Poland Cultural Dimensions – Wojciech Nasierowski, Bogusz Mlkula
Culture Dimensions of Poiish iManagers: Hofstede’s indioes* Wojciech Nasierowski, Bogusz Mikula Abstract Wojciech Nasierowski Faculty of Administration, University of New Brunswick. rTeoencton, Canada Bogusz Mikula Academy of Economy. Cracow. Poland This paper explores, in accordance with Hofstede’s indices, the culture dimensions of young PDk» who have had some exposure to business tnanagement. It is shown that this group of Polish respondents score high in Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance, average in Individualism, are moderately above average in Masculitiity as compared to Hofetedc’s Hermes data-base results.
These culture characteristics are discussed from the perspective of their possible impact upon the adaptation of Western managerial concepts in Poland. culture 2 dimensions, cross-culttire matiagement, Poland Intfoductioii One of the focal issues in comparative management theory is the impact of culttire on management. Culture, which might be described in terms of a ‘collective mental programming’ of people who share a similar environment, is often difficult to alter: it changes slowly and only under the pressure of dramatic environmental shifts.In keeping with such a deflnition, it has been observed that business practices vary extensively as a function of culture (Hofstede 1991; Ronen 1986; Ronen and Shenkar 198S), that management is culttue-speciflc (Bartlett and Goshal 1992; Hodgetts and Luthans 1991; Wright 1988), and that managerial techniques must be tailored to flt local conditions (Nasierowski and Coleman 1997; Ricks 1983; Levitt 1983), With the fall of the ‘iron curtain’ increasing attention has been paid to direct business-type involvement in Central Europe, Questions of managerial practices, as well as the possibility of implementing Western concepts there have been explored by Shama (1993), Perlaki (1993), Jankowicz and Pettitt (1993), Ivancevich et,al, (1992), Newman (1992), Peaice (1991), Forker (1991), and Vlachoutsicos and Lawrence (1990), Although intellectually stimulating, these works fall upon theoretical speculation rather than a set of empirically grounded conclusions. Some notable exceptions to this pattern include, for example, the publications ofYanouzas and Boukis (1993) and Jago et al, (1993), This paper reports on an empirical study of the culture dimensions of young Poles who are, or through educational attainment intend to be, managers. Organization Studies 1998. 19/3 495-509 O 1998 EGOS 0170-8406/98 0019^4)020 $3.
00 496 Wojciech Nasierowski, Bogusz Mikula Poland was selected for its size in Central Europe and its favourable economic climate, which has attracted an increasing number of business people over the last eight years. It is posited that in sketching the culture dimensions of Polish prospective executives (referred to as managers in this paper), this study enables a more formal analysis of the adaptation of Western practices in Poland.Results will assist investors in the selection and development of ^propdate business arrangements, and will be indicative of the possibility of utilizing Western experience there, as well as of the sourees of potential problems. Results may, additionally, impact on the content of in-company training and induction programmes, the effectiveness of adopting managerial solutions, job organization, and employer expectations of subordinates. An overview of literature pertaining to ctilttiral characteristics and the impact of culttu« dimensions on organizational solutions in Poland is presented. The methodology employed in this study is described and justified.The calculation of Hofstede’s indices provides grotmds for an investigation of the potential effect of Polish cultural characteristics on the implementation of specific management practices.
Some generalizations about the cultural characteristics of countries in the region are made in the closing section of the paper. Overview of the Literature There is a substantial and well recognized body of literature examining the impact of culture on organizational solutions. Itideed, so much has been written that summary is all but impossible. The principles of organizational behaviour have long been acknowledged, and legions of authors have attempted to develop both a theory and practice of cross-cultural management. To quote in this paper the more salient works in the field would merely be redundant.The conclusion from studies on cross-culture management is that managers must analyze and become familiar with the hidden language of foreign cultures. Some key starting points include: perceptions of time, space, material possessions, and friendship; patterns of business agreements; religion, language, and tradition; educational levels; urbanization and minority patterns; features of social and business customs; crime rate and corruption levels; attitudes towards foreigners; and social structure.
