RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

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North, R. & Hort, L. (2002). Cross-cultural Influences on Employee Commitment in the Hotel Industry: Some preliminary thoughts, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 10(1), 22-34.

Cross-cultural Influences on Employee Commitment in the Hotel Industry: Some preliminary thoughts

Ruth North & Linda Hort

Abstract

An international hotel chain assesses work commitment as on of its measures in a “balanced scorecard” of organisational performance. However the measure has been developed in the USA, on American employees. As the hotel chain expanded into the Asia Pacific region it became clear that there was a need to reassess their method of organisational performance and to test its relevance and validity in the culturally diverse Asia Pacific region. The issues addressed in this paper are then: is the current US measure of work commitment relevant to Asia Pacific employees? Are the drivers and outcome behaviours of work commitment the same and if not what is a more valid measure? Using the cultural dimensions of Trompnaars & Hampden-Turner this paper presents a preliminary study of Australian, Malaysian and Thai employees. Surveys, focus groups, expert panels and interviews were conducted. Findings of this preliminary study show that the US dimensions for work commitment are not appropriate to the Malaysian and Thai employees who relationships with co-workers, customers and their supervisors more than opportunities for personal gain or growth. Differences were also apparent between Malaysia and Thailand in relation to primary focus on remuneration in Malaysia and relationships in Thailand. Australia was also different to the two Asian countries being far more individually focused. A larger study will build on the current findings to further explore what are the drivers and outcome behaviours of work commitment in the Asia Pacific region and create an index to measure this.

Introduction

The recent globalisation of organisations has resulted in a rapid growth in the number of unique national cultures with which multinational companies must successfully manage and work. This paper will explore how work commitment can be managed for employees in this diverse cultural region. Specifically this research focuses on what drives work commitment and how it is demonstrated by employees in the Asia Pacific region and the role played by national culture in determining these factors.

Hofstede (1991) explains that the study of national cultural differences has become a popular paradigm in anthropology. Hofstede is critical of mainstream anthropology in recent decades suggesting that it has “... constrained itself to marginal groups and to problems which for our society as a whole are fairly trivial” (Hofstede, 1991:248). He goes on to concede that despite this, anthropologists have the potential to make a worthwhile contribution, which could prove to be useful to other disciplines. For example, significant literature exists in relation to culture and its relevance to business (Hofstede, 1980; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998; Adler, 1997; Brooks, 1999). Ross (1999) states that the importance of national cultural characteristics as determinants of management behaviour and business success have long been acknowledged as critical by multinational business strategy researchers. The work of Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) has recently outlined how shared expectations lead to business success. Before culture can be used strategically to gain competitive advantage, however, the term needs to be clearly defined.

Over 160 definitions of culture were uncovered in the research of Kroeber & Kluckholm (1985), which support Mead (cited in Brooks, 1999:245) proposed that culture ‘is a body of learned behaviour, a collection of beliefs, habits and traditions shared by a group of people and successfully learned by people who enter society’. Hofstede (1984:13) sees culture as ‘the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one human group from another... culture, in this sense, includes sytems of values’.

Hofstede’s seminal work (1980) first identified how culture becomes encased by the notion of a shared set of values within national identity. Westwood & Everett (1987) make the case that in measuring these values we determine cultural differences. However, there is a concern regarding what values are being measured. Hofstede’s study on work values makes the assumption that these are valid indicators of national culture.

The question of the appropriateness of Hofstede’s definition and criticism of even the use of values is ongoing. Hofstede himself noted four value dimensions that impacted national cultures. These were indlividualism versus collectivism: that is the perception of being an individual first and group secondly or the reverse; uncertainty avoidance, which indicates how comfortable a culture is with change and uncertainty; masculinity versus femininity relating to relationships and ‘power distance’ which determines the type of preference for hierarchical relationships.

Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars (1993) research expanded from the works of Kluckhorn & Strodtbeck (1961) and Hofstede (1984). Trompenaars came from a consultant’s background and his research sought to find solutions and tools for managers and organisations to use. The data was collected from 15 000 respondents and was then expanded with Hampden-Turner to cover Asia (1993, 1997). Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) describe the ‘levels’ or layers of culture as leading from the explicit to the implicit. The most explicit layer, which is that most visible, is that of artefacts and products produced by a culture and which can be clearly seen. The next layer is that of norms and values reflecting a deeper more implicit culture. Finally the most implicit layer or core is that of a culture’s assumptions which is the way in which it solves problems and sees the world. Within any one national culture or even organisational culture there may be sub-cultures with potentially many ‘levels’ or subgroups, which will all display the levels or layers of cultures (Brooks 1999). Religious subgroups may exist as may subgroups of classes and races providing more ‘levels’. The highest level of culture is the national culture of a region.

Culture, according to Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars (1993), can be broadly defined into three areas: how we have relationships with other people, how we relate to the passage of time relationships and our relationship to the environment. Based on these three dimensions of culture it can then, according to their research, be further defined into seven dimensions; (1) universalism versus particularism which determines whether rules are applied regardless of the circumstances or that rules are applied taking into account particulars of a situation, (2) individualism versus communitarianism as per Hofstede (1980), (3) neutral versus emotional or the objective detached contact versus the emotional and complete involvement of the person, (4) specific versus diffuse determines if the relationship is as per the contract or involved at a deeper emotional level, (5) achievement versus ascription or being judged on recent and future achievements rather than on the status and position of your family, (6) attitude to time or a past or future orientation, and (7) attitude to the environment which is indicated by a desire to be in harmony with those around the individual.

Trompenaars & Hampden-Turners model and definition of culture is accepted as the theoretical basis of this study. In addition to the assumptions of their models Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) note it is crucial to have shared expectations to establish meaningful interactions in business and management which relates to this studies context within the International Service Industry.

The International Hotel

The context for this paper is an International hotel chain called, in this paper, for reasons of anonymity, the International Hotel Group. It is one of the largest hotel chains in the world with over 200,000 employees and operations in more than fifty countries. It has a strong market share and annual sales of US $8billion.

In 1997 the International Hotel Group purchased additional properties worldwide. Forty-two (42) of these hotels were located in the Asia Pacific Region with fourteen (14) in China alone. Not unlike other American companies wanting to break into this lucrative and expanding market, the International Hotel Group purchased these hotels and inherited an immediate domination in the industry of China and an equally strong position through the rest of the Asia Pacific Region. The International Hotel, like IBM studied by Hofstede (1980), has an extraordinarily strong organisational culture. It is American based and is Western in its approach.

A predominant method of measuring success within the organisation is through the application of the ‘Balanced Scorecard’ method (Denton & White, 2000). The method includes measuring and reaching goals in relation to profit, guest satisfaction and Associate (employee) satisfaction. Associate satisfaction is measured through an annual opinion survey (AOS), which is administered internationally. It is a comprehensive survey which asks questions in relation to a numerous areas including relations with superiors, the organisational culture’s effectiveness and the Associate’s intentions for the future in relation to tenure with the company.

The purpose is to measure associate satisfaction in relation to providing customer service, the work environment, communication, development and opportunities to progress within The International Hotel Group. Once measured the results of the AOS are linked back to the balanced scorecard for each property. Within this survey is a set of six questions which in the United States has been correlated to form the Work Commitment Index (WCI). Designed to predict turnover, the index is measured through work “satisfiers”. It contains questions that are said to be “drivers” of satisfaction and commitment.

The drivers of work commitment or the independent variables are considered to be measured by an individual: knowing the direction the company is heading, having job satisfaction, having recognition and rewards, the opportunity for growth, having a conducive work environment and finally, having a balance in work and life. The outcome behaviours or dependent variables if the drivers are provided should then be an employee who: assists in team development, demonstrates referral behaviour to the company, and has positive tenure intentions.

Currently the Work Commitment Index is used only in domestic U.S.A. However the International Hotel Group would like the Work Commitment Index to be usable for all properties. However, the question is: “is what creates and drives the Work Commitment Index in domestic USA the same as that in the international properties?”

Employee Commitment

Today’s changes in employment practices and shifts in management structure have put commitment on centre stage of the strategies for gaining workplace control and competitive advantage (Lincoln & Kalleberg, 1990). Throughout the literature there appears to be agreement on the definition of what constitutes work commitment and that is: a belief in, and acceptance of organisational goals and values, a willingness to exert effort towards organisational goals and a strong desire to maintain organisational membership (Porters, Steer, Mowday & Boulia, 1974).

