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Understanding Cultural Dimensions of Singapore and Australia

Question:

Discuss about the Organisation Change Management for Hofstede Model.

Change is inevitable and there are many factors that affect the change process and the effectiveness of change at the place. Culture and power are two of the factors that affect the change process in the country. This essay revolves around the cultural analysis of Singapore and Australia and its effect on any type of change that occurred in the organisation of that particular county. The focus is also on how these national culture influences the French and Raven’s five bases of power in the country. The last part of the essay describes about the use of power in change programs and its effectiveness (Todnem 2005, 369-380).

Hofstede model is the model that can be best suited for analysing the cultural dimensions of the countries. It has several elements that need to be discussed in order to analyse the various cultural aspects of the country power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, long term orientation and indulgence. If Singaporean culture is explored, it has been realised that it is a multi-ethnic society having 77% of the Chinese, 6% of Indians and around 15% of the Malay with 2% of the expatriates. On the other hand, Australia is the country with around 67% British origins residing there followed by some of the European ethnicities and only 3% of the Aboriginal natives are left (Smith 2005, 408-412).

The first element of Hofstede that is power distance deals with acceptance of the unequal distribution of power amongst the people in the organisation by the less powerful people. The scoring in this element suggests that Singapore scores more in this context and people are dependent on their managers for decisions. This is because of the majority of Chinese people in the country who believes in Confucian teachings (Kang, Syen, and Mastin 2008, 54-56). On the other hand, Australia scores low in this context which suggests that the structure of the organisations are flat in Australia and subordinates can reach up to managers with convenience.

The next element is individualism that deals with degree of interdependence of the members in the society on each other. In terms of being individualism, Australia is the country that scores very high on this. This suggests that the people in Australia expected to care for themselves or their immediate family. In organisations, employees are self-reliant. Singapore in this context scores very low and this justifies that the society is collectivist in Singapore. The people believe in “we” and not in “I” (Soares, et al. 2007, 277-284).

Effect of Culture on Power Sources for Change Management

Masculinity is another element that is considered in this context. It is the context that deals with the factors that motivates the people at the country. the country with masculine nature feel motivated by competition and wants to be the best while society on the feminine side believes to do what they like to do. Singapore scores 48 in this aspect and is in the middle of the scores but it is technically on feminine side(Migliore 2011, 38-54). It is the society that believes in quality of life. Australia scores 61 in this context and thus it is the masculine society and believes in competition.


Uncertainty avoidance is the element that focuses on the way a society deals with the future unknown situations. It is the extent to which the number of people feels threatened by the unknown situations coming their way. Singapore scores 8 on this dimension while Australia scores 51 in the same. This reflects that Singapore is abided by many rules and structures. Long term orientation is another important factor that needs to be considered in order to analyse the culture of the organisation. Singapore scores 72 in this context and thus it suggests that the society of Singapore reflects to be follow the long term approach in every sense (Taras, Kirkman and Steel 2010, 405). Australian society scores less in this context and thus suggests that the people here believe in short term approach and work as per the short term goals.


The last element of this approach is indulgence that is related to the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses. Australian society scores 71 in this context and thus suggests that the society is indulgent in nature. They possess optimistic nature. As far as Singapore is considered, it has been analysed that it scores 41 which is quite low and thus it is difficult to determine the preference as the score is in middle (Karkoulian and Osman 2014, 54-56).

If the organisational perspectives are being concerned, it has been analysed that there are different types of powers that has been used by the leaders and these powers are highly influenced by the national culture of the place or the region where the organisation is operating. In today’s borderless world, culture is considered as the very critical competitive advantage for the companies. Therefore, the cross cultural leadership is the one that is highly impacted by the cross cultural management (Liao 2008, 169-182). In cross cultural management, leadership behaviour can be explained by the culture and power is the element that influences leadership to behave a particular way. The type of power that has been used by the leaders makes the leadership behaviour of that leader. To understand the efficiency of the leader and his working, it is required to analyse the power sources used by the leaders.

Classification of Power Sources based on French and Raven’s five bases of power

Power can be defined as the potential influence of the agent on the attitude and behaviour of the designated person. In order to understand power, it is required to classify the powers on some bases. French and Raven has classified the same under five categories that are legitimate, reward, coercive, expert and referent.


Legitimate is the power that deals with imposing the responsibility to the other person by the leaders. It is the ability of the leaders to impose the responsibility or the power to other people. This power is more related to the designation of the leader than his own influence on his followers. It has been realised that as the position of the designation of the person gone then he also lose the power to impose the responsibility on others (Vigoda-Gadot and Beeri 2011, 573-596). These types of power are generally remains in the hands of the political leaders or the CEO of the companies etc. another power is coercive power that refers to the ability of the person to provide rewards or punishments. The major issue in this power is that, the leaders with this power cannot take decisions alone and provision and rewards are punishments are abided by some of the rules. Expert power is another type of power in which the leaders provide advice or information to other people. This is the power where the ideas and the knowledge of the expert are being valued. Referent power deals with the ability of the people with the feelings of personal acceptance, approval, efficacy or worth. Referent power comes when one person likes another and follows the path of that person. Such as, celebrities have this kind of power.

