APPENDIX 4

Geert Hofstede’s Work on Cultural Differences

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Cultural Dimensions

Geert Hofstede analyzed a large database of employee values scores collected by IBM between 1967 and 1973 covering more than 70 countries, from which he first used the 40 largest only and afterwards extended the analysis to 50 countries and 3 regions. In the editions of GH’s work since 2001, scores are listed for 74 countries and regions, partly based on replications and extensions of the IBM study on different international populations.

Subsequent studies validating the earlier results have included commercial airline pilots and students in 23 countries, civil service managers in 14 counties, ‘up-market’ consumers in 15 countries and ‘elites’ in 19 countries.

From the initial results, and later additions, Hofstede developed a model that identifies four primary Dimensions to assist in differentiating cultures: Power Distance - PDI, Individualism - IDV, Masculinity - MAS, and Uncertainty Avoidance - UAI.

Geert Hofstede added a fifth Dimension after conducting an additional international study with a survey instrument developed with Chinese employees and managers.

That Dimension, based on Confucian dynamism, is Long-Term Orientation - LTO and was applied to 23 countries. These five Hofstede Dimensions can also be found to correlate with other country, cultural, and religious paradigms.

The five cultural dimensions

Power Distance Index (PDI):

That is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society and anybody with some international experience will be aware that ‘all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others’.

Individualism (IDV):

On the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word ‘collectivism’ in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.

Masculinity (MAS)

Versus its opposite, femininity refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women’s values differ less among societies than men’s values; (b) men’s values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women’s values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women’s values on the other. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest, caring pole ‘feminine’. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men’s values and women’s values.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

Deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising and different from usual. Uncertainty avoidance cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; “there can only be one Truth and we have it”.

People in uncertainty avoidance countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO)

Versus short-term orientation: this fifth dimension was found in a study among students in 23 countries around the world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars It can be said to deal with Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance; values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one’s ‘face’. Both the positively and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B.C.; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a Confucian heritage.

PDI

Power Distance Index

IDV

Individualism

MAS

Masculinity

UAI

Uncertainty Avoidance Index

LTO

Long-Term Orientation

Country

PDI

IDV

MAS

UAI

LTO

Arab World **

80

38

52

68

Argentina

49

46

56

86

Australia

36

90

61

51

31

Austria

11

55

79

70

Belgium

65

75

54

94

Brazil

69

38

49

76

65

Bulgaria *

70

30

40

85

China *

80

20

66

30

118

Colombia

67

13

64

80

Czech Republic *

57

58

57

74

13

Denmark

18

74

16

23

Estonia *

40

60

30

60

Finland

33

63

26

59

France

68

71

43

86

Germany

35

67

66

65

31

Greece

60

35

57

112

Hungary *

46

80

88

82

50

India

77

48

56

40

61

Ireland

28

70

68

35

Israel

13

54

47

81

Italy

50

76

70

75

Japan

54

46

95

92

80

Morocco *

70

46

53

68

Netherlands

38

80

14

53

44

Norway

31

69

8

50

20

Poland *

68

60

64

93

32

Romania *

90

30

42

90

Russia *

93

39

36

95

Slovakia *

104

52

110

51

38

South Africa

49

65

63

49

Spain

57

51

42

86

Sweden

31

71

5

29

33

Switzerland

34

68

70

58

Turkey

66

37

45

85

United Kingdom

35

89

66

35

25

United States

40

91

62

46

29

West Africa

77

20

46

54

16

* Estimated values

** Regional estimated values:

‘Arab World’ = Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

‘East Africa’ = Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia

‘West Africa’ = Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Cultural questionnaire

Section 1 Where do you feel more comfortable?

Children should be taught that their opinion is as important as their parents ́

1 2 3 4 5

Children should be taught to never question their parents´ authority

Children should be taught to not take things for granted, in the family or other institutions

1 2 3 4 5

Children should be taught to accept the authority of older or important people

In a company/organization, people must be able to create their own place/function

1 2 3 4 5

All people in an organization or company have clearly defined roles

People must not take the boss decisions for granted. Always question the actions of the boss.

1 2 3 4 5

The boss takes all decisions, everybody in a organization/company accept and respect him

The most effective way to change a political system is through public debates and free elections

1 2 3 4 5

The most effective way to change a political system is to replace those in power through drastic means

TOTAL

Section 2 Where do you feel more comfortable?

People have strong loyalty to the group(s) they belong to

1 2 3 4 5

People choose their friends based on common likes/dislikes/interests

The conventions/rules of the group I belong to influence my behavior

1 2 3 4 5

I have full personal freedom

I am concerned with what the others think about me

1 2 3 4 5

I am concerned only with my own rules and objectives

People are promoted/recognized based on their loyalty and age

1 2 3 4 5

People are promoted based on competence, no matter their age

It is immoral for a boss not to offer a job to a relative

1 2 3 4 5

It is immoral for a boss to offer a job to a relative

TOTAL

Section 3 Where do you feel more comfortable?

I have sympathy for those who do not win and I envy others for their success

1 2 3 4 5

I admire winners and think those who lose must be punished

At work, I am motivated by a relaxed, friendly atmosphere

1 2 3 4 5

At work, I need to have clear objectives and an evaluation system for what I accomplish

Decisions at work must be based on consensus

1 2 3 4 5

Conflict is positive and productive

A good quality of life is important for both men and women

1 2 3 4 5

Men should be focused on material success and women must be concerned with the well-being of others

I seek love and mutual affection in a partner

1 2 3 4 5

What I want most from my partner is support in difficult situations

TOTAL

Section 4 Where do you feel more comfortable?

Children must be taught to cope with chaos and ambiguity

1 2 3 4 5

Children must be taught to be organized and avoid ambiguity

People who can move in different environments are appreciated in society

1 2 3 4 5

High competence and expert leadership are appreciated in society

People should always have to carry an ID

1 2 3 4 5

People should always have an ID

It is improper to express feelings in public

1 2 3 4 5

It is ok to show feelings in public, at the right place and time

Society has very few rules

1 2 3 4 5

There are some rules and customs that all people must respect

TOTAL

Section 5 Where do you feel more comfortable?

People know very clearly what is Good and what is Bad

1 2 3 4 5

People embark on common goals without being so concerned with what is Good and what is Bad

People value personal stability and continuity

1 2 3 4 5

People think everything is relative and permanently changing

Children must be taught to ask WHY

1 2 3 4 5

Children must be taught to ask WHAT and HOW

People’s behaviour is always influenced by their roots

1 2 3 4 5

People project their actions into the future

People want coherence in the information they are presented

1 2 3 4 5

People can live with contradictory information

TOTAL

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