Peculiarities Of Respect To Time In Different Countries

Abstract

A hundred and one (101) employees of a Korean company took part in the study. As branches of the company are located in Russia, South Korea and Brazil, nationality of the respondents was as follows: the Russians, the Brazilians and the Koreans. One’s respect to time (Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory questionnaire) and ability to control time (“Challenges of Your Time Management” individual test) have been measured. Data processing: For data processing, we used a computer program SPSS 21.0 for Windows with the following methods of analysis: correlation analysis (Spearman’s criterion), one-factor analysis of variance, multiple regression analysis. Results. A correlation between length of employment and strategic planning ability has been revealed for all the employees. The comparative analysis demonstrated that the Russian employees have the strongest ability for strategic planning. The Korean employees have the strongest ability for operative planning and goals setting. The Brazilian employees are the leaders in work priority rating among the three groups of respondents. The Korean and the Brazilian employees almost never use the procrastination tactic. Multi-factor analysis of variance revealed the differences in planning of one’s future skills and positive perception of time. Multi-factor analysis of variance showed that a tendency for procrastination is more natural for those employees whose planning ability and time management factors are low.

Keywords: Time perspective inventorycross-cultural differences

Introduction

A person’s perception of time is not a natural ability. Time notions are mainly determined by the culture to which a person is affiliated and are learned in the process of socialization. The issues of cross-cultural cooperation are often complicated by the differences in respect to time and conflicting ways of self-management and planning. The issues of time self-management are the most vital in those companies, which have branches in different countries.

Problem Statement

The issues of the time self-management peculiarities study are of the doubtless interest for both science and practice. However, often the experimental studies of time perception and experience demonstrate controversial results. It is possibly related to the fact that content of the “time” category is sufficiently wide and may be reviewed depending on the field of study. That means separation in physical, biological, social and psychological time. According to Dyachuk (2009), the traditional studies of time experience in the psychological science have the following two main directions: on the one hand, the time is being reviewed as a reflection of the objective time and its specific physical properties. This is an issue of studies of the psycho-physiological and neuro-physiological bases of time reflection. On the other hand, the studies are related to the peculiarities of time perception, assessment of time intervals, as well as highlighting the factors that lead to distortion of perception, sense and experience of the objective time. Following the studies of Dyachuk (2009), our study reviews the psychological time as a kind of dynamic of a person’s inner world controlled by the specific time relations. There are several approaches to study of the psychological time problem in the modern psychological science. For example, Tarasova and Kovalev (1979) study the following approaches: 1) The review of human time as a combination of all psychological changes of a person in the “objective biographical time”. Within this approach, we shall mention works of Ananyev (2001) and others; 2) The approach that reviews human time as a subjective experience. Within this approach, the psychological time is being studied in the context of time perspective inventory of a personality (tendency for development, role of life plans and goals). In this context, the “psychological time” is the most important factor of an individual's life activity regulation. Works of Nuttin (1984), Knapp and Zeratsky (2019), Levin (2000) and Tolstykh and Bucharina (2019) follow this approach; 3) The approach proposed by Abulkhanova and Berezina (2001) gives a concept of personal time, the category that unites both subjective and objective time of a person. The following studies adhere to this approach: hypothesis on time transspective integrating the past, the present and the future of a person (Kovalev, 1979); typology of the personal time management based on analysis of the real ways of activity management (Kublitskene, 1989; Kuzmina, 1993; Tarasova & Kovalev, 2007); time planning (Serenkova, 1991).

