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The impact of national culture on importance assessment processes

Stienstra, Martin R. (2008) The impact of national culture on importance assessment processes.

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Abstract:This research focuses on the influence of culture on importance assessment processes. It is a continuation of the work of Heerkens (2003). Heerkens modelled the importance assessment process into a model of which appeared that subjects with no routine in making deliberations regarding attributes (as part of alternatives) follow a certain pattern. The main issue was, as the research of Heerkens was executed in the Netherlands, to what extend the outcomes of the research would be the same in a country which could be considered completely different. Pakistan was selected, because the country is considerably different regarding the culture and for practical reasons of accessibility of suitable relevant population. In the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the University of the Punjab comparable circumstances could be created comparable to the Netherlands. In the model of Heerkens, subjects were going through several phases to come to an answer on the question that was posed to them. In this research, an employee of a company transporting people by means of a minibus from and to an airport was asked to give advice to the management of the company to give insight in whether a new minibus should have more comfort or safety aspects. It was not up to the employee to give an advise on alternatives. Only the attributes ‘safety’’ and ‘comfort’ should be taken into consideration. The phases Dutch students go through turned out to be the same in Pakistan. The intention was to investigate whether or not in the phases, a shift was taken place regarding the weighing-process, and to determine whether these differences regarding the weighing process be attributed to cultural differences. The influence of culture was bounded to a single dimension with regards to cultural differences. The work of Hofstede (2000) and Nisbett (2001) was used to frame the cultural influence to a single dimension, being holistic societies vs non-holistic societies. The Netherlands was considered as a non-holistic society, in which the process of thought differs from holistic societies as Pakistan is. The main focus was put on an analytical approach of the problem at hand in non-holistic societies. In the research, I found that in the end of the process there were noticeable differences in the way Dutch and Pakistani students were weighing attributes. The influence of culture could be detected. With this finding however, a specific observation must be made. The students of the University of the Punjab showed more similarities regarding the initial assumptions than those of LUMS did. The explanation is that the students of LUMS mostly have had their primary education abroad (in a western setting) and still are more close to Dutch students when it comes to the level of education provided at LUMS (think of Harvard-modules). Additional research has to be done in other countries, e.g. in Malaysia or Indonesia, in which it is recommended to take into account that the subjects are a more representative group for their country but still are on the same academic level as their counterparts in a Western setting.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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