Although sociology and psychology, as fields of research and practice, have been entertained in connmunist countries, they have served mainly ‘social-engineering’ purposes, in that they have been subordinate to pditical agendas.Relatively litUe attention has been paid to the impact of national culture detominants on organizational solutions. Even in the rare instances where local enqnrical studies of this sort have been performed, results have frequently been incommensurable with research in the West. A number of works (published before political/economic changes began in 1989) have dealt with issues of organizational culture in Poland (Mreta Culture Dimensions of Polish Managers 497 1974; KoimiAski and Obl6j 1989); motivation and norms in the job environment (Sarapata 1977; Hirszel 1983; Holstein-Beck 1987); organizational structures (Mrela, 1983); determinants, e. g. eeds, attitudes, hierarehy of values in the management of various groups of employees (Wawrzyniak 1989); reasons for attitudes of workers (Czamiawski 1982); and other elements of organizational behaviour (Zieleniewski 1979; KoimiAski 1983/198S; Kumal 1981; Kiezun 1980]. In addition, one can quote hundreds of journal papers and researeh projects pointing out the pervasive use of mechanical structures; the strong emphasis on conditions in the work place (i.
e. good atmosphere, support from supervisors, security and safety, generous salary); and a lack of concern on the part of workers for highlevel performance. National culture determinants have also been examined in the Polish Business Administration related literature. Skar^yAska (1991), for instance, observed that family life and health are among the most valued features of Polish society.Hirszel (1983:193-194) and Buchner-Jeziorska (1992: 109-110) reported that while respect for property rights was high, it did not arise from respect for other people. Tarkowska’s (1992) study on perception of time found that Poles had short forward time horizons, referring frequently to the past, which resulted in a diminished receptiveness to new ideas. Kostera (1994: 15-16) concluded that there was a very high degree of polarization of opinions and a division, confrontational in nature, into ‘We’ and ‘They’: workers against management, operations against designers, and so on.
This may reflect an attempt to externalize problems (they are to blame, not us), and is generally considered by researchers to interfere with harmony and cooperation in industrial settings.Mpczyiiski’s (1987, 1991) studies on the effectiveness of assertive-responsive management styles was extended to show a preference of Polish managers towards directive styles. Zieleniewski (1979:539-540) hypothesized that Poles were able to make decisions quickly and often successfully, possessing a high level of ingenuity. When emotionally reassured, they were capable of great sacrifice. However, on the whole, Poles tended to be suspicious and unresponsive to ai’guments that did not coincide with their emotional framework. They neglected details, were impatient, and lacked persistence. In addition, Poles preferred positive to negative motivational practices, and were not vulnerable to threats.
Zieleniewski’s statements were not supported by empirical studies.As can be seen from this overview, quite an extensive body of empirical studies on organizational issues has been carried out in Poland. However, most of these studies were infused with ‘political’ jargon and the path from theory to practice was badly detoured by communist principles. Recent dynamic changes in Poland have altered hierarchies of values, needs, and norms of the society, and little is known about current preferences and perceptions of Polish citizens. Consequently, in the current choice of organizational solutions, or when methods intended for their transferral or adaptation to existing conditions are examined, the respective processes 498Wpjciecfi Nasierowski, Bogusz Mikuta renfiain largely intuitive. These problems are exacerbated by the changing attitudes of the population to new economic and social structures. Thus, the reader must be forewarned that these conditions, coupled with the sparseness of the sample used in this study, render the conclusions reached by this paper explanatory rather than definitely conclusive.
MethoQOIOQy Because of its wide recognition (as well as to confine the scope of the study) Hofstede’s qtiestionnaire was selected as the primary instrument in this study. The double translation approach was used when preparing the Polish version of the questionnaire.Hofstede’s dimensions originally posited four criteria: Power Distance (PDI), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), Individualism (IND), and Masculinity (MAS). These dimensions, as pertaining to people outside IBM, have been proven reliable by correlating them with those of other researchers. Some 20 ptqjers have reported researeh results based on Hofetede’s ideas (Shane 1992: 302); yet Hofstede (1991: 254-257) wams strongly about pitfalls in using his methodology. Furthermore, an additional category, that of Long-Term Orientation was proposed by Hofstede in his later works, for perceptirais of its heavy impact upon organizational solutions (Hofstede 1991; (fofstede and Bond 1988): this item, however, has not been investigated in our study.Hofstede has emphasized that ‘it is meaningless to use the questionnaires for one single sample of respondents from one country and to compare the scores against those .
.. which were based on matched IBM populations’ (1991: 255). Furthermore, it is his contention that ‘absolute values have no meaning’: results should be examined only within the context of a comparison between countries. In order to comply with these requirements, this study has chosen Canadian respondents as a point of comparison: it should be kept in mind, however, that this paper deals primarily with Poland. Furthermore, following Hofstede’s (1991: 251-257) suggestions, the study was confined to one specific group of respondents. The questionnaire was distributed to tudents/graduates infieldsrelatedto ECOIKMIUCS and Business Administration, who had some job experience (in many instances a limited one), who were in, or were targeted for, managerial positions, and who were, in general, young.
Many of them had lived/worked in large cities. The sample was not randomly selected from all regions of each country. Consequently, it must be emphasized that the results are not meant to be conceived of as universally applicable. The questionnaire of the current study, beyond questions adopted firom Hofstede’s Value Survey Module (1982 version) (1982) also included questions about the respondents’ perception of time, current job status, education, age, sex, and job experience.The sample for this study included 316 responses from Poland and 133 Culture Dimensions of Polish Managers 499 Table 1 Data about the Canadians Male ^* 83 53 30 83 53 30 m 29. 20 29. 48 28.
70 29. 07 29. 19 28. 87 Age std 4. 01 4. 12 3. 83 3.
41 2. 34 4. 80 Job status** % valid responses 11/45/45 11/45/43 10/43/46 10/38/52 8/40/52 13/33/53 Female Poles Male Female •diam and Poles forndi red (-teat for Can Age Sample Male Female . 621 (. 50) . 392 (. 86) .
660 (-. 44) Job Status . 495 (-. 69) . 461 (. 74) . 861 (-.
18) *N — number of responses, m — mean value, sdt — standard deviation **management of an own company / a manager / non-managerial position irom Canada, with quite unequal distribution in terms of age, sex, and ‘type of current job’ (i. e. management of an own company / a manager / nonmanagerial position). Samples were matched with the same proportions of males and females within the country sample, and a similar ‘type of current job’ and ‘age’ within the sub-groups of respondents. The matching of samples resulted in the selection of S3 males and 30 females from each country. The similarity of samples was tested with r-tests: ^-values in paired r-tests are in each case greater than 0. 1 indicating that samples are matched regarding ‘age’ and ‘job status’.
Thus, one of the crucial criteria to Hofstede’s approach — i. e. , the matching of samples — is satisfied.The result of these procedures, as well as basic features of the matched samples, are displayed in Table 1. It is conceded that the results of the current study cannot be generalized in terms of the population at large, because of the characteristics of the sample. The number of respondents to the survey is small, although ‘for obtaining statistically reliable (stable) scores, groups of respondents should not be smaller than SO, ..
. 20 could be considered’ (Hofstede 1982: 1). Despite these methodological limitations, some preliminary claims might be made about the culture dimensions of Poles, yet, the statements used in this paper (such as ‘Polish culture is … ‘, ‘Poles believe..
. ‘, etc. ), should be considered with caution.The comparison of scores (according to Hofstede’s four dimensions) between Poles and Canadian respondents is displayed in Table 2. The scores for Poles were recalculated by adding/subtracting the difference between scores for Canadians obtained in this study, and those reported by Hofstede (1991). Whenever possible, items used to calculate scores for Poles and Canadians were compared, both regarding items suggested by Hofstede in his 1991 500 Table 2 Scores on Hofstede s Dimensions for Poland and Canada Wojcieoh Nasierowski, Bogusz Mikuta PDI Current Study Results Canadians (n=83) Poles (R=83) Hobtede’s Results Canadians ResultsfiH-Poles atUusted to Hobtede’s Hermes results*** Max. alue in Hoblede’s study Min, value in Hobtede’s study average of: Anglo-Saxon cluster German cluster Scandinavian cluster Japanese Latin cluster UAl -1 Sft 48 106 112 Greece 8 Singapore 44 64 40 92 89 IDV 49 25 80 56 MAS 70 39 72 104 Malaysia 11 Austria 33 27 28 54 60 s 52 62 91 95 USA Japan 6 5 Guatemala Sweden 83 63 69 46 60 62 71 14 95 48 *** The adjustment was made by adding (subtracting) the scores obtained in the current y Hofttedes original sco Canadians obtained in this study (Hofstede 1991: 256).
