1.Describe how Hofstede’s five Cultural dimensions could be used to explain the situation at Lee’s Company.
2.Discuss what, if anything, Lee could do to remain at the Company but continue to work in a manner with which he felt comfortable. Explain your reasons.
3.How can the Korean Manager deal with more Individualistic Employees without losing the Competitive advantage of the talented workforce?
The cultural differences in very much evident in the Lee’s company. The cultural differences are bound to exist as Hofstede has supported a varying nature of workplace culture at different places across the globe (Obeidat et al. 2012). According to Hofstede, there are huge differences in the cultures of Australian and Korean workplace. This has probably created problem for Lee at his Korean Company from the very first day of his inception.
Figure 1: Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension of South Korea
(Source: Ting and Ying 2013)
Figure 2: Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension of Australia
(Source: Wiewiora et al. 2013)
The Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension for both the countries Australia and Korea do transparently reveal a huge difference, which is why Lee has his life difficult at his office in Korea. According to Hofstede, power distance in Korea is comparatively bigger than it is in Australia. This is why Lee has found himself loosely connected with the company’s leaders. The manger of the company has enormous reasons with him to support his disconnection with Lee. Surprisingly, Koreans are fewer individualists, which according to Hofstede mean that they believe more in teamwork. However, something has prevented Lee’s colleagues for being disconnected from him. It is surprising again, that Koreans are more feminine, which means that companies would have high cares for its employees. However, Lee has been treated differently that it should be. The uncertainty avoidance according to Hofstede is higher in Korea than it is in Australia. This indicates that Koreans are straight to the matter. Precisely, it means that management are very open and straight with their thoughts and desires. This is indeed evident in the case study, as the manager of the Lee’s company has explained all the issues, which the manager has with Lee. This only had ended a long uncertainty of two months for Lee. According to Hofstede, long-term orientation is a key point that has detached the manager from Lee. Moreover, it has probably detached other colleagues from Lee as well. Koreans respect such employees who eyes for long participation with organisation by respecting the short-term values such as respecting the tradition & culture at the workplace. According to Hofstede, Lee has disrespected his manager, as this is evident in the case study where his manager explains Lee the reason for his detachment from him. The manager has explained that leaving office before the supervisors is nothing but disrespecting the supervisors. According to Hofstede, Australians have relatively high indulgence, which means they have less control on their desire and willingness. This is widely evident in the Lee’s character, as Lee cannot keep himself separated from his desire to wear the Australia attire and designing the hair accordingly. This has eventually started to cause problem for Lee from his very first day in his Korean Company (Dartey-Baah 2013).
2.Lee can stay at his company in Korea; however, it needs some sacrifices from Lee as well. This might be very difficult but according to Hofstede, there does not look any better option than to accept some considerations for change. This is indeed illogical for the mentioned Korean Company to change their culture just for one employee. This is why it is better that Lee considers a change for himself if he wishes to stay at this company (Giacalone and Jurkiewicz 2015). The first change would be the removal of hair dying habit, which has kept other employees detached from Lee from very first day of him in the office. It is practically easier to make hair black; however, it is indeed difficult to be separated from a culture, which has remained in the blood for approximately 15 years. The second change would be to wear formal attires at the workplace. Lee has been in Australia for approximately 15 years, which is why it is unpractical for Lee to keep himself away from casual wears. Lee has already mentioned that he does not want to consider any change with his lifestyle; however, the existing situation is demanding the unexpected from Lee. This is perhaps the most difficult task for Lee to change his wearing style. However, it is indeed very much required for Lee to be into the company. The third change would be to be in the office as long as there are supervisors. Lee should never leave the office before his supervisors do as his manager has already mentioned that this is according to him is disrespectful. However, Lee has some different thoughts, which is evident in the case study. Lee on the other hand wants to finish off the task within a very short span of time so that he could impress his supervisors. Since, after finishing off the task Lee is not left with any task, he thinks it wiser to leave the office. Nonetheless, Lee should be in the office even if he is done with his task. This would help him win the attention of his supervisors, which Lee is presently not enjoying (Alvesson and Sveningsson 2015).
This is indeed challenging for Lee according to the Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension, as there are huge cultural differences in between the workplace of Australia and Korea (Chhokar, Brodbeck and House 2013).
3.Lee according to the case study and the Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension is more individualist. This is because Lee has spent 15 years of his career in Australia. Nevertheless, Australians are highly individualist. They care more for their skill development. On contrary to this, Koreans have high passion for teamwork. They love to work in collaboration. It is indeed a challenge for the manager to overcome the individualist in him (Ogihara and Uchida 2014).
However, mangers in the Lee’s company can act smartly to take benefits of him. Lee is highly skilled and has very high dedication to his work. The manager should encourage Lee on his work. This would encourage an attachment with the manager, which is highly missing ever since Lee’s tenure in the company. The manager should also motivate Lee for sharing his skills with his other team members. It is indeed difficult as Lee is more individualist. However, it can happen if the manager explains to Lee the importance of participation in the recommended work. Managers can explain the importance of knowledge sharing in the productivity of the company (Wang and Wang 2012). This might certainly work and change the mind of Lee, which is very necessary for Lee to be in the company.
Additionally, managers should also adopt few changes in their mindset as well. They should ignore the few cultural differences such as dressing attires and fashioning. This is something, which Lee has maintained for 15 long years in Australia. Managers should also encourage its other employees to be connected to Lee despite the differences, which Lee has in its culture. Managers should arrange an introductory session where every employee would be required to participate. In the session, every employee would get equal chance to interact with Lee. It should be a free to talk like session. This would help remove the cultural related issues, which the other employees have with Lee. Managers need to present their views as well. This would communicate the feeling of equines among the employees (Kissi, Dainty and Tuuli 2013).
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