The Journal chosen, written by Mark Headhunter (2008), applies Egger Hypotheses five cultural dimensions (power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation) to both the Lithuanian and Latvia cultures, from the perspective of their similarity to the cultures in Estonia and the Scandinavian countries.
This research paper then uses the scores obtained from the application of Hypotheses indices to Sweden to calibrate the Lithuanian and Latvia values to the existing Hefted database. The reason this Journal was chosen was due to the fact that it documents the application of Hypotheses dimensions to Latvia for the first time. This was something which the group found quite interesting. In addition to this, we were aware that there had been a lot of criticism of Hypotheses framework and therefore we would like to critique Headhunter’s (2008) research to discover its limitations. . 1 A Critique of Hypotheses Framework Although the purpose of Headhunter’s (2008) research is not to critique but to develop upon Hypotheses framework, Headhunter (2008) recognizes that Hypotheses study, whilst nee of the most widely recognized pieces of research among scholars and practitioners in terms of identifying and measuring the dimensions of culture, is widely criticized and subject to intense debate.
On theoretical grounds, Hypotheses framework is mainly challenged on the internal validity and labeling of the dimensions, interpretation of culture and its recent application (Aching, 2005: Headhunter, 2008). Sweeney argues that four or five dimensions do not give sufficient information about cultural differences (Hefted, 2002) and in this regard the dimensions are limited as they are restricted to the duty of work-related values, which are not the same as national values (Gorge, 1983: Aching, 2005: Schemata and Reich, 2011).
Hefted (2002) agrees and believes that additional dimensions should continually be added to his original framework. In terms of Hypotheses labeling of his five dimensions, there is much deliberation amongst Hypotheses critics, many believe that, for example, the term masculinity- femininity may be perceived as being a sexist classification and Adler (1997) has suggested that this title be changed in order to avoid a misunderstanding (Aching, 2005). Furthermore, Westwood and Everett (1987) suggest that power distance may be observed as a poor indication of inequality (Aching, 2005).
Researchers have argued that a survey is not an appropriate instrument for accurately determining and measuring cultural disparity and furthermore Sweeney (2000) implied that Hypotheses ‘sampling was flawed, being sparse and unevenly distributed’ Cones 2007, p. 6). For example, the differences between men and women, which vary trot country to country, are a source tot the greatest cultural conflict, particularly when analyzing masculinity and femininity, power distance, individualism and collectivism (Orr & Hauser, 2008), however, Hefted focused on IBM who employed mostly males at the time of the survey.
Nonetheless, at the time when Hefted delivered his framework, there was very little work on culture and Hypotheses research was Just what scholars and the marketplace required (Sёundergrad, 1994). Many researchers have critiqued and replicated Hypotheses work and applied his dimensions to various contexts, however they were unable to confirm Hypotheses study. For example, by using Hypotheses dimension as a foundation, Trampers 1993) created his own dimensions, which he believed to be superior as it could overcome the difficulties associated with Hypotheses dimensions (Orr and Hauser, 2008).
Also, more recently the Globe study conducted by House et al. (2004) identified nine dimensions of national culture that are based on Hypotheses original framework (Brewer & Venial, 2012). Although many replications have been made particularly in relation to Hypotheses first four dimensions, Hypotheses fifth dimension has not been welcomed as enthusiastically since it was launched in 1991, as adopting this dimension can be tie problematic when examining cross-cultural research (Fang, 2003).
Many researchers, including Reheated and Nielsen (1997) have uncovered that the fifth dimension is irrelevant to their analysis and the most difficult to apply; researchers who have adopted all five dimensions applied the fifth dimension in a way that is different to what Hefted had originally implied (Fang, 2003). In contrast, Aching (2005, p. 547) forms the opinion that ‘Hypotheses thesis provides a comprehensive and robust benchmark from which to investigate the influence of cultural value’ and Without the unifying and dominant work of Hefted in tackling he core problem of the definition of culture, it would be even more disparate and undisciplined’ (Redding 1994, p. 324). 3. 1 Coherence Headhunter (2008) enters the article giving a very clear and concise outline of the purpose, methodology, findings and implications of his research. This gives the reader a comprehensive overview of the content and clarifies the mission of this research undertaking.
