Int. J. Society Systems Science, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2010 269
Copyright © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Managing intercultural differences: the relationships
between cultures, values and personality
Vesa Routamaa* and Tiina M. Hautala
Department of Management,
University of Vaasa,
P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland
Department of Psychological and Sociological Studies,
6-1-20 Seijo, 157-8511 Setagaya, Japan
Abstract: Along with globalisation, the knowledge of cultural differences and
their association with people’s values and behaviour have become important. It
is also important to recognise that each individual personality has its own
ranking of values. Knowing the relationship between personality, values and
cultures can assist expatriates in better understanding the intercultural
differences within regions. Personality has an association with the expatriate’s
adjustment to a new culture. This paper compares the relationships between
personality preferences and values in the Japanese and Finnish contexts. Japan
and Finland had certain highly-ranked values and correspondingly three lowest
ranked values in common. There were also some values contingent on certain
personality types, more so in Finland; Japanese culture tended to equalise the
value rankings a little more. Anyone attempting to adjust to a new culture and
seeking success at work may find it useful to develop knowledge of the
relationships between culture, values and personality.
Keywords: intercultural differences; culture dimensions; values; leadership;
expatriates; personality; Myers-Briggs type indicator; cultural adjustment.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Routamaa, V. and
Hautala, T.M. and Tsutzuki, Y. (2010) ‘Managing intercultural differences:
the relationships between cultures, values and personality’, Int. J. Society
Systems Science, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.269–284.
Biographical notes: Vesa Routamaa is a Professor of Management and
Organisation at the University of Vaasa, Finland. He received his Dr. Sc.
Economics in 1981. His research interests focus on personality, leadership,
teams, creativity, cross-cultural issues, values, expatriates, succession process,
and entrepreneurship. Intercultural projects, memberships of editorial boards of
journals and scientific organisations keep him busy internationally. He is also
an entrepreneur and owner of a leadership development company.
270 V. Routamaa et al.
Tiina M. Hautala received her Dr. Sc. in Economics in 2005. She is working as
a Senior Lecturer at University of Vaasa. Her research interests cover topics of
leadership, personality, cultural differences and entrepreneurship.
Yukie Tsutzuki is a Professor of Psychology at Seijo University in Tokyo,
Japan. She received her Ed. D. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers
College of Columbia University, MS in Counseling from the University of
Oregon. Her research interests focus on personality and cross-cultural
International business, foreign direct investments and any international cooperation
require an understanding of the differences between cultures. For example business
negotiations, expatriate managers and professionals, management of foreign personnel,
and cross-cultural teams presuppose a good knowledge of cultural differences. As
Hofstede (1984) defines it, culture is “the collective programming of the mind that
distinguishes the members of one human group from another”. Hofstede’s cultural
dimensions (masculinity-feminism, collectivism-individualism, power distance and
uncertainty avoidance) serve well to explain the differences of values of different
countries (Routamaa et al., 2007). For example, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines,
Pakistan and Malaysia represent more masculine and collectivist countries than the
feminine and individualist European Nordic countries, and, presumably, there are also
some systematic differences in values.
However, research on expatriates indicates that failed expatriate assignments are still
costly and numerous. Kale and Barnes (1995, pp.271–280) recommend a combination of
Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions, Reynold’s typology for organisational culture
and the MBTI as a method of understanding personality for international sales training.
Studies abound with recommendations on how to increase expatriate success mostly by
contributing lists of ‘suitable’ personality characteristics and behaviours required to
succeed in a new culture. Black et al. (1991) introduce three main skill areas that
expatriates need to focus on to survive in a new culture: skills related to maintenance of
self, skills relating to fostering relationships with host nationals and skills that promote a
correct perception of the host environment and its social systems. Berry et al. (1988,
p.63) introduce three strategies for coping with this adjustment process. Expatriates can
adjust psychologically by adjusting their behaviour to the environment, or they can adjust
by changing the environment, or they can move to a more congenial environment.
Recently more emphasis has been placed on cross-cultural training, but research shows
this to be sporadic and culture-based. Some personal characteristics needed for a success
assignment are technical ability, stress tolerance, flexibility, communication skills, and
cultural empathy [Hiltrop and Jassens, (1995), pp.358–365]. For example, Routamaa and
Rautiainen (2002) find that the psychological type has an association with the expatriate
adjustment in a new culture.
