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Columbia College Hierarchical and Flat Organizational Structures Discussion

Columbia College Hierarchical and Flat Organizational Structures Discussion


Assignment 1

While Americans tend to encourage democratic organizational patterns, many other cultures prefer clearly defined hierarchies. The source of these hierarchies could be derived from race, gender, education, age, social status, family, religion or ethnic origin.  Discuss and elaborate on two cases (that you may have witnessed or otherwise learned about) that portray differences on hierarchical versus flat views that are a source of tension.  Could you reconcile the difference in viewpoints to diffuse the source of tension that may arise?

Note that the problem of gender inequality is complementary to, but nevertheless separate from the issue of hierarchy. While sexism is a problem and a matter of historical injustice, a different set of views on hierarchy is not – just different approaches to how relationships are structured in different societies.

Your initial post should be at least 300 words in length. Then reply to other posts (at least 3, minimum of 100 words each) regarding your opinion on your classmate(s)’ perspectives and offer suggestions that may be helpful to understanding the issues at stake.

Both in your original post and in your responses, please make every effort to stay on topic and remain focused on the issues in hand. When responding to peers’ postings, do not limit yourself to statements such as “Great post, I really enjoyed reading your opinion on this and that.” Instead, try to offer additional insight into the subject, question the assertions exposed with substantive reasoning, and suggest possible alternatives or further depth to the arguments.

Assignment two-400 word mark or more

Complete the Chapter IV portion of the Cultural Questionnaire beginning on page 116 of the textbook. Then type a personal interpretation of your results in the box. Please make sure to work on the portion of the questionnaire that pertains to Chapter IV only. A well thought-out and thorough answer is expected to reach the 400-word mark. My answers are 16-b 17-b 18-a 19-b 20-b

“Chapter IV. Power: Hierarchical or Democratic?16.  You’ve worked with the new vice president for several monthsand have formed an opinion of her. You like her for the follow-ing reason.(A)  She listens to various opinions and seeks consensus.(B)  She takes charge and doesn’t put up with any nonsense.17.  You have been selected by the head of your department to be ateam member on a big project. At the first team meeting, somepeople suggest that the team select a leader.(A)  You disagree. No one should be singled out as higher inrank than the others.(B)  You  agree.  The  team  will  accomplish  more  with  clearleadership and structure.18.  Your division is facing cutbacks, and you must decide how thisshould be accomplished. What would you do?(A)  Call a meeting of employees to discuss options.(B)  Cut everyone’s salary by 3%.19.  You’ve been introduced to an economist from a prominent uni-versity in Madrid. You address him in the following manner:(A)  It’s nice to meet you, Rodrigo.(B)  It’s good to meet you, Dr. Barbato.20.  You will be meeting with representatives of a South Koreanelectronics firm. You decide to wear the following:(A)  Business casual attire.(B)  Business attire.Calculate your score. If you answered with more As, you may tendtoward a more democratic view of organizational culture. If youscored more Bs, you probably have a more hierarchical view of orga-nizational culture”

Assignment three- 500 word mark or more

Some Perceptions of Americans

Just like we tend to form stereotyped ideas of other groups of people different than us, so they have their own stereotypes about us. While stereotypes, because they are often rooted in oversimplified generalizations, may generate preconceptions that are unsubstantiated by reality, they are simultaneously a device that helps categorize observable customs and behaviors that stand out because they differ from our predictable norm. These differences perceived in others typically stem from cultural factors that are relatively easily identifiable –  both on the subject and on the beholder.

Read some common perceptions the following nationals have of United States citizens:

  • Europe & especially England: “Americans are unsubtle. And they are fat and bad dressers.”
  • Finland: “Americans always want to say your name: “That’s a nice tie, Mikko.” “Hi Mikko, how are you, Mikko?”
  • India: “Americans are always in a hurry. Just watch the way they walk down the street.”
  • Kenya: “Americans are distant. They are not really close to other people – even other Americans.”
  • Turkey: “Once we were out in a rural area in the middle of nowhere and saw an American come to a stop sign. Though he could see in both directions for miles, and there was no traffic, he still stopped!”
  • Colombia: “In the United States, they think that life is only work.”
  • Indonesia: “In the United States everything has to be talked about and analyzed. Even the littlest thing has to be ‘Why, why why?’.”
  • Ethiopia: “The American is very explicit. He wants a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If someone tries to speak figuratively, the American is confused.”
  • Iran: “The first time my American professor told me ‘I don’t know, I will have to look it up’, I was shocked. I asked myself ‘Why is he teaching me?’”

Chose two of these stances and explain, based on the general principles of cultural differentiation outlined in this course, how these perceptions come to be.

NOTE: The perceptions people have of other people in different countries tend to be stereotypical, as stated above. All societies do this. For example, “The French smell bad” – as I’ve heard many Americans state. It does not mean, obviously, everyone fits, or holds, the stereotypes. In any case, the productive goal here is not to validate or rebuke any these statements, as offensive as they may seem to us – but rather try to understand why they came about, taking as a reference the cultural principles we have explored in the last four weeks.

Keep in mind the idea is to contextualize these perceptions within the framework of the cultural principles we have been working on… so, why do some people think that about Americans, but we don’t see it looking at ourselves? Why do others make certain observations, while we don’t notice this about ourselves? Is it because of the low-context/high-context clash? Is it because of the individualist/collectivist contrast? Is it because of different perceptions of time? Is it a matter of different hierarchical expectations? What is there in these cultures that sheds a distinctive light informing the stereotype on Americans?


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