It is a much more thorough outline than that of the abstract of Coalman et al (2002) where a brief summary and outline are presented without giving the reader a detailed breakdown of the composition of the article. This introductory section is vital in engaging the reader and illustrating how the article will follow. The introduction provided by Headhunter (2008) is detailed in its explanation of the importance of national culture and sufficiently describes why it was important to undertake a study on these countries, Latvia in particular.
However, it could easily confuse the reader in its failure to define the difference between ‘Baltic’ and ‘Slavic’ people. Also, tort those Witt a limited knowledge tot geography, it may nave been beneficial to include a map of this area, or have provided a clearer illustration of the sectioning of these countries. This may provide the reader with a better insight of the geographical proximity of these countries, and further validated his reasons for conducting this research.
As Headhunter (2008) further analyses national culture in relation to the Hefted Framework, he succeeds in dissecting each dimension explicitly. This makes it understandable to readers with a varied knowledge of the Hefted Framework. A possible criticism of this section however could be that he failed to mention in the outset that Hypotheses framework was based on IBM employees between the years of 967 and 1973. This was mentioned further into the Journal, although after Headhunter’s (2008) explanation of Hypotheses theories of culture.
It may have been preferable for this fact to be presented earlier in the article, to inform the reader of the basis of Hypotheses research. It must be noted that in comparison to Nausea (2008), Headhunter (2008) has definitely provided an outline of these dimensions that is easier to understand. Instead of focusing on the context, Headhunter’s (2008) article concentrates on the literature, in order to give the reader a fully comprehensible summary. Following the synopsis of Hypotheses five dimensions of national culture, Headhunter (2008, p. 62) explains ‘it happens very often that the mean value of two groups is the same but the variances of both are very different’, however he does not explain what Variance’ actually entails, and for an uninformed reader this could prove very confusing. A short but explanatory description could have been beneficial here. While describing his methodology, Headhunter (2008) tells the reader that he decided to use the Value surveys module 1994 questionnaire’. He effectively conveys the content of this questionnaire and his reasons for choosing it.
He explains that his findings will be tested against the ‘Mastitis study, to ensure that it will ‘complement and verify it. However, he does not aptly explain what the Mastitis study is, or why it was used. This could prove obscure to the reader. The remainder of the methodology in this article is extremely coherent and comprehensible. While divulging the findings of his research, Headhunter (2008) uses the terms ‘standard deviation and probability of skew, and ‘Phi-association’. Again, these terms were not defined. A brief definition would have sufficed to ensure the reader understood the validity of these findings.
Headhunter (2008) goes on to excellently chronicle the findings in each of the five dimensions, giving an extensive account of the questions that were used in each section, and the scores obtained. The reader is given an expansive overview of the entire study. Headhunter (2008) reinforces his original idea that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia should be included in the ‘Nordic Strategy’ (Headhunter, 2008, p. 359), as this is where they fit in most suitably in terms of culture. He explains very clearly how he has come to this conclusion trot his tailings.
Overall, the coherency of this article is excellent. Headhunter (2008) manages to engage and inform the reader from the outset. There are a few exceptions where this is not the case, however these are greatly overshadowed by the generally superior composition of this article. 4. 1 Methodology Hefted states that when extending his research to other countries, one of the original IBM countries should be used so as to anchor the data to the existing framework. Headhunter (2008) chose Sweden as the anchoring country due to the fact that it has similar historical roots to Latvia.
