Cultural and Gender Differences in Information Sharing through Social Media
Dissertation Topic: Cultural and Gender Differences in Information Sharing through Social Media. The overall aim of the project is to take a closer look into the social media networking site Facebook and conduct my own research into how people generally use Facebook, the impact and implications Facebook has on a user, the thoughts on privacy with regards to Facebook and to see if a participants ethnic background has an effect on the way they use the site. I will also be analyzing both male and female participants to see if there are any significant differences with regards to their Facebook activity, what they post and what personal information they choose to share. During this study I will look closely into the attitudes of users when posting content, their own censorship and consideration for others when posting content of themselves and others.
At the end of this marketing dissertation I aim to have a clearer insight and a greater understanding into a users cultural or ethnic background and if this has any effect on the way that they use or see Facebook and if there are any outstanding correlations between variables also to see if there are any significant differences between male and female participants and how they use Facebook. Since the advancement of the Internet, Social Media has become a huge part to play in everyday life. Communication and Information sharing through different types of Social Media platforms is at its highest and more and more people are choosing to use these methods.
This marketing dissertation aims to use a method that will help draw out concise results on how different cultures portray themselves through Social Media. This dissertation will consist of taking a close look as to how Social Media is used by individuals and the Social Media platform that has been chosen is Facebook. The dissertation will involve a number of phases; designing the specific method to collect the data required, carrying out the method, extracting the results collected from the method, finishing off with analysis and conclusiveness of the results. The outcome of this project is to be able to clearly differentiate between cultural groups and the way information is shared through Facebook.
Gain an understanding between the use of Facebook among participants
Focus on ethnic background with regards to Facebook and the differences
Focus on the gender differences when using Facebook
Analyse and draw up valid conclusions based on Gender, Age, and Degree type and Personal preference i.e. Privacy on Facebook
1 – Introduction
Overall aim of the project
Problem being addressed by the project
Motivations and usefulness of the project
Aims of the project
2 – Literature Review
Privacy on Facebook
Posting content to Facebook
Gender differences on Facebook
Cultures and Facebook
3 – Methodology
Construction of questionnaire
Data capture plan
4 – Methodology Analysis
Overview of data collection
5 – Facebook Results Analysis
Gender and Privacy
Levels of concern with privacy on Facebook
Concerns of posting content on Facebook
Self-Censoring on Facebook
Posting personal information to Facebook
Sharing personal preferences on Facebook
The type of information publicised on Facebook
Purpose for using Facebook and account creation on Facebook
The laws and restrictions on Facebook in China
Publicising information to Facebook based on ethnic background
Privacy concerns based on ethnic background
How participants portray themselves on Facebook
Consideration of others
Untagging a photo on Facebook
Gender and Ethnic Background
Sharing phone numbers and email addresses on Facebook
What participants Facebook Friends can see
Selecting the audience on your Facebook account
6 – Conclusion
Highlights of the project
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Cross Cultural Training. This MBA paper discusses Cross Cultural Training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training and determinants of cultural difference.
Inter cultural training is fast becoming a clearly important element in the world of global industry (Zakaria, 2000) This assignment discusses Cross cultural training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training, Determinants of cultural differences, Differences across cultures in people and practices, Socio-Cultural aspects of expatriate adjustment and Intercultural training issues.
