Every culture places importance on differing parts of life. Each sees the role of work differently. There are some that emphasize the journey and some that emphasize the destination. This can be defined as being-orientated or doing-orientated. This difference is important to note because people from various cultures will have different attitudes towards the intermingling of work-life and social life. These preferences do change for every person but using being-doing orientation to describe cultures as a whole can be useful when meeting or conducting business with someone new.
Some cultures are doing-orientated, so they believe it is more important to complete a task at work than to attend a social gathering. A doing-orientated culture believes work is the most important thing to be successful. Your status is derived from how much work you complete, or your economic success, so there is a lot of emphasis on keeping busy and completing goals. In doing-orientated cultures, people may be more inclined to forfeit their sick days in order to get a promotion, or they may take work calls 24/7. Their leisure or social life is a lower priority than work. This shows how people in doing-orientated cultures view themselves as a product of their labor. A good example of a doing-orientated culture would be American culture. In the United States, there is the immense value placed on hard work and other parts of life are not prioritized. The goal of doing-orientated cultures is to work hard to achieve success.
Cultures that are being-orientated are more focused on achieving a good work-life balance. There is much more emphasis on social life in being-orientated cultures. Relationships are seen as the most important thing because social status is given by age, birth, and seniority. People do not feel a need to overwork themselves because their status is not dependent on their economic success. In being-orientated cultures, people may not answer work emails while on vacation, or they may spend extra time getting to know you. They do not like to mix work and their social lives. People in being-orientated cultures see themselves as persons with connections. A good example of a being-orientated culture in India, where people often have trouble saying “no” in an effort to avoid conflict. This type of miscommunication is important to consider when traveling to countries with a being-orientated culture. It is important to be aware of how your actions and words will be perceived by them.
The differences in being-orientated cultures and doing-orientated cultures show how people do not always see the same goals in life. While this is because personalities vary from person to person, their goals may be influenced by their culture. Although these classifications can be used to describe cultures, they should not be used as a blind standard. When meeting someone new, being aware of their culture can help communication immensely. If their culture stresses the importance of hard work and dedication to be successful, then that person is going to be doing-orientated. If their culture emphasizes having strong interpersonal relationships, then that person is going to be being-orientated. These differing approaches to life fulfill the needs of all cultures in many ways.