During the recent lesson, I found myself digging deeper into the European Union (EU) and specifics around the UK’s decision to withdraw from it.
Originally founded in 1951, the EU started as a coal union between Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in an effort to help establish peace by lowering competition between the countries and the scarce resources they each sought. To this day, the EU and its western values has continued to grow and gain acceptance. Its global success has led countries to settle military disputes in an effort to be consider for inclusion. Despite some resistance from countries concerned about competition, restrictions, and the potential cultural loss, most euronationalists would consider the EU a success. Most recently, Turkey, a secular country with Muslim citizens has sought acceptance demonstrating that Islam is not incompatible with Western values (Moran, Abramson, and Moran, 2014).
Yet despite achieving many of its original goals, genuine popular support for a closer union between the countries has been elusive. Growing skepticism and a worry about the influx of immigrants has led to discrimination and even civil disorder by anti-immigrationists about the long-term viability of the EU. To the surprise of many, on June 23, 2016 Great Britain voted to become the first major country in more than 67 years to withdrawal from the European Union.
As I read articles expounding on Great Britain’s decision to pull out of the EU, much of it seemed to support the narrative that the UK desires to improve its economic conditions and their belief that the EU was somehow stifling it. Looking at Geert Hofstede’s 6 culture dimensions, a general comparison between the US and Great Britain yielded a lot of similarities and a few differences (Hofstede, G., & Hofstede, G. J., n.d. b).
|Country||Power Distance||Individualism||Masculinity||Uncertainty Avoidance||Long-Term Avoidance||Indulgence|
Despite both countries demonstrating similarities in both the power distance and individualism categories, which I believe align with Western values, I found some differences in both long-term avoidance and long-term orientation indicating to me that the UK’s slightly more tolerant about their future and therefore more prepared for the uncertainty that may come.
As a leader working in the “new” UK, I would anticipate 2019 and throughout 2021 to be significate years of change. I’m not sure how this will directly affect business and people alike, but I suspect the impact will be significant. With the recent surge in anti-immigration and civil disobedience towards it, my fear is that the UK’s decision to pull out of the EU will create an isolationist mentality and cause companies within the UK, and within the EU, to pull away from the internationalism of the European workforce that has grown over the last five decades (Moran, Abramson, and Moran, 2014).
My guess is things will get messy before any real benefits of the withdrawal can be identified. Significant boarder issues with other countries, new business laws, re-negotiated trade agreements, and employees and citizens living inside and out of the country, will likely be affected (Hunt, A., & Wheeler, B. 2018). Hopefully by 2021 we’ll see that the departure was better for the UK and the global economy as a whole.
Geert Hofstede.com. (n.d.). The 6-D model of national culture. Geert Hofstede.com. Retrieved from https://geerthofstede.com/culture-geert-hofstede-gert-jan-hofstede/6d-model-of-national-culture/
Hunt, A., Wheeler, B. (2018) Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU. BBC News, Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
Moran, Robert, Abramson, Neil, & Moran, Sarah. (2014). Ch. 14. Oxford: Routledge.
Pennsylvania State University. (2018). Leadership in a Global Context–OLEAD 410. Lesson 12: Western Europe. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com.