Convergence of Perceptions on Work Related Issues: East Meets West in the 21st Century

By Intan Osman, Zainal Ariffin Ahmad and Ummu Kolsome Farouk.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Men and women play multiple roles as employers, employees, parents, spouses and many more. In all these roles leadership and managerial competencies are invaluable. The execution of these varied roles does not take place in a vacuum but operates against an ever changing and dynamic political, economic and social backdrop. There is a universal acceptance that most societies are patriarchal implying that societies and organizations are organized generally in ways that favor men with some societies more steeped in patriarchy than others. Thus this paper seeks to understand whether there is a convergence in views at the workplace between the same or opposite genders within the same or different socio-cultural backgrounds. The views on many work related issues such as the following were sought: definition of success, factors determining success, importance of mentoring, career progress, and conception of power/leadership style, presence of women in the workforce and work-family balance. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews of 22 working men and women based in Alberta, Canada and compared to the interview findings of Malaysian men and women conducted in Malaysia in two separate studies during 2005 to 2007 (Women=14, Men=10). The findings suggested regardless of the socio-cultural differences, there exists similarities and differences between the male and female Canadian and Malaysian respondents in their perception of success, power, gender equality, work life balance, mentoring and career progress.

Keywords: Career, Success, Work-Family Balance, Power, Mentoring and Networking, Socio-Cultural, Leadership Roles

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.83-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.216MB).

Dr. Intan Osman

Associate Professor, Organization Section, School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Intan Osman is an Associate Professor of Organization (HRM) at the School of Management. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) since 1978 and lectures at the undergraduate, masters (MBA) and doctorate (DBA) levels in organisational Behaviour (OB), Human Resource Management/Development (HRM/HRD), Entrepreneurship, International Aspects of Women and Gender Issues and International Management both offered as summer courses at University of Lethbridge. She has worked as a training manager for two multinational companies and a local training firm. She was a tutor at the Faculty of Business and Management and an adult education course leader at University of Stirling Scotland (1988 -1989), a short-term visiting lecturer/scholar at Taskent Technical College, Uzbekistan (1997); Nihon Fukushi University and Nanzan University, Japan (2003); Northern Sumatra University (2003-2007); and Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge, AB, Canada (2001-2008). Intan is currently heading research projects: Beliefs and Socio-Behavioural Risks Factors on CaCx, Women & Ecotourism and Human Resource Effectiveness. Her previous research included Women & Lifestyle, Wellness, Leadership and Entrepreneurial Values both international and collaborative projects, and Women Entrepreneurs. She also heads a seminar, publication and research committee at Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), USM She has graduated 4 PhDs, 2 DBAs, 1 MA and 11 MBAs.

Prof. Zainal Ariffin Ahmad

Head, Human Development Lab, Graduate School of Business, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Associate Professor Ariffin Ahmad is the recipient of the Malaysian National Academic Award 2008 for teaching. He is also the Outstanding Educators Award 2007 recipient at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Heads the Human Development Laboratory (HD Lab) in the School of Management conducting EEG research under the USM Brain Mind Nexus. Teaches, researches and supervises Master’s and Doctoral candidates in organisational behaviour (OB), human resource management (HRM), learning, learning disabilities (LD) and quality in higher education and public services (TQM/ISO 9000). Supervised and graduated PhD, DBA, MA/MSc and MBA theses/dissertations and taught graduate and undergraduate courses since 1994. HR consultant for USM and industry and external examiner to several universities. Member of the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) and the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM). Co-written books on Introduction to Management, Organizational Behaviour, Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations in Malaysia, and Benchmarking University Publishers. Reviewer for Social Behavior and Personality, an International Journal. Former chief editor of the Asian Academy of Management Journal. Served as Deputy Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Chair of the MBA/DBA Programs and Organization section. Recently received Best Paper Award from the fifth Asian Conference of the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) 2006 and the UNITEN International Business Management Conference 2007.

Ummu Kolsome Farouk

Lecturer, Faculty of Management, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

I have been teaching law for about 8 years to non law students. The students I teach were majoring in Business Management, Accounting, Creative Multimedia and Information Technology. In short, I had been a law student and then practised law for a few years but I had never taught law students. However, when I started teaching non law students I realised that law could be taught to them in a different manner. Given that my students are a part of multiracial Malaysia I became interested in teaching methods that not only taught the subject matter but other skills and values as well. I have done some research on women’s issues as well pertaining to sexual harassment and leadership for instance. I have presented a paper at a conference in Korea on sexual harassment; and another paper in Pakistan, at a conference as well on women in management.


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