Inter cultural training means “Any intervention aimed at increasing an individual’s capability to cope with and work in foreign environment” (Tung, 1981). It includes one to one discussion and imitation of the situations of other culture to understand the culture of host country. In other way cross cultural training means “Formal methods to prepare people for more effective interpersonal relations and job success when they interact extensively with individuals from cultures other than their own” (Brislin and Yoshida, 1994). Definition of cross cultural training hence is wide to include differences in areas like linguistic skills, corporate manners, views and principles, social system, negotiating styles etc. of any culture. The benefits of inter–cultural training are (Zakaria, 2000);
A distinct advantage for organizations
By continuous changing home country mode to a socially adjustable and suitable culture
By improving how to cope up with unpredicted events and by dealing with cultural shock in host country culture
By decreasing uncertainty in expatriates while dealing with host country citizens
Increasing expatriates managing skills by reducing stress and disorientation (Zakaria, 2000) So this is the instrument for increasing the corporate culture and follows constantly reviewing the activity of expatriates in the companies
Importance of Intercultural Training in Globalisation
Changing Nature of International Organisations
Because of increasing co enterprise and unions and the huge developments in minor to major businesses as significant contributions in globalisation. Due to shift in financial circumstances changed the way of organisations looking at the value efficiency of expatriates (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Change in Host Location
Due to huge foreign direct investment in foreign countries and inter cultural improvements the demand of expatriate assignment rise between established countries with a drop in the percentage of managers moving from developed world to the Third World (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Key Intercultural Skills for Expatriate Training
According to Hofstede (1980, p. 398) important intercultural skills are as follows:
The ability to interconnect esteem
The ability to be broadminded
The ability to accept others ideas and views
The ability to show sympathy
The ability to be elastic
The ability for giving chance to others in debates
Patience for doubtfulness
Gudykunst and Hammer (1983) focused on types of cross cultural training approaches. According to them there are two approaches:
Experiential versus Didactic: This method is based on an observation that individuals, mainly grownups, study by performing the task. (Knowles, 1972, 1975, 1990; Tough, 1979) For effectiveness in this approach learner have to study the processes and tactics for their significance in their society; improve a positive approach to the concept which will bring positive outcomes for them and also for another (Richards, 1997). In the didactic (information giving) approach, based on the thoughts that a cognitive understanding is essential before people can interact with another culture. This can be done by information giving such as lectures, videos and group discussions.
Culture Specific versus Culture General: Culture specific training gives information and direction about culture where expatiate is moving soon for his assignment. Culture specific method includes methods like culture specific briefings, assimilation and readings, giving expatriate knowledge about the country (e.g. past and present situation, creed); important ethics, or what to do and what not to do in that particular culture. (Harris and Kumra, 2000)On the other hand, Culture general training is about providing information to the peoples which they can use in any new culture with anew variety of know hows and developing expatiates with a set of expertise of how to deal with unknown cultures. Types of approach used in this include simulations and self-assessments (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Types and Benefits of Intercultural Training
Pre Departure Training: This is the traditional form for intercultural training and it is conducted in the home country and organised about a month ago before departure. For better efficiency, the training should be given when the trainees are most motivated to learn (Selmer, 2009) For example, if a person is unable to concern learning about another culture may not benefit from pre-departure training. The duration of most Cross Cultural Training programmes is depends upon the cultural distance from home country to host country. For example between the West and China (Branine, 2005). This experience is called ‘‘tourist phase’’ (Torbiorn,1982)
Post Arrival Training: Post arrival training is further beneficial when provided after expatriate coming back from host country to home country. (Gudykunst et al., 1996; Selmer et al., 1998). This takes around three to six months to start and focused on developments in the host country culture, world view, mentality, values, living patterns and social structure (Torbiorn, 1994). This training can take place at the host country, the home country or any other place. This is like ‘‘on site’’ training of expatriates. ‘‘on site’’ training supports to study innovative administrative measures, and help them adjust to the new cultural background.
Sequential Training: This training must be progressing in steps starting at pre departure and continuing to the post arrival phases which provides a complete direction for expatriate’s step by step improvement towards knowing the value and beliefs of the host culture. (Selmer, 2009) Sequential training has three pre conditions. First, expatriate’s encounters a much diverse societal atmosphere, that the expatriate has faced situations which were unknown before without any option. Then, the relocation to the overseas nation is within a short period of time. Third, expatriate Stays in the host culture for long time for situation to be restructured and the new behaviors to be taught (Selmer et al., 1998).
Content and Duration of Cross Cultural Training
Brislin (1979) has identified three different contents of Cross cultural Training as being cognitive, effective and behavioral in nature. The cognitive content matches to a distribution of information through discussions and other non-participatory resources. Cognitive content contain facts and figures important for real world measures, for example geographic knowledge, weather, accommodation, universities etc. The effective content aims at aggravating individual responses to learn how to deal with critical cultural situations.