book and in the Scoring Guide (Hofstede 1982), The following was observed: – items related to Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance all follow the pattern of differences in values as suggested by the formula for calculating respective values.Differences of less/more than 10 percent of respective values were considered to be minor. When the sign of an item is negative, the values of items for Poles are less than, or similar to, those of Canadians, When the sign is positive, the value for Poles is similar to that of Canadians, This observation supports the assignment of higher values for Poles than for Canadians of the two dimensions; – for the two items related to the individualist pole (i,e, ‘personal time’ and ‘living in an area desirable to the family’), values for Poles are substantially higher than for Canadians. In the collecUvist pole, ‘cooperativeness’ is more important to Poles than Canadians, whereas ‘physical conditions’ are assessed similarly.These results suggest less individualism for Poles as compared to Canadians, However, Hofstede (1991: 52) suggests that for the individualist pole, those who assign higher importance to ‘personal time’ might also consider ‘fteedom’ and ‘challenge’ more inqxirtant, Stich a pattern does not hold true for our respondents: although Canadians scored higher in terms of ‘personal time’ than Poles, they scored less in ‘freedom’ and ‘challenge’. This could be a sittiational item, in which Canadians take ‘freedom’ and ‘challenge’ for granted, whereas Poles believe that hard work is needed to achieve stich a condition, and hence sacrifices should be tnade in terms of having less ‘personal time’; Culture DImenskxis of Pdisfi Managers 501 – with respect to Masculinity, items on the masculinity pole appeared to be more important (or similar) for Poles than for Canadians. For the ‘feminine pole’; Poles score similarly for ‘good relationship with direct supervisor’ and ’employment security’ than Canadians, and higher in terms of tiie importance of ‘cooperation’.
All these results indicate a more masculine culture for Polish respondents than for those in Canada. The item ‘living area’ shows an opposite trend. This may be a situational item: because of housing problems, Poles cannot easily move from one area to another. This deviation from the pattern of responses does not impact on the final score for the Masculinity dimension (because it is not used in the score calculations), and is likely to be offset by more masculine answers to all other associated questions; – Hofstede (1991: 54) suggests that ‘many countries which score high on the PDI score low on IDV: this pattern is confirmed by the current study results.Diecuesion The study confirms expectations outiined in literature on tiie subject. The results of the current study are congruent with results arrived at by Yanouzas and Boukis (1993), who examined the cultural characteristics of Poles by means of ‘survival situation-power play’ exereises. In addition, these results are similar to those presented by Perlaki (1993).
Power Distance (Poles 72, Canadians 39): Polish respondents to the study scored quite high in Power Distance. Typically, societies with high power distance reveal a greater degree of centralization and an unequal distribution of power. Close supervision may be accepted (tolerated) by subordinates.People make an effort to look powerful, which can be reflected in the high status of tilings. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that very many Poles own cars whose price exceed their yearly salary. Large differences between wages and privileges are likely. The work ethic is weak and a belief that people dislike work may be prevalent (which may, as indicated by Sarapata 1977, be true of Poles).
