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Cultural dimensions hofstede

  1. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
  2. Hofstede’s Dimensions of Cultural Differences During 1978-83, the Dutch cultural anthropologist Geert Hofstede conducted detailed interviews with hundreds of IBM employees in 53 countries. Most parts of the organization had been surveyed twice over a four-year interval, and the database contained more than 100,000 questionnaires. It was considered the IBM data might have implications beyond this particular corporation. Therefore the questionnaires were partially also administered to 400 employees from 30 countries in an international program unrelated to IBM. Their mean scores by country correlated significantly with the country scores obtained from the IBM database. So the employees were used to identify differences in national value systems.
  3. Hofstede’s Dimensions of Cultural Differences The results have highlighted essential patterns of similarities and differences across the 53 target cultures in thinking, feeling, acting, and choices of symbols, rituals, heroes and values. The responses to the questions indeed revealed common problems with which IBM employees in all these societies had to cope, but for which their upbringing in their country presented its own profile of solutions. These problems were: 1. Dependence on superiors; 2. Need for rules and predictability, also associated with nervous stress; 3. The balance between individual goals and dependence on the company; 4. The balance between ego values (like the need for money and careers) and social values (like cooperation and a good living environment); the former were more frequently chosen by men, the latter by women, but there were also country differences.
  4. From the data analysis, Hofstede formulated the theory that world cultures vary along five consistent, fundamental dimensions. A dimension is an aspect of culture/country that can be measured relative to other cultures/country. Hofstede’s Dimensions of Cultural Differences
  5. Power Distance (PD) Equality is expected. Flatter organizational hierarchies, subordinates and supervisors closer in status and salaries. Parents, teachers vs. students may view themselves as more equal, although not identical in status. The extent to which less powerful members of a culture expect and accept unequal power distribution. Inequalities are expected. Centralized political power. Organizational hierarchies and inequalities in status and salary. Parents teach obedience and expect respect. Teachers possess wisdom and are automatically esteemed.
  6. Connections to INT: Power Distance ▶ How do societies perceive conflict? Who has the right (or obligation) to do what’s “right” for their families, their cultures, their countries? ▶ When is war justified? Who decides? ▶ Case study: If I defend my religion, my people, my “tribe,” against aggression in its different forms, am I a “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter”? Who decides? ▶ Are some countries “always right” in their actions?
  7. Individualism vs. Collectivism (IC) Collectivism in cultures implies that people are integrated from birth into strong, cohesive groups that protect them in exchange. Individualism implies loose ties; everyone is expected to look after one’s elf or immediate family but no one else. Value training, skills, the intrinsic reward of mastery, harmony over truth, silence over speech, maintain face. Collective socio-political interest, f.i. favor rights for groups over individuals, control the press, promote equality. Value personal time, freedom, challenge, extrinsic motivators as material rewards at work, being honest and talking things out, rights to privacy. Individual socio-economic interest, f.i. rights to privacy, freedom of press, freedom of speech, political power of voters, self-government.
  8. Connections to INT: Individualism vs. Collectivism ▶ Who decides the laws, rules and norms for different levels of society? (Local, national, or global rule-makers?) ▶ Why should I pay taxes for services I don’t use? To whom should I pay taxes, and for what? ▶ Is there a “Universal” set of human rights? What about my right to do what I want? ▶ Case study: The United Nations vs. National Sovereignty and Tradition
  9. Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS) Within the context of the dimensions, masculinity and femininity refer to gender roles, not physical characteristics. Traditional assignment to feminine roles of orientation home and children, people and tenderness. Tend to collapse gender distinctions and roles. Work goals include good relationships, good work conditions and employment security. Traditional assignment to masculine roles of competition, assertiveness, and toughness. Traditional distinctions are strongly maintained. Work goals include earnings, recognition, advancement and challenge.
  10. Connections to INT: Masculinity vs. Femininity ▶ Stereotypes vs. real data: How do societies differ in the roles of men and women? How do histories/ traditions reinforce gender roles? What role do religion, culture, economics, politics, social class, etc. play in understanding / determining gender? ▶ Should governments actively get involved in changing gender roles in society? If so, how? ▶ Case study: Roles of gender in migration and refugee crises. Who leaves and who stays? Why?
