“India lives in several centuries at the same time.”
- Arundhati Roy, Power Politics -
- How important is hierarchy in Indian business culture?
- What does the Filipino concept of “Pakisisama” (a term that comes from two Tagalog words, “sama”, to go along with, and “paki”, please, kindly) mean, and what is its impact on organizational culture in the Philippines?
- What are some common challenges of doing business in Thailand?
- What do you need to know about Malaysian work culture?
Let’s find out.
The Southern-Asia cluster - that includes India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand - is a complex business environment that strives for modernity (with regard to “societal values”, the criteria used to establish how things should be, Southern-Asia appears to desire higher levels of both Performance- and Future Orientation: the actual score for Future Orientation, for instance, is 3.98, while the desired score is 5.86. It’s worth noting that the average desired GLOBE group score is 5.44.) while it keeps holding tradition in high regard (Southern Asia societies, family oriented and highly hierarchical, tend for example to emphasize filial piety and familial support systems).
The shame-based Southern-Asia cluster is characterised by:
- an implicit and indirect communication style that relies on contextual knowledge to make messages understandable (high-context cultures);
- a relatively low future orientation (monochronic time);
- high levels of in-group collectivism (also defined as “family collectivism”, the extent to which individuals identify with and prioritize the group they belong to), a being orientation;
- a being orientation (based on “moral relativism”, the idea that moral principles are culture-bound: being cultures tend to more more concerned with maintaining the collective harmony than they are with pursuing the “truth”. See article on the cultural differences between East and West for clarification son this last point. NOTE: the article was written specifically with the Confucian-Asia environment in mind, but being cultures share some common traits regardless of the cluster they belong to);
- strong and well-defined power dynamics, even though societies that belong to this cluster express a desire for a more even distribution of power and resources;
- a conflictual relationship with ambiguity and unpredictability (Uncertainty Avoidance. This cluster as a whole appears to have a wish for more rules and regulations to reduce the possibility of uncertain future outcomes);
- a low level of gender egalitarianism (the belief that people should receive equal treatment regardless of their gender);
- a high humane orientation (societies in this cluster tend to reward and encourage kind, altruistic, generous, and caring behaviour).
In the Southern-Asia cluster people tend to value leaders who are charismatic (inspirational/visionary/decisive), team-oriented and humane oriented (note the similarity with the Confucian-Asia cluster with regard to leadership scores): the most effective leader is therefore expected to build functional and cohesive teams.
It most be observed that while Self-Protective Leadership (the self-conscious style that focuses on “face-saving”, on the safety and protection of the leader) is seen in a negative light in most other cluster - with an average Globe group score of 3.42 - in Southern-Asia is deemed to have no impact on effective leadership skills (Southern-Asia score, 3.83).
From The Borneo Post: “The 28-year-old Indonesian stands at 5’3”, cuts a slight figure and wears the hijab. So when she stood in front of her more athletic-looking opponent during a speed-climbing event at the recent Asian Games, many thought the odds were against her.
How surprised they were, then, to see her climb the wall with breathtaking speed and agility, reaching the top seconds before her competitor.
But awe was unfortunately not the main reaction on social media.
Some were simply unable to accept that someone of her appearance was able to demonstrate such athletic prowess.
There is a name for this social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked and are determinedly “put in their place”.
It’s called the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and was first recognised in Australia.
However, it is apparent that not only Australian society is susceptible to this syndrome.
Malaysians, too, have a tendency to elevate themselves by denigrating others.
It is strange how the tall poppy syndrome exists in our culture as the Asian culture has always emphasised on being considerate to one another.”
- The Nordic Europe cluster
- Pakisisama: business ethics in the Philippines
- Modesty in Asian cultures
- Hall, E. T. (1959). “The Silent Language”. New York: Doubleday
- Hall, E.T. (1966). "The Hidden Dimension", New York, NY: Doubleday
- Hall, E. T. (1976). "Beyond culture". New York, NY: Doubleday
- The Globe Project, Online: https://globeproject.com/
- Chhokar, J.S. (1998). "Leadership and Culture in India: The GLOBE Research Project 1."
- Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). "Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (second ed.)". New York: McGraw-Hill
- Herbert R. (1946). “The chrysanthemum and the sword : patterns of Japanese culture”. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co.
- Kluckhohn, F. and Strodtbeck, F. (1961). "Variations in value orientation". New York: Harper Collins
- Gudykunst, W. B., & Kim, Y. Y. (1984). "Communicating with strangers: An approach to intercultural communication". New York: Random House
- Hiebert, Paul G. (1985). ”Anthropological Insights for Missionaries”. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House
- Vivekananda, S. (1971). "The complete works of Swami Vivekananda". Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama
- Vivekananda, Swami (2006). "The Indispensable Vivekananda: An Anthology for Our Times". New Delhi: Permanent Black