Despite the apparent simplicity of what constitutes commitment Lincoln and Kalleberg (1990) differentiate between those employees who are committed to work and those who have commitment to the organisation. They may appear similar, but these authors caution against confusion, as there are distinct differences. One is motivated by the work itself whereas the other requires the employee to expand his or her efforts due to their allegiance to the organisation. Employees committed to the work itself often seek occupational specialisation and therefore would be less likely to perform duties as required by the organisation to fulfil its objectives (Lincoln & Kalleberg, 1990). The study’s focus is on exploring commitment to the organisation. Little research has been conducted on cross interpretations of commitment hence the applicability of measures such as the WCI may be problematic. This paper begins to examine this issue.

Finally, the area of job satisfaction is of relevance here because it is considered to be one of the drivers of work commitment. A widely studied and discussed concept, job satisfaction measures if people like their work and if they are getting what they want from it. The literature focusing on job satisfaction comes from its association with performance and positive work attitudes (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Despite the literature and research progressively showing that increased job satisfaction is linked with decreases in turnover and absenteeism (this created the core of Hertzberg’s (1968) two factor theory of work motivation) there is no evidence to link satisfaction to the care and effort taken in performing tasks (Perrow, 1979).

In summary, having satisfied employees does seem to mean that they will turn up and will not quit, but the leap to link this to getting any greater effort or care from them has not been made. Therefore, greater satisfaction may, in fact, be due to the securing of a low demanding job with good conditions that is not too taxing (Lincoln & Kalleberg, 1990). There is little research documenting the relationship between commitment and employee productivity however empirical evidence does demonstrate that commitment negatively corresponds with turnover and absenteeism (Mowday et al, 1982). What has not been considered is what drives work commitment and what defines the behaviour of committed employees, and in this correlation, the role played by cultural factors.

Culture in the Asia Pacific Region

BirdJoyce et al (1999), referring to the works of Hofstede (1980) and Laurent (1993), found that even in large multinational companies such as IBM which have very strong corporate cultures, there remained a difference due to national cultures.

Evidence of this was apparent even to the point where the greater the pressure for convergence to the corporate culture, the stronger the backlash to maintain national cultural identity. McIntosh (1999) confirms this in his concerns that U.S. authors have been persuading unsuspecting managers to force their Western practices onto the diverse cultures of the rest of the world without due consideration of the consequences.

Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) demonstrated that to best optimise and achieve local and head office goals, a balance must be found. In addition this means finding a balance between local freedom to prioritise employment values and reward efforts. In a truly international or transnational corporation the right mix between both these factors while relating them to the seven dimensions is determined, for example, how much group, versus personal rewards are given in any one area. The term “glocalization” as coined by Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) refers to the need for international organisations to become more standardised in their mode of operation and level of service delivery as they become global. They also need to adapt to the local characteristics of the market, including the cultural system and its wide influence on various factors. What is created is a balance that is achieved through careful ‘glocalization’. The question of achieving this balance has been the subject of investigation by researchers since the earliest of anthropologists’ works.

For this paper the extent of this exploration is contained within the Asia Pacific Region. Lowe (1998) noted that culture would be more influential in collectivist societies such as those found in Asia than in individualistic societies such as in the West. Lowe (1998) also makes the point that in Anglo-Saxon individualistic countries the influence of culture has all but been ignored in the literature to date. There is now a limited growth in literature which combines the issues of cultural diversity, successful management and the Asia Pacific Region (Price, 1998). The Pacific Rim holds the greatest cultural diversity in the world, Price (1998), the languages learnt, religions experienced, and the culture absorbed, shape a person’s character more so than any geographical border in the world (Price, 1998). In his definition of Asia, Irwin (1996) is quick to remind the reader that to flippantly regard Asia as ‘an amorphous mass, homogeneous in its characteristics’ is to fall into the trap of the European shorthand from whence it came. Woolcott (1993:28) refers to a former secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade who wrote in a Bulletin/Newsweek article that ‘as Asia matures as a nation [it]...’. Irwin correctly points out that Asia is no more a nation than Europe is. Asia is in fact a diverse group of countries, which, although they have much in common, are each different in many respects.

