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Launched on 2 November 2003, Philosophy for Business is an e-journal published by the International Society for Philosophers, looking at philosophical and ethical aspects of business practice.

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Geoffrey Klempner


Marco Senatore

Peter S Borkowski

Dena Hurst

Sean Jasso

International Society for Philosophers
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P H I L O S O P H Y   F O R   B U S I N E S S           ISSN 2043-0736

Issue number 13
1st November, 2004


I. 'Let he who is without sin articulate the first virtue?' by Thomas Basboll

II. 'Finding the way towards a feminist business ethic' by Karin Susan Fester
    and David Ward

III. 'Men in Deck-chairs' by Michael Levy



For this issue, Thomas Basboll from the Dept of Management, Politics and
Philosophy of Copenhagen Business School argues provocatively against the
conventional view of 'hypocrite' as a judgement which one ought to avoid at all
costs. As a manager, it is better, more conducive to moral progress, to fail to
live up to one's own high ideals than to adjust one's ideals downwards to fit
one's practice.

In the first of what I hope will be a series of articles on business ethics
from a feminist perspective, Karin Susan Fester and David Ward examine the
contrast between Danish and Italian views of the role of women in the business
world, demonstrating the roots of these differing attitudes in pervasive values
which underlie business practice and society at large.

Michael Levy has written a short, ironic commentary on the futility of
negotiating from a dogmatic standpoint. Would companies be run more
efficiently, I wonder, if Board meetings were held on the sea shore?

Geoffrey Klempner



     "Hypocrisy can have civilizing effects." Jon Elster[1]

It is the function of a moralist to trouble the conscience of his audience, and
it is precisely for this reason that moralists themselves are often asking for
all the trouble they get. Once you have told your audience what is good and
what is bad, and it has been made to feel properly bad about how it lives its
life, the question soon occurs to someone to ask you whether you don't feel
about as bad as they do. Often you do.

What I would like to address here is the question of whether this guilt should
be compounded, indeed, even affected by the fact that you have expounded the
very values that imply it, i.e., the fact that you are hypocrite. I will argue
that it should not. Hypocrisy, I want to suggest, is not an ethical
transgression. Catholic theology once defined hypocrisy as the pretence of
having virtues you don't have and therefore conflated it with lying. But
ordinary language allows a useful distinction between these two forms of
pretence. To say that one is faithful when one is not is to lie; but to
denounce adultery while one is involved in an affair is only hypocritical. It
is one thing to say you are virtuous when you are not and quite another to
espouse a virtue you fail to meet. Ordinarily, even the second will get you
branded as a hypocrite and it is this operation I want to oppose, at least in
an ethical sense.

In ordinary social life we are not as often asked to practice what we preach as
we are asked to stop preaching what we don't practice. My aim here is to deflect
some of the force that the ordinary social injunction not to be a hypocrite
carries into the way we order our social lives - hopefully, of course, for the
better. It is a matter of having the courage to assert the grounds upon which
one's own life, too, may be called to account. Indeed, one of the most
troubling aspects of the judgement of "hypocrite", one that we hear on a more
or less daily basis, is that it so rarely draws the practice at the core of the
judgment into question. What one normally means when calls someone a hypocrite
is that they should stop talking. Their actions are accepted as we accept our

To adjust your values according to the behaviours you find yourself actually
engaged in is obviously not conducive to moral improvement. And I want to argue
that to stop espousing values that you believe in only because you don't live up
to them is inimical to the development of any useful ethics, i.e., to reflection
upon the moral grounds of our actions.

This issue is becoming increasingly important in modern business both in the
internal organisation of firms and in their relations to the outside world. As
ethical questions are raised and answered by corporate leaders, values and
virtues are articulated which are often not immediately satisfied. Managers
must sometimes ask their employees to do things they themselves do not do as a
matter of course, and they must ask them not to do things they do on a daily

Consider a corporation that is trying to move away from its discriminatory
hiring practices. Such a corporation will have to articulate the virtue of
equal opportunity employment: i.e., it will begin to call itself an equal
opportunity employer. If it continues to hire men more naturally than it hires
women for certain jobs then this declaration will be a rather standard act of
hypocrisy. The company seemingly pretends to be more virtuous than it is. But a
more productive reading of this situation is that the company has only begun to
aspire to virtues it has not yet attained. It is trying to be an equal
opportunity employer, and it knows that it will never learn how to be such an
employer if members of minority groups do not apply for its jobs. If the
company practiced authenticity in its hiring practices by publishing lists of
people who (as a matter of practical fact) "need not apply" then it would never
discover how to detect the relevant competencies in the marginalized group.

