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Cultural Dimensions by Geert Hofstede

In 1990’s Geert Hofstede offered, the five cultural dimensions by analyzing large databases. He collected the data from various countries and analyzed it. Earlier he wanted to use the analysis of 70 countries but then he decided to analyze the data of 53 countries. In 1990 he published his research publication. He was mainly focused not on describing the culture as refinement of mind but it was on highlighting the essential patterns of feeling, acting and thinking. He rated the countries on indices for each dimension. The five dimensions are the following:[ad#ad-4]

Power Distance: this index measures the degree to which the organizational power is distributed. The people with less power accept that the power is distributed unequally. For example: Germany has a measure of 35 on the cultural scale of hofstede’s analysis, on the other hand the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale which means that U.S. exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth than Germany. There are three predictors of Power distance. They are:

1)      Climate: Cultures in high latitude climate tend to have low power distance scores.

2)      Population: greater the population, greater the power distance is likely to be.

3)      Distribution of wealth: more unequally the wealth is distributed; greater will be the culture’s power distance.

4)      Collectivism vs. individualism: this describes the degree to which the culture relies on and has commitment to the self or group. In the collectivist side, we find societies in which the people are integrated into cohesive groups. Germany is considered as individualistic with score of 67 while Guatemala has a score of 6 which mean the people there have strong collectivism.

5)      Feminity vs. Masculinity: according to Hofstede, cultures in high masculinity index believe in ambitions, they have different expectations from males and females while cultures with low masculine index believe more in quality of life as helping others, feminine cultures prefer equality among men and women.

6)      Uncertainty avoidance: the high positive score of uncertainty avoidance indicates low tolerance for uncertainty. Cultures that have low score believe in encouraging different views of people and taking risks.

7)      Long vs. short term orientation: values associated with long term orientation are thrift and perseverance while values associated with short term orientation are fulfilling the obligations of society, respect, traditions etc.

Written by: Matt

We also suggest this relevant article if you have time: Situational Leadership by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey


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