Hofstede’s Five Aspects of Culture
Hofstede's cultural factors
Explanations > Culture > Hofstede's cultural factors Power | Self | Gender | Predictability | Time | So what?
Geert Hofstede, a Dutch cultural anthropologist, analyzed cultures along five dimensions. He rated 58 countries on each dimension on a scale from 1 to 100. Power
Hofstede named this Power Distance (PD or PDI). It is the extent to which less powerful members expect and accept unequal power distribution. High PD cultures usually have centralized, top-down control. Low power distance implies greater equality and empowerment. Malaysia, Panama, and Guatemala rated the highest in this category. The US was 38th. Self
Hofstede named this Individualism versus Collectivism (ID or IDV). In an individual environment the individual person and their rights are more important than groups that they may belong to. In a collective environment, people are born into strong extended family or tribal communities, and these loyalties are paramount. The US was number 1 here, closely followed by Australia and Great Britain. Gender
Hofstede named this Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS). It focuses on the degree to which “traditional” gender roles are assigned in a culture; i.e., men are considered aggressive and competitive, while women are expected to be more gentle and be concerned with home and family. Japan led the list, followed by Austria and Venezuela. The US was 15th. Predictability
Hofstede named this Uncertainty Avoidance (UA or UAI). It defines the extent to which a culture values predictability. UA cultures have strong traditions and rituals and tend toward formal, bureaucratic structures and rules. Greece was number 1, followed by Portugal and Guatemala. The US was 43rd. Time
Hofstede named this Long- versus Short-term Orientation (LTO). It is the cultural trait that focuses on to what extent the group invests for the future, is persevering, and is patient in waiting for results. China led this dimension, followed by its oriental colleagues, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The US was 17th. So what?
When working in other countries and with people from overseas, first research their national culture along these dimensions, then check first whether the people use these. By default and when talking with national groups, take account of these factors. Note that Hofstede and Trompenaars are both Dutch purveyors of international cultural models, and are each very critical of the others' models.
Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
National cultures can be described according to the analysis of Geert Hofstede. These ideas were first based on a large research project into national culture differences across subsidiaries of a multinational corporation (IBM) in 64 countries. Subsequent studies by others covered students in 23 countries, elites in 19 countries, commercial airline pilots in 23 countries, up-market consumers in 15 countries, and civil service managers in 14 countries. Together these studies identified and validated four independent dimensions of national culture differences, with a fifth dimension added later. If you follow the links below you will find a map of the world for each cultural dimension, which enables you to quickly see how similar or different countries or regions are. • Power Distance
• Uncertainty Avoidance
• Long-Term Orientation
The drawbacks of applying the Hofstede Model
The Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions can be of great use when it comes to analyzing a country’s culture. There are however a few things one has to keep in mind. Firstly, the averages of a country do not relate to individuals of that country. Even though this model has proven to be quite often correct when applied to the general population, one must be aware that not all individuals or even regions with subcultures fit into the mould. It is to be used as a guide to understanding the difference in culture between...
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