The injunction not to be a hypocrite is destructive to ethics (the philosophy
of the good life) because it discourages the articulation of the virtues we are
duty bound (if we are good people) to aspire to. Our distaste for hypocrisy is
really a distaste for ethics. It is a distaste for reflection upon the
foundations of the good life, the articulated basis of practical morals. As a
related matter, the public ridicule of hypocrites themselves discourages
politics: the collective pursuit of happiness. The injunction to "be good" is
only an injunction against hypocrisy in so far as you are with certainty in
possession of the right moral principles, that is, in so far as the virtues you
articulate are in fact virtues and not ethical errors. In such cases, being good
and not being hypocritical amount to the same thing; but it must be kept in mind
that nothing in the way of morality is gained simply by denying the moral
principles that denounce one's actions. Doing so keeps you from being a
hypocrite, to be sure, but it does not make you a better person. This is my
main point. The only way to become a better person is to risk hypocrisy at
every turn: to say what you know to be right even if you are well aware that
you do not act accordingly.

Consider the case of a politician to who has made some substantial portion of
her career by moralising on the evils of speeding. Suppose one day she is
caught driving well over the speed limit on a lonely strip of highway by the
cottage. The newspapers of course draw attention to the conflictual
relationship of her words to her deeds. They call her a hypocrite. This is
always bad press, and she normally ends up at the very least publicly
apologizing and admitting that she is at fault. In some cases she will be
removed from her ministerial position (especially if her career has led her to
be responsible for road safety or something of that order). But let us take a
closer look at what she has been saying and what she has done. She says that
one should not drive faster than the speed limit and she has no doubt
repeatedly made the case for tougher penalties for offenders. Her political
position is that policies should be made more severe in this area. What has she
done to contradict this position? Well, she has driven above the speed limit.
But she has also been caught and she has, we may assume, paid her (exorbitant)
fine for this action. What is often forgotten in describing such cases is that
she may honourably accept the fine. That is, she may really believe that she
has been in the wrong, that the virtue she has been articulating applies also
here, and that the fine is justified since it normally has a deterrent effect
also on her urge to speed.

In a civilized society this sort of thing ought to happen as a matter of course
and the personal transgressions of politicians ought to be passed over in
silence. Evangelists should continue to encourage fidelity, even as they commit
adultery. This is the only sane approach to ethics. The demand that one must
already be "walking the walk" if one wants to start "talking the talk" will
consign our political establishment, and our major corporations, to the sort of
silence that has the potential to allow almost anything to happen in practice
since no one will feel themselves morally qualified to point out that it is
wrong in principle.

One reason for the confusion is probably the widespread belief that moralists
moralise for their own sake. This belief is not wholly misplaced since morality
is often a very profitable business. But not only are professional moralists
ethically justified in their hypocrisy, not all moralists are professionals,
and the most disheartening effects of our attitude toward hypocrisy can be seen
in the manager who begins to articulate only the nastiest and most brutish
grounds for his behaviour. It gets still worse when he begins to see the
actions of others in the light of this gradually acquired misanthropology.

