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Loyalty and relationships

Posted: 16 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:philip chatting? global sources? loyalty? relationship? low context societies?

Every institution must be able to count on the loyalty of its members to function effectively. If an individual does not have loyalty to the common goals and beliefs of a group, his or her value in joint activities will be diminished.

There are attributes that can foster fierce loyalty. A key feature is contributing something of clear value to the business and wider social communities.

Loyalty in the company is, however, patchy. It is most evident among those who have been with the organization for a long time. However, in remote locations and among recently employed staff, loyalty is greatly reduced. Loyalty has much to do with how you identify yourself. And one of the most significant and powerful aspects of personal identification, particularly in Asia, is the nature of our relationships.

At times, however, the influence of people to whom we are connected can be so strong that bonds of loyalty to them become competing commitments to the best work we could offer our employer and, in worst cases, have the potential to undermine our professional integrity.

In low-context societiesnamely, those governed on the basis of a universally accepted and applied set of rulesthe management of how external relationships impinge on the work situation is relatively easy. You just have a regulation to cover any event and no one asks any questions. Low-context societies are few in number and are chiefly found in Northwestern Europe, North America and Australia.

High-context societies, on the other hand, are almost everywhere and certainly in almost all of Asia. In these societies, lives are governed with lots of gray areas in rules and within a web of personal relationships. This management becomes a much more ill-defined and imprecise activity.

For example, two companies, one in a low-context country and the other in a high-context country, both have a policy that states that no loans will be given to staff. Consequently, in the low-context country, no loans are given. In the high-context country, the outcome is more likely to be a softening of the rule as a consequence of the high context and relationships.

Problems with relationships start to dramatically escalate when obligations of reciprocity conflict with company interests. Relationships are often seen as powerful personal assets not shared with an employer. In fact, they are probably not even revealed to the employer.

To weave conflicting themes into a single organization with strong internal loyalties is a prerequisite for continued success. Thus, a primary need for managers and staff alike is to encourage loyalty to a common purpose and discourage loyalties that work against shared interests.

- Philip Chatting
Global Sources




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