The behavioral content aims at improving the communication style of participants for decent relationships with members of host culture and could enables communication with natives, shows an ability to show the interest to learn about overseas culture, supports expatriate to be well mannered (Eschback et al., 2001; Selmer, 2006). Duration of Cross Culture Training sessions are depending upon what training expatriate is getting ranging from one day or designed for few days or a month (Caligiuri et al., 2001; Gudykunst et al.). For example, language training from basic level to advance level reneging from one day to one month.
Benefits of Cross Cultural Training
Cross cultural training improves consciousness amongst people in order to promote clear lines of communication and better relationships. Cross Cultural Training should enable expatriates to determine appropriate cultural behaviours in the host country and suitable ways to perform their job tasks (Black and Mendenhall, 1990). Through Cross Cultural Training, expatriates may get familiar with unexpected happenings in the new cultural background and to reduce conflict due to unexpected actions and situations. Furthermore, it also shows that in the pre departure Cross Cultural Training, the training may help expatriates to create accurate outlooks with respect to living and working in the host country. (Black and Mendenhall, 1990; Black et al., 1991)
An Integrated Cross Cultural Training Model
This model relates the success of training to the development of acculturation. This supports expatriates to act very effectively and reduce stressful practices while facing the insecurity in overseas nations. This model defines acculturation as both a development and a state. For individual persons, family support and willingness to acculturate features added. The type of job assignment, length of assignment and type of training added in situational features. The main improvement in this model is the adding of extra critical process earlier cultural contact takes place, both of which are antecedents to the acculturation process. (Zakaria, 2000)
The new procedure is the moderating process which needs good training programs. The main purposes of this procedure are: adjust the individual and situational characteristics; decrease the culture shock like stress, disorientation, learning and skills deficits; accomplish improved acculturation results. Cross cultural training is important element. With the help of integrated cross cultural training program organisations gain benefits if training is provided in a proper way (Nixon & Dawson 2013)
Determinants of Cultural Differences
Pioneering study of cultures across modern nations done by Hofstede, Dutch social psychologist, in different cultures evaluated the outcomes and establishes forms of likeness and variance among the answers along these five dimensions. According to Hofstede (1981, in Hofstede, 2001) there are some magnitudes in to the cultural factors. These factors are as follows:
Power distance index (PDI): This state to the degree of dissimilarity that exists – and is accepted – between persons with and without power. A high PD score shows that culture agrees an unequal circulation of power and people recognise “their place” in the system. A Low PD shows that power is shared and well distributed. It also means equality in the society members.
Individualism (IDV): means specific point at which persons take care about them beyond family and with a very few close friends or stay incorporated into groups usually around the family.
Masculinity (MAS) vs. feminism: means the circulation of emotional roles amongst the sexes. It opposes a tough masculine to tender feminine society. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest and the caring pole called ‘feminine’.
Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): this deals with a culture’s open mindedness for uncertainty and ambiguity; which shows the states to man’s hunt for reality. It shows to what level a culture programs its members to feel in unstructured conditions. For example, uncomfortable or comfortable.
Long term orientation (LTO): This state that at what dimensions values and ethics age old works as opposite to short term customs and beliefs. Countries those are having a high Long term orientation score, bringing on social responsibilities and side stepping “loss of face” are count very significant.
