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Hofstede's cultural factors

 

Explanations > Culture > Hofstede's cultural factors

Power Self | Gender | Predictability | Time | So what?

 

Geert Hofstede, a Dutch cultural anthropologist, analyzed cultures along five dimensions. He rated 58 countries on each dimension on a scale from 1 to 100.

Power

Hofstede named this Power Distance (PD or PDI). It is the extent to which less powerful members expect and accept unequal power distribution. High PD cultures usually have centralized, top-down control. Low power distance implies greater equality and empowerment.

Malaysia, Panama, and Guatemala rated the highest in this category. The US was 38th.

Self

Hofstede named this Individualism versus Collectivism (ID or IDV). In an individual environment the individual person and their rights are more important than groups that they may belong to. In a collective environment, people are born into strong extended family or tribal communities, and these loyalties are paramount.

The US was number 1 here, closely followed by Australia and Great Britain.

Gender

Hofstede named this Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS). It focuses on the degree to which “traditional” gender roles are assigned in a culture; i.e., men are considered aggressive and competitive, while women are expected to be more gentle and be concerned with home and family.

Japan led the list, followed by Austria and Venezuela. The US was 15th.

Predictability

Hofstede named this Uncertainty Avoidance (UA or UAI). It defines the extent to which a culture values predictability. UA cultures have strong traditions and rituals and tend toward formal, bureaucratic structures and rules. Greece was number 1, followed by Portugal and Guatemala. The US was 43rd.

Time

Hofstede named this Long- versus Short-term Orientation (LTO). It is the cultural trait that focuses on to what extent the group invests for the future, is persevering, and is patient in waiting for results.

China led this dimension, followed by its oriental colleagues, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The US was 17th.

So what?

When working in other countries and with people from overseas, first research their national culture along these dimensions, then check first whether the people use these. By default and when talking with national groups, take account of these factors.

Note that Hofstede and Trompenaars are both Dutch purveyors of international cultural models, and are each very critical of the others' models.

References

Trompenaars' and Hampden-Turner's cultural factors

Hofstede, Geert, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 1997

http://www.geert-hofstede.com/

See also

Asian cultural factors

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