The managerial culture in Indonesia

Cultural unfit presumptions were imposed based on common comparison between Indonesian origins and Chinese, whom had played economic role successfully in the country. perspectives on Indonesian work orientations found: (a) no speculation on working and life, (b) working hard is attempted just to “get food for survival for day”, and short term basic need orientation; (c) trying to get harmony with nature and stressing maintenance; (d) orientation to the present time, and (e) social contact for economic survival or business are changed to group maintenance, with proverbs “eat or not, but live together.” Among elite groups, cultural work values were identified with (a) aims of living and working are for status, power and symbol of prosperity, (b) doing business, consulting business, farming, trading and manufacturing are given low values, and (c) there are ‘amal’ concept, oriented to achieve symbol for power, status, and prosperity, not for achievement (Kartodirdjo, 1982). Indonesians are characterized with (a) normative work obligation to work and help group members without asking entitlement for rewards (gotong royong), and (b) orientation to vertical line.

Contrasting those Indonesian with Chinese could be identified by the World Bank experts as follows: “… that Chinese had proved themselves as successful businessmen, hard working, and industrious. On the other hand, the Indonesian businessmen were ‘tidak tahan uji’ (less endure when facing difficulties). This was due to accustomed protection and subsidy provided to them (Radius Prawiro, 1974). And “Pribumi entrepreneurs were suppressed into more limited trading activities and smaller manufacturing capacity, especially after their batik industries, textile (lurik), and clove cigarette industries also bankrupt and were grabbed from their hands by the Chinese business groups.”

it was identified that the Indonesian managers working in multinational corporations are characterized as having lower magnitude in their leadership style as being compared to other country citizens.

Indonesian Chinese are characterized generally in terms of their work orientation. “Deep responsibility” are found not only in working context, but also in contact with their ancestor and descendants. The deep sense of responsibility to wider family, in the past, present and future are expressed on: “frugality, striving, willingness to work very hard and individualistic, and competitiveness” vis-a-vis non-relatives. According to Willmott (1960), two relationships were never mixed within Chinese community: (a) trust relationship, and (b) contractual relationships. The first relationship found among members of the community, or relatives. The second is used if their business requires extension of activities ‘across friends and relatives’. In many cases the criteria of ‘friends and relatives’ are used as ‘informal go’ with outsiders.

Reference :

· Boeke,  J.H.,  Economics  and  Economic Policy  of  Dual  Societies,  New York, 1953.

· Hofstede, Geertz 1980. Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, Sage Pub., Beverly Hill, CA

· Koentjaraningrat, 1969. Rintangan2 Mental  dalam  Pembangunan  Ekonomi  di Indonesia. (Mental Obstacles in Economic Development in  Indonesia), LIPI, Jakarta: Bharata.


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