UK vs. RussiaDifferent national cultures havedifferent viewpoints on creativity and innovation. In this essay I will look atthe countries UK and Russia and compare and contrast the different levels ofcreativity in both countries and explain why the nature of creativity variesfrom country to country. National culture is the set of norms, behaviours,beliefs and customs that exist within a nation. Intoday’s dynamic environment managing innovation and creativity is key tosuccess. Creativity is a very broad topic and there are many different reasonsas to why it can vary, for the purpose of this essay I will be focusing onthree themes that impact creativity and innovation which are; culture,structure and motivation. Creativity is defined as the abilityto combine ideas in a unique way to produce something new and useful (Boddy,2017) The Global innovation index shows that the UK has an Innovation rankingof 5 while Russia is behind with a ranking of 45.
(Cornell University, 2017)This shows that Russia does not stimulate creativity and innovation assuccessfully as the UK. National culture It is a widely held belief thatculture is a factor that influences creativity. Cultural values and norms will either meet or conflict witha society’s ability to be creative and innovative. Using Hofstede’s culturaldimensions, we can illustrate a culture most conducive to the development ofcreativity. Hofstede (1980) demonstrates significant differences between countrieson such cultural dimensions such as: power distance, uncertainty avoidance,individualism/collectivism, and masculinity/femininity. The differences inthese dimensions can help explain why the levels of creativity and innovationare different in the UK and Russia.
The positive relationship between individualism and innovation found byRinne (2012) suggests that choice, independence, and freedom are beliefs thatare linked with individualism and these are needed for a nation to beinnovative. Individualism is defined as the degree of interdependence a societymaintains among its members. (Hofstede insights) Therefore a country will bemove likely to be innovative the higher its individualism. In the index Russiascores 39 for individualism while the UK scores 89, which could explain why theUK is more innovative. (Hofstede Insights) With a score of 89 the UK has one of the highest Individualist scores.In the UK much more emphasis is put on being individualist and people aretaught to think more for themselves, which helps to create a more innovativeculture. Whereas Russia score much lower on this dimension as in their societyit is seen as being very important to build and maintain relationships whichleads to people being more reliant on each other and not generating uniqueideas.
Hofstede’s second cultural dimension that has a significant impact oncreativity is large versus small power distance. Power distance refers to the”extent to which less powerful members of organizations and institutionsaccept and expect that power is distributed unequally” (Hofstede & Bond,1988, p. 10).Russia scores extremely high on this dimension with a score of 93.
Thismeans that they take a very top down approach in business. People in societiesshowing a large degree of power distance accept a hierarchical order in whicheverybody has a place. This means that in many companies the CEO’s word will betaken as law and alternative opinions are unheard of, this tends to stiltcreativity as employees are not willing to speak up or generate new ideas forfear it will be seen as challenging authority. On the other hand the UK has a much lower ranking of 35.
This shows thatin the UK inequality is more minimised. This leads to business structures beingflatter and more work is conducted in teams. This creates a culture in whichpeople have easy access to managers and are more willing to generate and shareideas than in Russia. Structure Power distance has a strong influence on the structure of firms and thisstructure has an influence on creativity and innovation.
Mintzberg suggeststhat there are six different models of structure that can be used by firms. The first three structures involvebureaucracy with a top down leadership approach. Then there is the matrixorganization, the project organization and the loosely coupled organic network.These type of structures are seen as being structures that more effectivelystimulate creativity and innovation.(See appendix 2 for diagrams) The way firms are structured plays a significant role in determining thelevel of creativity and innovation within each country. Firms with fluid jobdescriptions, loose organization charts, high communication, and few rules maybe conducive to innovation because they free developers from constraints,allowing them to change flexibly and create novel ideas (Peters, 1994). Thestructures that allow this are the project organization structure and theloosely coupled organic network because they are network structures.
For many people autocracy and centralised decision-making are synonymouswith the Soviet system and this approach can undoubtedly be seen within largeRussian business organisations. Russian companies tend to be driven by onestrong central figure that will make strategic decisions with little or noconsultation with anyone other than a handful of close trusted advisors. Inmany cases the boss will offer direct instructions which employees are expectedto follow. There is expected to be little communication or consultation frompeople lower down the hierarchy. A clear example of this is the approach takenby Russian presidents and how they go about their decision making process. InRussia businesses have a tendency to be more bureaucratic with the emphasis puton having one leader and employees are expected to follow rules and stay withintheir job descriptions. Delegation is given in terms of managers giving exactinstructions to subordinates who are expected to perform their tasks withlittle debate.
Although UKbusinesses are traditionally hierarchical in structure, many British firms havemoved towards a flatter, less bureaucratic approach such as the matrix andcoupled organic network type structures. Much more emphasis is put onnetworking and building relationships and therefore people are more likely togo bring new ideas to their managers. In Britain it is seen as being much moreacceptable to bring new ideas to managers without it being seen as a challengeof authority. MotivationWithin every individual, creativity is a function of three components:expertise, creative-thinking skills, and motivation. (Amabile,1998). For thepurpose of this essay I am going to look closer at the role of motivation andhow it can help to explain the differences in creativity between the UK andRussia. There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsicmotivation is a type of motivation that comes from outside the organization.
Itworks by getting people to do a job in order to get something desirable or toavoid something negative. One of the most common extrinsic motivators used inbusiness is money; however using money by itself doesn’t make people feelpassionate about their jobs and therefore doesn’t tend to encourage creativityas well as other motivators. Amabile finds that an inner passion to solve the problem at hand leadsto solutions far more creative than external rewards, such as money, this isknown as intrinsic motivation. Diana Bogoyavlenskaya (1993) also stated thatcreativity comes from internal motivation and from passion from an activityitself. (Kaufman, J.C. & Sternberg, R.
J. 2006) According to data, for a very large majority of Russian employees (93%)work is considered first as a source of income. Relative to income, most othertypes of work motivation, it seems, are rarely found in the Russian economy.
(VasiliyA. ANIKIN) This evidence shows that Russians tend to be more overly motivatedby money, which is an extrinsic motivator and tends not to stimulatecreativity. For example a Russian may choose a job that is higher paid over onethat interests them more and this could stifle creativity.
On the other hand a survey in the UK of over 1000 workers found that thetop motivator was ‘job enjoyment’ according to 59 per cent of respondents. (MonsterHiring Resource Center, 2018) From the evidence it is shown that creativity islikely to come from internal motivation rather than motivation from money whichis more likely to be stimulated in the UK than Russia. Although money is still often used as amotivator in the UK it is used much more widely in Russia and managers in theUK are becoming much more aware of using other techniques to motivateemployees. In conclusion it is clear that the nature of creativity varies betweencountries, including the UK and Russia. This is partially due to the factorsconsidered during this essay. I think culture especially has one of the largestimpacts on creativity and without a culture that is conducive to allowing creativityto take place it is very difficult to increase the level of creativity.
Specific cultures like a lower power distance allow for more creativitytherefore if Russia can try to lower this it will be easier to encourage morecreativity. The way firms are structured and motivations used also have animpact. As creativity continues to grow in importance I think we will see thebusiness structures begin to change and countries will become more innovative.