Paper info: Does national culture influence organizational culture across contexts? Elekta in Greece
Does national culture influence organizational culture across contexts? Elekta in Greece
Maria Fregidou-Malama and Akmal S. Hyder
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Sri Lanka in 2018.
This research deals with the influence of National Culture on Organizational Culture in Healthcare Services. We analyse how the national culture of a firm´s home and host country and the cultural context affect the organizational culture in international marketing of healthcare services. We conducted a case study on Elekta a Swedish invention for radio surgery with a subsidiary, Elekta-Greece EPE, in its real life context. We collected qualitative data in form of semi-structured interviews by interviewing fourteen people during the years 2015-2016 in the host country of the subsidiary. We also used direct observation of the working environment and company documents as data sources. The study shows that the organisational culture of the Business Unit in Greece is flat and managers apply open doors culture trusting employees. Inequality between employees does not exist and the managers empower employees by involving them in the decision making process. Employees work as a team and share responsibilities and experience helping each other. They feel happy to work and perceive the challenges the company meets as their own challenges identifying themselves with the company. The study indicates that the context of the collectivistic and uncertainty avoiding culture of Greece influences managers to empower and motivate employees to work as a team developing good personal relationships in the company trusting each other. The results suggest that a balanced combination of national cultures makes the structure of the organisation flat, employees work as a team applying the Greek Philotimo helping and supporting each other to avoid ambiguity, reduce stress and unite in uncertain situations. We argue that a combination of the small power distance and femininity of the Swedish national culture combined with the cultural context of collectivism and strong uncertainty avoidance in Greece influence the organisational culture of the Business Unit. The local dynamic cultural context and the behaviour of the market, the customers, patients, service providers and the employees transform the organisational culture of Elekta-EPE Greece to a mixture of Swedish culture and Greek culture applying new organisational practices and models adapting to the values of the local context. The research contributes to the International services marketing literature developing a model of internationalization of healthcare services based on national cultural dimensions, organizational culture and contextualization. Managers who aim to establish businesses across borders need to balance the national culture of the head quarter and the one applied in units abroad with the unique context environment they operate to develop new organizational culture and be effective. A further study can include more companies and sectors to focus on the effect of national cultural context on organizational culture across countries