Geert Hofstede's Dimensions of Culture

Topics: Geert Hofstede, Cross-cultural communication, Fons Trompenaars Pages: 25 (1310 words) Published: December 4, 2012
Geert Hofstede's Dimensions of Culture
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Edward T. Hall's Time Orientations
Hofstede's "dimensions of culture" were derived mainly from his extensive organizational anthropology research in the late 1970s and early 1980s – the scores are general comparisons of values in the countries and regions he studied and can vary greatly within each country. Although Hofstede's work is somewhat dated and has rightly been criticized on a number of grounds the dimens ions are useful in unders tanding that members of various societies are likely to behave in different ways in a given s ituation.

Power Distance Index (PDI)

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”. (Hofstede, 1994, p. 28) A H igh Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth exis t within the society and that the less powerful members of the society accept this situation. A Low Power Distance ranking indicates the society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and wealth. In these societies equality and oppor tunity for everyone is stressed.

Individualism (IDV)

Hofstede defines this dimension as follows : “individualis m per tains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family ." A High Individualism ranking indicates that individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. A Low Individualism ranking typifies societies of a more collec tivis t nature w ith close ties among its members. In these societies "…people from bir th onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” (H ofstede, 1994, p. 51)

Masculinity (MAS)

focuses on the degree to which ‘masculine’ values like competitiveness and the acquisition of wealth are valued over ‘feminine’ values like relationship building and quality of life. A High Masculinity ranking indicates the soc iety values assertive and aggressive 'masculine' traits . A Low Masculinity ranking typifies societies in which nurturing and caring 'feminine' charac teristics predominate.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

focus es on the level of tolerance for uncertainty and
ambiguity w ithin the society. A High Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates the country has a low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. This creates a rule-oriented society that institutes laws , rules, regulations , and controls in order to reduce the amount of uncertainty. A Low Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates the country has less concern about ambiguity and uncertainty and has more tolerance for a diversity of opinions . This is reflected in a soc iety that is less rule-oriented, more readily accepts change, and takes more and greater ris ks.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO)

(for merly c alled "Confucian dynamis m") focuses on the
degree the society embraces, or does not embrace, long-term devotion to traditional values. A H igh Long-Term Orientation ranking indicates the country prescribes to the values of long-ter m commitments and respect for tradition and w here long-term rewards are expected as a result of today's hard work . A Low Long-Term Orientat ion ranking indicates the country does not reinforce the concept of a long- term, traditional orientation and people ex pect short-ter m rewards from their w or k .

An Intercultura l O rganization Development Tool compiled by Andy Tamas (www ) 2007

Hofsted e's Dimension of Culture Scales


Individualis m

Avoidanc e


Arab Countries





















Long term


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