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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

19 - The cultural contexts of organisational behaviour

Summary

Studies of cultural variations in the values and behaviours that characterise organisations have played a key role in the creation of contemporary cross-cultural psychology. The dimensions that have influenced the conceptual frameworks of very many subsequent studies were derived from Hofstede's (1980) classic study of IBM employees. Furthermore, it was Hofstede's recognition of the need to differentiate levels of analysis that pioneered this aspect of the development of the field. Even before Hofstede was accumulating his databank from IBM employees in the late 1960s, a fourteen-nation survey of differences in work motivation was already in print (Haire, Ghiselli and Porter, 1966).

This chapter explores how studies of organisations can contribute to cross-cultural psychology in three separate ways. Firstly, the relationship between organisation culture and national culture is considered. This provides a contribution to discussion of each of the first three of the central questions of cross-cultural psychology posed by the editors of this volume: how should we conceptualise and measure the relations between individual experience and organisational culture? They have also been much preoccupied with the ways in which organisations acquire cultures and whether they can be changed through managerial interventions. In the latter parts of the chapter, the extent to which organisational behaviour has been found to vary around the world is reviewed.

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