Managers do not see themselves as practical and systematic, yet they deny a need for support and tend to avoid consultations with subordinates before making decisions. Employees are afraid to disagree with their superiors and are frequently uncooperative.An authoritarian style, although culturally inherent, may not be easily accepted by Polish respondents; it tends to be associated with tiie ineffectiveness of the earlier regime. This may eventuate in a decreased respect towards authority. Indeed, as indicated by Skipietrow (1992), in Central Europe, respect for authority is low and is quite unlikely to improve in the near future. When coupled with weak leadership, such an attitude may easily translate into poor economic performance in enterprises where issues of authority/respect are not easily resolved (e. g.
state-controlled companies). Similar conclusions were advanced by Kostera (1994). 502 Wojciech Nasierowski. Bogusz MIkuiaHofstede (1991:42-46) would argue that the power distance of Poles could be explained by historical reasons (e. g. strong and prolonged feudal social structure). Also, Krysakowska-Budny and Jankowicz (1991) argue that ‘for years, all economic activity was inqwsed on people who were taken care of by “Them” — the political elite.
Ordinary people were deprived of any need to think independently’. These conditions might have added to high Power ENstance. However, Power Distance can also be examined from an alternate perspective, that of ‘formal’ vs. ‘real’ authority. The SO-year ‘socialistic experience’ might have produced a dual attitude towards authority in Poland.On the one hand, there is the attitude of official subordination and formal authority — the Communist Party leaders were often more important than the directors of the company — and non-recognition of official authority typically resulted in persecution. On the other hand, there is an informal attitude based on respect for, and recognition of, truly accepted values.
Though conditions have largely changed in Poland in the last decade, people may still fall into the habit of distinguishing between official and unofficial power. Centralized mechanistic structures, recommended for societies with high power distance, may be inefficient in fostering (or at times forcing) participation, commitment, dedication, and work ethics.Yet, their use does not stimulate the transfer of technology (Kedia and Bhagat 1988) needed in therestructuringof enterprises. In fact, such structures were [uedominant in Polish enterprises before 1989 (Kiezun 1991; Mrela 1983). Keeping in mind these deficiencies in authority/respect, a disproportionately large supervisory staff may be required (Kostera 1994). Also, as suggested by MpczyAski (1991), an authoritative management style may be preferred by Polish managers, because, although it may not be welcomed, it may be expected by employees. This ambivalent respect for/expectation of authority phenomenon can be used to advantage in management objectives, however.
Once the Pblish groups accept the rules imposed by a higher authority, they are more prone than US groups to develop trust and to work with each other to beat a common enemy’ (Yanouzas and Boukis 1993:70). Uncertainty Avoidance (Poles 106, Canadians 48): Following Hofstede’s (1984) and Ronen’s (1986) writings, in societies with low uncertainty avoidance, people experience less anxiety, stress, or desire to work excessively. They tend to be unemotional, cosmopolitan, and unconcerned with life-security. They accept risk and frequently change jobs. Belief is placed in generalists, in commonsense, and in amateurs: a high degree of scepticism toward experts may be prevalent Empiricism and relativism are accepted in favour of absolute truths and values.Managers often make risky decisions, do not structure activities, and do not pay much attention to written rules and ritual behaviour. Pearce (1991) reported widespread avoidance of responsibility in Hungary, a possible indicator of high uncertainty avoidance.
Given the presence of bureaucratic systems in Central Europe characterized by rigid rules and considerable red-tape, Perlaki (1993) concluded the same. These deductively arrived at observations should be put into the context of ‘old’ orga- Culture Dimensions of Polish Managers 503 nizational structures, in which the majority of citizens were deprived of decision-making rights. One cannot conclude from this whether or not people have accepted uncertainty outside official institutional settings.Similar observations may hold true for Poles, Study results show that Poles score very high in Uncertainty Avoidance: quite a rational reaction to the recent changes in Poland, Moreover, in the past, uncertainty was externalized. An individual had limited opportunities to control his/her destiny. Regardless of what had been done in the workplace, assessment was often conducted on the whim of the ‘party’, and frequently could not be explained on economic or logical grounds. There is still both a social support network and an economic grey zone enabling one to live quite well, despite unfavourable employment conditions.
