Whenever I read management articles about US companies it is clear to me that the way they do things over there is different. Which is a bit of a problem because management gurus and business schools encourage us to follow the US example. They love their sports metaphors, and from my perspective they are overly enthusiastic, toe curlingly optimistic and they make excessive use of jargon. The average US worker only gets two weeks paid annual leave and enjoyed far fewer public holidays than we do in Europe. From the out side it looks like they have a macho management style with the emphases on competition, winner takes all, high rewards and no tolerance of failure.
By culture do we mean the extent to which the work place is status conscious, corner offices and reserved parking places were seniority is deferred to? Do we mean how formal or informal the interactions are between staff and management, first names or job titles. Are we referring to how people are expected to dress for work , managers in suits and ties or open neck shirts and slacks. And by culture do we mean how women are treated/seen in the work place.? If so it’s difficult to separate out what might be a national characteristic from what is the culture of a particular company. For example in the US the high tec industries of Silicon Valley have a reputation for setting new degrees of informality, where as the high powered legal offices of New York Law firms have a ridged hierarchy and formality.
We have all worked for managers who are more autocratic or more participative.
Research by Arthur Jago, professor at MU business school, found that managers across country borders and across cultures are more alike than different. Jago believes that differences in management styles are more determined by circumstances than national cultural differences. Managers as we would expect vary their responses to the situation.
Never the less I would rather be a manager here than in the US and I would rather not read management articles and books about how everything is bigger and better in the US. But may be that’s my cultural bias or as they say in the US my , “Britishness”.
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk