Cultural Dimensions: What it is about?
Prof. Greet Hofstede conducted a
comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by
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. They are: (1) Directness (get to the point
versus imply the messages); (2) Hierarchy (follow orders versus engage in
debate); (3) Consensus (dissent is accepted versus unanimity is needed); (4)
Individualism (individual winners versus team effectiveness). Additionally,
power distance describes the
degree of deference and acceptance of unequal power between people.
Uncertainty avoidance defines how well cultures may adapt to change. The
terms masculinity and femininity refer to the degree to which a culture
values assertiveness or nurturing and social support.
Cultural Dimensions in many ways determine:
attitude towards innovation; rules;
communication and behavioral patterns; attitude to conflict;
conflict resolution strategies; consumer behavior;
decision making process;
partnering and gender issues;
performance evaluation; structure and coordination instruments; success
For instance, U.S.
negotiators tend to rely on individualist values, imagining self and
other as autonomous, independent, and self-reliant. Negotiators from the
countries with a low power distance, such as Australia, Britain, and
Germany, tend to be comfortable with democratic structures and flat
organizational hierarchies, shared authority, and the right to use power
only in limited circumstances and for legitimate purposes. Negotiators from
the national cultures with a high power distance, such as Arab countries,
Russia, tend to be comfortable with hierarchical structures, clear
authority figures, and the right to use power with discretion.
Negotiation DOs and DON'Ts and
Conduct During Negotiations)
Knowing the “score” of a country helps you to
be aware of many “cultural traps”, avoid conflicts and
harness the power of cultural
For instant, a great culturally diverse
innovation team could look like that: a Russian generates
outside-the-box ideas; an American
establishes rapidly a new venture using
those ideas; a Japanese develops a long-term
business strategy; a German to
organizes an effective manufacturing
process; and a
Chinese carries out the