Tylor (1871) defined culture as “that complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs,
art, laws, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of
society”. Fundamental webs of culture constitute patterned ways of thinking, acting,
feeling, and interpreting [see e.g. Kluckhohn, (1951), p.86; Ting-Toomey, (1985), p.75].
Managing intercultural differences 271
Ronen (1986, p.18) sees culture as ‘the frame of reference’ of individuals, and Harris and
Moran (1987, p.102) discuss the ‘mental frameworks’ which groups, organisations and
nations develop. The more individuals conform with each other in terms of background
variables such as nationality, education and sex, the more likely it is that they perceive
their social environment similarly, and in that way share the same subjective culture
(Hofstede, 1984). Dealing with values here, the subjective culture is of special interest
over the objective culture, which is composed of a more concrete infrastructure
(Routamaa and Pollari, 1998).
Studying work-related values at the societal level, Hofstede (1984) identified four
Power distance can be defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of
institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed
unequally. Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are
loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate
family. Collectivism as its opposite, pertains to societies in which people are integrated
into strong, cohesive groups from birth, which throughout their lifetimes continue to
protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Uncertainty avoidance is defined as
the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown
situations. This feeling can be expressed through nervous stress and a need for
predictability for example, by a need for written and unwritten rules. Masculinity pertains
to societies in which social gender roles are clearly distinct, and femininity pertains to
societies in which social gender roles overlap [Hofstede, (1991), pp.23–158]. Also a fifth
dimension, long-term versus short-term orientation, has been identified in a survey with
the Chinese value survey instrument carried out by M.H. Bond (Hofstede, 1993), which
could be of great use if some comparative data across countries were employed.
In spite of the criticism (see e.g. Spector et al., 2001; Hofstede, 2002; Spector and
Cooper, 2002), Hofstede’s studies and cultural dimensions serve the understanding of
cultural differences well. Different cultural contexts may also explain the differences of
values of different countries. Culture, ‘software of the mind’ or ‘collective
programming’, may affect our values. However, as Routamaa and Pollari (1998) find, the
mutual relationships between values and personality types may be fairly similar in each
culture. They also find that cultural background affects leadership style. In the masculine
culture, the average manager may favour more dedicated, benevolent autocratic
behaviour. Correspondingly, the feminine culture with its negotiating and compromising
practices refers to integrated, even related styles. However, the leadership style
differences between personality types were similar in both cultures except that they were
more task oriented in the masculine culture. Accordingly, a similar relationship between
culture, values and personality types may be assumed.
‘Software of the mind’ functions as a filter when people interpret what kind of values
they emphasise. Do the values differ significantly because of the cultural differences
when the personality type is controlled? Controlling of the type may provide an answer to
the question of the effect of the culture. This paper will compare the relationships
between personality types and values in Japanese and Finnish contexts, but actually, the
countries are not as important as the cultures they represent.
The study compares Japan and Finland which represent the cultures concerned here,
in relation to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and based on Hofstede’s (1984) results. The
differences will be characterised to the extent they are relevant to potential value
272 V. Routamaa et al.
2 Cultural differences between Japan and Finland
2.1 Comparison of the cultural dimensions
Comparison of power distance and masculinity dimensions between Japan and Finland
reveals that both are higher in Japan. Finland is characterised by a small-power distance,
and a feminine cluster. In the individualism-collectivism dimension, Finland is in the
individualism cluster whereas individualism is lower in Japan, in a rather collectivist
society. Uncertainty avoidance is higher in Japan (see Table 1).
In feminine cultures, the preference for resolving conflicts is compromise and
negotiation. In masculine cultures, there is a feeling that conflicts should be resolved by a
good fight: Let the best man win. In feminine cultures a humanised job gives more
opportunities for mutual help and social contacts. The masculine leadership culture is
assertive, decisive, ‘aggressive’, and a decision-maker is looking for facts rather more
than a group-discussion leader. The management in a feminine culture is less visible,
more intuitive than decisive and more consensus-seeking than the counterpart in a
masculine culture [Hofstede, (1991), p.92–94]. In weak uncertainty avoidance, masculine
cluster, achievement and esteem are typical whereas security and belongingness are
typical of a strong uncertainty avoidance, feminine cluster [Hofstede, (1991), p.125].
