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Hofstedes cultural dimensions

Dimensions of national cultures

Power distance index
Acceptance and expect­ation power distri­buted unequally.
Indivi­dualism vs collec­tivism
Degree to which indivi­duals are integrated into groups
Uncert­ainty avoidance index
Tolerance for uncert­ainty and ambiguity
Mascul­inity vs femininity
Masculine = compet­iti­veness, assert­ive­ness, materi­alism, ambition and power. Feminine = relati­onships and quality of life.
Long / short term orient­ation
Societies' time horizon. Long term = pragmatic, short term = past and present.
Indulgence versus restraint
Attempt to control desires and impulses

Mascul­inity vs femininity

Masculine culture
Values compet­iti­veness, assert­ive­ness, materi­alism, ambition and power. Difference in gender roles are more dramatic.
Value relati­onships and quality of life
AKA: Quantity of Life vs. Quality of Life

Culture definition

Collective progra­mming of the mind which distin­guishes one group from another via values, rituals, modelling against heros and through unders­tanding symbols

Long / Short Term Orient­ation

Short term
Prefers immediate rewards. Horizon focus is relatively close
Long Term
Can put in effort now to wait for rewards to come later.

At a glance

Framework for cross-­cul­tural commun­ica­tion. Major resource in cross-­cul­tural fields
Developed in response to a world-wide survey of employee values by IBM in 60s & 70s
Originally 4 dimens­ions: indivi­dua­lis­m-c­oll­ect­ivism; uncert­ainty avoidance; power distance and mascul­ini­ty-­fem­ininity
5th added (long term orient­ation) because of indepe­ndant research from HK
6th added in 2010 = indulgence versus self-r­est­raint, as a result of co-author Michael Minkov's analysis of data from the World Values Survey.

Indivi­dualism vs collec­tivism

Stress is put on personal achiev­ements and individual rights. Focus on immediate family.
Indivi­duals act predom­inantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organi­zation. Focus on extended family.

Indulgence versus restraint

No control of desires and impluses
Control of desires and impulses

Power distance index

High power distance
Heiarc­hial, high dependance on boss
Low power distance
Horizo­ntal, high indepe­ndance from boss
Low. Hierarchy establ­ished for conven­ience, superiors accessible and managers rely on employees and teams for their expertise.
High: lower level employees defer to higher level employees
Power distance tends to be lower in northern countries and higher in southern and eastern parts
Problems with high: Makes innovation difficult, people do not speak up with ideas. People seem to have low self esteem but really they are just accepting the norm. Snr level get no inform­ation. Exposes company to risk. To change you need to start at the top.

Drawbacks / arguments against

Averages do not = indivi­duals of country. Hofstede assumes homoge­neity.
Relevancy: questi­onn­aire, biases, context of questions
National divisions: Cultures are not bound by borders
Political influence: context of timing (Cold war in Europe, Communism in Asia etc)
One company approach: IBM only, cannot provide valid data for entire culture. What about small business, what about farm hands
Out dated: 1980, too old to be of value

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