Discuss cultural differences in job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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To the degree one can generalize, there is a cultural difference between culture groups that does affect job satisfaction and organizational commitment.  Whether one is raised in an individually-oriented culture or a community-oriented culture has great implications in the workplace.  This is particularly notable when one looks at the United States in contrast with some Asian countries.

The United States thrives on the myth of "rugged individualism."  This myth implies that the needs of the individual are elevated over those of the community.  The workplace corallary is that one's job satisfaction is more important than the needs of the organization one works for.  So, of course, organizational commitment is not a priority.  This has recently been fairly well embedded in our culture, and reflected in the behavior of the organization as well, which no longer prioritizes loyalty to its employees, its own need for profitability being the most important in a capitalistic culture.  These two often opposing priorities tend to reinforce one another, and in recent years, it has seemed to me that individualistic priorities and capitalistic priorities have become even more firmly entrenched in our culture.  

In some Asian countries, on the other hand, a collectivist culture prevails, which places the needs of the community over the needs of the individual, in every way from family to the workplace to the nation.  People are willing to sacrifice on behalf of "their" organization and take great satisfaction in being part of the organization and its success.  Companies reward this priority by taking care of their employees well, thus reinforcing the notion of community.  

As businesses become increasingly international, it is going to be interesting to see what happens in these cultures and what happens when they overlap.  Can a collectivist company compete in the international market?  As waves of immigration increase between countries, what will happen in the workplaces that incorporate those of both cultures?  This is an area ripe for research. 

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