Cultural Dimensions of Israel

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Cultural Dimensions of Israel

Professor Geert Hofsted is quoted to have said that cultural differences are a key impediment in the corporate sector acting as a source of conflict than of synergy. This explains more reasons for mangers to be aware of the cultural beliefs of a given country or community before setting up business in the place. Proper understanding of the host nation’s culture is beneficial because it affects the way strategic moves are presented. Culture also influences on how managers go about negotiations and the decision-making processes (Cooper, 1982).

Power Distance Index (PDI):

This describes how the given society describes and views power according to their context. It indicates the extent to which the members of the society accept and expect on the inequitable distribution of power. The PDI is a measure of how a given society accepts inequality. It suggests that a given society’s level of inequality is propagated by both those who are below and the ones in power. Inequality is a common phenomenon in every society more pronounced and accepted in some than in others. Geert Hofsted conducted a study on different countries on the differences in perceptions and endorsements on power and inequality and came out with varying ranges for the different nations. Some of the nations scored quite high while others scored low. This is defined from below and not above.

In Israel, the communities identified in this region scored a low of nineteen on the power distance index. This shows that although inequality is common in every society, the communities in Israel had a unusually low tolerance for inequitable distribution of power. People in Israel tend to value equality in the social caste system with minimal differences between those in power and those without. This is as opposed to the United States of America, which scored a slightly higher mark of thirty-eight. In the United States of America, the people are more tolerant of the differences in the society between those who have power and those who do not have (Hofstede, 2001).

Individualism (IDV):

The polar opposite to this is collectivism. The IDV describes how individual persons are integrated into the community. In individualistic communities, individuals tend to be more independent with the ties between individuals in the society being extremely loose. In such societies, individuals are supposed to source help on themselves or from their immediate family or friends. In such nations, teamwork is not well accepted and when it is involved, the different members tend to divide the different roles among themselves.

Collectivism are the societies that involve the strong integration of the different members into strong and cohesive groups. These groups are inclusive of the nuclear families, extended families and the community members. These integrated communities act as protection in exchange for their undivided loyalty. According to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension, the term collectivism is taken to refer to the group and has no political affiliation. The societies exhibiting this nature tends to be deeply interconnected and highly dependent on each other. Provoking one member of that society may easily end up in the ultimate rejection by the entire society.

Israel scores an average of fifty percent indicating that people from this society depict both aspects of individualism and collectivism in equal contexts. The communities are neither highly individualistic nor are they too indulged on collectivism.

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity:

The distribution of gender roles is highly significant in any society. This is a fundamental issue, which any multinational company is supposed to consider in setting up a branch in any host country. The studies indicates, in comparison to different societies, the women’s values slightly differed from community to community. The values of men in the different societies varied from acutely assertive and competitive while those of women being from modest and caring. In the study, the assertive aspect is depicted as masculine, whereas the modest poll is taken as. The women in the feminine countries share the equal values of modesty while those in the masculine societies often exhibit assertive and competitive attributes though slightly lower than male counterparts. Israel scores a low of forty on masculinity indicating that the dominant values involve caring for others and preservation.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI):

This refers to how a given society takes on risks involved in uncertainty and ambiguity. It identifies how the members of a given society are structured to behave in unstructured situations. The unstructured situations are taken as the instances where a person is uncertain of the eventualities. During such times, the outcomes are novel, unknown, surprising and different from the norm. Israel scores a high of eighty-five on the uncertainty avoidance index indicating that the society is intolerant of uncertainties and ambiguities in life. Communities that tend to shun away from unstructured situations tend to have strict rules and regulations, which govern the embers of the society. The strict laws are meant to keep the members of the community on a guided path where the eventualities are known. Such communities also tend to harbor beliefs based on absolute truths and dogma. Such individuals are highly motivated by inner nervous energy.

On the other hand, the uncertainty accepting cultures are more tolerant of the differences present among the members. Such communities tend to apply only the necessary rules for survival and discard any ambiguous ones. The communities tend to be more tolerant on the different philosophical ideologies and are more relativist on the different religions. The communities refrain from harboring absolute truths and dogma but are tolerant of the different views and perceptions. The character traits of the members of such communities are mainly phlegmatic and contemplative. The members are also low on emotions.

Communications:

There lie inherent differences in the communications between the United States of America and Israel. This is mainly because of the difference in power distance index. Managers in America tend to give clear and explicit directions to their subordinates as opposed to Israel where the persons in senior positions only outline the objectives and goals and expect the subordinates to take the necessary initiatives. High-ranking officials in the United States of America tend to stress highly on deadlines as opposed to Israel where the subordinates are expected to realize the need for urgency and make the necessary adjustments.

Motivation:

The high differences in individualism create differences in the sources of motivation for the different communities. Individuals from Israel are bound to obtain motivation from teamwork and from the security offered by the sense of belonging in a give community. Persons from the United States of America will mainly derive motivation from self-motivation and through individual work.

In the individualistic communities such as evidenced in the United States of America, motivation is derived from personal freedom, privacy, surmountable challenges and material rewards. In this nation, motivation is highly based on personal achievement.

Leadership:

This therefore indicates how leadership is different in Israel from the home country there lies a difference in the leadership structure between the two nations. When a multinational company from the United States of America is setting up a branch in Israel, the inequalities among the different leadership positions should be minimized. This is because the community has low expectations on the inequalities as opposed to those in the United States of America. There lies a difference in the levels of dependence between the leaders and the subordinates. In Israel, there lies great interdependence between the leaders and the subordinates as opposed to the United States of America.

Human resources:

There lies a difference in the structure of human recourses between Israel and the United States of America. Since Israel scores a low point than the United States of America on the power distance index. There lies a difference in the distribution of power and authority between the various departmental heads and their subordinates. People in the United States of America tend to be more tolerant of the inequalities as opposed to those in Israel. This implies that in America the salary ranges are quite high as opposed to those evidenced in Israel.

In conclusion, we find that the differences in culture therefore end up as a challenge to management heads of multinational companies because the rules of engagement will often change from one culture. This calls upon for the careful analysis of the cultural pattern of the market the company is planning to enter. This is because the cultural differences bring about differences in the communications, motivation, leadership and human resources in the two different countries.

References:

Cooper, C.L. Review of Geert Hofstede: ‘Culture’s consequences’. Journal of OccupationalBehaviour, 1982, 3(2), 123.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd edn). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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