Geert Hofstede is a world-famous intercultural theorist who conducted a study to help explaining the cultural difference in relationships and business styles in the 1970s. He distributed questionnaires to thousands of IBM employees and developed six different dimensions of culture that are described below:
- Power Distance (PDI)
- The Power distance dimension explains the role of power in the society among members. Some countries use power equally between the members especially in democratic societies. In contrast, Some countries use power unequally between the members and that depends on the person’s position and his power in the society.
- An example of high power distance: Arab countries
- An example of low power distance: Austria
- Individualism vs. Collectivism (IDV)
- The Individualism dimension can be realized in a group of people who lives together but they work separately and do not relay on other members. Sometimes, a person can be found in relationships and at work in larger social groups but not depend on anyone but himself.
- Collectivism, unlike individualism, holds the group as the primary, and the standard of moral value.
- An example of Individualism: The United States.
- An example of Collectivism: Guatemala.
- Uncertainty avoidance (UAI)
- Uncertainty and ambiguity which expresses the degree to which a person feels uncomfortable in a society.
- An example of high uncertainty: Greece.
- An example of low uncertainty: Singapore.
- Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS)
- This dimension focuses on distribution of roles between genders in the society. In masculinity Society, they put more values on relationships and quality of life where men and women have the same emphasis on humility and care values. On the other hand, in femininity society, there are no differences between gender roles so they are focusing more on the relationships and quality of life.
- Masculinity is extremely low in Nordic countries such as Norway and Sweden so those countries form Femininity society. In contrast, Masculinity is very high in Japan, and in European countries like Hungary, Austria and Switzerland influenced by German culture.
- Long-term Orientation (LTO)
- The society in long-term orientation focused more on the future rather than present. However, in short term orientation, society’s values are promoted and related to the past and the present.
- The most important characteristics of Long-term Orientation are the sense of shame and defining relationships by status. On the other hand, short term oriented societies have different characteristics such as personal steadiness and stability, greetings, favors, and gifts.
- High long-term orientation is found in East Asia such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- An example of short-term orientation society is Spain.
- Indulgence vs. restraint (IVR)
- This dimension is about society and how its members can control their desires and impulses. There are two types of communities here, Indulgence and Restraint societies. In Indulgence society, members believe in enjoying life and having fun. However, in Restraint society, members have opposite beliefs about those desires because they think that these desires need to be curbed.
- Indulgence society example: The USA, parts of Africa.
- Restraint society example: KSA.
Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions. (n.d.). Retrieved from Clearly Cultural: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/