On the power distance and uncertainty avoidance dimension, Finland is in the cluster
of small-power distance and strong uncertainty-avoidance, whereas Japan is in the cluster
of larger-power distance and stronger uncertainty avoidance. Countries with strong
uncertainty avoidance but small power distance have organisations like the well-oiled
machine model, the activities are structured without concentrating the authority. In the
large-power distance, weak-uncertainty-avoidance countries, a family organisation with
an omnipotent owner-manager is characteristic; so a concentration of authority without
structuring of activities may be observed [Hofstede, (1991), pp.142–143].
Table 1 Comparison of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions in the case of Japan and Finland
Cultural dimensions Japan Finland
Power distance Medium Small
Masculinity High Low
Individualism Rather collectivist Individualistic
Uncertainty avoidance Higher uncertainty avoidance Lower uncertainty avoidance
Along with globalisation, value types and values from a cross-cultural perspective have
awakened great interest (e.g. Abramson and Inglehart, 1995; Hofstede, 1980, 1991;
Markus and Kitayama, 1994; Schwartz, 1992, 1994; Schwartz and Bardi, 1997; Schwartz
and Ros, 1995; Smith and Schwartz, 1997; Inglehart, 1997; Triandis, 1990; etc.). In
different cultural contexts, the values have different weights but in the main the
relationship structure between personality types and values is similar (cf. analogical
results, Routamaa and Pollari, 1998).
Lewis (2003) has analysed and compared different countries and cultures around the
world in ordinary terms typical for each country in their historical context. Lewis (2003,
p.331) states that “the Finns, probably on account of exceptional historical and
Managing intercultural differences 273
geographical circumstances, have a higher degree of national self-consciousness than
most peoples.” He adds that “it is hard for the British and French to imagine a nation that
has triumphed over so much adversity can fall prey to an inferiority complex! There are
strings of such contradictions.” Here are some of them (see Table 2):
Table 2 Finnish values
• Warm-hearted • Desire for solitude
• Hardworking and intelligent • Worry about emerging from a recession
• Love freedom • Curtail their own liberty
• Admire coolness and calm judgment • Drink far too much
• Want to communicate • Wallow in introversion
• Tolerant • Secretly despise overly emotional people
• Independent • Hesitant to speak up in international arena
• Democratic • Often let the ‘tyranny of the majority’ rule
• Fiercely individualistic • Afraid of ‘what the neighbours might say’
• Western in outlook • Cannot lose face (like the Asians)
• Resourceful • Often portray themselves as hapless
• Capable of acting alone • Frequently take refuge in group collusions
• Desire to be liked • Make no attempt to charm
• Love their country • Seldom speak well of it
Source: Lewis (2003)
Correspondingly, according to Lewis (2003, p.510), typical values for Japanese people
are as stated in Table 3. Actually, Lewis saw some congruence between the Finnish,
Japanese, Chinese, and also French values due to the history in spite that the Finns are
Table 3 Japanese values
• Ultra-honesty • Protection of everyone’s face
• Modesty • Sense of honour
• Shyness • Ultra-politeness
• Distrust of verbosity • Belief in Japanese uniqueness
• Sense of duty • Punctuality
• Hospitality • Avoidance of dept
• Uneasiness with foreigners • Mutual obligations
Source: Lewis (2003)
In accordance with Hofstede’s ‘social programming’, values are also seen as ‘abstract
social cognitions’ that help people’s adaptation to the environment (Claxton and
McIntyre, 1996). According to Comte, value consensus is usually defined as concurrence
among members of a society concerning their values (Comte, cited by Partridge, 1971;
274 V. Routamaa et al.
see Schwartz and Sagie, 2000) Theoretically, the values, that is the types of values used
here, are based on Schwartz’s (1992) and Schwartz and Boehnke’s (2004) definitions
(Table 4). Spirituality is not included in the questionnaire used here.
Table 4 Types of values and sub-values of the study
Achievement Implies personal success through demonstrating capabilities while respecting
the social standards that the individual has to respect. The associated values
include ambition, influence, capability, success, intelligence and self-respect.
