Munich Personal RePEc Archive

We're on a road to nowhere... new forms of work organization and national cultures

Ferreira, Pedro (2009): We're on a road to nowhere... new forms of work organization and national cultures. Published in: Estonian Business Review No. 26 (2009): pp. 25-36.

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The main objective of this paper is to discuss how far the cultural environment is related to the potential that new forms of work organization, namely autonomy and teamwork, have for success. To accomplish this objective two main approaches will be used: on the one hand, the Socio-Technical Systems(STS) approach, as the main theoretical background for new forms of work organization; and on the other hand, Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions as the theoretical model to frame the concept of national cultures. The study was developed using data from 23 EU countries. The study showed that the correlation between national cultures and new forms of work organization are significant, yet moderate. Moreover, differences in the impact of cultural dimensions on work design practices were found. The use of autonomy and teamwork can be insufficient to represent the wide variety of work design practices in STS. The same is also valid for cultural dimensions. An understanding of the cultural constraints on work design practices in EU countries can help improve organization models, furthering competitiveness.

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