- Difference between Masculine and Feminine Cultures
Cultures can be masculine or feminine in nature. The gender of a certain country’s culture refers to the values that the society places on the country’s inherent characteristics . For example, countries see the values of competitiveness, strong ambition, the characteristic of assertiveness, and the desire to accumulate wealth as masculine in nature. On the other hand, values such as those centered around relationships, life and the preservation or improvement of the quality of life as feminine in nature.
“Masculinity stands for a society in which social gender roles are clearly distinct: Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. Femininity stands for a society in which social gender roles overlap: Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life.”.
Cultures in the Western hemisphere are mostly masculine in nature. However, re-clarification of the gender of cultures is utilized today due to the sensitivity of gender generalizations. The masculinity and femininity of a country’s culture is now referred to as the “Quality of Life and the Quantity of Life”.
The main difference between a masculine and a feminine culture is very stark. The table below, shows the difference between a masculine and a feminine culture, as described by Professor Hofstede .
Countries that have high levels of cultural masculinity suggests that most people would be more comfortable with the traditional division of work and roles; in a more feminine culture, the boundaries could be looser, motivating people through more flexible roles and work networks. In terms of workforce motivation, people living in masculine countries are motivated by higher pay and personal accomplishment while those living in feminine countries tend to be motivated by the preservation of the quality of their lives. This means that working environments in masculine countries are more competitive while those in feminine countries are more relaxed.
- Work Centrality
Work centrality is defined as the person’s believe that work has a certain degree of importance to a person’s life . Some people who believe in the importance of their work and professional purpose (those having high work centrality) also believe that they will continue working even after they have reached the eligible age for retirement. These same people are motivated to work even if their financial situation allows them to live comfortably even without having to work . For these people, work centrality is the basis of their high ethical work standards and is the most important component of understanding the meaningfulness of work. Studies also show that people with high work centrality have high work satisfaction and exhibits a very high level of commitment with the individual’s occupation and organization.
The “Meaning of Work” is a concept that is defined as the significance that an individual attributes to his work and to the importance of his work to his life. This definition of the “Meaning of Work” has led the International Research Team (looking into the “Meaning of Work” or “MOW”) to the identification of work definition models. It has also led to the concept of “work centrality” as earlier defined. The MOW International Research Program, began in 1990, originally profiling work-related psychological findings in the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium, the US, Germany and Japan. Additional studies were conducted in Brazil, the Canary Islands, China, South Africa, Israel, Portugal and Russia . The results of the studies on the Meaning of Work in this countries concluded that the cultural and economic variables in different countries and the attitudes of people towards work and outcomes relate highly to the degree of meaning of work in these areas. The research team concluded that the importance of work is driven by the need for income, the individual’s interest and personal satisfaction, the need to be in contact with other people, as a way to serve the society they belong to, as a means of pre-occupying the individual, and to acquire social status and prestige.
The importance of work centrality and the meaning of work has gained significant attention in the present period. Work has evolve exponentially since the world experienced the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the 20th century. Society has been transformed and is continuously evolving, with due respect to the progress that science and technology has heralded. Organizational structures and national cultures are transforming and the organization of work in countries with respect to technology, economic progress and evolving or adapting national cultures are affecting how work is organized and implemented. Many observers see that the workers in today’s time are already overworked and that if the trend continues, today’s workers will be over managed as well. Many companies are resorting to the latest management trends to try and improve their financial performances and outcomes. As the level of detail and intensity of effort for managing workers increases, the more pressure workers feel. Ultimately, this may lead to a negative effect rather than a positive effect on the company.
The opportunity that is clear today is that there is an impetus to continuously change workers and managers mentalities to adapt to changing economic landscapes and opportunities. For example, the shortage of work in the United States due to the globalization of labor creates problems as well as opportunities for companies to profit. By understanding how people view the meaning of their work, companies would be able to channel this understanding and match it with opportunities that are becoming available, instead of resisting change and losing out on it.
Understanding how people centralize their lives on work is critical in developing strategies by which organizations can adapt to constantly evolving economic marketplace.
- Mexican Culture: The Importance of family
Mexico is one country that exhibits a very high degree of importance to the culture of the family. It is common to find houses in Mexico that are linked together because these houses belong to people who are related by blood or family linkage. In fact, the 2010 census of Mexico showed that about 90 percent of the entire population lives in linked-homes versus about 10% of the population that lives alone or in a community of non-related individuals .