  11. Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) People vary in the extent that they feel anxiety about uncertain or unknown matters, as opposed to fear caused by known or understood threats. Cultural differences in UA manifest in different rituals and values regarding formality, punctuality, social requirements and tolerance for ambiguity. Tend to be less expressive and less openly anxious, easy going and relaxed when interacting with others. Expect informal rules, organizational and institutional structure geared toward long-term goals. What is different may be viewed as curious. Higher rates of heart-related deaths, more chronic psychosis per capita. Tend to be active, emotional, expressive, openly anxious, shun ambiguous situation. Expect formal rules, organizational and institutional structure geared toward day-to-day operations. What is different may be viewed as a threat, what is unconventional is often seen as dangerous. Higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, accidental deaths, prisoners in jail.
  12. Connections to INT: Uncertainty Avoidance ▶ Why should I leave my “comfort zone” to interact with people / cultures who are not like me? ▶ Case: Immigrants and refugees -- Why do people leave the “certainty” of their home countries and travel to the “uncertainty” of a new land? ▶ How do immigrants change the world? ▶ Intro to our global partner: Why participate?
  13. Long- vs. Short-Term Orientation (LTO) Asian countries are oriented to practice the research of virtuous behavior while Western countries are oriented to belief and the search for truth. Promote equal relationships, emphasize individualism, find fulfillment through creativity and self-actualization. Treat others as you would like to be treated. A stable society requires unequal relations. Older people have more authority than younger people. Virtuous behavior at work include acquire skills an education, be frugal, patient and persevering. Virtuous behavior to other not treating them as one would not like to be treated.
  14. Connections to INT: Short vs. Long- Term Orientation ▶ Should countries and individuals focus on quality of life issues right now, or consider consequences for the future? ▶ Example: I need to cut down the rain forest to make money to feed my family RIGHT NOW. But what will I do in the future if there are no trees left? ▶ Case study: Climate change. The long-term effects of the Paris Agreement vs. short-term economic prosperity. (Hint: look at individualism vs. collectivism again)
  15. Indulgence vs. Restraint (IND) Indulgence stands for a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun. Restraint stands for a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms. Indulgent societies believe themselves to be in control of their own life and emotions. Restrained societies believe other factors dictate their life and emotions. This sixth dimension has not as yet been widely adopted within the intercultural training and management field and this may simply be because it is still relatively new. There is also less data and fewer countries than the previous dimensions. And perhaps it is also due to the ambiguities of focusing on happiness research. Happiness is viewed very differently across cultures and it is represented and discussed quite differently.
  16. Connections to INT: Indulgence vs. Restraint Questions to consider: ▶ If I engage in “reckless” behavior, (overeating, smoking, extreme sports, having unprotected sex, etc), does the society have the obligation to stop or restrict me? If not, does the society have the obligation to provide me with health care? ▶ Should global resources be divided up equally? Should all countries consume similar amounts? Who decides? ▶ Case study: Food production and consumption -- global comparisons
  17. SAMPLE: How can we interpret the data?
  18. SAMPLE: How can we interpret the data? Use a country that you are familiar with or interested in to make a comparison
  19. LIMITATIONS ON HOFSTEDE’ MODEL ▶ Hofstede’s study assumes the domestic population is an homogenous whole. However most nations are groups of ethnic units. ▶ Culture can be fragmented across group and national lines. Hofstede points out however that national identities are the only means we have of identifying and measuring cultural differences. ▶ The scores and rank orderings of some countries, such as England and the United States, are very similar, although practical experience suggests that there are vast differences between them. ▶ There are many different types of individualism and of collectivism, for example, the competitive individualism found in the United States and the egalitarian form associated with Australia.
  20. LIMITATIONS ON HOFSTEDE’ MODEL ▶ The outcomes, particularly those pertaining to Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance may have been sensitive to the timing of the survey. Europe was in the midst of the cold war and was still haunted by vivid memories of World War Two, similarly their was the communist insurgence in Asia, Africa and Europe. As a result of the political instabilities of the time, the sample lacks data from socialist countries, as well as from the less affluent Third World Countries. ▶ A study fixated on only one company cannot possibly provide information on the entire cultural system of a country. ▶ Some researchers have claimed that the study is too old to be of any modern value, particularly with today’s rapidly changing global environments, internationalization and convergence. ▶ Four or five dimensions do not give sufficient information about cultural differences.