By Man Gurung
MBA, MA Intl HRM
My journey of social work formally began since 1999 after I completed grade twelve-equivalent to A level in UK. It was from Shristi Sewa Samaj, in which we used to teach free basic computer training. And, Tamu Chhonjdhee, where we became successful to raise fund as well as to organise event in the National Conventional Centre- Rastriya Nach Ghar.During two year term as an executive member, I had learned of social work on that organisation . And, I became chairman of a social organisation of Village Development Centre, which was registered in the charity in Nepal. However, we helped by giving some drinks to the victim of the movement of republican during 62/63 BS in Kathmandu, Nepal. Then to pursue higher education, I came to study Intl Human Resources Management, in which I studied Cross Cultural Management as core module- Main subject. I think I became fortunate to study Culture, which was interested for me at the time. I may be interested to it due to my social experiences. Luckily Culture was core module, where I learned the theory of Professor Geert Hofstede, who is cultural sociologist- organisational rather than anthropologist. From the help of instrument i.e. dimensions that have been identified by Prof Geert Hofstead, I am going to compare the culture between Nepal and Britain.
Now a day, it became common that we should preserve our culture, tradition, language and Identities.What is the definition of culture? According to professor Geert Hofstede, ‘Culture is a collective programming of mind that distinguishes one group of people to the other’. It is the programming of mind Metaphor like computer. How does culture works? It is like the operating system in the computer that combine both hardware and other application software to run the computer. These are, people can understand, those things which are shared & people who lives in the jungle. Similarly, he answers on the question of ‘why do human being need culture?It is a glue that society bind together particularly relationship. Unwritten rules of the social games. Also in an organisation. Rules at different level profound and explicit level’.
Hofstede has done research on several European countries, USA, Middle East. He was a professor and an employee of an organisation IBM(Internet Business Machine). Mostly on the organisational culture, later his one of his friend done research on the Hongkong and China. Then, he added the cultural instrument of Short Term Vs Long Term. The cultural instrument that he identified are Power Distance, Individualism vs Collectivism, Masculanity Vs Feminine , Uncertainty Avoidance & Short Term Vs Long Term.
Cultural Differences between Nepal and United Kingdom(UK)
|Individualism||30||89||Collectivism is opposite|
|Long Term Orientation||51||69||Indulgence or short term|
With relating to these cultural instrument, I want to segment our culture.
Power distance of Nepali culture is high as compare to National culture Britain. What is power distance? According to the cultural sociologist Professor Hofsted, power distance is the feeling of lower level of people that thinks it’s their virtue and power are not equally distributed. They have influence of people who have higher power. There is significant differences between have and haven’t in the higher power distance. Because of the political, economic and societal changes, the power distance is lowering now than before in Nepal. However, it is still seems higher than the UK. In the UK, due to stable government, less joblessness, social care and other support and opportunities, there is not much differentiated in the power distance as compare to Nepal. The wealthy also wear similar dress, eat in similar restaurant etc which is not generally Signiant. However, being mostly Military background, there seems high in the power distance in the Gurkha veteran, in which the pay and pension of Gurkha Officer is higher than the general soldiers.
Individualism and Collectivism
The table showed that Nepal is more collectivist than the British. The political, economic and other external forces, Nepalese people become more collectivist. But, I believe, people are more individualist in the UK due to impact of the national culture and earning power. The future generation may be more individualist. Therefore, I suggest the social organisation should be planned as well. Individualism and collectivism depends upon the earning capabilities of the people. Where, it says, be more collective if people are more dependant on each other-poor. That is the western concept of capitalism.
Masculinity and Feminity
Nepali is more Masculinity than the British due to many reasons. One of them is education, employment, political changes, economy as well. One of the tools that helps to eliminate of gender role is the innovation of washing machine. It was more masculinity but now a days become more feminine in UK. There is no gender role in the feminity. Where in Masculinity, there is clear distinction between role of male and female. Mostly developed country such as Europe is more femine than the developing country, it is believed that due to the invention of washing machine and other technology. Nepal is also moving towards femine due to political, economic, social etc changes.
That can be relate to the rule of law, corruption and stability or instability of the political, economic, technology etc. Uncertainty avoidance of Nepal is high. There are political changes and new system is being installed. However, the system of UK is table so that uncertainty avoidance is high. Corruption is low, two party system mostly and rule of law. The system works.
Short Term vs Long Term. Mostly Asian are longer term, however, vary on nations. Hongkong, China are Long Term culture. But, western countries, USA, UK are short term, however, it is varied. I think the west become short term due to capitalist model and free market economy and may be other belief and values. However, in Hongkong & China I read that due to Confucius philosophy, mostly believe on the longer term.
As Hofstede says, one is unconscious of learning culture before ten years. Teacher will install the values to the students. Hence mostly in our community in the UK, mostly are from the British Gurkha joined in the army when they were average 18 years old. Then the culture adopted in the hongkong , Brunei etc. To students and other profession mostly above 25 years old quite matured in the Nepal. Our intention of coming here is settlement and bright future for the upcoming generation. Despite, many challenges to preserve and promote the Gurung & Nepali culture, one are settling here without hampering opportunities in their career and wealth creation.
Those who comes here in earlier their child hood or born here can adopt easily in the British Culture. However, those who came in their lateral child hood year may find difficult to dilute in the British Culture. Hence, they might struggle in the challenging career and higher paid or demanded job due to language and cultural barrier. As the culture install as a software in the childhood and then transfer from the school and family.
As far as more than half dozen of organisation’s experienced, I have got opportunities to engage with youth, participation in the Executive committee and consider their interest in the events. Vary on the organisation and some are keen on it. Still need to go long way.
Will the culture difference between youth and adults? yes. The education, job and national culture impact to sub culture. So , the youth who are educated here from children or born here tends to be more vocal and feel less power distant.
Whereas those who are from army career feels larger power distance.
In conclusion, we should preserve our culture, where we found strength and develop where necessary-artefact level such as dress can be changeable. However, we should be careful about the beliefs, which are core and challenging to changeable. However, due to not strong religion, it is challengeable to preserve ethnic as well Nepali national culture in the UK. This is on the reference of the one PHD student, who were from eastern part of Nepal came to do research. Some friend, who are doing PHD in Political science argue that western Nepal culture is strong so that it culture may not be diluted in the UK. We should compare, identified our strength and weakness and should develop where necessary and adopt the greatness of ones to the others, where each other can be beneficial. However, there is some argument about the instrument of Hofstead that he used to researched on the IBM, which is the business organisation etc.
Thank you for reading.
If you have any comments, please drop email
Compare country, Geer Hofstead , accessed on 20.12.2017 <https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/>
Interview of Geert Hofstead, accessed on 10:29 PM 04.12.2017https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8uwM2bOyek