Cultural Variability Dimentions

Cultural Variability Dimentions

  • Individual vs Collective
  • Power distance: Distributed Power vs Hierarchical Power
  • Uncertainty avoidance: Low: risk talking vs High: Rules focused
  • Femininity vs masculinity
  • Other cultural norm considerations include: Ethnicity, Religion, Gender, Generation, Social Classes and Social Structure

Traits of Collectivism

  • Each person is encouraged to be an active player in society, to do what is best for society as a whole rather than themselves.
  • The rights of families, communities, and the collective supersede those of the individual.
  • Rules promote unity, brotherhood, and selflessness.
  • Working with others and cooperating is the norm; everyone supports each other.
  • As a community, family or nation more than as an individual
  • Russia, Poland*,Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia

Traits of Individualism

  • “I” identity.
  • Promotes individual goals, initiative and achievement.
  • Individual rights are seen as being the most important. Rules attempt to ensure self-importance and individualism.
  • Independence is valued; there is much less of a drive to help other citizens or communities than in collectivism.
  • Relying or being dependent on others is frequently seen as shameful.
  • People are encouraged to do things on their own; to rely on themselves
  • People strive for their own successes
  • Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Poland*, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States

High Power Distance

In a high power distance culture:

  • it’s acceptable for a supervisor to display his authority
  • superiors rarely give their subordinates important work
  • if something goes wrong, the subordinates are usually blamed for not doing their proper job/role
  • managers rarely interact or socialize with workers
  • teachers are treated respectfully
  • local politics are prone to totalitarianism
  • class distinctions are emphasized
  • parents are more highly respected and corporal punishment is more common
  • revolutions are, or were, common
  • France,  Russia,  Poland,  Turkey,  Belgium,  Portugal

Low Power Distance

In a low power distance culture:

  • supervisors are expected to treat employees respectfully
  • subordinates may do important work, thus having the opportunity to get promoted quickly
  • if something goes wrong, the superior/authority figure is usually blamed for having unrealistic expectations or being too strict
  • managers socialize and interact with workers more often
  • teachers are simply employees and parents are merely people
  • totalitarianism and revolutions are rare
  • Ireland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria

Uncertainty Avoidance – LOW

Some characteristics of a low uncertainty avoidance culture:

  • Typically the country is newer or more recently settled
  • The population tends to be ethnically diverse.
  • Risk is valued in business
  • Frequent innovations
  • Citizens are proud of nation.
  • Lower maximum speed limits and a lower rate of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Foreigners or minorities are encouraged to assimilate.
  • Ireland, Sweden, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, US, Singapore

Uncertainty Avoidance – HIGH

Some characteristics of a culture high in uncertainty avoidance:

  • Generally older countries/cultures with a long history.
  • The population is more ethnically homogeneous.
  • Risk is avoided in business
  • Low tolerance for innovation, prefer to stick to traditional routines
  • Citizens are often critical of their own nation
  • Higher maximum speed limits and a higher rate of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Xenophobia is common and foreigners/minorities tend to be ostracized.
  • France, Greece, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Japan

Femininity vs masculinity

Masculinity and femininity, from a cultural point of view and not from a gender point of view, give an indication of the direction of motivation.

Whether this is goal oriented (=masculine) or whether this is process oriented (=feminine)”

To define masculine, using the word “Goal” makes more sense than using the word “Tough“.

Winning & decisiveness are important in society”.

Examples and characteristics:

  • Winning is good, and gets you rewarded
  • Status Competition
  • Admiration for the winner
  • Japan (highest scoring country in the world!), USA (not surprisingly maybe), UK, Italy

Process orientation and consensus“.

Below examples and characteristics that define femininity:

  • Sticking your head out is not appreciated
  • Consensus
  • Sympathy for the loser
  • Netherlands, Nordic Countries, Iceland

Generations – your own research

Please make sure you make your own research on all the above topics before the exam.