I am arguing that categories like "hypocrisy" and "authenticity" may be doing
more harm than good in the struggle to advance various ethical agendas, both in
politics and in business. The problem is that many organisations must move from
what are in fact less ethical practices to more ethical ones; that is, they
must let business ethics have an impact on corporate policy. They will have to
take a certain measure of hypocrisy upon themselves along the way, as a matter
of course, if the result is not to be simply the immediate closure of company
divisions that are the precise target of the company's ethical considerations.
The current trend is one of ethical reform, not revolution. At the level of
internal organisation we are beginning to see the emergence of unnecessarily
brutal forms of management carried out in the name of honesty. One too often
forgets to provide people with a good reason for their dismissal, offering
instead the purportedly more truthful or "rational" explanation. But I want to
suggest that such authentic practices are unlikely to lead to moral
improvement. After all, there are reasons why the particular individual was
fired and others were not. These reasons must be good ones if the corporation
wants to pursue an ethical course. The racist who is proud of his honesty on
this matter is unlikely to change his ways. The strong position, which I want
to defend, is that hypocrisy should not be construed as an ethical category at
all. It is neither something to be ashamed of when it happens nor proud of when
it doesn't. The only thing that is wrong with being a hypocrite is the unethical
action one is engaged in while espousing the ethical norm that denounces it. The
espousal itself does not make things worse. On the contrary.

John Rawls tells us that "justice is the first virtue of social institutions,
as truth is of systems of thought."[2] Jesus famously proposed to let only
those who are without sin throw stones.[3] The insistence on denouncing
hypocrisy may thus be vaguely "Christian" but it is hardly a position that
leads us toward greater public responsibility. Rather, it encourages silence on
all those matters about which we know, or even just suspect, ourselves to be in
the wrong. In any case, we are here talking not about stones but words. Given
the imperfect course of every human life, the first virtue (justice) can only
be articulated hypocritically, that is, on the background of one's own manifest
capacity for injustice. Justice can only be done if we accept that our judges
are themselves not perfectly just, that our moralists are themselves immoral.
Stones will be thrown in any case by inarticulate brutes.

One of the major ethical effects of civilizations or social organisations in
general, and corporations more specifically, is that they standardize moral
behaviour. The moral state of a society results from enormous processes of
aggregation that turn morals into habits, good and bad. It is therefore all the
more important to remain articulate, to speak in accordance with even a guilty
conscience. A draft dodger can lead a nation into war; a coward can demand
courage of the populace. Judges must sometimes sentence people for crimes they
have not themselves yet been charged with. Jailers must sometimes keep people
imprisoned who are guilty of nothing more serious than they themselves are
guilty of. And moralists must denounce their own actions. They ought, of
course, to be ashamed of themselves for the things they do, and they often are,
but not, as they also often are, for what they say. They ought not to be
stripped of their pulpits.


[1] Elster, Jon. "Introduction" in Deliberative Democracy, J. Elster, ed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 14.

[2] Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972, p.

[3] John 8:7

(c) Thomas Basboll 2004

Thomas Basboll, PhD
Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy
Copenhagen Business School




Exploring the cultural dimensions of femininity, masculinity, and power distance

It is possible that a company's business ethic could be influenced by the
nature of a country's gender-culture in which a company operates.

The purpose of this paper is to look at certain cultural characteristics, that
exist in a country culture as a way of knowing how some companies might be more
capable than companies in other countries in achieving a feminist business
ethic. Two markedly different country cultures will be examined: Denmark and
Italy.[3] Geert Hofstede's theory of cultural analysis will be primarily drawn
on to explore why the Danish and Italian cultures are so different in their
business ethic.[4] Denmark is an example of a feminine culture and Italy is an
example of a masculine culture (Hofstede 1998b: 81). The focus will be on
Hofstede's dimensions of femininity and masculinity , and power distance.
Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner have also developed and analysed cultural
dimensions, but they have not focused on the gender distinction as Hofstede has
done.[5] This paper will demonstrate that the gender culture of a country does
need attention because it contributes to understanding interpersonal
communication and behaviour between superiors and subordinates and the work

In this context, the concepts of care, modesty, and taking the time will also
be explored. The conclusion drawn in this paper suggests that a feminine
country culture offers the best hope for a feminist ethic taking root in a
company or business environment.

Before beginning we first need to know, what is culture? Gary Ferraro defined
(1994: 17) culture as follows:

     Culture is everything that people have, think, and do as
     members of their society. [...] When people think, ideas,
     values, attitudes, and beliefs are present.
How people think, their values and attitudes, could predict how some companies,
dependent on which country they are operating in, would be receptive or not to a
feminist business ethic.

Geert Hofstede 'was one of the first researchers to question the adaptability
of U.S. management theories and practices to other cultural contexts' (Usunier
1993: 73). Hofstede's theory outlined various theoretical elements that are
implicit in a culture: individualistic versus collectivism, power distance,
uncertainty avoidance, and feminine versus masculine.

