The Grey Chronicles

2009.May.26

Cultural Performance Management Analysis, Part V



This post, continued from the Cultural Performance Management Analysis, discusses the opposing pairs of cultural characteristics, Theory X vs. Theory Y, in terms of GSPI’s corporate scenario. Based on an example as explained by Buytendijk (2008) and featured in Profit Magazine (2009), instead of two companies, the cultural performance management analysis below considers two cultures: Indian expats and Filipino workers.


E. Theory X vs. Theory Y

McGregor (1960) states that “attitudes toward employees, and the treatment that derived from them, could influence performance.” McGregor describes that two different philosophies of management emerge from assumptions about people. Theory X assumes that human beings are inherently lazy, needs direction, avoids responsibility. Theory Y assumes that for most people, the work effort is as natural as that expended for play or rest.

NSC managerial style tends toward McGregor’s Theory Y, where managers assume their people are motivated to do a good job if recognized for it. Surprisingly, NSC’s senior management knows most of the employees, many of them have worked for the company their entire professional lives. Yet, many of them believe that once given minimum instructions, Filipino workers go out of their way to achieve the job objective.

This has been proved by Overseas Filipino Workers, time and again. As Lacanilao (2009) writes:

“[A Filipino worker] has the heart on what it takes to be on top of the world. Bias aside, Filipinos always put their hearts in whatever they do. Aside from the fact that they want to be successful and be the best on whatever endeavor they are into, they are well known for their ability to reach out harmoniously with other people in the likes of his co-workers, superiors and subordinates. . . For him, Work and service go hand in hand. He doesn’t only think about himself, but he is also concern for the welfare of others. . . For him, no man is an island. His success is his company’s. That is the main reason why Filipinos are socially accepted by his global competitors.”

Majority if not all of local ex-NSC employees employed at GSPI are proud to possess these SAME work ethic as these OFW. If the opportunity plus the outright convenience, to work for NSC was not available, most of these particular local employees would have been gainfully employed abroad.

With respect to Indians, refer to Arindam Chaudhuri’s Theory “i” discussed in the previous post.

Chong and Argrawal (2006) argues that ”Depending on the state of the development of a subsidiary of a multinational company, leadership style and management practices are more or less influenced by Indian traditions.” Simply stated: the Indian leadership style is influenced by his traditions.

Traditional Indian management believes (Chong, 2006) that:

“Organizational leaders display a high level of personal involvement with their subordinates. Leaders provide nurturance contingent upon the subordinate’s task accomplishment.”

Indian managers are most likely to apply the concept of Karma, or predestination, whereby:

“Humans are unchangeable and shaped by past life activities . . Impassive and impersonal outlook of pain, suffering and poverty . . Preordination of one’s life events . . No mastery over nature and destiny . . What is unfinished in this life can be continued in the next . . . Emphasis on heritage and tradition . . . Lack of urgency, preference for tried-and-true . . .Current time cycle is not worthy, predominance of evil.” (Chong, 2006)

Several literature points that Indians value work if it is part of a positive personalized relationship . . Indians possess an aram culture which means rest and relaxation without being preceded by hard and exhausting work (Sinha, 1995).

Unfortunately, this mindset was also brought into Philippine shores. As such, many expats here believe that Filipinos avoid hard work. Most expats here believe, according to personal experience and intimate conversation with some of them, that Filipinos need to be directed, lead and managed. Owing to an incomplete, or possibly non-existent, cultural seminar prior to their expatriate posting to the Philippines, some of them had a mistaken belief that Filipino workers are very much like Indian workers: needs closed direction and avoids responsibility. One instance, I recalled, was when an expat-manager told me to "Do one thing, you should stand on your personnel’s heads." which I finally decoded as: "There is one thing you could do, supervise or watch them carefully!"

It is a known fact, at one time or another as local employees attest, Indian expats here tend to do by the minute follow-ups and insistence of the finishing of a job, project or activity. What he might need now, he needed it yesterday, as though his own professional life and whole well-being depended on it. Many local employees later came to realize that if the expat could report back to his immediate expat-superior that he did that, he might look good to him and thus would be gratefully rewarded. This action is called nurturance: the juice that provides sustenance to hierarchical relationship and makes it rewarding for subordinates, or as Sinha (1995, p. 117) calls it: benevolent paternalism.


Notes:

Buytendijk, Frank (2008). Performance Leadership: The Next Practices to Motivate Your People, Align Stakeholders, and Lead Your Industry. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. back to text

Chong, L.C & Agrawal, N.M (2006). Rediscovering Indian Management. Singapore: University of St. Gallen, Singapore Management University. 12pp. back to text

Chong, Dr. Li Choy (2006). Management in India. Lecture presented at St. Gallen, Switzerland. Singapore: University of St. Gallen, Singapore Management University, 2006. back to text

Lacanilao, Redford (2009), The Tools of a Filipino Worker, Online: The Philippine Recruit Online. Accessed 05 February 2009. back to text

McGregor, Douglas (1960). The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960. 256pp. back to text

Mehta, Monica (2009). Performance Leadership: A Q&A with Frank Buytendijk, Profit: The Executive’s Guide to Oracle Applications, 14:1. Skokie, IL: Oracle Publishing, February 2009. p. 32-33. back to text

Sinha, J.B.P. (1995). The Cultural Context of Leadership and Power. New Delhi: Sage Publications. p. 101. back to text

Disclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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