Gender differences and similarities on the cultural dimension of individualism and collectivism: A study on public sector bank employees
Shriram Venkatraman and P Govinda Reddy
Indian Journal of Education and Information Management,
Vol.1, No.2, February, 2012
Though individualism and collectivism are bipolar concepts, Hofstede attempted to quantify the dimension based on an extensive research. This paper strives to follow Hofstede’s survey questions, explore the pattern on the cultural dimension of individualism and collectivism, and investigate if this pattern differs based on gender in a public sector bank environment. It strives to understand this cultural dimension through statistical tests conducted on the data collected from 427 public sector bank employees in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
The questionnaire on individualism and collectivism strives to understand the cultural
orientation of Public sector bank employees. This questionnaire contains four questions specific to traits of individualism and collectivism and has been borrowed from Hofstede’s Value Survey Model 2008. The four questions are in the form of statements with five response choices which are as follows - utmost important, very important, moderate importance, little importance and very little or no importance. The respondents were encouraged to think of an ideal profession, disregarding their present profession. In choosing an ideal profession, they were asked to select an answer choice for each of the statements based on their perception. The statements are as follows:
a) Have sufficient time for your personal/ home life
b) Have security of employment
c) Do work that is interesting
d) Have a job respected by your family and friends
These questions were borrowed as it was felt that they were relevant for the sample used in this study.
The respondents were 427 Banking professionals belonging to a large public sector
bank. The geography was limited to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The survey aimed at getting an easy access to professionals and the professionals were selected through convenience sampling from the ranks of an Officer to that of a Senior Manager, within the Chennai circle of this bank. The demographic factor ‘Age’ was collected as a continuous variable and was then segmented into three categories namely ‘26 yrs to 35 yrs’, ‘36 yrs to 45 yrs’ and ‘46 yrs and above’. In order to identify the gender differences, the data were gathered from both the male and female employees of this bank. The survey was exploratory in nature. Treating the survey responses as continuous data, statistical analyses were performed on the survey data.
It is worthwhile observing that female respondents score higher than male respondents in their responses to all statements, which makes their average score higher than that of their male counterparts and thus leads to statistical significance.
For a respondent, irrespective of gender, the results calculated through Hofstede’s Value Survey Model methodology reveals that public sector bank employees are Collectivistic in orientation. These results coincide with the results obtained by performing statistical analysis. Further, the data clearly show that females have a slightly higher likelihood of choosing collectivism over individualism. This observation of a higher proportion of females choosing collectivistic orientation over individualism is interesting and worth exploring, given the general perception that India is a collectivistic society and that Indian females are generally collectivistic in thinking compared to that of Indian males. However, as mentioned above it is also interesting to observe that females score higher than males in the statement indicating individualism. Transposing an average respondent’s profile on gender, leads one to assume that both female and male respondents want their jobs to be secured, interesting and give enough amount of personal time. However, a female respondent wants her job to be respected by people around her than her male counterpart. Though, the authors feel that these results cannot be extrapolated to represent a country, it nevertheless represents, the attitude of that particular public sector bank employees in Chennai, India. Although, scope for future research exists in terms of performing the same research on private bank employees and performing a comparative study of the attitude of the two groups, this survey can definitely be extended to several other industries as well.