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Cross-Cultural Differences in Punctuality of Dutch and Pakistani

Wendelien van Eerde, University of Amsterdam Business School
Sana Azar, Lahore School of Economics

People from different parts of the world increasingly meet and work together. These people may differ with respect to their values and behaviors based upon their cultural backgrounds. The use of time is one of the cultural aspects that can differ between cultures. However, not much attention has been devoted to study the use of time cross-culturally, whereas many notice this in practice. In this study, we focus on punctuality, or the sensitivity to deviations from appointed times.This deviation - how early and how late is still regarded as acceptable - has been termeda window of time. In this study, we compare Dutch (n = 86) and Pakistani (n= 83) respondents’ windows of time by having them respond to different scenarios. We test six hypotheses regarding cultural values, windows of time, and lateness. As expected, Pakistani have wider windows of time than Dutch respondents, indicating that a larger time frame acceptable to arrive earlier or later for an appointment. We compare latenessto appointments in different roles, such as meeting a friend for lunch, a teacher meeting a student, or a government worker meeting an official. Pakistani accept larger time frames of lateness than Dutch. Both Pakistani and Dutch agree that it is more acceptable that a friend arrives late for lunch. However, we find that the Dutch do not distinguish between the roles of the other scenarios, whereas the Pakistani do: the higher the societal role, the later a person can arrive. This is in line with the differences on the cultural dimension power distance found in this sample, and it confirms previous research on this dimension. We will discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings.


Dr. Wendelien Van Eerde is an Associate Professor at University of Amsterdam, Business School. Her research focus is on the self-management of employees, and in particular how they use their time. She published several articles on procrastination, and how planning and time management are related to outcomes at work. Topics of interest also include polychronicity, multitasking, meetings at work, and cultural differences in the use of time. She has served as a co-promotor for six PhD dissertations on these topics. She has achieved an Outstanding Reviewer Award in 2009, 2008, and 2006 (Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management), among other research awards and grants.

Ms. Sana Azar is Senior Teaching Fellow at the Lahore School of Economics, Faculty of Business Administration. She has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Computer Science from Kinnaird College for Women and Bachelor of Arts from Punjab University with specialization in Journalism and Economics. Sana completed her MBA (Banking and Finance) from Lahore School of Economics in 2009 and MPhil in Business Administration from Lahore School in 2013. She teaches Marketing, Management and Research courses at the Lahore School. She is currently a PhD scholar at the Lahore School. Her research interests include Time Management, Customer Relationship Management, Leadership and e-Commerce. She has presented papers at prestigious international conferences and published papers in her research area.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 5/30/2014 11:40:00 AM,

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