The dimensions of femininity and masculinity and power distance, appear to be
the most relevant to understanding why or why not a feminist business ethic is
achievable or not. But some disagree that gender contributes to influencing
management styles and instead argue that the influences come from the country
of origin (Toren et al 1997: 235), or even from intra-cultural variation as
Hofstede's analysis is viewed as being to universalistic because it ignores
subtle cultural elements (Au & Cheung 2004: 1339-40). There is a gap in the
literature about a country's gender-culture informing ethical behaviour of
companies. Furthermore, the literature, especially in the English language,
concerning relations between managers and subordinates in Italy - especially
resistance to changing masculine organizational structure and treatment of
people - is very minimal and more research is needed (Macri et al 2002:
301-05).[6] However, in this paper it will be demonstrated that a country's
gender culture does influence a company's business ethic.

To begin, feminist and feminine are not synonymous. According to Hofstede
(1998a:19): 'Feminism is an ideology taking different forms in masculine and
feminine cultures.' In Hofstede's analysis, two types of feminism are
distinguished: masculine and feminine. The masculine feminism generally is
'about competition between genders', .i.e. that women will also have
opportunity in the employment market as men do.[8] Feminine feminism is
stressing more the equalizing of gender roles, i.e. trying to modify
traditional stereotypes of genderized divisions of labor both inside and
outside the domestic sphere and power sharing (Hofstede 1998a:19). An example
of feminine feminism is: in Denmark it is common to see men participate in
taking care of children, fathers also being able to take paternal leave, and
state funded community child care centers are the norm (Dahl et al 1996: 51,
293-5; Newell 1996: 37). In Italy child care is primarily relegated to the
women at home, i.e. mothers and grandmothers who care for the children (Maione
2000: 92,96).[8] However, Hostede notes (1998a: 19) that masculine feminism is
not necessarily related to the masculine/ feminism dimension." It is the
feminine feminism that appears to be more relevant when thinking about a
feminist business ethic being successful or not in a given culture.
Redistribution of roles might have a more likely acceptance in a society that
has a more open attitude to "interdependence between people" and promoting to
help and care for others (Usunier 1993: 74) as opposed to a culture who is
characterized by dominant male traits such as competitiveness, assertiveness,
and impatience (Ferraro 1994: 92).

After having delineated the two types of feminism in Hofstede's analysis, it
now necessitates comparing a feminine culture with a masculine culture. But
what does this all mean for a concept of a feminist business ethic? In other
words, in what cultures would a feminist business ethic be more likely to
succeed and where would it be more difficult to take place? We are confronted
with two questions that inform each other. First, what is a feminine culture
and what is a masculine culture? Second, how is this femininity and masculinity
dichotomy relevant to a discussion about a feminist business ethic? To answer
these questions we will begin by defining what characterizes a feminine versus
a masculine culture.

First, a feminine country culture is quality of life oriented and embraces
values of care, a listening ear, taking the time to do something, emphasis on
relationships, empathy, and a personal tone versus indifference towards people
(Hofstede 1998a: 19; Arrindell 1998: 47-8; Robbins 1996: 567-8).[9] Whereas a
masculine country culture is quantity of life oriented, meaning it is
materialistic, performance and competition driven, and thrives on inequalities
of power, (Arrindell 1998: 47-8). A country's culture is predominantly
masculine or feminine. However, individual persons are not necessarily
polarized, because for example, an individual person coming from a feminine
culture might exhibit characteristics of both types of cultures (Hofstede
1998a: 19).

Denmark is an example of a feminine culture and Italy is an example of a
masculine culture (Usunier 1993: 74-75; Tixier 1996:24). A cultural norm unique
to the feminine Danish culture is the concept of modesty based on the
Janteloven: modesty versus assertiveness (Hofstede 1998b: 84).[10] In Danish
thinking modesty is also conflated with the idea of equality, between all
persons and genders in having the right to speak, participate and share in
decision-making. Modesty, as we shall see later, does contribute to a feminine
feminist business ethic.

