The impact of national cultures and interpersonal factors on managerial communication
Ali, Abbas H.
This study was undertaken for two primary purposes. The first was to discover whether or not two of the four cultural dimensions depicted by Hof-stede (1980), namely Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance, could be repeated using samples from seven organizations operating in three distinct cultural settings. The second was to assess the degree to which these dimensions affect superior-subordinate communication across the culturally-different groups. Also, the impact of the three interpersonal factors: Trust in Superior, Upward Influence and Mobility Aspirations was investigated cross-culturally. Participants were 291 managers from seven organizations; four Sudanese, two white British and an organization in Britain run by a group of British citizens of Pakistani extraction. It was hypothesized that the Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance of the three groups would replicate Hof-stede's. Specific implications of these dimensions for organizational communication and in particular for superior-subordinate communication were also hypothesized. Multiple regression analyses were performed with items of the two cultural dimensions and the three interpersonal factors (each in turn) forming the independent variables, while the organizational communication aspects formed the dependent variables. T-tests between means were also used to compare and contrast issues such as directionality of information flow across organizations operating in these settings. Work-related values of each of the three cultural groups provided support for Hofstede's model. However, only tentative support was given to the hypothesized relationships between the cultural dimensions and organizational communication. Similarly, weak associations were found between the three interpersonal factors and superior-subordinate communication behaviour. Some practical and theoretical implications are offered. An evaluation of the study and recommendation for further research are also given.