Satisfaction as a Function of Perceived Change in Likelihood of Goal Attainment: A Cross-Cultural Study

Satisfaction as a Function of Perceived Change in Likelihood of Goal Attainment: A Cross-Cultural Study

Bruce A. Reinig (San Diego State University, USA), Robert O. Briggs (University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA) and Gert-Jan de Vreede (University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-466-0.ch009
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Abstract

E-collaboration users tend to abandon their technology when they feel dissatisfied by their experience, even if they have been productive. It is therefore important to understand the causes of satisfaction so we can design and deploy e-collaboration in ways that make users both productive and satisfied. We advance a theory proposing satisfaction as a function of a perceived change in the likelihood of goal attainment (LGA). We test the theory in two countries (United States and The Netherlands) that differ along Hofstede’s (1991) masculinity-femininity cultural dimension. Empirical findings support the theory in both countries among 367 knowledge workers using e-collaboration to address real organizational problems and issues. We discuss the implications for research and practice.
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Introduction

Many global organizations now depend on teams that include members from diverse national cultures to identify, plan, and carry out critical tasks. Yet, cultural differences can impede productivity when norms and expectations differ substantially among team members (Beranek, Broder, Reinig, Romano, & Sump, 2005). Communication processes in teams include social cues and mechanisms that may differ from culture to culture (Massey, Montoya-Weiss, & Hung, 2003). The meanings people ascribe to words, symbols, and actions; perceptions of time; the goals people hold; and the value people ascribe to those goals may differ from culture to culture.

Hofstede (1991, p. 5) defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.” Culture is a learned phenomenon that is shared among people within the same social environment (Hofstede). Hofstede identifies five dimensions that characterize how cultures differ from one another. For example, power distance is defined as “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally” (p. 28). Researchers have examined the relationship between power distance and various aspects of collaboration and technology (e.g., Lim, Raman, & Wei, 1990; Lu, 2003; Tan, Watson, Wei, Raman, & Kerola, 1993). Another dimension of culture, masculinity and femininity, has received less attention from researchers, but it is of particular importance to e-collaboration. Masculinity and femininity are described as two ends of a continuum whereby masculinity “pertains to societies in which social gender roles are clearly distinct” and femininity “pertains to societies in which social gender roles overlap” (Hofstede, pp. 82-83). In masculine societies, men are typically expected to be more assertive and tough than women, and more focused on material success. In more feminine societies, both men and women are expected to be modest and tender, and focused on quality of life (Hofstede). Differences along the masculinity-femininity dimension, Hofstede asserts, can manifest in workplace meetings.

Hofstede (1991) uses the United States as an archetype of masculine culture and The Netherlands as an archetype of feminine culture. He reports that people in Dutch meetings seem to be more focused on seeking common solutions, while people in U.S. meetings tend to be relatively more focused on asserting themselves and demonstrating their expertise. Hofstede summarizes these differences by stating that, in masculine cultures, conflicts are resolved by a “good fight,” and in feminine cultures, conflicts are more likely to be resolved by “compromise and negotiation.” The masculinity-femininity dimension in the context of meetings is therefore of particular interest to e-collaboration research and practice.

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