Elements of Italian culture sharply contrast with Danish culture; observable
divisions of class with its inherent inequalities of power distribution and in
how people are treated are a given in Italian society. Italian culture is more
pretentious and formal in its treatment of and for people, and it is difficult
for persons coming from different social backgrounds to interact comfortably
with each other.[11]

How can we describe the Danish feminine values? These feminine values appear to
be rooted and are practised in Denmark's social welfare state in its public
social system, where there is a society-driven need to care for people whether
it is the elderly, young children, the handicapped, or for the unemployed; it
also offers education opportunities for not only young people but for
unemployed adults (Dahl et al 1996: 51,293-95; Newell 1996: 36-7). In contrast,
despite Italy having child care and other social services, it is not on par with
Denmark and still presents a burden for employed Italian women (Maione 2000: 92,
99). Danish business people also care about family matters and will give
precedence to this over business matters when necessary (Hofstede 1998a: 4-5).
In contrast, in Italy there is a general attitude of apathy on the part of
companies towards the needs of employees with respect to their family's needs
(Maione 2000: 99).

To further illustrate feminine values at work we could of course consider the
ancient example of the Good Samaritan in the Bible (Hofstede 1998a:18).

One thing it does show us is that we ought to stop, reflect, and take the time
to make an effort to care about other peoples needs. A modern example that is
more relevant to the purposes of this discussion is this writer's experience in
a Danish business college. In Denmark it is common that when a student
academically excelled in areas where her fellow students did not, it was
expected that this student help the others students so that everyone could
reach a similar level of performance, so that no one was left behind. This way
of thinking - caring about the other - is profound and beneficial for
productivity and self-esteem among people working together. The experience of
helping along one's fellow classmates, is a real-life example of a feminist
ethic at work. At a glance however, it also appears as yet another engagement
with team work. This is not just about team work, it is much more than this: it
is about caring and nurturing. Making certain that everyone in the group
achieves to a near similar level, is an example of care and nurturing each
person in the work team. It must be noted also that the Danes are very business
savvy, but despite this they instill an ethic of concern - care - into the minds
of their people when achieving a productive work goal. This attitude of caring
in practice enhances not only the productivity but the motivation and
self-esteem of the employees.

The interpersonal relations, and the equality of respect given to people, is
profoundly different between the Danish and Italian cultures. In Danish
culture, the tradition for modesty, encourages communication, interaction and
discussion among co-workers and management - everyone has a right to say
something when they want, as no one is better than another. Listening to
people's suggestions or their critique is a hallmark of the Danish cultural
tradition for discussion. Moreover, fully informing persons whether they are
one's employees or one's customers, demonstrates treating them as persons. The
Danes also have a penchant for scepticism in the meaning that they will always
ask questions, never thinking twice about questioning authority, or even
laughing in a very formal situation.[12] The Italians also demonstrate
scepticism, but are much less inclined to question authority. In Italy there is
no emphasis on harmonizing interpersonal relations between people belonging to
different social class levels; subordinates are not empowered, and would not
question authority, but instead experience being ordered around. [13] Italians
also appear more rushed when talking to people in business contexts. The scope
is to arrive at a formal, authoritative, decision in the shortest possible
time, especially if there is social and organizational disparity between the
two parties. This sense of hurriedness is considered dehumanising in some
cultures (Ferraro 1994: 92). And, this is the point where it necessitates
pulling in the power distance dimension.

Power distance is 'to what extent a society and its individual members tolerate
an unequal distribution of power in organizations and in society as a whole'
(Usunier 1993:74). There are low, medium, and high power distance societies.
For example, the U.K. and the Untied States are in the medium category (Hostede
1998a: 81).

In Denmark the power distance between managers and subordinates is very low
compared to a high power distance in Italy (Hofstede 1998b: 80-1;Tixier 1996:
22-3). In Italy a typical manager (predominantly male) will exert their
authority in various ways: giving orders, not speaking directly to
subordinates, dressing elegantly and expensively, and minimal contact.
Furthermore, a superior's subordinates actually expect to be treated in a
subservient way and it is not questioned (Usunier 1993: 74). For example, in
Denmark, managers tend to dress more informal, but dressing casual or formal
depending on the occasion.[14] It is common for a head of a department or
manager to sit with their co-workers and drink a cup of coffee during morning
breaks. In Italy it would be quite the opposite situation; managers would not
be taking a coffee and brioche together with their workers because this
transgresses the border between those in power and the subordinates. In Denmark
there is an accepted equality between people/ employees of different levels
(Hofstede 1998b: 84), this is characteristic of low power cultures (Usunier
1993: 74).

