Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Dr. Greet Hofsted had conducted a comprehensive study and explained how culture influences the values at the work place. He worked as a psychologist in IBM from 1967 to 1973. In the time of working in IBM he has collected the analyzed data from aver 100000 individual from more than forty different countries. To the above study he made some additions and he developed four dimensions and later on he added fifth dimension that is long term outlook. Geert Hofstede’s dimensions investigation can support the trade individual in enhance understanding the intercultural variance within regions.

“Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster.” – Dr. Geert Hofstede

The different dimensions of the Geert hofstede are explained below they are

  1. Power distance index (PDI)
  2. Individualism (IDV)
  3. Masculinity (MAS)
  4. Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI)
  5. Long term orientation (LTO)

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions

Power distance index (PDI)

This dimension explains about the degree of equality or inequality between the people in the society of a nation. A high power ranking shows the inequalities of power and wealth which have been allowed to grow with in the society. The societies are mostly following a caste system which does not permits upward mobility of its citizens. Power distance is defined as “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally”.

Individualism/collectivism (IDV)

The second dimension of hofstede is individualism/collectivism. The concept in this dimension is discussed most frequently and it is the researched concept. Hofstede defines this concept as “individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individualsare loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediatefamily. Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth on wards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” Individualism is the most important dimension in the hofstede dimensions it is cited in most of the variety intercultural research. This is the dimension which is grasped more easily and it is frequently encountered when looking at other cultural behavioral patterns.

Masculinity/feminity (MAS)

Masculinity and feminity both are equally powerful. A high masculinity ranking reflects a nation which experiences a high degree of gender variance. . In these cultures, males dominate a major part of the traditions and power structure, with females being controlled by male domination. The lower level of variance between the genders is shown by a low masculinity ranking

Hofstede explains this dimension as “masculinity pertains to societies in which social gender roles are clearly distinct (i.e., men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life); femininity pertains to societies in which social gender roles overlap (i.e., both men and women are supposed be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life).”  Hofstede noticed that masculinity is often neglected. It is believed that the controversial name given to this dimension created some popularity to this dimension. It also seems to be confusion with the individualism.

Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI)

It is one of the other dimensions of hofstede. This dimension shows the level of tolerance for improbability and indistinctness inside the society. The low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity is shown by the high uncertainty avoidance ranking which resulted in creation of rule oriented society which constitutes of rules and regulations to control the uncertainty. A low uncertainty avoidance ranking shows about the society which is less rule oriented. Hofstede explained this dimension as “the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations.”

Geert hofstede had conducted another international study with Chinese employees and managers and that gave rise to a new dimension. Hofstede described the new dimension as long term orientation (LTO).

Long term orientation (LTO)

High long term orientation reflects the ethics of long term commitments and respects for society. A business may takes longer to enlarge in the the world particularly for an outsider. A low long term orientation shows the country which does not follow the concept of long term orientation. In the society changes may occur frequently and long term traditions may not implement and it may change rapidly. Hofstede describes long-term orientation as“characterized by persistence, ordering relationships by status and observing this order, thrift, and having a sense of shame, whereas short-term orientation is characterized by personal steadiness and stability, protecting your “face”, respect for tradition and reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts.

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