· distributed-agile-2

India Cultural Differences: Hierarchy

One of the more interesting differences between Indian culture and my own is that in India there appears to be more adherence to a hierarchy than I’ve experienced before.

ThoughtWorks tries to keep a reasonably flat hierarchy so I think the idea of hierarchy would be much more obvious if I was working at one of the big Indian services organisations.

Between peers conversations don’t seem to play out any differently but someone in a position of authority is more likely to be able to get their opinion across and accepted with less resistance than they might experience without that authority.

On several occasions it’s been only me and maybe a couple of others involved in discussions if someone in an authority position expresses an opinion assertively.

I asked several colleagues why this was and they pointed out that when they’d previously expressed an opinion in that type of situation it didn’t have any impact so they’d stopped doing so.

I can’t decide whether or not it really matters - the situations where authority has any influence are relatively infrequent - but it would be cool if all opinions were assessed just on merit.

Of course these are just my observations so it’d be interesting to hear others’ experiences.

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