Benevolence Is associated with the values of being helpful, responsible, forgiving, honest,
loyal, and capable of mature love and true friendship.
Conformity The restraints on action, inclination and impulses that are likely to upset or
harm other individuals or groups and violate social norms or expectations are
the relevant goals here. The associated values include obedience,
self-discipline, politeness and honouring of parents and elders.
Hedonism Pleasure and the sensuous gratification of oneself are the defining goals here,
leading to pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment of life.
Power The attainment of social status and prestige and control or dominance over
others and resources define this motivational type. Values associated with this
include social power, wealth, authority, preserving a public image and social
Security Safety, harmony and the stability of society, of relationships and of
self-preservation are the defining goals of this value type. The relevant values
include national security, reciprocation of favours, family security, a sense of
belonging, social order, health and clean living.
Self-direction Independent thought and action in choosing, creating, exploring (creativity,
freedom, choosing one’s own goals, curiosity and independence).
Spirituality Implies meaning and inner peace through the transcendence of everyday life.
The associated values include a spiritual life, meaning in life, inner harmony
Stimulation Values derive from the assumed need of individuals and groups for variety
and stimulation in order to maintain an ideal level of activity, motivating an
exciting life, a varied life, and a daring outlook.
Tradition Springs from commitment to, and acceptance of, the customs and ideals that
are imposed by an individual’s culture or religion. The associated values are
tradition, devotion, acceptance of one’s lot in life, humility and moderation.
Universalism Understanding, appreciation, tolerance and protection for the welfare of all
other people and of nature. The associated values include equality, unity with
nature, wisdom, a world of beauty, social justice, broad-mindedness,
protecting the environment and a world at peace.
3 Personality types
To conceptualise and assess personality, this study uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
(MBTI). It is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and it reports
personality preferences on four scales: Jungian Extraversion – Introversion, Sensing –
iNtuition, Thinking – Feeling, and the Judging – Perceiving preference added by Briggs
and Myers (Myers, 1990). According to Myers (1990), the MBTI is primarily concerned
Managing intercultural differences 275
with the valuable differences in people that result from where they like to focus their
attention, the way they like to take on information, the way they like to decide, and the
way they like to adopt. Usually one pole dominates over another. The eight preferences
are identified in sixteen types, each representing a certain preference order. Briefly
illustrated the preferences are (Myers, 1990):
Extraversion (E) Interested in people and things in the world around them.
Introversion (I) Interested in the ideas in their minds that explain the world.
Sensing (S) Interested in what is real and can be seen, heard and touched.
Intuition (N) Interested in what can be imagined and seen with ‘the mind’s eye’.
Thinking (T) Interested in what is logical and works by cause and effect.
Feeling (F) Interested in knowing what is important and valuable.
Judging (J) Interested in acting by organising, planning, deciding.
Perceiving (P) Interested in acting by watching, trying out, adapting.
“The theory postulates specific dynamic relationships between the preferences.
For each type, one process is the leading or dominant process and a second
process serves as an auxiliary. Each type has its own pattern of dominant and
auxiliary processes and the attitudes (E or I) in which these are habitually used.
Determining these dynamic relationships is enabled by the J-P dichotomy of
the MBTI. The characteristics of each type follow from the dynamic interplay
of these processes and attitudes”. [Myers and McCaulley, (1985), pp.2–3]
In order to interpret the associations between type and values, the 16 types based on those
dimensions are next briefly illustrated (e.g. Myers, 1990):
• ISTJs. Quiet and serious. Succeed through concentration and thoroughness. Practical,
orderly, matter-of-fact, logical, realistic, and dependable. See to it that everything is
well organised. Take responsibility. Make up their own minds as to what should be
accomplished and work toward it steadily, regardless of protests or distractions.
• ISFJ. Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Work devotedly to meet their
obligations. Lend stability to any project or group. Thorough, painstaking, accurate.
Their interests are usually not technical. Can be patient with necessary details. Loyal,
considerate, perceptive, concerned with how other people feel.
• INFJs. Succeed by perseverance, originality, and desire to do whatever is needed or
wanted. Put their best efforts into their work. Quietly forceful, conscientious,
concerned for others. Respected for their firm principles. Likely to be honoured and
followed for their clear visions as to how best to serve the common good.
