Hofstede Canada vs Japan

Topics: Geert Hofstede, Family, Extended family Pages: 5 (1551 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Individualism vs Collectivism
In essence this dimension deals with the relationship between the individual and the collectives in a given society. It is reflected in the way in which people live together. For example, nuclear families, extended families, tribes and other larger communities. It directly effects peoples values and behaviours. In some cultures individualism is sometime to be sought after but in others it is seen as alienation.

Canada has a score of 80 in this dimension which is its highest score by a considerable margin of 28. Their society expects people to look after themselves and their immediate family. These values in are line with my own Irish values but we generally go one further and include extended family members in this bracket such as cousins, aunts and uncles by blood or marriage. Likewise in a business environment employees are expected to take initiative and be self-reliant without constant supervision. Where hiring and promotion decisions are concerned assessments are based on the individual’s accolades and capabilities. It is important to note that Canadian employees will be expected to be able to work on individual tasks as well as group projects.

The vast majority of Canadians as well as other capitalist English speaking countries such as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States have individualism ranked first. Financial most of all but most successes are a measure of personal achievement. Canadians are generally confident and open to discuss general topics however their private affairs are only up for discussion with their closest friends and family members. The predominately French speaking province of Quebec holds different views than the rest of Canada. This leads to tension between and their English speaking countrymen. Quebecers tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is prevalent in Canada but particularly in Quebec.

Japan has a score of 46 on the Hofstede’s individualism dimension. Japan has many qualities of a collective society and indeed in popularly stereotyped as one, when in fact it scores in the middle. It prioritised harmonies relations over an individual’s need to express themselves and has a great sense of shame for losing face. This being said it is not as collective as its Chinese and Korean neighbours as they do not maintain extended families to the same extent.

Japan has a paternalistic society where assets are inherited from father to eldest son while the remaining siblings are left to their own devices, making their own living with their core families. A more recent study by Woodring[1] found that Japanese students are scored higher on individualism and lower on power distance than Hofstede’s original sample. This was due to their age, according to Woodring. The findings suggest that Japanese college students value individualism and equality more than the rest of their society. Hofsede’s longitudinal study showed that national wealth and individualism are related. Japan has the world’s third largest economy[2], so it is no surprise that Japanese society is changing in this way.

In fact a recent Japanese term shin jin rui literally meaning “new human beings” has developed to describe 25 year olds and younger by their elders. They are thought to be “selfish, self-centred and disrespectful of elders and traditions”[3]. Japanese society could be regarded as paradoxical as it is both individualist and collective depending on the given situation. For example Japanese employees are famous for their company loyalty but loyalty is something they choose for themselves which is a individualistic characteristic. Japanese society is collective by Canadian and indeed Irish standards but individualist by the rest of Asia’s standards.

Individualism vs Collectivism impact on Decisions Making
This mostly effects the motivations of a decision. Individualist societies are motivated by personal success and...

Bibliography: [1] (1995)
[2]  International Monetary Fund (2010)
[3] Haruki Murakami
[4] Hofstede (1980)
[5] Mueller and Thomas (2001)
[6] UBC Commerce, Breaking Down Barriers: Creating a Climate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in British Columbia
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