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Western Theories Of Psychology Are Not Relevant To Managing People In A Chinese Context(原创)  

2008-12-05 12:09:50|  分类: 英语论文 thesis |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Western Theories Of Psychology Are Not Relevant To Managing People In A Chinese Context

      John Liu (ox tendon 牛筋)  

Introduction

How does the psychology explain the individual behavior? How does people take advantage of these theories to manage the people in a Chinese context? This thesis will focus on discussing the change of individual behavior caused by variance of psychological contract the organization environment and culture greatly impact on the psychological contract, and it will stress the importance of individual personality in work context.

Text

1.Western theories of psychology are relevant to managing people in a Chinese context

What is psychology? First of all, let’s define the psychology. Psychology is the science that seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes change the behavior of humans and other animal (note 1). Psychology research people’s behavior, which are relevant to the learning, motivation, personality, emotion, perception, training, leadership, effectiveness, job satisfaction, individual decision making, performance evaluation, attitude measurement and so on. in different country, different society and different organization context. Managerial psychology, COB, HRM are closed the circle that make a significant contribution to studying employee attitudes and behavior in deferent employment context (note 2). in other words, the theories of Managerial psychology that mostly originate from Western psychology rightly research the behavior of whole human being, Chinese people is not exception. Therefore, Western theories of psychology are certainly relevant to managing people in Chinese context.

2.     Environment context impact on individual behavior

2.1)changes in psychological contract generate the variance of individual behavior.

Why do organization environments impact the people’s behavior? Because the changes of psychological contract. A psychology contract is the expectations that employers and employees have about each other (note 3) one’s job satisfaction and career path depends on psychological contract. changes in the psychological contract between employees and company have influenced the development of the protean career (note 4) For example, last year, our company required one colleague from Shanghai branch office to transfer to Shenzhen for being a manager. but he kindly refused. Why? Because the context of work had been changed. His psychological contract also had changed. He was familiar with the environment over there, and couldn’t like to work in a strange place. society is composed of a lot of organization that consist of many individuals with different personal characteristics. No matter what organization it is. organization are people, an organization is the product of interrelationships between its members each member affects and is affect by the organization and its environment (note 5).

2.2)physical context—new technology and multination corporation impact on individual behavior

Obviously, today’s environmental context that enormously influences the individual and group is information technologies including Web, e-commerce, mobile communication etc. Information technologies have penetrated into every field and develop faster and faster. It has had a dramatic impact on individual behavior. Now, lot of foreign capital has enter into China and many multinational corporation have established the branch company in China. In addition, China has participated the WTO. It confront severe competition from oversea, globalization has deeply affected the individual in the origination. Organizations are no longer constrained by national border.(note 6). Besides information technology, the other major (at least equal to) environmental context impact on organization behavior is globalization (note 7).

2.3 Culture impact on individual behavior.

We know, different countries have different culture ( is also referred to social value) that greatly impacts the individual and group in organization. psychologist Hofstede generalized 1. individualism/collectivism 2. power distance 3.ancertainty avoidance and 4. Masculinity/feminity as four main cultural dimension. This theory generated by examining many employees from 50 countries describes the position of people’s social value in selected country on 1. power distance and individualism 2.power distance and uncertainty avoidance 3.uncertainty avoidance and masculinity/femininity.

Above discussion impacted on individual behavior is the country culture (social value). How does the corporate culture (organizational culture) impact on individual behavior? from the country culture to the organization culture, the organization culture is more complex. It is endowed with a couple of important characteristics 1.observed behavioral regularities. 2.norms 3 dominant values 4 philosophy 5 rules 6 organization, climate (note 8) most of organizational culture is created through flowing step:

a.      A founder has design a blue map for the organization

b.      the founder brings in one or more other key people and create a core group.

c.      The founding core group begins to act in concert to create an organization by raising funds obtaining patents, incorporating , locating space building and so on

d.      At this point, other are brought into the organization and a common history begins to rebuilt (note 9)

3. Emphasize the importance in terms of the personality in the organization

Since the environmental context has enormous impact on the individual behavior in Chinese context. It is imperative to study managing people by means of Managerial psychology. What psychological principles would be applied to manage people? The individual personality is a crucial factor in Managerial Psychology. what is personality? Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment (note 10). Personality results in what method of thinking he/she has, and what approach he/she adopts to deal with the matter, as well as what managerial style is enacted by the manager. The model is Manager’s personality à Preferred managerial style à Enacted managerial style.

