Question: Being employee of the Month; Is this a Reward or a Punishment?
We’re talking about Masculinity and Femininity; here is where Culture Matters most!
The answer to the above question depends for a great deal on your cultural background. There are cultures that would answer with a definite YES, others with a NO (and there are the in-betweens too of course).
Definite YES countries are for instance the USA and India.
Definite NO countries are for instance Sweden and Thailand.
First let’s clear up a very stubborn misunderstanding:
Masculinity and Femininity have nothing to do with Gender. Instead they discuss (from a cultural perspective) one’s social role in society.
I get this misunderstanding almost every cultural awareness training I give. For that reason when I’m in the USA, I use the words Tough (for Masculine) and Tender (for Feminine).
Yet other words that make good sense are Goal Orientation (again, for Masculine) and Process Orientation (for Feminine)
- Goal Orientation: Winning & decisiveness are important in society
- Process Orientation: Process & consensus are important in society
What is Femininity in some keywords:
- Sticking your head out is not appreciated (socially, nor materially): in other words being better than others does not get you more money, and people will not like you more.
- Equal: don’t think you are any one, just because you think you are. In the Nordic countries there is even a specific “Law of Jante“
- Consensus: rather than being decisive, people prefer the process of reaching consensus (which is something different than reaching a compromise!)
- Sympathy for the loser: or sympathy for the underdog; the less successful in society deserve a chance and should be helped
What is Masculinity in some keywords:
- Winning is good, and gets you rewarded: usually the best indicator for performing or performance is money, because it is a measurable quantity.
- Standing: or status. This is “Acquired” status. In other words, if you work hard enough, you can achieve this form of status (as opposed to “Ascribed” status, which has to do with Hierarchy)
- Competition: competing is good and is considered as fair play; or a chance to show how good you are
- Admiration for winner: the successful achiever gets the credits
Examples of Countries Scoring Low on Masculinity (the Feminine Countries)
- Nordic Countries
Examples of Countries Scoring High on Masculinity
- Japan (highest scoring country in the world!)
- USA (not surprisingly maybe)
This Masculinity and Femininity dimension of Culture is often considered as the Marketing dimension. Many of the commercials we see are either very (over the top) Feminine or very (over the top) Masculine.
Below is an example: