Welcome to My Blog

The default template for Blogspot blogs displays a blog's description on each page. This gives you an opportunity to increase the density of your blog's primary keywords and keyword phrases. If you write a keyword-rich blog description, however, you may prefer for your readers not to see it while still making it available for search engines to scan. Modify your blog's template to hide the description of your blog while keeping it in the source code.

Good Day..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Inspection In A Small Company

A small company consisting of about 8 peoples. They are busy with interim services (finding and placing candidates within companies, a sort of  Temp agency). All this in the country Belgium. Most of them work from home. There is not really one office, and most communication is done by phone, e-mail and Skype. Seems pretty efficient no? That's what  I thought too, until I got this story from one of the people working there.

It turns out that there was a problem with receiving email for this particular person (can't reveal the name). Not much of a problem and technically easily fixed. The technical part is and was not the problem. What turned out to be the case is that the Managing Directors were receiving emails in blind copy(BCc) of everything that everybody either received or sent. So much (for right?) for privacy.

Ok, from a cultural point of view. What's the cultural make-up of Belgium according to professor Geert 

Hotsted? I'll list the first four dimension:

1. Power Distance: 62
2. Individualism: 75
3. Masculinity: 54
4. Uncertainty Avoidance: 89

Which dimensions make the most sense in explaining this behavior by the 2 bosses (the reading of all emails sent and received by their employees)?

My best pick would be Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance.

Why Power Distance?

Belgium scores culturally relatively high on dimension 1 and 2. The consequence is that most Belgians will do what their boss tell them to do. In other words they will accept (not necessarily respect) their boss. In addition, Belgians are quite Individualistic. Meaning in this case that they also have an "agenda" of their own. The combination of the two (dimensions 1 & 2make that when a Belgian subordinate accepts the assignment of their boss, and their own "agenda" doesn't "support" this, they might follow their won agenda in the case the boss in not paying attention (or:"inspecting" what they do). So, as a boss you're better off knowing what your people are doing all the time. Hence the screening of all the emails by the two bosses in the company (and they did screen ALL emails!)

Why Uncertainty Avoidance?

Simply put, in order to (in this case almost literally) avoid the uncertainty of not knowing what "others" are doing it is best to always know everything. In countries that score high on this dimension, people will pick up their mobile phone and answer any and all calls even when they're in meetings. In the above mentioned company reading all sent and received emails was an easy way to "know" what others were doing