A Danish manager will listen to their subordinates's suggestions; an employee
may always question or criticize the boss. No one gives orders because it's all
about giving and seeking advice; it is a reciprocal work process - shared and
engaging the consciousness of all involved (Irvin 2002: 373). Decisions are
often taken as a group only after discussions and receiving input from everyone
(Tixier 1996:24; Robbins 1996: 568).[15] In a environment of competition between
subordinates and even between managers, is detrimental to nurturing cooperation
(Irvin 2002: 153). In Italy superiors will take decisions and it is especially
difficult for subordinates to talk on equal terms with them, or to contribute
to any decision making. In a low power distance culture, such as Denmark,
transgressing the border of power is not something people think about. In
Italian companies there is resistance to both transgression of power boundaries
and to change, and it is not yet fully understood (Macri et al 2002: 301-05).

What is especially noteworthy in the Danish culture, and pertinent to the
discussion about a feminist business ethic, is the emphasis on argument rather
than status. Moreover, this dichotomy also demonstrates the divide between
power sharing and unshared power. The tradition for argument and power sharing
is rooted in the Danish 'obsessive concern with modesty' and its conflation
with equality (Tixier 1996: 24; Hofstede 1998b: 84). To be more precise: caring
means we care that all people have a voice and are equally autonomous, in the
meaning that they are not mere occupants of positions who just take orders from
a boss, but are actually empowered.[16] The caring concept can also be extended
to co-workers who ought to engage with each other; in this sense they are also
achieving a self-actualization as human beings (Robbins 1996: 213-14).[17]

But what is essential to highlight here is that, a company's ethic, i.e. in how
it treats its workers, managers, and even its customers, as persons, is directly
influenced by the country's culture, hence it informs the ethics of a company.
The ethics in a company will influence the communication methods, interaction
between workers and managers, management art, maternity/ paternity leave, sick
leave, and even educational programs for employees (all levels). The nurturing
or care of the employee, whether they are a worker or a manager, is of essence
here, because it is when people feel that they are cared for that they feel
good about their job, as it motivates them to work. In this regard the care
attitude, of a company and amongst the employees themselves, could also
influence job motivation and satisfaction, and quality of life - these ideas
can be attributed to both Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg (Woodall 1996:
36; Robbins 1996: 216-17).[18]

The view presented in this paper is only a partial view and is by no means
conclusive, certainly more cross-cultural analysis is needed about the Italian
situation. The discussion has offered some theoretical criteria that need
further investigation, as well as, first-hand lived experience in Denmark and
Italy that can at least inform about areas that have been neglected by
researchers in the areas of business studies and the social sciences.[19] There
is always the concern about why power structures exist the way they do and how
to overcome them; more research is certainly needed in knowing what processes
contribute to resistance to change. It is only when we understand this that a
care ethic could, in theory, be implemented and eventually take root.
Interpersonal relations between superiors and subordinates, and attitudes
towards family needs of workers is yet another area open for research in Italy.

Where would a feminist business ethic stand a chance of being accepted or
setting roots that gain acceptance? Argument and power sharing appear as
nonexistent concepts in Italian business environments. The elements of a caring
attitude, modesty, and taking the time, appear to be at the heart of a feminist
ethic, but more research needs to be done to understand why and how such an
ethic could be implemented in a primarily masculine culture.

It appears that a feminist ethic seems hopefully more viable in those countries
that already embrace feminine cultural values along with an informal attitude
toward interacting with people and therefore have a low power distance.


Arrindell, W.A. 1998. 'Femininity and Subjective Well-being' in, Masculinity
and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (Thousand Oaks, CA:

Au, K. & M.W.L. Cheung 2004. 'Intra-cultural Variation in Job Autonomy in 42
Countries', Organization Studies, 25 (8): 1339-1362.

