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Influence of culture on priority-setting of high performance activities

André de Waal (High Performance Organizations, Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht, the Netherlands AND HPO Center, the Netherlands)
Kettie Chipeta (Iringa University College, Iringa, Tanzania)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 16 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there are common conceptions of high performance organizations (HPOs) among business in South Africa and Tanzania. This is important to know because their perceptions will not only influence the nature and scope of topics, syllabi and course materials used in teaching, but will also influence the priority of organizational decisions which are going to be made by the students when they are managers.


Data were collected by means of a questionnaire from a sample of 357 second and third year business students who were asked to rate the 35 items contained in the HPO Framework (Waal, 2012) on a seven-point Likert-scale.


Factor analysis revealed that South African and Tanzania business students put priority on three of the original five HPO factors: continuous improvement and renewal, long-term orientation, high quality management, comprising 16 of the original 35 HPO characteristics. A bivariate correlation between the HPO factors and Hofstede’s dimensions of cultural values revealed a significant relationship between the HPO factor long-term orientation and three of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, for both cultures.


The value of the study is that it adds to the HPO literature by focussing on cultural implications and Hofstede’s dimensions. The answer to the research question are there similarities or differences among business students from South Africa and Tanzania in their perceptions of what the priority should be in regard to strengthening specific characteristics in the HPO Framework? is affirmative: yes, there are differences in high performance priority-setting per country and these differences can be explained by cultural differences. The findings of this study thus form a basis for the understanding of the effects of national cultures on the creation of HPOs.



de Waal, A. and Chipeta, K. (2015), "Influence of culture on priority-setting of high performance activities", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 64-86.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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