Here we are discussing various cultures of different countries which may be an offshoot of status and cultures. This makes the working environment different in different cultures.

Status—that is, a socially defined position or rank given to groups or group members by others—permeates every society. Despite many attempts, we have made little progress toward a classless society. Even the smallest group will develop roles, rights, and rituals to differentiate its members. Status is an important factor in understanding human behavior because it is a significant motivator and has major behavioral consequences when individuals perceive a disparity between what they believe their status to be and what others perceive it to be.

What Determines Status? According to status characteristics theory, differences in status characteristics create status hierarchies within groups. Moreover, status tends to be derived from one of three sources: the power wields over others; a person’s ability to contribute to a group’s goals; and an individual’s personal characteristics.

People who control the outcomes of a group through their power tend to be perceived as high status. This is due largely to their ability to control the group’s resources. So a group’s formal leader or manager is likely to be perceived as high status when he or she can allocate resources like preferred assignments, desirable schedules, and pay increases. People whose contributions to a group are critical to the group’s success also tend to have high status. The outstanding performers on sports teams, for example, typically have greater status on the team than do average players. Finally, someone who has personal characteristics that are positively valued by the group—such as good intelligence, money, or a friendly personality—will typically have higher status than someone who has fewer valued attributes. This tends to explain why attractive people are often the most popular in high school. Note, of course, that a characteristic valued by one group may mean nothing in another so high intelligence may give you status at your monthly Environmental Club meetings, but it may provide no benefits at all to you at your Tuesday bowling league.

Status and Norms:

Status has been shown to have some interesting effects on the power of norms and pressures to conform. For instances, high-status members of groups often are given more freedom to deviate from norms than are other group members. High-status people also are better able to resist conformity pressures than their lower-status peers. An individual who is highly valued by a group but who doesn’t much need or care about the social rewards the group provides is particularly able to pay minimal attention to conformity norms.

The previous findings explain why many star athletes, celebrities, top-performing salespeople, and outstanding academics seem oblivious to appearance or social norms that constrain their peers. As high-status individuals, they’re given a wider range of discretion. But this is true only as long as the high –status person’s activities aren’t severely detrimental to group achievement.

Status and Group Interaction:

Interaction among members of groups is influenced by status. We find, for instance, that high-status people tend to be more assertive. They speak out more often, criticize more, state more commands, and interrupt others more often. But status differences actually inhibit diversity of ideas and creativity I groups because lower-status members tend to be less active participants in group discussions. In situations in which lower-status members possess expertise and insights that could aid the group, their expertise and insights are not likely to be fully utilized, thus reducing the group’s overall performance.

Status and Culture:

Before we leave the topic of status, we should briefly address the issues of cross-culture transferability. Do cultural differences affect status? The answer is a echoing Yes.

The importance of status does vary between cultures. The French, for example, are highly status-conscious. Also, countries differ on the criteria that create status. For instance, status for Latin American and Asians tends to be derived from family position and formal roles held in organizations. In contrast, while status is still important in countries like the United States and Australia, it tends to be less “in your face.� And it tends to be bestowed more on accomplishments than on titles and family trees.

The message here is to make sure you understand who and what holds status when interacting with people from a culture different from your own. An American manager who doesn’t understand that office size is no measure of a Japanese executive’s position or who fails to grasp the importance that the British place on family genealogy and social class is likely to unintentionally offend his Japanese or British counterpart and, in so doing, lessen his interpersonal effectiveness.

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