If the impact of culture on the power is considered, it has been analysed that power distance is one of the factors that has been discussed in the hofstede model. If china is confided, it has been identified that Singapore is the place having high score in this context and thus, it has been realised that it is the county with legitimate type of power while Australia on the other hand has very low score and thus the power that may be used in the organisations in Australia would be expert or referent. Australia being an individualistic country, the employees at Australia have to act as the economic men and thus mutual interest should be met between the managers and the employees (Storey, 2010). It has been analysed thus expert power helps the managers of the company to deal with the employees to perform some task. Singapore is the place with collectivist beliefs and thus legitimate power is very apt for the culture like that of Singapore. It can be justified with the analysed that culture or the national culture of the region affects the type of power that has been used by the leaders in the organisation at that place. It has been analysed that the situations also affect the source of power that has been used by the people along with the national culture.

Efficiency of Power Sources in Change Management

Whenever any change needs to be implemented in the organisation, it has been analysed that the use of power should be effective enough to make the changes efficiently. Organisational change management is the framework that deals with managing any kind of change or modification in the organisation in terms of process, structure, etc. leadership and the influence of power is the very important element to be considered. In the process of change management, the power remains in the hands of the CEO’s, leaders, managers, board of directors etc. it has been analysed that this is the power that influences the change in the organisation. As discussed that there are many bases on which the powers are categorised. The efficiency of the use of the type of power depends upon the culture of the organisation on which the poser is being used. In case of Singapore, it has been analysed that DBS bank, Singtel are some of the organisation that uses legitimate power or leadership when any of the change needs to be implemented. The reason is the power distance acceptance nature of the people in those organisations (Swartz 2010). If the expert power or the open discussion has been used as the method to bring the change, it will not be effective and efficient for the place like Singapore. The people cannot accept such process of bringing the change as they have the nature of accepting the orders from the superior and thus they cannot make decisions on their own. As far as the case of Australia is considered, it has been analysed that it is the place where the people believes in short term goals and power distance is very low, the organisation are flat in nature and the hierarchical organisations are less. Thus, it has been analysed that the legitimate power will not work because the people in Australia are individualistic in nature and work only when they feel that they are being benefitted. Use of expert power can work in Australia but the legitimate power cannot work. Sometimes, it depends on the situation and the type of the organisation that suggests which power needs to be used but national culture and the nature of the organisation is the main factors to affect the type of power. 

This discussion concludes that power is the very important and crucial part of the business and the change programs of the companies. It is very important to use the powers in the positive way and it is even more important to use the relevant power as per the culture of the organisation. Various kinds of bases have been discussed in the essay for the categorisation of the power that was given by French and Raven (Barth-Farkas and Antonio Vera 2014, 217-232). Power can be use efficiently or inefficiently, it is the relevancy and the nature of the leader that makes it use effective and optimum for the growth of the organisation. Different situations need to be handled in different ways. The attitude and the behaviour of the leader is the very major thing that supports the change management in the organisation. It has been realised from the essay that the national culture also affects the type of power used in the organisations. The Hofstede model of cultural dimension has suggested some basis on which the countries hit the scores. In this essay Singapore and Australia has been taken as an example for studying the whole concept.  The comparison between Singapore and Australia has been claimed by the use of the Hofstede model which has provided clear understanding of the study.

References:

Barth-Farkas, Faye, and Antonio Vera. "Power and transformational leadership in public organizations." International journal of leadership in public services 10, no. 4 (2014): 217-232.

Kang, Doo Syen, and Teresa Mastin. "How cultural difference affects international tourism public relations websites: A comparative analysis using Hofstede's cultural dimensions." Public relations review 34, no. 1 (2008): 54-56.

Karkoulian, Silva, and Yasmine Osman. "The effect of French and Raven power on knowledge acquisition, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing: An empirical investigation in Lebanese organizations." Oxford Journal: An International Journal of Business & Economics 2, no. 1 (2014).

Liao, Li-Fen. "Impact of manager's social power on R&D employees' knowledge-sharing behaviour." International Journal of Technology Management 41, no. 1-2 (2008): 169-182.

Migliore, Laura Ann. "Relation between big five personality traits and Hofstede's cultural dimensions: Samples from the USA and India." Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal 18, no. 1 (2011): 38-54.

Smith, Ian. "Achieving readiness for organisational change." Library management 26, no. 6/7 (2005): 408-412.

Soares, Ana Maria, Minoo Farhangmehr, and Aviv Shoham. "Hofstede's dimensions of culture in international marketing studies." Journal of business research 60, no. 3 (2007): 277-284.

Storey, John. Culture and power in cultural studies: The politics of signification. Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Swartz, David. Culture and power: The sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Taras, Vas, Bradley L. Kirkman, and Piers Steel. "Examining the impact of culture's consequences: A three-decade, multilevel, meta-analytic review of Hofstede's cultural value dimensions." Journal of Applied Psychology 95, no. 3 (2010): 405.

Todnem By, Rune. "Organisational change management: A critical review." Journal of change management 5, no. 4 (2005): 369-380.

Vigoda-Gadot, Eran, and Itai Beeri. "Change-oriented organizational citizenship behavior in public administration: The power of leadership and the cost of organizational politics." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 22, no. 3 (2011): 573-596.

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