Mexicans appreciate living within a family-structured culture. According to a World Value Poll conducted from 2005 to 2008, about 95% of all Mexicans believe that family is a highly important aspect of their lives . In Mexico, the family is associated with trust and solidarity. Because of Mexico’s historical experiences, the family has become the source of resolution or social security that individuals turn to in situations where resolution is needed or when problems that are extraordinary surfaces and need to be solved. The family concept is further made important because of marriage values and bloodline relationship aspects. Needless to say, Mexicans value loyalty, commitment and contribution to the betterment of the family in very high regard.
In Mexico, the importance of family affects work and more than frequently determines employment, promotion, or special treatment for work contracts. Decisions and actions are usually made on the basis of what will provide most advantage to the family. It is not uncommon in Mexico to exercise this type of preference for family even in public settings.
This is an admirable trait and in most Western countries, the disconnection among individuals belong to the same family or having blood relations is so evident that the social values of family are essentially lost. In Mexico, this admirable trait however has caused severe penalties by way of issues relating to work motivation, employee productivity and organizational performance.
Family based reasons have resulted in high degrees of turnover among employees, high absenteeism and high labor cost. In Mexico, it is very common to site “family reasons” as a legitimate excuse to not go to work. Workers often do not come to work after vacations or known holidays because of family reasons. Males are often looked upon as household heads and bread winners and these males identify themselves based on this concept rather than find employment to fulfill their own personal needs, inclinations, or desires.
The role of the family in Mexico’s culture has transcended the development of society’s greater interests, particularly the delivery of public services. In Mexico, healthcare is primarily a function of the members of the family. Families care for the sick in their homes and in the event that they are forced to go to a hospital for treatment, the family members make themselves present to provide care.
In politics, family structures are important factors to consider as well. Family relations provide the social space that is more significant than friends, workmates or formal organizations. Because of this, it can easily be concluded that family culture is a factor that greatly defines overall Mexican culture and its economic and social policies. Mexican economic policies are often linked or directly referenced to family and family related issues, which struggles to control the basic economic structures that plague it. Mexico is known for heavy monopolies and heavier regulation, both of which stress the family structure which in turn stresses the capability of Mexico’s work force to grow and become more productive. This results in a larger informal sector that further stresses the family social structure. There is very little evidence that social protection programs will alleviate Mexico’s current social, political and economic issues but there is no study or policy that would dare point that family values are to blame. Such is the dilemma of Mexico .
- Culture and the Motivational Process
In a corporal context more than ever, culture is an important part of the organization. Culture can be defined as how people within the organization interact. It is what people in the organization believe and adhere to and it is what drives them to act in a way that would make the organization successful. Culture is ingrained in an organization and resides in the hearts and minds of people. Culture can be seen when people act and how they behave.
Because of the importance of culture, it is no surprise that companies are looking for ways to ensure that people within the organization are fully engaged. However, this task is simply too large and complex to happen completely. Instilling the right kind of corporate culture is difficult and will require a high degree of focus, leadership and dedication. Instilling corporate culture is a full-time, full on undertaking, which is not to be taken lightly.
Effective leaders create culture. Leaders therefore must create a culture of winners. If this happens, people at work will enjoy doing their work more (i.e. develop a high degree of work centrality), thus becoming more productive and successful. The success translates to the organization’s success ultimately.
People that work in an environment where a winning culture is promoted feel bonded together and celebrate their tasks, understanding that their success, no matter how small, means a lot to the organization .
Employee motivation is essential to the organization because motivated employees are productive and successful. An employee's needs are determined largely by the cultural context of values and attitudes––along with the national variables––in which he or she lives and works. Those needs then determine the meaning of work for that employee. The manager's understanding of what work means in that employee's life can then lead to the design of a culturally appropriate job context and reward system to guide individual and group employee job behavior to meet mutual goals. Incentives and rewards are an integral part of motivation in a corporation.
The value of recognizing and understanding different motivational patterns across cultures leads to the design of appropriate reward systems. There are different ways of motivating people and they can generally characterized as intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from inside the person. This kind of motivation is related to the feelings of the individual. The intrinsic motivations include personal growth, personal achievements, freedom to act and personal responsibilities. Extrinsic motivation is outside factors and these include salaries, rewards, and constructive criticisms that would help motivate employees.
A good way of motivating employees intrinsically is to include them in the decision-making process within the organization. This builds trust within the employee-employer structure, with the employee gaining the feeling that his knowledge about his work and his contribution bears significant weight to the organization. Extrinsic motivational strategies include profit sharing and other monetary financial schemes. This could also include training and employee development. The best strategies are often made up of a combination of the two, with some intrinsic type of motivation and some extrinsic type of rewards. This has been found to be most implementable in most work settings in many corporations around the world .
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