Differences across Cultures in People and Practices
Many people behave significantly different in different situations because of their cultures differences. The motivational desires of the expatriates and executives differ from culture to culture. The driving force which causes peoples to do the job in India may not be the same for Chines peoples; international manager must understand the modifications in the people’s mode of doing work. (Neelankavil and James, 2012)
The manufacture services of organizations may be same through divisions but the mind-set of the people’s changes organizations to organizations. For example, Japanese management system like quality circles failed when they have applied into Indian organisations. Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang (2012) study shows that in four countries for management development and motivational aspects in both different training found diverse management values, value dimensions and relative administration. India established a similar value to America than its neighbor country china though less geographic distance. For example, Drive and ambition were significant for American managers (91) for achievement which is not the instance for China (7) (Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang, 2012)
Socio Cultural Aspects of Expatriate Adjustment
There is difference in Socio-Cultural and psychological adjustments in the concept of inter cultural adjustment (Searle and Ward, 1990; Ward and Kennedy, 1992, 1993; Ward and Searle, 1991). Socio-Cultural adjustment communicates the capability to successfully interact with the peoples of overseas country (Ward and Kennedy, 1996) which has been linked with objects that encourage and enable to learn other countries culture and acquire social skills. (Cross, 1995; Searle and Ward, 1990) The Socio-Cultural stressed on social behavior (Black and Mendenhall, 1991; Furnham, 1993; Klineberg, 1982).Psychological adjustment means person’s happiness in their new social backgrounds linked with persons emotions, cognitive views, and individual features (Ward and Kennedy, 1996). Black et al. (1991) discussed in their recommended model for international managers modification, difference in three types of modification is as follows:
Modification towards expatriates work;
Modification towards communicating with citizens of the host country;
Modification towards social situation.
It is very important that for sending their expatriates to the host country must be aware of situations in an overseas. Managing with an overseas nation both administrative and national require well organized homework. A very well equipped cross cultural training will help the organizations to be ready for, with the fluctuations in the functioning policies, principles and ethics they are predicted towards the future. There is a degree of variance expatriate may see while moving to a host country. An organisation may face losses due to unorganized cross cultural training and that is the matter of great concern.
For preparing the expatriates for an overseas mission is equally advantageous for the companies and for international managers. In cross cultural training it is very important that which type of training program organisation using. A good organised inter cultural teaching program might help in uncertain circumstances; from this activity industry can get the best possible output from the international managers by taking care of the employee confidence and inspiration. Now from the above arguments we can say that inter cultural training is the main factor for success in international human resource management.
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Development Strategy for Business Resilience and Sustainability through an Incremental Strategy – A Study of British Telecom
This report discusses the comparative analysis of three strategies namely incremental, renovate and inventive within the context of the internal as well as the external environment of a company such as BT (British Telecommunications Limited) which is a multinational telecommunications services company headquartered in London. It also evaluates a change management programme that can bring about strategic change within this organisation. BT has a global services as well as a retail division. Its operations span 170 countries throughout the world.
Company’s Internal and External Environment and Its Strategy Type
In the current business scenario, intense competition, integration across global markets, changes in technology and the advancement of the telecommunications sector are some of the external factors that influence the change management program of BT. the Company’s managerial talent and the level of the motivation of its workforce are some of the internal factors influencing strategic management. In order to improve the effectiveness of the organisation, strategy is the key because it leverages the capabilities of the individuals and the institution in a cohesive manner. The ideal development strategy for a company like BT that seeks business resilience and sustainability throughout its line of operations is an incremental approach.
Incremental strategies are effective within the current dynamic environment. Regulatory convergence is a key factor in the selection of incremental strategy for handling change and sustaining profits. The challenges of global competition have to be seen within the broader regulatory framework for effective strategic management. The incremental approach to strategic management is in response to the complex and ever changing corporate environment. Consequently, the strategic process moved in an incremental manner adapting to changes in the internal and external environment of the company. Decisions will then be driven by multiple goals. BT has low levels of business resources with respect to its telecommunications services though it is steadily expanding in the field of broadband communications. BT has reported a fall in sales though it experienced a healthy profit in 2013. Moderate or high business resources imply greater strategic capabilities which enable the company to excel using innovation or denotative strategic management. Annual pre-tax profits of BT were up by more than 40% but sales fell by 4%.