Research Questions

We shall pay attention to the following studies that consider influence of several factors on the subjective assessment of length and duration of time interval: environmental factors (Boyd & Zimbardo, 2005; Robbins & Bryan, 2004); specific of the task faced by a person (Epel, Bandura, & Zimbardo, 1999); motivation (each time we pay attention to the time passing it seems us slower than usual; the most precise assessment is an easy and calm time perception); drugs (Drake, Duncan, Abernethy, & Henry, 2008; Keough, Zimbardo, & Boyd, 2001). It has also been proved that time during movement seems shorter than at rest. These data confirm the studies of Zimbardo (Zimbardo, Keough, & Boyd, 1997; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999; Zimbardo & Boyd, 2009; Zimbardo, Sword, & Sword, 2012) who outlined the interrelation between subjective duration of time interval and its fullness with events as far back as 1890. In particular, he indicated that time goes fast when it is full of various and exciting events, though in retrospective perception this interval seems a long one. The time perception also depends on the emotional state. The precise experimental studies has found that a person who has positive emotions underestimates the time intervals, meaning that his subjective time passing is faster than usual. When a person has negative emotions, the time intervals are overestimated, meaning that subjective time passing is slower than usual (Medvedeva, 2000). In addition, the time perspective inventory – an attitude to the present and the future – depends considerably on a person’s nature and temperament. The choleric persons are mainly aimed at the future (“forgive and forget”); the sanguine persons are aimed at novelty, put the past behind them and are in balance with the present; the melancholic persons prefer reminiscences, they are not anxious about the future; the phlegmatic persons are aimed at the past, the future does not excite or attract them. Tsukanov (2000) has measured the time sensitivity thresholds for representatives of the main four types of temperament. The choleric persons have the shortest interval of time sensitivity. The sanguine persons have slightly longer interval, followed by the melancholic persons; and the phlegmatic persons have the longest interval.

Purpose of the Study

Our study is focused on assessment of respect to the past, the present and the future demonstrated by the representatives of different cultures, as well as analysis of their time self-management. The hypothesis of our study is the presumption that representatives of different cultural groups have differences in perception, understanding and respect to time. Object of the Study: A hundred and one (101) respondents participated in the study. All of them are employees of a Korean company located in Russia (St. Petersburg), South Korea (Seoul) and Brazil (Piracicaba): the Russians, the Koreans, the Brazilians. Among them, there are 37 Russian employees, 31 Brazilian employees and 33 Korean employees. Average age of employees is as follows: the Russians – 29 years, the Koreans – 32 years, the Brazilians – 30 years. All participants of the study have not less than 3 years of work experience in the company. Among the participants, there are 48 women and 53 men. All the respondents are employed in the administrative department (office employees) and have the status of senior specialists and heads of sections (divisions). We shall mention that all the respondents employed in the Russian branch of the company have finished higher education, as it is one of the major criteria for their employment. In South Korea and Brazil, the requirement for higher education is not the major criterion for employment. In addition, employees of the plants in Brazil and South Korea have possibility to study during their employment, that is why some of them may have unfinished higher education. The major part of the Korean respondents have the status of Coordinating Managers.

Research Methods

For our study, we used the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory questionnaire and the “Challenges of Your Time Management” individual test. Using the method proposed by F. Zimbardo, we may assess the respect to time (to the present, the past and the future). The “Challenges of Your Time Management” individual test enables us to assess competencies (or lack of those) by the following blocks: problems with strategic planning of works; problems in goals setting and determination of works execution deadlines; problems with setting the work priorities; tendency for slow acting and procrastination; much time consumed by the “time wasters”; there are problems in document management. For data processing, we used a computer program SPSS 21.0 for Windows. We performed correlation analysis (Spearman’s criterion), one-factor analysis of variance, and multiple regression analysis.

Findings

Let us review peculiarities of respect to time demonstrated by each of the studied groups. All the obtained results are at the level p≤0.01. For this analysis, we used general data in the selection with no division by sex of the respondents. For the Russian employees, we have revealed the interrelation between the operative and strategic planning skills and positive attitude to their past. We may assume that skills of operative planning help to calculate all the risks and possibilities in perspective. With this, the positive influence of the past may help to consider one’s own experience as successful and use it as a support for creation of both operative and strategic tasks. We can reasonably explain the obtained interrelation between skills of operative planning and setting the work priorities. However, the interrelation between good operative planning and use of so called “time wasters” – the activities that do not help an employee to move towards the set goal – can be hardly explained. The obtained data may mean that the skills of operative planning will not prevent a person from the distraction by activities not related to his work tasks. This distraction is also enhanced by use of the “open space” offices in the Russian branch of the company. Such types of offices “make” an employee to be involved in activities and discussions of his colleagues.