• INTJs. Have original minds and great drive for their own ideas and purposes. Have
long-range vision and quickly find meaningful patterns in external events. In fields
that appeal to them, they have a fine power to organise a job and carry it through.
Sceptical, critical, independent, determined.
276 V. Routamaa et al.
• ISTPs. Cool onlookers, quiet, reserved, observing and analysing life with detached
curiosity and unexpected flashes of original humour. Usually interested in cause and
effect, how and why mechanical things work, and in organising facts using logical
principles. Excellent at getting to the core of a practical problem and finding the
• ISFPs. Retiring, quietly friendly, sensitive, kind, and modest about their abilities.
Shun disagreements; do not force their opinions or values on others. Usually do not
care to lead but are often loyal followers. Often relaxed about getting things done
because they enjoy the present moment and do not want to spoil it by undue haste or
• INFPs. Quiet observers, idealistic, loyal. Placing importance on outer life being
congruent with inner values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, often serve as
catalysts to implement ideas. Adaptable, flexible and accepting unless a value is
threatened. Want to understand people and ways of fulfilling human potential. Little
concern with possessions or surroundings.
• INTPs. Quiet and reserved. Especially enjoy theoretical or scientific pursuits. Like
solving problems with logic and analysis. Interested mainly in ideas, with little liking
for parties or small talk. Tend to have sharply defined interests. Need careers where
some strong interest can be used and useful.
• ESTPs. Good at on-the-spot problem solving. Like action, enjoy whatever comes
along. Tend to like mechanical things and sports, with friends on the side. Adaptable,
tolerant, pragmatic; focused on getting results. Dislike long explanations. Are best
with real things that can be worked, handled, taken apart, or put together.
• ESFPs. Outgoing, accepting, friendly, enjoy everything and make things more fun
for others by their enjoyment. Like action and making things happen. Know what is
going on and join in eagerly. Find remembering facts easier than mastering theories.
Are best in situations that need sound common sense and practical ability with
• ENFPs. Warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious, imaginative. Able to do
almost anything that interests them. Quick with a solution to any difficulty and ready
to help anyone with a problem. Often rely on their ability to improvise instead of
preparing in advance. Can usually find compelling reasons for whatever they want.
• ENTPs. Quick, ingenious, good at many things. Stimulating company, alert and
outspoken. May argue for fun on either side of a question. Resourceful in solving
new and challenging problems, but may neglect routine assignments. Apt to turn to
one new interest after another. Skilfully in finding logical reasons for what they
• ESTJs. Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact, with a natural head for business or
mechanics. Not interested in abstract theories, want learning to have direct and
immediate application. Like to organise and run activities. Often make good
administrators; are decisive, quickly move to implement decisions; take care of
Managing intercultural differences 277
• ESFJs. Warm-hearted, talkative, popular, conscientious, born co-operators, active
committee members. Need harmony and may be good at creating it. Always doing
something nice for someone. Work best with encouragement and praise. Main
interest is in things that directly and visibly affect people’s lives.
• ENFJs. Responsive and responsible. Feel real concern for what others think or want,
and try to handle things with due regard for the other’s feelings. Can present a
proposal or lead a group discussion with ease and tact. Sociable, popular,
sympathetic. Responsive to praise and criticism. Like to facilitate others and enable
people to achieve their potential.
• ENTJs. Frank, decisive, leaders in activities. Develop and implement comprehensive
systems to solve organisational problems. Good at anything that requires reasoning
and intelligent talk, such as public speaking. Are usually well informed and enjoy
adding to their fund of knowledge.
It should be mentioned that each type has a certain order of preferences from dominant to
auxiliary, and its own dynamics. That is why the type is not merely the sum of
preferences as typical trait tests, for example ‘the big five’, are.
4 Sample and method
The sample consisted of 396 Finnish people and 304 Japanese people who completed the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the value questionnaire. The distribution of the
types in each country are presented in Table 5. For the value questionnaire (Schwartz), a
7-degree scale was provided for respondents to indicate how important the values
Table 5 The type distributions of the Finnish (upper) and Japanese samples (lower)
ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ
ISTP ISFP INFP INTP
ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP
ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ
278 V. Routamaa et al.
The comparison of values will be presented in the form of ranking orders in the whole
samples of each culture and of ranking orders of each type.
