Organizational Theories and their Applicability in Other Cultures

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Up until the 21 century, the majority of the published literature scrutinizing and modeling organizational theories and their use in the workplace to maximize performance, were developed exclusively in the United States. However, greater awareness of international workplace culture has made it clear that these theories, which were modeled after American companies, are not as universally applicable as researchers assumed. As American management and leadership theories, these philosophies reflect an inherent bias, incorporating American values, motivations, and expectations. As such, variations across cultures and their impact on organizations can make implementation of these concepts completely inappropriate in another culture, while fully …show more content…
However, inherent in this theory is the assumption that the “highest order” need is self-actualization. Maslow created his hierarchy of needs from a highly individualistic perspective – as the United States is a highly individualistic nation. The needs and drives of those in individualistic societies tend to be more self-centered than those in collectivist societies, focusing on improvement of the self, epitomized as self actualization.
In collectivist societies, the social needs of acceptance, harmony, and community outweigh the needs for freedom and individuality. If the same manager were an expatriate in Japan, and decided to promote one of his employees, it is likely the promotion would in fact diminish the employee’s performance. Nancy Adler, author of International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, explains why: “Japanese have a high need for harmony – to fit in with their work colleagues. The promotion, an individualistic reward, separated the [employee] from his colleagues, embarrassed him, and therefore diminished his motivation to work” (Adler, 191).
In another scenario, Maslow also argues that a person who is deficient in all of the basic needs would likely crave their physiological needs above all else. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the people of New Orleans in 2005, victims of the flood were left deficient in several of

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