Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Considering Culture in Your Strategic Road Map

A strategy is a roadmap that guides organizations to higher levels of performance that encourages productive growth. Executives can develop excellent business strategies that take into consideration market projection, resource allocation, human capital, and financial streams. To their own detriment, many CEOs do not factor in organizational culture into their strategies and how it impacts organizational goal attainment.

Culture should support business strategy (Eaton & Kilby, 2015). The values and semantics contained within culture should enhance business strategy through proper orientation of people's expectations. If there are contrary elements within a culture, the values should be adjusted to ensure they realign to meet organizational needs.

Consider an example of how culture can support or detract from organizational objectives. Two companies seek to become market leaders, but one company promotes employees based on patronage and the other from performance. These values become embedded into the culture of the organization and create a way of thinking that impacts daily operations.

Over time, poor values will cost the company their productivity and put them into market irrelevance and bankruptcy. Companies thrive off of their intellectual capital and when this is traded for patronage and personal gain the innovative and productive spirit dissipates.

Building a strong culture supports the achievement of organizational objectives by creating a way of thinking. An organization based in service quality should consider a culture that has focused values. Likewise, a company that relies on lean manufacturing promote efficiency.

Culture is a collective pattern of thinking that leads to action. As a whole organization, the actions of individual workers will determine whether or not a company will be successful. Developing the right culture will create social pressure to recruit, promote and perform at certain standards that helps the organization become stronger. A comprehensive strategy must include the soft cultural skills that support goal attainment.

Eaton, D & Kilby G. (2015). Does your organizational culture support your business strategy? Journal of Quality & Participation, 37 (1).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Benefits of Staying Home and Living Mooch Economics

Young people are staying home longer and delaying their inevitable jump out of the nest egg into real life. Some may wonder why this is happening when their Baby Boomers left home while still in their late late teens (18). If you think about why they are doing this and the benefits it brings them you can't blame them for smart  mooching economics.

In the past young people couldn't wait to get out of the house in hopes of striking out on their own. Working for minimum wage they took their sleeping bags and roomed with their friends. Over time they got a better job, earned more money, and eventually found someone they wanted to marry. Not long after that they were buying their very first starter home.

Those days are gone and they are not likely to become popular again soon. Over the Great Recession young people couldn't find employment, needed a degree, had material wants, and became influenced by other cultures. No longer was a healty person who was willing to work ensured that they would have a job that would support them.

When jobs aren't plentiful and it is nearly impossible to pay for much beyond car insurance, cell phone and movies it can be difficult for people to move out. A couple hundred dollars a week just isn't going to cut it with the cost of living and other expenditures are twice their income.

Of course young people also grew up during a time when they were provided with lots of electronics, toys, and cosmetics that were associated with a heightened consumer culture. Asking them to throw away the toys and surface stuff they are being judged by their peers on doesn't make a whole lot of sense at an age where image is everything.

Europeans and Middle Easterners are accustomed to staying longer in their parents house. Culture has changed and young people are looking more for security. Staying at home is fine with today's open parenting styles.  If parents aren't pushing them out they shouldn't worry about it, grab a bag of Cheetos and play a video game.

Likewise, if they are attending college and going to be saddled with debt they might as well minimize their expenses as much as possible and stay with their parents. With a little luck their parents won't kick them out until a few years after full time employment.

We may say we want our children to move out as soon as possible but that doesn't make a practical sense for those who are going to struggle to make ends meet. It is much better for them to stay home, finish college, and pay off their student loans before getting married and starting their own nest. If you want one way to lower your debt...stay home and mooch off your parents as long as possible!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Culture of Economic Engagement Creates National Growth

Culture and economics not often something that are seen together as its smacks of elitism. However, culture as a belief system has a noticeable impact on societal behavior and the everyday choices people make that contribute to economic development. A paper by Svetlana Overbaugh, indicates that culture should be a major consideration in the determination of countries that are ripe for international investment and growth (2013).

Falling trade barriers, communication improvements, and shipping improvements have opened the markets to major change. Those nations that are likely to succeed have the right culture and infrastructure to capitalize on this change. As Asian countries zoom ahead in growth, Americans and Western European nations continue to lose market share. The time for regeneration based upon basic cultural principles may be needed to reclaim the marketplace.

The degree of economic freedom and the pace of a country’s growth influence its economic competitiveness (Johnson & Lenartowicz, 1998). The Organization on Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines global competitiveness as the ability of a country to produce new products that can successfully compete against other countries in the global marketplace (2011). Economic growth becomes a process of turning out the new and unique.

If we travel back in time we can find that Adam Smith (1776) believed that self-interested actions of many market participants leads to efficient allocation of resources that can result in higher productivity and economic growth. Other ancient theorists such as Tucker believed that countries become rich due to the desire to develop new knowledge, learn, and apply this knowledge in new ways (1776). Thus, economic development is rooted in the cultural underpinnings that afford opportunities to develop new knowledge and use that knowledge to enhance international sales and profits.

The author relied on Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Model and economic activity to determine competitiveness.  The six cultural dimensions of power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/ femininity, short/long-term thinking, and indulgence/restraint were part of the evaluation process. They are important because once the cultural underpinnings have been established they reinforce social rules and norms on society.

Even though the study focused on smaller post-communist countries, they also offer a glimpse into why some countries are growing and why some are not and this has broad implications. The Author found that since national culture impacts every aspect of social life it is necessary to foster innovativeness and human development within that culture to foster economic activity. It is the choices of many that make a viable system.

The author found that two cultural attributes of power distance and uncertainty avoidance have the greatest influence on growth. When power-distance relationships are low all members of society are encouraged to work and grow while low uncertainty avoidance encourages a higher entrepreneurship stance that takes chances on new products and services. Growth is through egalitarian and supportive risk-taking perspectives.

Beyond this report, we can see that those cultures that influence norms on productive innovativeness and human development also see higher levels of GNP development. These cultural attributes are based in the way people think about their place in the economic system. Through maximum engagement of all members of society in the self-enhancement, of their personal lives and their economic spirit of creation, the system can transform itself to a high product and service development society that reaps the rewards of international competition.  Culture must engage, encourage, and reward individuals or those who can offer the most are stifled under poor reinforcing economic structures that lead to a path of decline for a nation and its people.  The best and brightest must rise if there is to be hope for a better future.  Is it what you know or who you know that filters its way into your decision-making process and management decisions?

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

Johnson, J. P., & Lenartowicz, T. (1998). Culture, freedom and economic growth: Do cultural
values explain economic growth? Journal of World Business, 33(4), 332-356.

OECD. (2011). Retrieved ft-om OECD:

Overbaugh, S. (2013). National culture, country-level competitiveness, and economic development. International Journal of Business and Economics Perspectives, 8 (1).

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