In the International Hotel Group, Australia and the Asian nations are banded together regionally under the Asia Pacific banner. Given the diverse differences we have recognised between and within the Asian countries themselves and the gap between Asia and Australia in culture, can the tools used to motivate employees and measure work commitment in the organisations origin country, the United States, be effective in the Asia Pacific Region? The question is not only of importance to multinationals, such as the International Hotel Group, seeking to succeed in business in the Asia Pacific Region but also provides a much needed addition to the literature. It could be argued that one of the key elements for the success of multinational corporations (MNCs) is found in their ability to create and maintain employee work commitment.

Work Commitment Index

Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) claim that management literature has one common message, which is that there is only one way to manage and organise. The “one best way” has proven to be a restriction on innovation and cross-cultural success. Parsons (1951), an American sociologist, stressed the need for organisations to adapt to their employees perceptions as well as to the environment. Current literature supports this view, emphasizing the need to consider not only employee perceptions, but to consider the environment and the context of the national culture from which the perceptions originate.

The Work Commitment Index was established in 1997 as a measure of the commitment of employees to their employers. It was the result of research undertaken by a consulting firm in 1996, to measure the commitment level of employees and to investigate conditions that enhanced or impeded employee commitment and retention.

In the spirit of the Consumer Confidence Index and Consumer Price Index the Work Commitment Index was established as the first national measure to gauge the relationship of the employee to the International Hotel Group employer in the United States. It also claimed usefulness in gauging future trends; develop effective workforce strategies to maintain commitment and retention and to provide a benchmark for organisations to compare themselves against.

To develop the Work Commitment Index 2,020 U.S. workers were interviewed in June 1997. Individual responses to each question were converted to a five point scale, summed, and numerically transformed to create a commitment score for each person. Transformations were calculated to generate an overall national index with a mean score of 100 and a standard deviation of 25.

The index created through the six questions is the dependent or outcome variable based upon the three key dimensions of workforce commitment as defined (in the background research) in the areas of motivation, productivity and commitment. The key dimensions are teamwork behaviours, referral and recommendation behaviour and intended tenure with the company. Through these three key dimensions, six questions were developed to measure the commitment level. Analysis of the independent variables or “drivers” began in 1997. The independent variables are: company direction, work satisfaction, recognition and rewards, opportunities for personal growth, company work environment and a work/life balance.

But are these relevant to the Asia Pacific Region?

Methodology

Current research has been limited to Malaysia, Thailand and Australia in the Asia Pacific region. As this research program develops it is intended that it will include a selection of those countries defined by Irwin as belonging to the Asia Pacific region (China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore) and additionally, Australia. This paper will address some of the underpinning assumptions about commitment in three cultural contexts, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Initial paper and pen surveys sent by the researchers to Human Resource Managers resulted in a very low response and a varied quality of information. This was due partly to difficulties in translation and lack of understanding of the purpose of the survey. Managers knew of the Associate survey and WCI and reported issues related to these surveys as being important to their staff in several of the Asian properties. However, conversations and observational data contradicted these comments. The older family members of staff who work voluntarily in low demand tasks in the hotel, to avoid being left home alone, attested to the importance of family in work satisfaction in one country. In another, the provision of prayer rooms and the opportunity for release to attend mosques was considered “a basic utility to be provided” by the company. In another the leave to enter the Buddhist temples annually whilst being paid to ensure provision for the family was expected and supported by law. It was therefore decided to use a more directed method of qualitative data collection, that is, focus groups.

For use with focus groups, statements were written that reflected the differing aspects of Hampden-Turner’s cultural dimensions (e.g. my family, kinship and status is viewed as important (ascription versus achievement) my past achievements are very important to how I am judged (future/past time orientation), the relationships I make with customers is very important to me (specific versus diffuse) etc, along with statements from the WCI (I know the direction this company is heading, I have opportunities for personal growth).

These items were used with a mixture of associates to see if clear patterns would emerge in relation to what they perceived created commitment between themselves and an employer. A first study using this task took place in November 2000 at an Australian Resort. A total of 27 Associates participated, spilt into four groups. The purpose of the activity as described to the group was to begin to uncover groups of items that were considered important to the Associates in the development of commitment between employees and employers. The activity involved a mix of associates by level, age and role forming small groups. Once the groups were formed they were given a set of the cards with statements written on them. As noted earlier, these statements contain the drivers suggested by the consulting firm to be the drivers of work commitment in America along with those predicted to be related to national culture as suggested by Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998).

