How to measure social culture and organizational culture of one country is an important issue (Miroshnik, 2002). Culture can be defined as the way of life of the group of people, which includes beliefs, art, law, morals, customs, and any capabilities and habits acquired by a man as a member of society, and enables people to communicate with others, provides the knowledge and skill necessary, and anticipates how others in society are likely to respond for the actions (Miroshnik, 2002).
In other hand, managers frequently view culture as the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another and the interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influence a group’s response to the environment (Harvey, 1997).
Culture also has a profound influence on all aspects of human behavior. Cultural influences change and culture evolves as political, social, economic, and technological forces reshape the cultural landscape (Craig, 2006). Therefore, it becomes increasingly essential to take into account the character of culture and to understand the culture effects between countries in associated with business. In this paper, the cultural research will be discussed further as well the implications on the managerial practices.
Indonesia and Singapore Cultural Research
Indonesia is located at Southeast Asia and the archipelago composed of about 13,000 islands. The Bahasa Indonesia has been officially adopted as national language. Hindi, Buddhist, Islam, Protestant, and Catholic are the main religions in Indonesia, where Islam has become the dominant religion (Munandar, 1996). The climate typically produces high, even temperatures and heavy rainfall. Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population after China, India, and United States, with population estimated 238,452,952 in July 2004 (“Country profile: Indonesia”, 2004 ). There are about 350 ethnics in Indonesia, where Javanese dominated with 45 percent of the population. The production of palm oil has expanded rapidly in recent years, and takes into account in economic sector, despite the fact that Indonesian economy is mostly influenced in agriculture sector, including forestry and fishing (Economist, 2005).
Indonesia has power distance as the highest ranking on Hofstede’s value dimension and accepted by the society as part of their cultural heritage (Hofstede, 2004). This can be seen where senior levels of hierarchy demand respect from the lower status (Makmur, 2002). This example can be implemented into business side, where a manager demand respect positively from employees.
The second highest ranking for Indonesia is uncertainty avoidance. This indicates Indonesian societies have low level of tolerance for uncertainty, and strict rules, laws, regulations are adopted and implemented to minimize this level of uncertainty (Hofstede, 2004).
The level of individualism is low in Indonesia. This level indicates the Indonesian society is high in femininity as compared to masculinity. High in femininity means the society fosters strong relationship where anyone takes responsibility and concern for fellow members of their group (Hofstede, 2004).
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world with 88% of their population practicing the Muslim faith (Hofstede, 2004). Thus, Indonesian culture is mostly influenced by the Muslims and highly rule-oriented by the Muslims.
Indonesians respect for status, position, and age. It is important to be polite in the presence of one’s elders in order to show respect. In business, social acceptance is considered important. In fact, the contacts of personal friend may be the priority in a business relationship than the quality of a product or service (Makmur, 2002). This situation can be say that Indonesians tend to be more human orientation, because in the society or business, relationship with others is the priority.
Generally, Indonesians tend to preserve dignity. This characteristic can be a threat in dealing business, because Indonesians tend to be assertive and excellent in performance orientation (Makmur, 2002). For examples, Indonesians avoid admitting lack of knowledge, inability to complete something, or deny something that it is actually true in order to show dignity.
Indonesians are polite people. Upon meeting and leaving, it is usual to shake hands with both men and women. The other example is Indonesians avoid using left hand when offering something to others, because