Nations and organizations
: a comparative study of English and Indian work-related attitudes and values in matched manufacturing firms

  • Monir H. Tayeb

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis reports a cross-national study carried out in England and India in an attempt to clarify the association of certain cultural and non-cultural characteristics with people's work-related attitudes and values, and with the structure of their work organizations. Three perspectives are considered to be relevant to the objectives of the study. The contingency perspective suggests that a 'fit' between an organization's context and its structural arrangements will be fundamentally necessary for achieving success and survival. The political economy perspective argues for the determining role of the social and economic structures within which the organization operates. The culturalist perspective looks to cultural attitudes and values of organizational members for an explanation for their organization's structure. The empirical investigation was carried out in three stages in each of the two countries involved by means of surveys of cultural attitudes, work-related attitudes and organizational structures and systems. The cultural surveys suggested that Indian and English people were different from one another with regard to fear of, and respect and obedience to, their seniors, ability to cope with ambiguity, honesty, independence, expression of emotions, fatalism, reserve, and care for others; they were similar with regard to tolerance, friendliness, attitude to change, attitude to law, self-control and self-confidence, and attitude to social differentiation. The second stage of the study, involving the employees of fourteen organizations, found that the English ones perceived themselves to have more power at work, expressed more tolerance for ambiguity, and had different expectations from their job than did the Indian equivalents. The two samples were similar with respect to commitment to their company and trust in their colleagues. The findings also suggested that employees' occupations, education and age had some influences on their work-related attitudes. The final stage of the research was a study of structures, control systems, and reward and punishment policies of the same fourteen organizations which were matched almost completely on their contextual factors across the two countries. English and Indian organizations were found to be similar in terms of centralization, specialization, chief executive's span of control, height and management control strategies. English organizations, however, were far more formalized, spent more time on consultation and their managers delegated authority lower down the hierarchy than Indian organizations. The major finding of the study was the multiple association that cultural, national and contingency factors had with the structural characteristics of the organizations and with the work-related attitudes of their members. On the basis of this finding, a multi-perspective model for understanding organizational structures and systems is proposed in which the contributions made by contingency, political economy and cultural perspectives are recognized and incorporated.
Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Child (Supervisor)


  • Nations
  • organizations
  • English
  • Indian
  • work-related attitudes
  • values
  • matched manufacturing firms

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