Iranian Researcher Carries Out Cross-Cultural Study of Work Ethic among Iranian & Italian Employees

Saturday, July 4, 2020 - 10:44

An Iranian researcher from Yasouj University has carried out a cross-cultural study of work ethic and its relationship with locus of control among the Iranian and Italian employees.

According to an ISCA report, Siroos Ahmadi, researcher and author of the study, explained that work ethic is a fundamentally set of values based on moral virtues of hard work and diligence, “Work ethic is considered as an important need for every country because human labor with a strong work ethic can play a key role in realizing the national goals.”

Based on the research, “ work ethic generally is associated with attendance and punctuality, character (honesty, reliability, self-discipline, self-responsibility), teamwork (respecting the rights of others, being a team worker, being cooperative, being assertive), good appearance, positive attitude and self-confidence, productivity, organizational skills, clear verbal and nonverbal communication, cooperation and good relationships, and respect for oneself and for other people.

“But, many managers and employers believe that it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire workers who have a strong work ethic. Therefore, work ethic and the strategies to improve it have been highly considered.

“Regarding the cross-cultural studies, Muslim, developing and collectivistic societies have a stronger work ethic than Protestant or Catholic, developed and individualistic cultures. Work ethic obviously influences different aspects of human life, and it is, in turn, affected by micro, meso, and macro factors.

“While macro level puts emphasis on some wide-ranging causes like economic conditions, cultural values, and religion, meso levels refer to some organizational attributes. And micro levels put more value on individuals and personal attributes like locus of control.

“There are two indicators to assess work ethic; working hours per week, and national productivity of labor force. Although human labor in Iran with working 44 hours per week is considered as an appropriate work ethic, labor national productivity as another indicator of work ethic is not desirable in this country.

“The cross-cultural study of work ethic has not received any attention in Iran, and there is no research comparing work ethic between Muslim and Catholics. This research has tried to compare Iran as a Muslim, developing, and collectivistic culture with Italy as a Catholic, developed, and individualistic one.

According to the result of the research, “research findings clearly showed that while the Iranian employees put more value on hard work and leisure, the Italian employees placed more value on self-reliance, morality/ethics, and wasted time.

“Moreover, the two groups were the same in terms of the delay of gratification, and centrality of work. However, the Italian employees achieved higher scores in MWEP. Based on the research findings, there was a statistically significant difference between the Iranian and Italian employees in terms of work ethic so that the mean work ethic of the Italian staffs was higher than the Iranian counterparts.

“On the other hand, there was a positive significant relationship between locus of control and work ethic in the both groups (Iranian and Italian employees). It indicated that, the participants with high internal locus of control get more score in work ethic.

“This research finding was empirically well-matched with the results of Furnham (1987) demonstrating people with high internal locus of control were more likely to endorse the Protestant work ethic. Theoretically, this research result was logical because people who believed the world is ordered based on the personal effort and ability (internal LOC), were more likely motivated to do their job ethically compared to people who believed the world is unordered based on fate and chance (external LOC).

“In other words, a person with an external locus of control was less likely to take responsibility for the consequences of ethical/unethical behavior and was more likely to rely on external forces. But, a person with an internal locus of control was more likely to take responsibility for consequences and rely on his/her internal determination of right and wrong to guide his/her behavior.”

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