Even though men and women are not compared here, it should be mentioned that the
differences between male and female respondents were insignificant in the feminine and
individual cultures. In collective and masculine cultures the rankings of values may differ
more, as the status of women is different. In this connection, however, the means of the
total sample will be analysed.
Table 6 presents the value rankings in the total samples. Benevolence in terms of being
helpful, responsible, forgiving, honest, loyal, capable of mature love and true friendship
is among the three top values of both cultures. Hedonism is also among the top three in
both cultures – and number one in Japan. Pleasure and enjoyment are surprisingly
important for both cultures. Self-direction is more important (in third place) in
individualistic Finland whereas security (in second) is very important in Japan.
Interestingly, the three final values are the same, and occur in the same order in the
two cultures too. Stimulation, tradition, and power are the least ranked values, on
average. It may be assumed that in old Japanese culture, tradition was valued higher but,
on the other hand, younger people especially have become considerably more
westernised during the last twenty years, and the Japanese sample consists mainly of
Universalism is more typical of collectivist cultures even though there are not big
differences here. Further, achievement is usually a more typical value for masculine
cultures than feminine ones (Routamaa et al., 2007). That is, orientation towards work is
also different than that found in feminine cultures, and that should be recognised by those
coming to work from a different culture. However, the rankings of Japan and Finland
were the same, but with the Japanese mean a little higher. The small difference may also
be a result of westernisation. It may be mentioned that the values of the Finns and the
Japanese people presented in more ordinary terms by Lewis (2003) (see Tables 2 and 3)
at least partly match the value rankings obtained here, in general.
Further, in Table 6, the top three and lowest three types associated with each value
are presented. First it should be noted that the introverted are overrepresented among the
lowest means given to the values. Secondly, there is a clear difference between the types
as regards whether they are more dependent on culture or typical type behaviour. It seems
that ENFP, ENTP, ENTJ, ISTP and INTP types have more culture free values than
others. Maybe most outstandingly the ESTJ type differs between the countries.
According to the behaviour descriptions, one could assume that ESTJs would share
similarities across the cultures. But in this case, the ESTJ type belongs to the lowest three
in valuing conformity and achievement in Japan, whereas in Finland the ESTJ type is in
first place for valuing conformity, and second for valuing achievement. ESTJs are seen as
task oriented and diligent and that is why one could assume a strong association between
achievement and ESTJ.
Managing intercultural differences 279
Table 6 Rankings of means of the values in the total samples in Finland (N=369) and Japan
(N=304) and three highest and three lowest by type-means of each value in both countries
from first to
from first to
INFJ 5.68 ISTP 4.82^ ESFP 5.95^ ISTJ 5.13
ENFJ 5.59^ INTJ 4.80 ENFP 5.88^ INTP 5.08
ESFJ 5.52 INTP 4.66^
ENFJ 5.72 INTJ 4.67
ESTP 5.58 ISFP 4.54 ESTP 5.81^ ESTJ 5.02
ESFP 5.49^ ENTJ 4.44 ISFJ 5.58 ISTP 4.61^
ENFP 5.44^ INFJ 3.1
ESFP 5.52 INTP 4.43^
