The cultural dimension of individualism versus collectivism will be discussed in detail and the implications for the organisation will be presented. Finally, the Saudi culture will be described, with particular attention being paid to the Islamic and Bedouin traditions underpinning Saudi culture, and their impact on organisational management.
Over decades of scholarly explorations, the topic of national culture has remained a much favoured topic, with diverse views on national culture being proposed. The increase in cross cultural interactions, brought about by globalisation, has further contributed to the need for deeper understanding of the theoretical background and concepts of national culture and its influence on employee and organisational behaviour (Kalliny, Cruthirds, & Minor, 2006; Klein, Waxin, & Radnell, 2009). The characteristics of different cultures have been studied by different scholars, and various dimensions of national cultures have been used to measure and define various cultures (Hofstede, 1998; House et. al, 2004; Mallehi 2007; Pothukitchi et.al, 2002; Schein, 1998; Tayeb, 2005; Trompenaars & Hamden-Turner, 2000).
The foundation for culture is the shared set of values and collective beliefs which in turn shape behaviour (Morgan, 1986). Research has indicated that such things as cognitive frameworks, learned behavioural norms, shared meanings and perceptions, ethical codes, stories, heroes, symbols, and rituals all serve to shape our sense of culture and thus our behaviours (Alvesson, 2002; Brown, 1995; Kreitner & Kinicki, 1998). Because of this shared foundation, people of the same national culture are likely to behave in a similar manner and to share similar attitudes and perceptions (Hofstede, 2001). According to Francesco and Gold (1998), culture is the “most useful tool in identifying and explaining differences in how people behave”.
Culture is not static, but rather is constantly changing and evolving.