Business Strategy BT Competitive Analysis
The major feature of the incremental strategy is that it is decentralised and it responds to dynamic environmental challenges. BT is facing a changing socioeconomic milieu wherein the incremental approach accounts for this variable. An incremental strategy enables the organisation to fulfil its mission by closing the divide between long as well as short term goals within a changing environment. Organisational design followed a contingency approach since landmark research was conducted by Emery and Trist (1965) as well as Lawrence and Lorsch (1967). When a company faces a challenging environment, incremental strategy is far better than inventive or renovate strategies on account of the challenging environment faced by the company. As a British MNC which has to face global competition, BT should opt for an incremental strategy to boost its prospects and sales. The degree to which the environment of a company is globalised also influences its development strategy. Porter has proposed the five force model for analyses of competition presented below:
Figure 1: Porter’s 5 Force Model from Michael Porter, “Competitive Strategies”
Porter’s model elucidates how competition from different sources can create industry rivalry. Competitive analyses in the context of an incremental strategy is suitable for organisations such as BT which want to cope with competition from different sources, as discussed in Porter’s model.
Business Strategy BT Competitive Advantage
BT needs to consider the complete gamut of competitors through an incremental approach to change management. Porter (1980) has argued that organisations should consider the behaviour of firms that are producing same/similar products as well as the action of suppliers, competitors producing substitute products and the customers themselves. An incremental strategy enables companies such as BT to develop a holistic view of the market to promote business resilience and boost profits. Competitive advantage has been discussed through a model proposed by Porter discussed below:
Figure 2: Porter’s Generic Strategies Model (Porter, 1980)
Ansoff (1985) has discussed how companies should also develop the strategy keeping in mind the flow of critical resources for production. They should also consider how they will impact non-market actors. Nonmarket actors or strategic interest groups also have an important role to play in influencing the development strategy of a firm. BT should follow a cost leadership strategy for low cost rather than aiming for product uniqueness as there are many rivals offering advanced services in this sector.
The culture of an organisation also plays a key role in influencing the strategy it adopts. The company’s abilities revolve around the resource, skills and procedures as well as its competencies. Attitudes and other cognitive factors reflect an organisation’s culture. The work culture at BT is unique. It focuses on completion of projects and garnering of crucial contracts. The organisational culture of a company influences its success in current times. BT needs to follow an incremental strategy whereby it adapts to changing global and domestic environment so that it can keep up with its competitors. The choice of a strategic management approach is based on several critical considerations such as an organisation’s strategic capabilities, competitive analyses, competitive advantage and culture.
An organisation must have a strategy that can meet the challenges of its internal or external environment (Ashby, 1961). Therefore, an incremental strategy would be ideal for enhancing the sustainability of business practices and the resilience of British Telecom. Consider the personnel, structure, systems and financial resources to be important factors in any strategy for change management. An incremental strategy follows a contingency approach which is ideal for British Telecom.
The organisation’s culture as reflected by collective values, experiences and beliefs of its members also has a critical role to play in its success. An incremental strategy for development and change management incorporates this effectively, making it the viable and effective choice for BT which has skilled employees. An incremental strategy is ideal for bringing about small but important changes in the organisational functioning compared to inventive or renovate strategies which focus on large scale change.
In order to possess business resilience and sustainability in its operations, BT needs to follow an incremental strategy to bolster its current organisational culture. Companies need to be proactive to cope with changes such as economic slowdowns, increased global competition and massive amount of technological advancement. BT would do well to adopt an incremental, contingency oriented approach to strategic management to cope with this.
Critical Evaluation of the Incremental Strategy
Incremental strategy is ideal for British Telecom. An incremental strategy enables the company to have flexibility in coping with uncertainties in the field of policy regulation and governance.
There is a need to bargain with stakeholders and integrate human and organisational capabilities to catapult the company to the path of success. Renovate and innovative strategies can only be effective in environments where there are less regulation uncertainties (Lindblom, 1979). Each of the different resources within a company plays a critical role in its success. Through an incremental approach, British Telecom can impact its employees in a positive way. By instilling coping skills and out of the box thinking to manage dynamic and changing situations, BT can boost its profits.
Employees also differ in terms of their personal knowledge, perception, limitations, and it is due to this inherent complexity that incremental strategy can be the perfect tool for change. Diversity is one of the chief features of the workforce at BT. Therefore; development strategies followed here should take advantage of this versatility. Incremental approaches to strategic management can accomplish this. Top managers within the same company can approach the same problem with different solutions (Bower & Doz, 1979).