Everyone’s personality is really different. People who are with difference of personality create different expectation in the context of work. People with hardly personality can cope with tremendous difficulty under the stress. As above mentioned, context of work greatly impact the psychological contract. Meanwhile psychological contract is a critical element of reflection on individual’s personal. Individual behavior is based on psychological contract; we may see a succession of change as below:

 Environment Context and Culture à the Psychological contract à Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, sense of security, employ relation, motivation, organizational citizenship absence and intention to quit.

   For example, few years ago there are two employees who have the similar personality in the same department in our company. They often argue for a trivial matter. Both of them were hard to compromise with each other. Such, it massively affect the teamwork. Finally, one guy had to left. From this case, we should identify the employees’ personality by means of taking psychological test before the candidates were recruited.

4.List some of most important theories impacting on personality

In order to better understand the psychological contract and enact the organizational strategies of managing people, it is necessary to study the personality. This article will list some most important theories of psychology regarding the personality.

There are five main facets of personality depicting individual’s difference.

1) behaviorist/Social learning approach-Pavlov, Watson, skinner. Bandur

?  emphasis on the importance of environment of situational determinants of behavior.

?  Environmental conditions shapes behavior through learning experience

?  reinforcement is important in determining whether the learned responses will be performed.

2) psychoanalytic approach -Freud/Erikson/Jung Myer-Briggs

?  childhood is crucial for development of adult personality balance between environmental demands id impulses, ego and superego.

3) Dispositional/trait approach Cattle, Eysenck, Costa&Mcrac,

Understand people by reducing complex personality to discrete elements

4) humanist/existentialist approach-Maslow, Rogers.

Concerned with self-development, higher human motive, acquisition of knowledge, understanding and aesthetics.

5)     cognitive approach Kelly.

People develop a constructs system, a method of “construing” or trying to explain the behavior of others to their own satisfactions (note 11)

From above five approach of viewing personality psychology, it derived three theories about personality

a)     The BIG Five factor (note 12) are:

“Big five” personality traits that have been found to best relate to performance in organizations.

1.Extraversion. A personality dimension describing someone who is sociable, gregarious, and assertive. 2 Agreeableness. A personality dimension that describes someone who is good-natured, cooperative and trusting. 3.Conscientiousness a personality dimension that describes someone who is responsible, dependable, persistent, and organized. 4.Emotional stability a personality dimension that characterizes someone as calm, self-confident, secure (positive) versus nervous, depressed, and insecure (negative) 5.Openness to experience a personality dimension that characterizes someone in terms of imaginativeness, artistic, sensitivity, and intellectualist. 

b). Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (note13)

 MBTI is one of the popular personality theories, which was generated in the west in the early 1940’s. More than two million people a year take the MBTI in the United States. MBTI tests a personality that shape four characteristics. The four characteristics are extroverted or introverted (E or I ), sensing or intuitive (S or N ), thinking or  feeling ( T or F ) and perceiving or judging (P or J) and categorized people into one of 16 personality types (note13). For example ENTJ they usually are frank, decisive, would like to be a leader. ESTJ are organizer, they realistic, logical, deceive, analytical, have a natural head for business or mechanics. ESFPs are extraversion, kindness and tolerance. ENTPs are conceptualizers, innovative, versatile, individualistic, and attracted to entrepreneurial ideas. 

