Of the case Organizational and National Cultures in a Polish/ U. S Joint Venture Background * The case looks at differences in cultural values and beliefs of Polish and U. S managers employed in a joint venture in Poland. * Joint venture with a Polish partner and a wholly owned subsidiary of a U. S multinational corporation located in Poland. * Small joint venture, non-bureaucratic organization with 140 employees. * Family type of relationship existed among the managers. * Both local Polish managers and U. S expatriates reported a friendly work climate.
Polish Attitudes Regarding U. S Management * Polish managers described U. S business as “real”, “healthy”, “tough”, “honest” and “fair”. * Polish national culture such as “ability to work in difficult situations” and “experience of struggle with hardship of communism” combines well with American management expertise. * Working for a U. S company was a major bonus for their future success and careers. * Employment security because they have a low risk of bankruptcy. * Polish managers expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement for learning U. S business know-how. Encouraged the development of the individual and inspired self expression and achievement. The Cultural Conflicts * Managerial Selection * Many Polish employees wanted to be hired immediately as managers, without any experience in basic business functions. The magic word “manager” was associated by them with a higher status and success. U. S managers however felt that “you had to earn your spurs first. ” * Merit, Age and Seniority * The corporate culture encouraged rewards primarily based on competence in key skills and performance against objective criteria.
Both local and expatriate managers believed that individuals were appointed and promoted based on their knowledge and professional expertise. This often resulted in much younger managers having older subordinates. Although Polish managers appreciated promotions based on competence, the issue of age presented some problems of adjustment. Traditional expectations hold that, when one is young, it is impossible to be knowledgeable and have the necessary experience and competence to manage successfully. * The Salary System * Polish managers expressed difficulty in adjusting to the confidentiality of the new salary system.
The Polish and U. S managers differed in the beliefs regarding what information was personal and what information should be public. Polish managers wanted to know as much about each other’s salaries as possible. They had no problems asking another employee about exactly how much they were paid. To the Polish managers, this served as a means of establishing their relative status. * For the expatriate U. S Americans, however, it was not part of the company culture to reveal explicit salary information. Salary information was considered personal and confidential.
Most felt that revealing salary information disrupted the family climate of the organization. Instead, the Americans expressed faith in the system of assessment and reward allocation. * Team Goals * Working not only for your own interests but also for the success of the team or the whole company was a challenge for many Polish managers. This was especially true for those who had their initial managerial experiences in a state-controlled economy. * The Psychological Contract * From the perception of the Polish managers, the organization required them to accept a new psychological contract between organization and the individual.
On the one hand, they felt positive about the degree of personal involvement and responsibility in the daily activities of company affairs. On the other hand, they were confused where to draw the line between professional and private lives. Many of the Polish managers felt that, for them to succeed as employees, the organization demanded too much of their private lives. * Trust * A U. S cultural trait found surprising by Polish employees was the perception of an underlying good faith in people.
Both the company culture and the expatriate managers had positive valuations regarding the intentions of people within the organization * The Polish managers expressed much more negative attitudes regarding the nature of people. Distrust, fear, and a disbelief that the boss wishes well for the employees were common attitudes observed by the U. S expatriates. * Informality * U. S managers valued blunt and direct speaking. Saying exactly what you mean was considered a virtue, and the U. S managers had a low tolerance for ambiguity. Therefore, expatriate managers took most explanations at face value.
However, this style of communication clashed with the indirect communication habits of Polish employees. * Positive Feedback On The Job * They were significant differences between Polish managers and expatriate Americans in the type of feedback given on the job. Consistent with U. S views of management practices, the U. S managers were quick to recognize achievements publicly and privately. Polish managers were generally positive about this approach and perceived it as motivating. However, in spite of this reaction, positive feedback was not a popular management technique among the Polish managers.
They preferred to give criticism and generally negative feedback in front of subordinates and peers. Conclusions * Coming from a culture that lacked experience and contact with U. S businesses before 1989, polish managers generally had positive but stereotype views of U. S business practices. In the short term, such attitudes played a highly motivating role in attracting managers to the joint venture. In the long term however, despite the initial enthusiasm, bad cultural differences may lead to disillusionment among Polish managers.