Power distance and Hofstede’s dimensions Introduction This paper will be about the relation between the cultural dimension ‘power distance’ and three management principles we chose and will also be about the applicability of these management principles. This is quite interesting because even though we know that the cultural dimensions, by Geert Hofstede, and the management principles, by Fayol, have something to do with each other, the more the cultural dimensions differ, the more the ranking of the management principles will differ in the compared countries.We will now try to find out if some of these principles are more linked to a certain cultural dimension, in our case Power Distance, than others and we will find out whether these principles are even that applicable. This will help us link different theories and gain more insight into the specific theories.
Power distance Geert Hofstede (1928,-) came up with five cultural dimensions to compare countries on. All countries are ranked on these dimensions, according to their culture, and in that way we can compare the different countries.The cultural dimension that is going to be discussed in this paper is Power Distance, Power Distance shows to which extent a less powerful member of a company will accept and expect that the power in the company he or she works for is distributed unequally. It defines inequality, seen from below.
This dimension suggests that the level of inequality of a society is endorsed as much by the followers as by the leaders. Of course, any society deals with the issues of power and inequality, but in some societies these issues are way bigger than in others.This is represented in the PDI, the Power Distance Index. If this index is high in a certain country, this country will make a strong use of hierarchy and the appreciation of social inequality will be relatively high. (The world’s average PDI is 55) Three principles of Fayol Henri Fayol (1841,1925) came up with a management theory based on five basic management tasks. These tasks were planning, organizing, leading (or commanding), coordinating and controlling.
In order to execute these five asks, Fayol came up with 14 general management principles that should be obeyed. Because Fayol was a man who based its theory on rationality, a lot of principles, you might almost say all of his principles, have to do with power. We have chosen three of Fayol’s principles to discuss further, these are Authority and responsibility, centralization and hierarchy. Authority and responsibility is the right to give assignments, the power to enforce obedience but also the responsibility to give these assignments.
Centralization means the degree to which subordinates are involved in making decisions. Centralized means that decisions are made at one, top-level, management-level, decentralized means that also subordinates can get involved. Hierarchy is the line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks, communication should follow this line. Authority and responsibility When authority and responsibility in a country is high, so will the power distance be.A certain person can exert a lot of power to its subordinates, so those subordinates will feel a big difference in level of power, but will accept this because authority has been given to this person. This is shown in the PDI of a country like Egypt, located in the Arab world, where the management has a lot of authority.
The PDI in Egypt is therefore 80. On the contrary you can see that in Holland, where we have a certain exertion of power by management but also a lot of personal responsibility, ranks way lower, around 34.Centralization When all the decision-making is done at higher levels and subordinates are not being involved, power distance will be created. Accepted will have to be that only a certain group of employees make the decisions around the company and others cannot. This is the case in for example Eastern Africa, where the score is relatively high, 64.
In these countries decisions have to be made at a high level, because mostly subordinates are not educated enough to be involved in these decisions too much.In a country like Canada, in which there is a lot of individualism and self-reliance, this level is lower, around 34. Hierarchy When the hierarchy in a country is really strict, there will be a lot of power distance between the top and bottom of the hierarchy. This will be accepted but is also expected, as every part of the hierarchy reports to the part above it, so it makes sense to them to do so and this will eventually result in a very big power distance between the very top and the very bottom of the hierarchy. This is shown in the PDI of China, it is very high, around 78.
This is because of the social emphasis on the importance of family, families in China are build around a certain hierarchy, the oldest members are the most important and have the most power, and this has been taken over by companies as well. A country that shows the opposite of this are the United States, they emphasize equality and try to reinforce cooperative interaction across power levels, this resulted in a low score of 40. Conclusion We consider these three management principles universally applicable, because these principles are important factors of the distribution of power in a certain culture.By measuring the level of these principles in a certain culture, the way employees look at the manner in which authority and power is organized in their company can be seen.
This will help when taking your company to a different country because it will indicate in which way the distribution of power should be organized and the scores wills show that this has to be completely different in for example a western country with a relatively low score than in an Asian country with a relatively high score.Reference list Buelens M. , Sinding K. , Waldstrom C. , Organisational behaviour.
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