These conditions are unlikely to continue into the future: hence, again a preference toward avoiding uncertainty. However, a high score in Uncertainty Avoidance comes as a surprise.Although Hofstede (1991:116-117) warns that ‘uncertainty avoidance is not the same as risk avoidance’, low uncertainty avoidance implies ‘more willingness to take risk in life’ (Hofstede 1983: 61), The Polish respondents is this study were recent graduates, edticated in an attractive profession (or students in this fleld), predominantly very young, with job experience in regions of high economic growth. Their life circumstances appear to be conducive to experimentation with new ideas: a concept commonly accepted in Polish attitudes, and endorsed by Zieleniewski (1979), Thus, the current high score in uncertainty avoidance may be largely situational, as is further evidenced by the risky ventures to which many Poles have resorted, e,g, a small-business boom. If the assessment of uncertainty avoidance was low, which indeed may be the case with a large pereentage of Polish ‘entrepreneurs’, then they may show willingness to take excessive risks, without the support of calculations or detailed analysis.This may be particularly threatening in the light of low work ethics, little reverence for law, and a limited recognition of the need for hard work: again, attitudes evidenced in daily press reports about pervasive corruption and low ethical standards. Thus, close supervision and a high degree of centralization of decision-making might be necessary.
Individualism (Poles 56, Canadians 80): There is nothing inherently favourable or unfavourable about a high level of Individualism, Some cultures emphasize it (e,g, the US), others place more weight on collectivism (e,g, Japan), Generally, countries with high Individualism are richer (Hofstede 1983: 80): however, this relationship is moderated by country size, geographical latittide, family patterns, religion and political structures.Normally, in societies with low Individualism, employees expect organizations to look after them like a family (they may become extremely alienated when an organization dissatisfies them), and to provide expertise, order, stability, and security. Involvement with a company entails a moral element, often grounded in loyalty. An organization, or the clans within it, predetennine opinions and friendships rooted in stable social relationships. The emphasis is on group 504 Wojciech Nasierowski. Bogusz Mikufa initiative and achievement, and consequentiy, the leadership ideal is less important. The low value of Individualism for Poles indicates that structures and group financial security and involvement in decision-making are important: which is consistent with earlier observations reported by Sarapata (1977), Hirszel (1983), Holstein-Beck (1987), and Kr61ik (1993).
When implementing change, a strong need for the support of informal groups is displayed. At the same time, respect to, or tiie least acceptance of, leadership is required. Thus, some ambiguity may be exhibited in local organizational cultures. On tiie one hand, the levels of Individualism are low, and on tiie otiier. Collectivism (in the sense of Uie communist past, at least) is rejected. As with Uncertainty Avoidance, the distribution of scores can change with age and the ability to accept and accommodate new realities. One more explanation for low values on the Individualism index is a tendency towards ‘shared responsibility’: if all are responsible, nobody is.
Such an ethic was prevalent in socialistic economic conditions and is unlikely to change either easily or quickly. Moreover, a low level of individualism should not translate to an expectation that Polish managers would be good team players. As observed by Yanouzas and Boukis (1993: 70) ‘Poles, more than US managers, need to improve their teamwork skills. Some improvement was observed during the power play exereise after teams had undertaken the survival exercise, however, and there was agreement that teamwork skills are skills that are achievable’. Masculinity (Poles 62, Canadians 52): Polish respondents of our study scored slightly higher, on average, tiian countries involved in Hofstede’s study of the Masculinity dimension.Cultures with high Masculinity favour large-scale enterprises or ventures, and thus become excited by extraordinary achievements. Economic growth is seen as being more important than conserving the environment.
Career success is a must. High job stress exists and industrial conflict is common (Hofstede 1984; Hodgetts and Lutiians 1994). There may thus be a strong drive towards smashing ‘successes’ and career advancement (for both men or women) in Poland. Earlier studies on Poles show that individual business success is not unconditionally well received by the society (Sarapata 1977), but times have changed. On the one hand, there may be a drive for success, on tiie other there may be jealousy over someone else’s success.Low ethical standards and prejudice are customary (Hryniewicz 1994), and may stem from ‘equality’ concepts of the Soviet style ‘urawnilowka Such attitudes remain detrimental to high achievements and may not foster entrepreneurial spirit. Not surprisingly, therefore, more and more frequently, one can read press releases alraut corruption scandals and smashing successes achieved by violating the law.
