Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication, developed by Geert Hofstede. It describes the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members, and how these values relate to behavior, using a structure derived from factor analysis. After a decade of research and thousands of interviews is a model of cultural dimensions that has become an internationally recognized standard.

1) Power Distance (PD): Refers to the degree of inequality that exists – and is accepted – among people with and without power. For example, high PD score indicates that society accepts an unequal distribution of power and that people understand “their place” in the system. Low PD score means that power is shared and well dispersed and also that, society members view themselves as equals.

2) Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV): Individualism on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. On the individualist side, we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after her/himself and her/his immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.

3- Masculinity (MAS): This refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles. Low MAS scores do not reverse the gender roles. In a low MAS society, the roles are simply blurred. You see women and men working together equally across many professions. Men are allowed to be sensitive, and women can work hard for professional success. High MAS scores are found in countries where men are expected to be “tough,” to be the provider, and to be assertive. If women work outside the home, they tend to have separate professions from men.

4- Uncertainty/Avoidance Index (UAI): This relates to the degree of anxiety that society members feel when in uncertain or unknown situations. Low UAI scores indicate that the society enjoys novel events and values differences. There are very few rules, and people are encouraged to discover their own truth. High UAI-scoring nations try to avoid ambiguous situations whenever possible. They are governed by rules and order and they seek a collective “truth.”

5- Long Term Orientation (LTO): This refers to how much society values long-standing – as opposed to short-term – traditions and values. In countries with a High LTO score, delivering on social obligations and avoiding “loss of face” are considered very important.

6Indulgence vs. Restraint (IVR): Indulgence stands for a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun. Restraint stands for a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms.

Geert Hofstede: the 6 Dimensions of National Culture




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