In-depth Explanation Dimensions of Hofstede

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In-depth Explanation Dimensions of Hofstede
Sameen Shahid, Member
Hofstede gave five dimensions to help explain the culture of the country they can also be applied to organization with little modifications. The five dimensions are:
1. Small vs Big Power Distance: you identify a culture which will be either high on power distance or low. The culture with high power distance has high inequality in status or unequal distribution of resources,the poorer gets poor and richer gets richer. Simply if the distance between poor and rich is high that culture has high power distance. In organizations this power distance can be seen for example by the distance between top management and the rest of the management.
2. Individualism vs Collectivism: It's how you make your decisions on individual basis or collective level. People high on individualism only care for their personal ambitions and goals. People high on collectivity think as a society and care for opinions of other members of society. In Pakistan most people are individually collective and collectively individualistic as told by Sir Ather - my teacher - and I agree with that for individual based decisions we consult our aunt, uncle , friends and take decision considering all opinions. But while thinking about collective decisions, like based on country or society, we just think what's best for us not as a society what's best for nation.
3. Masculinity vs Femininity: This basically focuses on the roles distribution among gender. In masculine culture males have an aggressive and dominant role. Females, if they pursue a career are given different career options than males. In the feminine culture or low masculinity culture the roles are not reversed, but blurred: both genders perform the same kind of jobs or simply equality exists.
4. Uncertainty Avoidance: culture high on uncertainty avoidance like to preplan, make rules to control situations they feel anxious about or when they are in unstructured environment or when faced with a surprised situation or change. On the contrary some cultures accept uncertainty; they like to do experiments, bring change and are creative and have less rules to follow.
5. Long vs short term orientation : In LTO the people are thrift and avoid loss of face. In STO the people have respect for tradition, high creativity and individualism. People who are uncertainty avoiders typically have a long term orientation.
According to me Hofstede's method is very good to quickly identify certain traits of culture, but it's not that precise and is based on observers thinking.

In-depth Explanation of Hofstede
Catherine M. Bing, Member
When teaching the Cultural Dimensions of Hofstede, it is critical to first cover the dimensions as separate orientations. The comments above are full of orientations mixed together (for example talking about individualism and uncertainty mixed in with time orientation orientation).
None of the dimensions exist in isolation from the others, but to understand them as separate first helps improve precision. If you want to take the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire(tm) which itap licenses directly from Geert Hofstede, you can not only get your own cultural profile, but also a description of each distinct dimension. Contact me and I will get you a free id to take the questionnaire.


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