Why not to use attitude scales

When it comes to the functioning of organisations, attitude scales are mainly used in order to understand national cultures. For example, G. Hofstede, whose research is a reference in this field, uses five scales: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity, and long-term orientation.
This approach is not satisfactory for managers. Indeed, cultures are not only characterised by levels of individualism, hierarchical spirit, etc., but by different ways of combining opposing attitudes: a culture that is highly individualistic, hierarchical, etc., on some points may be highly collectivist, egalitarian, etc. on others. Managers need to know how each particular form of individualism, hierarchical spirit, etc., leads to a reaction to each management tool (a form of decentralisation and control, a quality approach, an IT system, etc.).
Furthermore, in countries where attitudes that are not conducive to a good productive efficiency – for example, the fear of superiors – tend to prevail, management’s role is to establish forms of management that promote the emergence of attitudes that deviate from those that one usually encounters in companies. This requires escaping from a vision by which attitudes are determined by culture.


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