Topics: Cross-cultural communication, United States, United Kingdom Pages: 5 (1218 words) Published: June 5, 2010
Geerte Hofstede analysis
Globalization is nowadays evidential in nearly every aspect of life. It can be shortly described “as the world is getting smaller”[1]. “The term describes the growing political, social, cultural, economic and technological interconnectedness and interdependence of the world today. As communication technologies advance, cultures continue to overlap and influence each other.”[2] What are the differences especially in cultural dimensions in countries like Germany and the United States? Geert Hofstede, Professor for Organizational Anthropology and International Management[3], already tried to define cultural difference in the 1970s with a survey among IBM employees. The interesting thing about that was that the survey was not answered by IBM employees but by the citizens of the country. This experiment let Hofstede to the conclusion that cultural differences can be defined in four different cultural dimensions: Power Distance, Masculinity vs. Feminism, Individualism vs. Collectivism and Uncertainty Avoidance.

Power Distance describes the gap between bosses and subordinates; Masculinity refers to the difference between emotions and facts, the third dimension deals with the behavior in groups and as individualists and finally the culture of avoiding uncertainty which can result in strict rules and many laws of a country.

Can this survey of Hofstede also be applied nowadays? Is his approach to cultural differences still up to date? This assignment chapter tries to identify Hofstede’s cultural dimensions in today’s situation as the new jobholder in the United States and try to apply them on the contents of them.

Differences between Germany and United States

As on Hofstede´s homepage stated the biggest difference between the German and the United States culture are Power Individualism (IDV) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) as seen in the charts below.


|Country |PDI |IDV |MAS |UAI |LTO | |Germany |35 |67 |66 |65 |31 | |United States |41 |91 |62 |45 |29 |


The analysis for the United States is very comparable to other countries that have their inheritance founded in Europe with strong ties to the British Isles like Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Individualism ranks highest and is a significant factor in the life of U.S. Americans. The low ranking of Long-term Orientation reflects a freedom in the culture from long-term traditional commitments, which allows greater flexibility and the freedom to react quickly to new opportunities.  More or less are only seven countries in the Geert Hofstede research that have Individualism (IDV) as their highest Dimension there are USA (91), Australia (90), United Kingdom (89), Netherlands and Canada (80), and Italy (76). The high Individualism (IDV) ranking for the United States indicates a society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members. The United States and Germany can both be regarded as individualistic countries. However the index of the United States is much higher than of Germany, meaning that the Americans are more open for new things than German. The next highest Hofstede Dimension is Masculinity (MAS) with a ranking of 62, compared to Germany with of 66. This indicates the country experiences a higher degree of gender differentiation of roles. The male dominates a significant portion of the society and power structure. This situation generates a female population that becomes more assertive and competitive, with women shifting toward the male role model and away from their female role. The United States was included in the group of countries that...
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