ENTJ 5.64^ ISTP 4.54^ ESFP 5.39 ESTJ 4.69
ENTP 5.48^ ISFJ 4.53^ ENFJ 5.38^ ISTP 4.61^
ENFP 5.18 ISTJ 4.44
ENTP 5.37 INTP 4.36^
INFJ 5.36 ENFP 4.31 INTJ 5.48 INFP 4.87
ESTP 5.25^ ISTP 4.07^ ESTP 5.41 INTP 4.74
ESTJ 5.08 INTP 3.80^
ISFP 5.26 ESTJ 4.60
INFJ 5.65 ISFP 4.13 ENTP 5.54^ ISTP 4.65^
ENTJ 5.10 ISTJ 3.92 ENTJ 5.46^ ISFP 4.58^
ENFJ 4.71 ISTP 3.90
INTJ 5.43 ESTJ 4.42
ESTJ 4.93 INTJ 3.73 ISFP 5.29 ESTJ 4.46
ENTJ 4.91 ENFP 3.71 ENFJ 5.25 INFP 4.44
ESFJ 4.80 INTP 3.57^
ISFJ 5.20 INTP 4.10^
ENTJ 5.31^ ISFJ 3.70 ENTP 5.21 ESFJ 4.37
ESTJ 4.92 INFP 3.64^ INTJ 5.00 INFP 4.30^
ESTP 4.82 INFJ 3.25
ENTJ 4.90^ ESTJ 4.19
ENTP 5.33^ ISTJ 3.09^ ENFP 4.50^ ISTJ 3.55^
ESTP 4.82 INFJ 3.07 ESFP 4.40 ISTP 3.42
ENFP 4.82^ ISFJ 2.98^
ENTP 4.27^ ISFJ 3.39^
INFJ 4.04 INTJ 2.56 ISTJ 4.14 INFJ 3.29
INFP 3.62 ENFP 2.38 ISFP 3.92 ISTP 3.15
ESFJ 3.43 INTP 2.14^
ISFJ 3.90 INTP 2.91^
ENTJ 3.56^ INFP 2.19 ENTJ 4.31^ ESFJ 3.26
ESTJ 3.43 ISFJ 2.15 ESFP 3.96 INTP 3.20
ESTP 3.30 INFJ 1.50
ENFJ 3.83 ISTP 2.95
Note: ^The type is one of the three in both top three or bottom three in the total data.
280 V. Routamaa et al.
Table 7 Value rankings of different personality types
Fin Jpn Fin Jpn Fin Jpn Fin Jpn
ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ
ben secu ben hed ben hed self univ
hed univ secu secu univ secu ben self
secu ben hed ben secu ben hed secu
self hed conf conf self univ secu ben
ach self self univ conf self univ ach
conf conf univ self trad conf ach conf
univ ach ach ach ach ach conf hed
po trad trad trad hed stim stim stim
stim po stim po stim po trad trad
trad stim po stim po trad po po
ISTP ISFP INFP INTP
hed hed ben hed hed hed hed hed
ben univ self conf ben secu self self
self self secu univ self ben univ univ
stim ben hed secu secu self ben ach
conf secu univ ben univ univ ach secu
ach conf stim self conf conf stim ben
secu ach conf ach ach ach secu conf
univ stim ach trad trad stim conf stim
po trad trad stim stim trad po po
trad po po po po po trad trad
ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP
hed secu hed hed hed hed self hed
secu univ ben secu ben secu hed self
ben hed secu ben self ben stim ben
self conf self univ stim univ ben ach
stim self univ self univ self ach univ
ach ach conf conf secu conf univ secu
conf ben stim ach ach ach conf conf
univ stim ach stim conf stim secu stim
trad po trad po po po po po
po trad po trad trad trad trad trad
Note: Left - Finland, right - Japan.
Managing intercultural differences 281
Table 7 Value rankings of different personality types (continued)
Fin Jpn Fin Jpn Fin Jpn Fin Jpn
ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ
ben hed ben hed ben hed self self
secu secu hed secu hed secu ben ben
self ben secu ben self ben ach hed
conf univ conf conf secu conf univ conf
ach conf univ univ ach self secu secu
hed self self self univ univ conf univ
univ ach ach ach conf ach stim ach
stim po stim trad stim stim hed po
po stim trad stim trad po po stim
trad trad po po po trad trad trad
Note: Left - Finland, right - Japan.
Looking at the values and all types (Table 7), one common feature is that sensing and
feeling types value security, and it seems to be especially important for Japanese S- and
T-types. That is, in an uncertainty avoidance, collectivist culture, security is more
important than in the opposite culture. It may be mentioned that family security is
particularly important to all cultures (see Routamaa et al., 2007). However, security is
also based on type. In both cultures NPs and certain ENs do not value security that much.
