has worked with many different researchers in the last 5 years (see the link to Hofstedeas presentation at the 2013 forum on the study material site for example).
The question can be addressed from various perspectives. You may want to consider some of the following aspects when developing your argument: (1) The impact of increasing cross-cultural communications and interactions brought by internationalisation, social media, multinational companies operating globally, immigration regulations and mobility, travelling, etc. (2) The influence of globalisation on cultural convergence (3) To what extent does cultural divergence still exist in todayas global world? How is it manifested? (4) Should culture not only be studied at macro/general national level (e.g. national cultures), but also at micro level (e.g. multicultural teams in organisations)?. It can be argued that they interplay and impact each other. These are only some ideas. As long as you make a reasoned and structured argument and use an essay format with correct referencing, there can be many ways of answering the question.
A final note: always keep referring back to the exact question set, show your wide and deep reading, and bear in mind the grading indication on pp 9 and 10 a these make it clear what we are looking for

You will be assessed on:

the depth and extent of your knowledge of relevant concepts;

the depth and extent of your knowledge of relevant reading and research;

your ability to apply such knowledge to organisational and management issues;

your ability to write clearly, effectively and concisely and to reference appropriately;

your ability to draw on your experiences to understand and elaborate on concepts/theory presented.

French, R. (2010) (2nd ed) a?Cross Cultural Management in Work Organisationsa CIPD London.

Anything else that would be relevant for this type of essay

Ultural Differences and People Management

Cultural Differences and People Management

Part 1: Essay Question (worth 40%) 2,000 words

a?French argues that a?all managers must possess cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity at the level of managing people at worka (2010: 5).

What aspects do you think make up this a?cross-cultural awareness and sensitivitya?, and which aspects of organisational life do you think are particularly influenced by cross-cultural differences?a?

Please note that you must make reference to relevant research and writing in answering the above question and you must address both parts of the question.

The required format for the presentation of your work is as follows:

1. Identification of paper. Front sheet to show: Name, Assignment title, Module code/title, Seminar leaderas name, Due Date.

2. Material requirements/layout: A4 size paper, one side of paper, typing double spaced, secure papers, reference list included.


A 70+ Structure Overall clarity, focus and coherence
Text Selective use of reference material correctly referenced
Analysis Critical and comparative use of relevant concepts and theories
Independence Clear evidence of independent and original thinking based on analytical material.

B 60+ Structure Focus on question set and a clear answer
Text Selective use of research material correctly referenced
Analysis Identification and grasp of appropriate concepts and theories
Where appropriate, the ability to apply theories to experience

C 50+ Structure Mostly focused on question and evidence of an attempt at structure.
Text Correctly referenced research material which is relevant to the question set
Analysis Evidence of identification of some of the issues

D 40+ Structure Partially focussed on question
Text Little use of reference material and inadequate referencing
Analysis Descriptive rather than analytical, with ideas presented as unsubstantiated opinions.

Failure or rewrite A demonstrable lack of structure, understanding of question set and/or material used. Little or no analysis. Substantial errors and inadequate length.

The core text is recommended as an overview in relation to the course. It is important to have constant access to this textbook throughout the course. The other texts mentioned are supplementary and indicative a they are by no means exhaustive. It is important that you read and refer to as much reading as possible, if you are to gain the most from the course. It is also an important assessment criteria for both pieces of the assessment. In addition, it is important to draw on contemporary examples taken from wider reading such as relevant journals, newspapers, television programmes, and also your own experience of organisations.

Cultural Differences and People Management
Reading List

Core text:

French, R. (2010) (2nd ed) a?Cross Cultural Management in Work Organisationsa CIPD London.

Supplementary Texts:

Adler, N.J. (2007) (5th Edition)( International Dimensions of Organizational Behaviour, PWS Kent Pub