People from collectivist society seem to be more susceptible to group influence than people from individualist societies. But, what we mean by collectivist and individualist societies? And, how is this important in business and for your career? Why should you know this as entrepreneur and how is this influencing your success?
Individualist and collectivist cultures and business environments
University of Illinois scholar, Harry Triandis describes it this way: in an individualist culture is acceptable for a person to place more importance on personal goals than on collective goals, in collectivist cultures the opposite is true: it’s expected that a person will place more importance on the collective goals rather than the personal ones, like a career or a small business.
Countries with collectivist cultures include China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Egypt. Countries with individualist cultures include Germany, Canada, the United States, Australia Holland and England. This influences a lot how business is done and one’s career choices, or an entrepreneurs pathways to success.
But, so use a real business like scenario, at the restaurant table we should ask where is your colleague from. If she’s from a collectivist culture, than she may be more likely to go along, just to preserve harmony in the group, but if she is more individualistic in orientation you have to work a bit harder to convince her and have some success.
Business and career influence tactics for success
Remember the acronym ATTiC in business and career influence. So far, in previous articles, we discussed the A – agent and the first T – target. Now it’s time to discuss our second T – tactics. Some influence tactics work better in business environment or for an entrepreneur than others as you probably witness watching some people get their way with ease while others really struggle to achieve success.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to influence your boss to promote you. What tactics work best? What is more suited to your business or your career? Business professors Tim Judge and Bob Bretz wondered whether focusing on the job, doing a good job at work and letting others know about it was more important for success than focusing on your supervisor, agreeing with and praising your business or work supervisor. Judge and Bretz asked graduates from two large universities to complete a survey.
The survey assessed two things: first, how the participants generally influence others at work and second what career outcomes they’d experienced including current salary and number of promotions. One might imagine that job focused influence would lead a person to be perceived as competent and supervisor focused influence will lead a person to be well-liked at work.
Focusing on your supervisor, more important than technical abilities in your career
So which is more important for your business? What matters for your success in your career. Controlling for other potential causes of career success, the researchers found that focusing on your supervisor had a much more positive effect than anything else. So those who focus their influence on the job actually had lower salaries and fewer promotions than those who focus on their supervisor.
These results suggest the tactics that make your boss like you may be more important for your success in your career than tactics that demonstrate your competence on the job or in your business. In a situation of colleagues going out for evening and deciding what to do, what tactic might you use? You might, for example, complement your colleague on her good taste and explain why that good taste would result in her enjoyment of the show you want to see. It works.
Finally in our tour of the ATTiC we come to C – context. Context may include what is happened recently in your business and career environment or what is happening right now around you if you are an entrepreneur. Most compelling is what other people are doing since we all have a natural tendency to make sense of the world based on how others react to it with success.
If, for example, you hear an uncertain sound while you’re walking through a store, you’ll look around. If no one else seems concerned you will conclude that all is well and continue on your way. But, about this, in a different article.