Operations system provides guidance regarding how work procedures must be carried on and provides the framework for performing the work People are the key resources of any company. They are the prime assets which spur the growth and development of the organisation. Operations are a key area where rapid changes have to be kept pace with. The internal as well as external stakeholders also play a central role in the company’s success (Lindblom, 1959; Mintzberg, 1919). Balancing the goals and interests of stakeholders is the key to organisational success (Ansoff, 1985). BT should adopt an incremental strategy to improve operations.
Financial resources are necessary to accomplish goals and provide rewards. Money is one of the primary motivators for obtaining optimal performance from employees in the work setting. Annual pre-tax profits were up 42% to £2.4bn, last year for BT while sales were down 4%. An incremental strategy is ideal for a company such as BT which has ample financial resources.
Technology sets the stage for the company to maximise its capabilities if it keeps pace with it. Effective utilisation of resources is a must if a company has to progress and make healthy profits. An organisation’s culture is maintained and transmitted by its workers. Leaders of internal stakeholder groups are the key assets to instil positive change within an organisation. For companies such as BT that are facing moderate to heavy environmental turbulence, an incremental strategy for strategic management is needed (Mintzberg, 1973).
Several comprehensive reviews have been conducted by leading researchers in the field of strategic management (Hofer, 1976; Vancil, 1976; Armstrong, 1982). Research has found that degree of formality centralisation, hierarchical structure and comprehensiveness of any company is influenced by its environment, and complexity (Armstong, 1982, Hofer, 1976). In current scenario, an incremental strategy is optimal for BT.
Change Management Programme
A change management programme for British Telecom must incorporate an incremental approach. This is because its external and internal environment is more suited to an approach that makes allowances for sudden and rapid changes. Whether it is people, financial aspects, technological advancements or organisational culture, all aspects of an organisation’s functioning need to be taken into account for effective change management. A conventional approach towards change management will not be successful. In 1995, John Kotter published his landmark paper “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail”. This paper cited how only 30% of change programs are successful.
The biggest advantages of a change management programme for British Telecom through an incremental strategy is that it will make allowances for the rapid changes in technology and competition that are taking place in the Indian telecommunications sector. Colin Price and Emily Lawson (2003) suggested that the conditions which must be met for employees within an organisation to embrace change include their agreement to the change, effective role modelling for inculcation of change oriented behaviours, and reinforcement systems that encourage the behaviour and the skills required for change. The structures, systems, processes and incentives within a change management program should be conducive towards a positive transformation of the company into a reliable and sustainable business.
An incremental approach to strategic management can bring about this transformation for British Telecom. But change management processes should have an appeal for employees. Businesses that want to do more than survive have to remodel themselves to match up to competitors. Change management programmes have incorporated various methods such as total quality management, rightsizing, restructuring, cultural change and turnarounds in a bid to improve their profit margins. British Telecom needs to follow a change programme that pursues innovation in a way that is flexible and keeps in line with the incremental strategy of adapting to changes. Too many companies fail to progress beyond a certain point when it comes to garnering market share because they do not anticipate change due to factors such as advances in technology and industrial competition. Even a change management programme based on the incremental approach can have a few pitfalls though. Anticipating change is not easy. Many times, market analysts may be predicting a trend which is short-lived. Kotter’s 10 year study of more than 100 companies found unsuccessful change management programmes failed to generate the urgency or formulate a vision that could be communicated well to bring about a complete transition.
Companies need to be practical and realistic in their aspirations. Only then can change management programmes succeed in a complete sense. Obstacles to the change management programme suggested in this paper include rapid changes in the regulatory framework, unforeseen innovations and advancements in the field of technology and lack of market foresight. Genuine transformations require game changing ideas which can bring about creative solutions to problems. A change management programme based on an incremental strategy can only succeed if company personnel have the objectivity to view successes and failures in accurate ways.
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