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Hofstede's Dimensions Of Culture Essay

1757 words - 8 pages

Hofstede's Dimensions of Culture

Geert H. Hofstede was born on October 2, 1928 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. He received his  M.Sc. from the Delft Institute of Technology in 1953, his Ph.D. (cum laude) from Groningen University in 1967. Hofstede is most well known for his work on four dimensions of cultural variability, commonly referred to as "Hofstede's Dimensions." These include: Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity-Femininity, Individualism-Collectivism, and Long-Term/Short Term Orientation. These dimensions were arrived in his 1980 publication, "Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values." The study took existing survey data (sample size of ...view middle of the document...

These cultural differences manifest themselves in a culture's choices of symbols, heroes/heroines, rituals, and values.
Hofstede identified the five dimensions and rated 53 countries on indices for each dimension, normalized to values (usually) of 0 to 100. His five dimensions of culture are the following:
• Power-distance
Power Distance reflects the degree to which a culture believes how institutional and organizational power should be distributed (equally or unequally) and how the decisions of the power holders should be viewed (challenged or accepted). In other words, people in high power distance cultures are much more comfortable with a larger status differential than low power distance cultures.
Predictors of Power Distance:
• Climate, measured by geographical latitude. Cultures in high-latitude climate (moderate or cold climates) tend to have low PDI scores. Cultures that have tropical climate tend to have high PDI scores.
• Population. Generally, the more people within the culture, the greater the power distance is likely to be.
• Distribution of Wealth. The more unequally the wealth is distributed within a culture, the greater the culture's power distance.
Consequences of Power Distance: most evident are family customs, the relationships between students and teachers, the young and the elderly, language systems and organizational practices.
• Collectivism vs. individualism
Individualism-Collectivism describes the degree to which a culture relies on and has allegiance to the self or the group. 
• Economic development. Wealthy cultures tend to be individualistic, whereas poor cultures tend to be collectivistic.
• Climate. Cultures in colder climate tend to be individualistic, whereas cultures in warmer climates tend to be collectivistic.
Note: Hofstede found a strong negative correlation between a culture's scores on the power distance index and its scores on the individualism-collectivism index. High PDI cultures tend to be collectivistic, whereas low PDI cultures tend to be individualistic.
Consequences: Collectivistic cultures tend to be group-oriented, impose a large psychological distance between ingroup and outgroup members and ingroup members are expected to have unquestioning loyalty to their group. In a conflict situation, members of the collectivistic cultures are likely to use avoidance, intermediaries, or other face-saving techniques. Conversely, people in the individualistic cultures do not perceive a large psychological distance between ingroup and outgroup members. They value self-expression, see speaking out as a means of resolving problems, and are likely to use confrontational strategies when dealing with interpersonal problems.
• Femininity vs. masculinity
Masculinity-Femininity (alternative label is achievement-nurturance) indicates the degree to which a culture values such behaviors as assertiveness, achievement, acquisition of wealth or caring for others,...

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