On the organizational level, salary and job stability are likely to remain important motivational instruments (Pearce 1991; Kiezun 1991). Culture Dimensions of Polish Managers 505 Concluding Comments It is difficult to describe industrial philosophy, national culture, or business practices in Poland in the middle of 1990s widiout taking recourse to simplification.Economic systems are in transition from central planning to market orientation. Social values, norms, and attitudes change. However, some elements are likely to remain constant for a longer period of time. These include: a strong distrust of authority; high expectations/demands from life; and a lack of a spirit of co-operation because of earlier subordination to the failed communist rules. High power distance, a low work ethic, a desire to get rich quickly, limited experience with Western concepts, and different perceptions of business needs (Nasierowski and Wright 1993) may result in organizational solutions tailored specifically to local conditions.
Solutions will have to be developed to meet specific local preferences. Success stories about industrial cooperation, quoted in journals and the press, frequently deal with cases where earlier agreements existed and with new ventures (Bartlett and Ghoshal 1992: 905-907; Collins 1993). Such cases should not, however, be over-generalized. Based upon relevant literature (e. g. Kostera 1994) and press releases (e. g.
Skipietrow 1992) it may be hypothesized that Polish societies are divided into those who exhibit entrepreneurial spirit and subject themselves to new ideas, and those who entrench themselves in large state-controlled enterprises, expecting governmental protection.This may lead to a large number of small, one-person kingdoms, and some large realms, each adopting different organizational solutions. This pattern, if, indeed, it starts to develop, may have profound economic and political consequences, and is worthy of further detailed exploration. Such discrepancies should not cause excessive bewilderment. The scope and pace of the changes in the region are breath-taking. As a result of preference polarization, problems may be experienced when developing uniform organizational solutions to fit local attitudes. In particular, substantial differences may arise between people, according to their age and length of job experience, and will be augmented by job associations and time perceptions.
Certainly, the results of the current study should not be extended to the population of any of the countries in Central Europe. However, Central Europe is considered largely homogenous by business communities (Nasierowski 1992), something congruent with the political and economic cireumstances uniting the region over the last SO years. This period of time might have been sufficient enough to leave its mark on the culture of each of the countries in this region. Each possesses a unique history, with periods of independence and decades (or even centuries) of foreign rule, different languages, habits, social traditions, and religions. Yet, it may be expected that Central European residents show some similarity in culture dimensions (Perlaki 1993; Pearce 1991).The subordination of countries in the region to the same social rules over the last fifty years, similarities in their struggle for democracy, as well as problems in the restructuring of their societies, can result in congruencies of local values and norms. It can 506 Nasierowski, Bogusz Mikula also be hypothesized that ‘Poles, probably along with other citizens of the region, may form a separate cluster of countries’: a cluster of ‘homoeconomicus’, as opposed to ‘homo-sovieticus’, according to Tischner (1992), who would need time to realize that the soul is worth more than a wallet filled up with ‘green bills with a picture of an old man’.
Societies in the region are sometimes referred to as an ‘aimlessly drifting ship’ (Mikutowski-Pomorski 1993: 287).Such a ddft may, however, induce an awakening of national identities, ‘the first clash of two different civilizations within the bonds of the same continent’. These issues pose interesting questions regarding trends and conditions for changes in ‘culture two’ dimensions. Then, the case of Jugoslavia (a country with some 30 years of history and fotir distinctively different nationalities), or Canada (a country with some 130 years of history, with two distinctively different nationalities, and some SO percent of the population composed of immigrants or the second generation of immigrants) may form the basis for a discussion on the validity of exploring ‘national cultures’.In addition, the impact on tiational cultures of SO years of communist rule may be examined. Certainly, this can extend an argument regarding the possible similarities and differences between societies in Central Europe. Such a topic, however, calls for separate treatment.
It may be worthwhile conducting a ‘time-series’-based study on ctilture change in the region, thus allowing for an examination of the impact of Western economic concepts upon cultural preferences. *This paper was prepared with the support of the Social Sciences and Hutiuuiities Research Council of Canada and the Centre for Intemstioiial Business Studies at the University of New Brunswick.We would like to thank Professors G. Hofstede and A. D. Jankowicz for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this paper, thereby allowing us to improve our submission.Bartlett, Christopher A.
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