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Culture and Job Design, Journal of Organizational Behavior

In: Business and Management

Submitted By lolakoko
Words 746
Pages 3
Title: Culture And Job Design, Journal Of Organizational Behavior Author: Miriam Erez
Theodora Papamihalakis
Synopsis:
“Imagine Americans, Israelis and Japanese participating in an international management training program. They all assemble in one lecture room, each with a personal computer with an Internet connection. The training session begins with an in-basket simulation. Each participant gets a set of problems to solve. The instructor lets them know that they can use any method they want to work out the problems. They can sit in class or go outside. They can use Google to get more information, exchange ideas with each other, or both. The instructor then observes their free styles of gathering information. What he sees is the following: The Americans open up Google in search of relevant information, and continue to work on the problem individually. The Israelis look around and signal to each other to go outside and talk in small groups. They exchange ideas about solving the problems, and then approach the instructor to ask whether they can work as a team and submit a team project rather than individual projects. The Japanese participants are most confused with the lack of a clear task structure. They are not sure whether they can go outside and talk to each other or not. They are also not sure about the seniority differences among the group members. Consequently, each Japanese participant stays in the room and does his job, feeling very hesitant and uncomfortable.”
The article discusses the issue of job design that is affected by different cultures. It answers the question what job design maximizes a person’s sense of self-worth and well-being? The correct answer is that different cultures have jobs that are designed different to maximize self worth and well being. “The way people craft their job also seems to be influenced by certain codes that differ across cultures”.
The article states Hackman and Oldman approach about job enrichment focuses on employees psychological state of mind that is affected by intrinsic motivation, job satisfaction and performance outcomes, different job characteristics increases persons meaningfulness and its affect on the four cultures mention in the articles, American, Northern European, Swedish, and Japanese. A country’s national cultural values explain that variance in the job design models have emerged from differences in cultures. Americans are known to be highly individualistic, hence increase self worth. Northern Europeans felt the need to be socially involved at the work place and the formation of autonomous work groups emerged as the preferred model of job design. In Switzerland, work was based on ongoing participation in both decision making and work processing through work groups and managements collaboration. In Japan, the Group Quality Control, a small service group that work together in the same space, aims to improve customer satisfaction and contribute to society. By doing this, it continuously enhances their opportunities of self actualization and making the workplace more pleasant and satisfying. Intra and interdepartmental teams work together to improve quality to specific problems. Thus ultimately the collectivist approach works well for Japan rather then other countries such as America and Europe.

Reflection:

In the past work experiences, I have had the opportunity to work as an individual and in teams. I can reflect and express my thoughts on the issues this articles presents such as working alone as the Americans, or working together in groups with my departments as the Europeans but never together with the company for the greater good as a whole like the Japanese. The great thing about being independent in the American workplace is that you can control the quality of your work. Although in Northern Europe, the concept of group work is highly beneficial here when you work in marketing. I was involved in a company that made all of its employees work is group which allowed for the flow more ideas, sometime clashing, but at the end a successful product came about. And lastly, due to living in New York for the past 25 years, I have never experienced working in a environment such as the Japanese. I could imagine though how it would be like because of going to school with many Asians. I realized that their beliefs affect their work ethic. They tend to be collectivistic, by this I mean their society treats one another as if it were one whole state that is above all of its individual members and take place as the primary unit and standard of value.…...

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