Intercultural Communication

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Topics: Culture
Intercultural Communication - Reflection Paper

I would like to discuss, reflect on and analyse Hofstede’s cultural patterns. Based on my personal experiences and opinions I believe Hofstede has to some extent attempted to successfully classify different nations and cultures into their predominant dimensions, however it is not without its flaw. Of the four dimensions Hofstede has identified, I will explain two.

The notion of power distance (PD) has proven to be a relatively accurate cultural phenomenon. Having lived abroad for 8 years during my childhood years in Perth, Australia, I find it most fitting for me to discuss and compare this dimension between the two cultures which I have been exposed to. Based on Hofstede’s findings, Australia has a large negative PDI, which indicates they prefer small power distances, while Singapore has a rather large positive PDI, which indicates they prefer large power distances. Back when I was in studying in Australia, I noticed that my peers dared to openly speak up in class while in Singapore; almost nobody was encouraged to speak up. Other examples of low PDI in Australia include calling your friend’s mother by the first name which is a common practice while here in Singapore; a title usually precedes the name like ‘aunty’ or ‘Mrs.’ The disparity of PDI between the two cultures has been accurately reflected in Hofstede’s findings as well as through my own personal experience.

I was somewhat skeptical at the PD predictors outlined by Hofstede because the predictors such as climate do not seem to be relevant in today’s context. Although climate can be considerably harsher in Australia, it is not a daily/recurring issue where the need for solutions will lead to a general decentralization of authority and power. Furthermore, the solutions to overcome climate adversities have more or less been put in place. I feel it is not a strong enough factor to which we can attribute to the disparity of PD

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