For example, supervisors should recognise these differences when adjusting their
One typical type based, non-culture dependent value is self-dependence. NTs,
regardless of the culture, value self-dependence highly. That means, as workers or
foremen, NTs need and value quite independent work and an appropriate leadership
Even though stimulation is among the three lowest ranked values in both cultures, in
an individual, feminist culture most Ps value it higher. It is quite natural for spontaneous
people but, evidently, Japanese culture calms such kinds of individuals’ values and
Surprisingly, conformity is not valued as much in Japan as it is in some other Asian
collective cultures (Routamaa et al., 2007) but also the level of collectivism is not that
high in Japan. Actually, in both cultures investigated here, conformity is ranked sixth in
the list of ten values. It should be noted that a certain relationship between type and
conformity could be found, especially in Finnish culture; certain Ps and NPs (e.g. ENFP,
ENTP, INTP) do not value conformity that highly. Concerning the highly valued
hedonism, it may be noted that in Finland there are two interesting examples; ESTJ and
ENTJ do not value pleasure and enjoyment. It is noteworthy because both types are very
common among foremen and supervisors. So there may be a remarkable gap between the
values of foremen and subordinates. Again, in Japan the common culture equalises the
values between types.
282 V. Routamaa et al.
What are the lessons to be learned based on the analysis above? Firstly, the study
confirmed the results of earlier studies that posit that there are culture-based stresses in
the values that must be taken into consideration in international business. The study
revealed that there is a certain amount of conformity among members of a society
concerning their values. That is, there may be some shared values over the individual
values. In this case, Japanese people have a little more commonality among themselves.
Secondly, the study confirmed that certain types share common values across cultures.
ENFP, ENTP, ENTJ, ISTP and INTP types were the ones, which had most common
values across the cultures. Thirdly, there are some differences between what the same
type values in different cultures; for example, with ESTJ’s relationship to achievement
conformity. These different relationships between culture, values and type make
expatriate work very demanding.
The most typical values for the higher power distance, higher uncertainty avoidance,
somewhat collectivist and masculine culture were hedonism, security and benevolence.
Surprisingly, and differing from earlier results of masculine culture (Routamaa et al.,
2007), achievement was not that highly valued. One can assume that westernisation and
transition are bringing cultures closer together. However, there are certainly bigger
differences between the values of generalisations in Asia than there are in Europe
(Routamaa and Heinäsuo, 2006).
The most typical values for the low power distance, low uncertainty avoidance,
individual and feminine culture were benevolence, hedonism, and self-direction. The
latter revealed the biggest difference from the opposing culture. The value rankings of the
two cultures were surprisingly similar. For example, the lowest ranked three values were
the same and in same order. A challenge for managerial work is that power is valued very
low. Actually, it may be noted that the differences were bigger between the types than the
cultures. Indeed, the biggest leadership challenge is dealing with the differences between
the types (Hautala, 2006). When the cultural context is added, leadership and expatriate
work is really challenging.
Within cultures, types have their value differences. Each individual type has its own
ranking of values. In global business, the business person or traveller should recognise
the intercultural differences within regions in order to succeed in business or leisure
relationships. As was noted, for example, benevolence and hedonism were highly valued
in both cultures. That is, personal relationships are a sensitive area where insulting values
may have bad results. The great number of unsuccessful expatriate recruitments is a
serious example of the scarce understanding of cultural and personality differences of
To succeed as a manager in a foreign culture requires training and coaching in
self-knowledge and the relevant cultural differences in terms of values and personality.
For example, a manager in a masculine, collective, high-power distance, and
high-uncertainty-avoidance culture has to take into account security, which demands
task-oriented leadership behaviour, while benevolence and self-direction in an
individualistic, feminine culture require more delegating and people-oriented leadership.
Also the highly-valued Asian style of hedonism may be hard to manage for certain types
of effect-oriented western managers. A manager coming from an individualistic and
feminine culture may also experience difficulties in applying a task oriented and
collective leadership style when used to functioning in work communities coloured by
Managing intercultural differences 283
individually oriented hedonism and benevolence. Correspondingly an expatriate coming
from a high-power distance, high uncertainty avoidance, collectivist and masculine
culture to the opposite culture may feel insecure and inactive in an uncollective milieu of
hedonism. Additionally there are some type differences, which, at best can improve
effectiveness and organisational climate but which, at worst, can be misunderstood and
wasted. In a global business world, business communities are more and more
multicultural, irrespective of which country they are located in. That is why knowledge of
cultural dimensions, values, personality types, and knowledge of the relationships
between them is a big challenge for expatriates.
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