Dahl, B., & T. Melchior et al (eds) 1996. Danish Law in a European Perspective
(Copenhagen: GadJura)

De Lauretis 1990. Sexual Difference: A Theory of Social-Symbolic Practice
(Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press)

Ferraro, G. P. 1994. The Cultural Dimension of International Business, 2nd edn.
( Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall)

Hofstede, G. 1998a. 'Masculinity/ Femininity as a Dimension of Culture' in,
Masculinity and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage)

-------- 1998b. 'The Cultural Construction of Gender' in, Masculinity and
Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage)

Irvin, L. 2002. 'Ethics in organizations: a Chaos perspective', Journal of
Organizational Change, 15 (4):359-381.

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1. Is American and has lived and worked in both Denmark and Italy.

2. Is British and has lived and worked in Italy for last 26 years

3. Italian is used here to refer to the majority of Italy and not the South
Tyrol which is a Germanic culture in the Alto Adige province of Italy.

4. See Hofstede, G. 1980. Culture's Consequences: International differences in
work-related values (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage); Hofstede, G. 1983. 'National
cultures in four dimensions: A research-based theory of cultural differences
among nations', International Studies of Management and Organization, XII
(1-2): 46-74.

5. Trompenaars, F. & C.M. Hampden-Turner 1997. Riding the Waves of Culture:
understanding cultural diversity in global business (London: Nicholas Brealey)

6. See Giangreco, A. 2001. 'Resistance to change of middle managers: a case
study of the Italian national electric company (ENEL)', Economia, 5 (118).

7. For a discussion about women's entrance into the Italian labour market see
Maione, V. 2000. 'The female labour market in Italy from a historical
perspective', Women in Management Review, 15 (2): 90-101.

8. See Saraceno, C. 2004. 'The Italian family from the 1960's to the present'
Modern Italy 9 (1): 47-58.

9. See Manning, R.C. 1992. Speaking from the Heart: A Feminist Perspective on
Ethics (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).

10. Geert Hofstede's translation from the original Danish version written by
Aksel Sandemose 1933/1938. 'Du skal ikke tro ...'

11. But there also seems to be a lack of literature in the English language
about the feminine culture of women in Italy, so it is difficult to know the
extent of power relations implicit in womens lives, not only in their relations
with men, but also between women and of women. See T. De Lauretis 1990. Sexual
Difference: A Theory of Social-Symbolic Practice (Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press); Muraro, L. 1991. L'ordine simbolico della madre (Rome:
Editori Riuniti).

12. A recent example of this is in July 1997 when President Clinton was a guest
of the Queen of Denmark and gave a public speech; the audience laughed at a
statement that Clinton made. In American and Italian culture this is considered
very rude, but in Danish culture no one is considered to be so above everyone
else that one cannot be ridiculed or criticized-even in public.

13. This author's conversation with managers in Italy.

14. Danish business women wear either very little or no makeup and jewelry, as
compared to Italian business women

15.These elements also noted by the author while working in Denmark.

16. For a good discussion about job autonomy, see Au, K. & .M. W.L.Cheung 2004.
'Intra-cultural variation in Job Autonomy in 42 countries', Organization
Studies, 25 (8):1339-1362.

17. Abraham Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs.

18. Frederick Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory.

19. The authors would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers in Denmark and
Italy for their critical input.


(c) Karin Susan Fester and David Ward 2004

Author contact details:
Karin Susan Fester, B.S., PGCert (SocSc), M.A.
Via Concordia 1.
20050 Veduggio con Colzano (MI)

David Ward, B.Sc. Hons, Ph.D
Via Fornari 46
20146 Milan


     Men in deck-chairs, sat on the beach,
     Each a world leader, in politics and religion.
     One exclaimed.................
     The roar of the ocean, blocked out his intercourse,
     Not to be rude..... all approvingly shook their head in agreement,
     Each in turn expressed their extreme, dogmatic viewpoints,
     Only to be drowned out by the thunder of the waves.
     After a two hour debate,
     Unified, all jubilantly shook hands,
     Harmoniously hugged each other,
     And agreed.....
     It was the most successful meeting ever held.

(c) Michael Levy 2004


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