&152/ Around the World: Tata Nano. A Cultural Production Revolution?

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Tata Nano

Image © Tata Motors

Cultural models by Geert Hofstede or by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner are based on a simple principle: Lay out a dimension and try to quantitatively assess the culture under the given dimension. E.g.

- Do members of a culture openly display emotions? This dimension can be assessed by questions as "In my society, it is considered unprofessional to express emotions overtly. (a) agree - (d) disagree."

Those cultures that display emotions to a lesser extent (a), are more on the neutral side of this dimension. On the other hand those cultures more openly displaying their emotions (d) are called affective.

Add 4 or 6 more dimensions (Hofstede works with 5 dimensions, Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner work with 7), display cultures in an n-dimensional cube, values between 0 and 100% for each dimension and you will begin to find patterns.

My question is ... - You have heard the news of Tata introducing the Nano these days and especially the introduction of the new production/ distribution chain (from BusinessWeek):

"Just like a bicycle, it will be sold in kits that are distributed and serviced by the entrepreneurs who will assemble it for the consumer. Tata won't elaborate, and will only say 'the distribution system will be a variant from the norm. It will remove some of the layers in distribution and service.'"

Is there anything special regarding the dimensions of India's culture that could explain why it was not engineers from Munich, Stuttgart, Prague, Aichi or Detroit who came up with the idea earlier on?

Find all dimensions of the two models for reference below ...

Hofstede's dimensions of culture:

  1. Small vs. Large Power Distance: The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
  2. Individualism vs. Collectivism: Do we function as individuals or in a group?
  3. Masculinity vs. Femininity: The value placed on traditionally male or female values (as understood in most Western cultures)
  4. Uncertainty Avoidance: The extent to which members of a society attempt to cope with anxiety by minimizing uncertainty.
  5. Time Orientation: Do we do things one at a time or several things at once? - Are we oriented toward the past, present, or future?
  6. it?

Trompenaars' & Hampden-Turner's dimensions of culture:

  1. Universalism vs. Particularism: What is more important, rules or relationships?
  2. Individualism vs. Collectivism: Do we function as individuals or in a group?
  3. Neutral vs. Affective: Do we hide or display our emotions?
  4. Specific vs. Diffuse: Is responsibility specifically assigned or diffusely accepted?
  5. Achieved Status vs. Ascribed Status: Do we have to prove ourselves to receive status or is it given to us?
  6. Time Orientation: Do we do things one at a time or several things at once? - Are we oriented toward the past, present, or future?
  7. Internal vs. External Orientation: Do we control our environment or are we controlled by it?

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