The groups were required to sort through the statements putting them in order of importance to them as a team. They were also asked to create five statements of their own, which they believed described commitment and to fit them into their lists. As the group was mainly Australian the individual achievement oriented information was expected. The interesting thing about the results was how different the four groups results were. The first reflected a feel of the hotel for individuals in a day-to-day sense: friendily, flexible, ‘a family’ as well as identification and being present oriented. The second group appeared focused on what they would get from the hotel as an individual by way of recognition, satisfaction, opportunities, and was more future focused. The third group seemed more into immediate benefits. The fourth group also appeared to address identification and direction areas in addition to benefits and opportunities. The overall outcomes of the pilot were very useful. They allowed for areas to be smoothed out including the fact that some of the statements were not clear, the groups were too big and groups with strong participants appeared to be highly influenced by these individuals in the outcome. Finally and importantly the groups also tended to divide into cultural sub groups within the Australians, one appearing to be predominantly Australian Filipino, another strongly Australian Japanese and the final groups a mixture of cultures. The methodology of the task was revisited as a result in preparation for a second pilot of the process in an Asian setting.

In February 2001 a second set of focus groups was run in Malaysia with managers and supervisors in a hotel in Kota Bharu. Fifteen Associates participated, split into three groups. This second set of focus groups proved to give a clearer picture of the preferences to the dimensions however still did not definitively separate all the dimensions. Again, the groups differed from each other.

The first group identified, more strongly than the other two, that matters of recognition and reward were very important to them. However they also included the items on relationship (harmony) with the environment and the importance of relationships with customers and co-workers in their ‘most important’ category. The second group placed most items in their ‘most important’ category, all but 9 of the 20 items, with another 4 in the ‘important’ category. It was therefore difficult to determine generally what dimensions were really important versus not important for them. However the two items they indicated were unimportant were the environment and transitory relationships. Group 3, unlike group 1, did not include items on reward and recognition in their ‘most important’ category. They included items on work/life balance, the importance of relationships, knowing the company’s direction and being satisfied with their work. Unlike the Australian groups, benefits, either immediate or long term, seemed less important than relationships (which had been mentioned strongly by only one of the Australian groups) and harmony with the environment.

Interviews conducted in Malaysia and Thailand in August 2001 provided further support to the view that dimensions other than those which are important to the American WCI are key to the work commitment of employees in Asia Pacific locations, including Australia and Malaysia and Thailand.

Interviews revealed that the major differences between Malaysian and American work commitment included a focus on money (as opposed to status and recognition) and relationships. In discussing the relationship between money and work commitment, one manager commented that Associates felt that “money would be my main reason for moving.” The power of the dollar appears extremely influential in Malaysia and is often the reason for staff moving frequently between chains and subsequently is a key factor in creating commitment.

Of next greatest importance to the Associates in Malaysia in creating work commitment was “Relationships between superiors and the Associate. There has to be a good relationship with give and take and respect,” stated the manager. This factor was present in all the interviews conducted in Asia. The values of respect for elders, honesty, humility, being humble, valuing differences and trying to work in harmony, saving face and pride in teamwork appear to be the foundations for the importance of relationships. The Malaysian manager went on to explain “like Chinese Malays, if the main Chef leaves you can bet you’ll lose about half your staff overnight.” Because the commitment is in the relationship to the supervisor and not primarily to the company.

This importance of relationships was considered the number one factor driving work commitment in Thailand. The manager in one Thai hotel describes the relationship as fundamental to the culture. In Thailand he stated, “You see that in a lot of organisations when a manager moves or a manager changes a lot of staff will move with them. So because of the respect for the manager a lot of Thai people will move regardless of what the organisation is like. So if I am working here and I move to a local chain I might be able to convince a lot of people to come with me.” The research indicated clearly that relationships are a key factor in commitment to work in Thailand.

