Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions

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Abstract Power distance Uncertainty avoidance Individualism/collectivism Masculinity/femininity

Singaporean construction firms have increasingly invested in China in recent years. It is, therefore, important for Singaporean construction firms as well as their Chinese counterparts to appreciate and understand each other’s cultural differences/ similarities. Although Singapore culture appears to be one based predominately on Chinese culture, there remain differences between the two, which, if not properly understood, can lead to ineffectiveness and misunderstandings. Using the four dimensions of a national culture established by Hofstede, this exploratory study examines what constitute Singapore culture and Chinese culture. Through a survey of Singaporean and Chinese respondents working in China and an analysis of Hofstede’s four dimensions of a national culture, the study extrapolates the cross cultural dimensions brought about by the two cultures within the context of construction projects

Power distance
In Singapore (high PD), superiors and subordinates consider each other as unequal; the hierarchical system is felt to be based on some existential inequality; power is the basic fact of society that antedates good or evil and where its legitimacy is irrelevant. Indigenous organizations centralize power more and subordinates are expected to be told what to do. Superiors are believed to be entitled to privileges.

However, in some country like China (low PD), subordinates and superiors consider each other as more equal; the hierarchical system is just an inequality of roles, established for convenience and which may change depending on the circumstances. Organizations have a tendency to become decentralized, with flatter hierarchies and a limited number of supervisory personnel. Privileges for the top ranks are essentially undesirable, and superiors are expected to be accessible to their subordinates.
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