The respondents with high scores of tendency to use the “time wasters” often evaluate their past as negative. It may be explained by the negative assessment of the previous activity in conditions of time shortage when the most part of the time allotted for execution of a task was wasted. In addition, the factor of procrastination among the Russian employees is related to fatalistic perception of the present. It means that when an employee is not able to finish his tasks on time he may explain this by his impotence. He may also believe that he has no influence on the events, his efforts are meaningless, and this will reduce his efficiency. For the Russian employees, we have revealed a relation between the work experience and the skills of strategic planning. It means that the increased work experience leads to growth of ability to calculate all possibilities and risks of the projects. The comparative analysis of three selections by the strategic planning parameter demonstrates that the Russian employees have the strongest skills of strategic planning. Considering the issues of time perception and management, the educational criterion is the most important for the Brazilian employees, as it is related to the strategic planning and the priority setting skills. We shall mention that a major part of the Brazilian employees do not have the higher education, meaning that only the employees who have higher education also have the skills of strategic planning and priority setting. The Brazilian employees are the leaders in work priority rating among the three groups of the respondents. The Brazilians may have stressful feelings caused by a sense of inability to control the present and lack of self-dependence in selection of actions. A possibility to set goals without assistance enhance the Brazilians to perceive the present hedonistically.

Almost all the Korean respondents have the status of Coordinating Managers, and it enables them to be self-dependent in their work, as in the status of specialist an employee rather prefers to execute orders. Hedonistic perception of the present by the Korean employees is mostly influenced by the work experience. We may assume that the work experience, meaning greater opportunities, enables the employees to perceive the present hedonistically, which means feel satisfaction and delight “right now”. We may also apply another dependency: the longer the work experience is the lower is stress. The skills of strategic planning also grow with increase of the work experience. Education is a very important factor for the Korean employees. We have revealed the interrelation between the level of education and sufficient availability of time as well as focusing on the future. Additionally, an ability of planning one’s own time (or sufficient availability of time) is closely related to skills of operative planning and ability of goals setting. The Korean employees have the strongest ability for operating planning and goals setting as compared to other selections. The Korean employees may use the skills of operative planning and goals setting when sufficient time is available. As their skills of operative planning are high enough, the Korean and the Brazilian employees mostly demonstrate no tendency for procrastination.

A comparison of the respect to time peculiarities in all the three selections gave the following results. In the course of multivariate analysis, we have reviewed the relation between the level of strategic planning skills and fatalistic perception of the present in all the three selections (see Fig. 01 ). We can make a conclusion that the Korean and the Russian employees, having a high level of strategic planning skills, often have fatalistic perception of the present, whereas the Brazilian employees demonstrate fatalistic perception of the present only in case of poor skills of strategic planning. The Korean employees, who have poor skills of strategic planning, do not perceive the present fatalistically (Fig. 01).

Figure 1: The relation between strategic planning skills and fatalistic perception of the present
The relation between strategic planning skills and fatalistic perception of the present
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A review of the relation between skills of strategic planning and ability to set goals demonstrated by different selections enables us to make a conclusion that the Brazilian employees set themselves goals regardless of availability of the planning skills (see Fig. 02 ). As for the Russian employees, they hardly find a link between the skills of strategic planning and setting of goals.

Figure 2: The relation between strategic planning skills and setting of goals
The relation between strategic planning skills and setting of goals
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The next figure shows the relation between the skills of strategic planning and “procrastination” (Fig. 03).

Figure 3: The relation between strategic planning skills and setting of goals.
The relation between strategic planning skills and setting of goals.
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Conclusion

For all the employees we have revealed a correlation between length of employment and strategic planning ability. The comparative analysis demonstrated that the Russian employees have the strongest strategic planning skills. The Korean employees have the strongest skills of operative planning and goals setting. The Brazilian employees are the leaders in work priority rating among the three groups of the respondents. The Korean and the Brazilian employees almost never use the procrastination tactic.

The correlation analysis showed that there is a link between the higher education and ability to define priorities and skills of strategic planning. The Brazilians, who have the finished higher education, are the leaders, among other selections, in ability to define priorities and plan their future. Multi-factor analysis of variance revealed the differences in planning of one’s future skills and positive perception of time. Availability of the strategic planning skills makes all the employees perceive the present hedonistically. However, the Brazilian employees have the highest factor of ability to enjoy the pleasures of life. Multi-factor analysis of variance showed that a tendency for procrastination is more natural for those employees who have low planning ability and time management factors. This fact may be referred to the Brazilian and the Russian selections. The Korean selection demonstrate the lowest factor of tendency for procrastination.

Acknowledgments

We would appreciate to receive feedback and comments on the paper from its readers. We are grateful to our unknown reviewers for their review and comments that greatly improved our manuscript. They will help us complete and enhance the research. The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number № 19-013-00686 А).

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

12.03.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.03.02.5

Online ISSN

2357-1330