In the issue of differences between the International Hotel Group’s organisational culture and the national culture of the countries explored there appeared to be a high regard for the principles of respect and fairness espoused throughout the organization via various policies, programs and training in Malaysia and Thailand. The slogan of “the way we do business is as important as the business we do” enforces a strict adherence to ethical practices and conduct. All of this appears to be embraced by the national cultures and yet differences still became apparent throughout the interviews. In Malaysia it was mentioned that the openness of the organizational culture would take some time for the culture to embrace because “when we talk about speaking your mind and coming forward, for them it is either considered a lack of respect for those in senior positions or that I have a free hand on those in a lower position”. Meaning that they feel free to act as they like to subordinates without repercussions. The cultural limitation on speaking out was clearly noted in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the importance of the group was demonstrated. Even if Associates come forward they often do so in groups and the meaning of the information must be carefully interpreted because “they don’t want to be singled out so if the group say they are going this way, then they will whether they all agree or not and they don’t like to be isolated or left out. Anyone who differs from the group is isolated and ridiculed so they don’t want to be seen as different. Therefore to save face they all just go along. They think, “If I don’t score too high [on the WCI scale] then they will do something about it.”

The Thai interviews also revealed the cultural dilemma of utilizing a tool such as AOS in an organisational climate such as The International Hotel Group while balancing national culture. A Thai Manager explains, “The bad thing is that we still have a very strong feeling about relationships towards small groups. This means that if the person or one of the friends is impacted by something that is not right, it turns the other friends without them thinking of right or wrong, they will all think the same. This is maybe the family value which is very strong.”

The differences between the International Hotel Group’s organisational culture and the national cultures of the countries involved in this study are clear and are based predominately on the cultural dimension of relationships and conduct. The International Hotel Groups culture coming from America also raised issues regarding the conflict of that national culture and theirs such as “Which ever the level the Thai people they want the American bosses to see them and what they do, work and life is also important but American bosses who work in Thailand do not bring their families so they think of their work as their life and so they think the local people can do the same hours and that I think is quite challenging for them because they can work 12 hours a day but the Thai people have the home to go back to and the end process of their families is not getting done.” This interpretation of an American expatriate’s behaviour was often translated into a generalization of all Americans and also of the International Hotel Group’s organisational culture.

The focus groups in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia have been supported in addition with interviews. Running parallel to the focus groups and interviews has been a larger study to validate the dimensions of culture of Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1997), which involves all of the eight countries to be involved in the final research. Expert panels are currently being conducted in these countries already returning interesting results. Preliminary outcomes from the eight countries indicate that the US drivers for work commitment of: knowing company direction, work satisfaction, recognition and rewards, opportunities for personal growth, the company work environment and a work/life balance are better replaced by: opportunities to advance and develop career, benefits packages, job security, having a fair immediate supervisor and feeling like a part of the ‘family’. Differences that are currently being fully explored in conjunction with expert panels examining the potential outcome or behavioural indicators difference.

The preliminary findings from this study will be later augmented by a large-scale study in which employees from eight countries will be involved. Given that the research will be conducted with the International Hotel Group’s endorsement a good response rate and participation rate from each country and hotel is expected. The proposed sample therefore is estimated to be 12,500 Associates of a possible 17,000. In this larger study, individuals will complete surveys in which they will be required to choose between value dimensions that impact on their commitment to their work, so that an ordering of importance of their dimensions can be calculated.

Conclusion

Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998:3) write “There is a theory that internationalisation will create, or at least lead to, a common culture worldwide.” National culture clearly influences what creates work commitment from an employee to an employer in the countries of this study.

Our studies have indicated that the Trompcnaars & Hampden-Turner dimensions appear to pick up aspects of work commitment behaviour that are of relevance to the Asia Pacific area. As predicted by the work of Hofstede & Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, dimensions that are relevant to the American arm of the International Hotel Group, are not those that are most relevant to employees in the Asia Pacific regions. Attempts to measure work commitment using the USA based WCI would lead to false figures being obtained for the ‘balanced scorecard’. Should the International Hotel Group wish to continue using an effective scorecard for evaluation purposes it is important that it develop more appropriate measures for the Asia Pacific area, based in cross-cultural measures of work commitment.

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Ruth North is a doctoral candidate in the School of Marketing and Management at Griffith University. This work reflects a component of her doctoral research.

Dr Linda Ho is a senior academic at the Australian National University, Canberra.