Lithuania was also included to identify differences between the countries with the only two living Baltic languages (Headhunter, 2008). The Values survey framework (VS.) 1994 questionnaire’, based on Hypotheses original IBM survey, was used in the study. The VS. 94 consists of 26 questions, six of which are demographic in nature, and was given to graduate students of business administration with limited/no work experience. Nausea (2008) takes a different approach on this when applying Hypotheses framework to manufacturing plants in Mexico.
Instead of using the VISAS questionnaire, Nausea (2008) conducts in-depth personal interviews with her respondents in order to probe deeper into the understanding of their culture orientation. This may have been more effective in Headhunter’s (2008) research seen as the world has evolved rapidly since the establishment of the VS. survey in 1994. In addition to this, using students for research in Eastern European countries, such as Latvia, may not reflect the values of the society as a whole as they are less influenced by soviet times. However, this is something that Headhunter (2008) notes in his work.
Another limitation of using students is that their ‘liberal approach towards gender issues makes them less comparable with the IBM database’ (Headhunter, 2008:365). All respondents of this survey were enrolled in the capital city of the country; this resents another possible downfall as respondents from rural areas may have different views than those from the main cities. In addition to this, Latvia has always been a country with a large minority population, (Hutting, 2008) therefore focusing on the capital city may exclude some of these minority groups that have a large effect on the cultural values of the population as a whole.
This point can be reinforced again, given that only respondents who claimed to be ethnic Laotians were included . Arrack and Nickering (2008) imply that using Hypotheses framework alone is not enough to determine the national culture of a country and instead several cultural frameworks must be used. If we are to believe this, we could be led to believe that Headhunter’s (2008) work, focusing only on the application of the Hefted framework, has no significance at all. 42 Findings The author notes that researchers often give explanations, in simplified words, as to why a country scores low, medium or high for a particular dimension.
However, Headhunter (2008) decides not to do this indicating that the VS.. 94 does not provide enough data to obtain a deeper understanding about dimensional values’ (Headhunter 2008, p. 67). This limits the worth of the Journal as it does not enable readers to obtain a greater understanding of Headhunter’s nor Hypotheses work. The following table (Table 1) illustrates Headhunter’s (2008) findings in relation to the scores that each of the three countries received for Hypotheses indices.
Table 1: Latvia, Lithuania and Swede’s scores I Latvia I Lithuania I Sweden I Power Distance | 44 142 1 31 | Uncertainty Avoidance | 63 | 65 | 29 | Individualism 170 160 171 1 Masculinity 121 19 15 1 Long-term Orientation | 25 | 30 | 33 | One significant limitation of these findings stems from the questions asked in the VS.. 94 which are all related to values and behaviors in the workplace. Headhunter (2008) notes for example that ‘it is possible that a society is very individualistic when it comes to business values but very collectivist in personal matters’ (Headhunter 2008, p. 67-68) therefore the value of this research in terms of the cultural dimensions of Laotians, Lithuanian and Swedes in the work place may be of value, but the same may not apply to the day to day society as a whole. 5. 1 Conclusion Hypotheses groundbreaking dimension has served as a good guide to understanding ultra analysis for the last three decades (Aching, 2005: Orr ; Hauser, 2008), providing ‘methodological, theoretical and practical contributions to the cultural arena’ (Aching 2008, p. 1 559).
Hefted (AAA) believes that further research is necessary in order to overcome any limitations his research may pose (Aching, 2005) and therefore we believe that this research paper bears a significant relevance. Headhunter’s (2008) research and findings vilify his proposal that the Baltic States are more similar culturally to the Scandinavian countries than they are to Russia. This is significant finding and could perhaps alter the human resource management strategies of multinational countries operating in Eastern and Northern Europe.
Also, using his research in Latvia, Headhunter (2008) has managed to assess a national culture that Hefted has never included in his work. However, as Hypotheses framework is a topic of much debate (Headhunter, 2008) critique may view Headhunter’s ) research, which uses Hotness’s dimensions to analyses the Baltic States, as being flawed particularly seeing as Headhunter (2008) used the fifth dimension that has been classed as irrelevant and problematic in some cases.