Saturday, December 12, 2009

Work Culture

Edward T Hall defines two type of work culture.
Monochronic work culture. This mainly confines to US, Western Europe, Australia. Typical traits of this work culture make people :
1. Do one thing at a time and focus on it.
2. View time as a scarce commodity and take appointments, schedules, deadlines seriously.
3. Rule of privacy. Private office. Don't share , borrow or lend
4. Expect high degree of specificity,have clear description, unambiguous communication and defined goal and path.
5. Keep in view of short term relationship and work on accomplishment of mutual goals.

Polychronic work culture :This mainly confines to India, Middle East, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand - Typical traits of this work culture make people :
1. Do many things at once and get distracted and make others distracted.
2. Time commitments are in nearby time zone(8ish, Around 12) and punctuality takes a back seat.
3. No private domain : Involve friends, family, neighbours, customers
4. Share space, information, borrow, lend at free will.
5.Focus on lifelong relationship.

Why Japanese don't figure in either ? Because they combine both styles : Finicky about scheduling, appointments, specificity, well defined goals and path but share space in office, relationship is a corner stone and lifelong. American work influence on exterior but Japanese culture is ingrained.

Which is better ? Both. It's just that the person from the outside country needs to understand , interpret working nuances in a specific country it operates. In case of mono chronic culture, group behaviour is cohesive and illustrates same nuances as individual. In case of polychronic, group behaviour is chaotic.
For me its interesting to observe finer nuances of group behaviour of MNC in India headed by Foreigner or an Indian.

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