c) Chinese personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI)

 Before developing CPAI, most of the theories sourced from North American and the use of personality assessment were important to Asia from Western countries in the 20th century. However, there has been severe criticism of validity and reliability problems associated with a blind importation of Western instruments into non-Western counties. the assumption that personality traits are universally present across culture was put into serious doubt. (note 14 ). Some scholars worry that the personality theories from the US to non-western counties would affect the development of a local theory, and the construct and measures of western theories may not be as good as indigenous instruments or theory in predicting key outcomes. in the early 1990s Fanny Cheung and her colleagues at the Chinese University of Hongkong originate the Chinese personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI)( note 15) from “BIG FIVE”, Which consists of personality constructs of specific interest to people of Chinese culture but that were not covered in most of the translated personality inventories. ( note 16). In compliance with popular Chinese novels, books Chinese proverbs, self-descriptions and the Chinese psychological literature, CPAI is summarized a four-factor model as:

1) Dependability (conscientiousness?)

Responsibility Graciousness (agreeableness?) veraciousness (integrity?) meticulousness practical-mindedness optimism family orientation

2) Chinese tradition

Harmony thrift Modernization (openness to experience?) Ren Qing flexibility

3) Social potency

Leadership adventurousness(openness?) introversion (Extraversion?) 

4) Individualism 

Self-orientation logical orientation (thinking?) defensiveness (ah-q mentality) 

We found that the unique dimension of personality from CPAI is Chinese Tradition that is considered as Face, Harmony, Ren Qing Flexibility. There are no counterparts of Chinese tradition in Western theories. This does not imply that the theories from western like Big Five and MBTI are not irrelevant to Chinese people, instead, CPAI is more convenience to test the personality for Chinese people and the outcome of test is closer his personality trait. For example, “face” is a concept with universal applicability (emic) as an image of self delineated by in terms of approved social attributes, but what constitutes a desirable face is specific to the culture (etic) (note 17)

Conclusion 

synthesize various of western theories of psychology above mentioned, all of them are relevant to managing people in a Chinese context. Psychological contract and individual personality are two vital factors which pierce through the overall text in managerial psychology. No matter what organizations they are, enterprises or govern agencies, domestic or foreign capital companies, private or state-enterprise, there are now plenty of organizations are applying these theories to manager people in China.  In order to better manage people, we, UWS-MBA 8th students who are the managers or want to be a manager in the organization, are studying the managerial psychology. This shows that it is critical importance for mastering the psychology to manage people.     

 

.

 

            

 REFERENCES

1S. P. Robbins Organization behavior 9th Edition p18

2. D. Lamond & S. Glaser Managerial Psychology Lecture note

3.Noe. Hollenbeck. Gerhart. Wright. Human Resource Management 3th Edition p 319

4.D. M. Rousseau, Academy of Management Executive 11 1999 pp 50-61

5.D. Lamond & S. Glaser Managerial psychology Lecture note p80

6.Noe. Hollenbeck. Gerhart. Wright. Human Resource Management 3th Edition p13

7.F. Luthans. Organizational Behavior 9th edition p 47

8. F. Luthans Organizational Behavior 9th edition p 123

9.Schein, Op .Cit. p210

10.G.W.Allport, personality A psychological interpretation p 48

11.D.Lamond & S. Glaser Managerial psychology Lecture note pp107-140

12.R.R.McCrae and P.T.Costa Jr Journal of Personality, March 1989 pp 17-40.

13.Myer. I. B Introduction to Type 6th Edition 1998

14.Cheung, FM, Leung, K. F, RM, Song, WZ, Zhang, JP Development of The Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 27(2) p181-199

15.Robbie Chan From West To East: The Impact Of Culture On Personally And Group Dynamics p 31

16. Bobbie Chan From West to East: the impact of Culture on Personality and group dynamics p31

17 D. Lamond & S. Glaser Managerial psychology Lecture note, p 121

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