Geert Hofstede: Cultural Dimensions
Please define Power Distance in one sentence and summarize the differences (if any) in Power Distance among France, Italy, Arab World and Indonesia.
People in societies exhibiting a large degree of power distance accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification, but in societies with low power distance, people strive to equalize the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power. France, Indonesia and the Arab World all score high on the Power Distance scale compared to Italy, which makes them more authoritarian societies.
With a score of 68, France scores high on the scale of the PDI, compared to Italy which has a score of 53. It is therefore a society in which inequalities are accepted. Hierarchy is needed if not existential; the superiors may have privileges and are often inaccessible. Power is highly centralized in France, as well as Paris centralizes administrations, transports etc.
Indonesia scores high on this dimension (score of 78) which means that the following characterizes the Indonesian style: Being dependent on hierarchy, unequal rights between power holders and non-power holders, superiors in-accessible, leaders are directive, management controls and delegates. Power is centralized and managers count on the obedience of their team members. Employees expect to be told what to do and when. Control is expected and managers are respected for their position.
The Arab world scores high on this dimension (score of 80) which means that people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy in an organization is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities, centralization is popular, subordinates expect to be told what to do and the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat
Please define Individualism in one sentence and summarize the differences (if any) in Individualism among France, Italy, Arab World and Indonesia
Individualism can be defined as a preference for a in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate families only, and collectivism, represents a preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular in-group to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. France and Italy are both highly individualistic Western societies, while Indonesia and the Arab World are collectivist cultures.
At 71 France and Italy both score high on the individualistic index. This means that the French favor individual and private opinions, taking care of themselves and immediate family rather than belonging to a group. In the work environment, the relationship with work is contract based, the focus is on the task and autonomy is favored. The communication is direct and everyone is allowed to speak up, voice out their opinions even more if they do not agree. The management is the management of individuals and the recognition of one’s work is expected.
Indonesia, with a low score of (14) is a Collectivist society. This means there is a high preference for a strongly defined social framework in which individuals are expected to conform to the ideals of the society and the in-groups to which they belong. One place this is visible clearly is in the aspect of the Family in the role of relationships. For example, In Indonesia, if one wishes to marry, it is important to meet a woman’s family because the family is so important to her. If a man wants to be taken seriously by a woman, he has to visit the latter’s family and introduce himself formally to the parents of the girl.
The Arab culture, with a score of 38 is considered a collectivistic society. This is manifest in a to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.
Please define Masculinity/Femininity in one sentence and summarize the differences (if any) in Masculinity/Femininity among France, Italy, Arab World and Indonesia
The masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success, making society at large is more competitive, while femininity stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is more consensus-oriented. Italy is the most masculine culture of the four, followed by the Arab world, with France and Indonesia more on the feminine side.
With 43, France is a relatively Feminine country. With its famous welfare system (securite sociale), their 35 working hours/week and 5 weeks holidays per year, France cares for its quality of life and focuses more on work in order to live than the reverse. Competition amongst work colleagues is usually not favored as feminine societies have more sympathy for the underdog. And material signs of success, especially flashy ones, should not be too visible. The management should be supportive and dialogue should help resolve conflicts.
Indonesia scores (46) on this dimension and is thus considered low Masculine. While not entirely like most North European countries who are very low in Masculinity and thus considered Feminine, Indonesia is less masculine than some other Asian countries like Japan, China and India. In Indonesia status and visible symbols of success are important but it is not always material gain that brings motivation.
The Arab world scores 52 on this dimension and is thus a masculine society, while Italy scores at 70 and is highly masculine. In masculine countries people “live in order to work,” managers are expected to be decisive and assertive, the emphasis is on equity, competition and performance and conflicts are resolved by fighting them out.
Please define Uncertainty Avoidance in one sentence and summarize the differences (if any) in Uncertainty Avoidance among France, Italy, Arab World and Indonesia.
The uncertainty avoidance dimension expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, and countries exhibiting strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. France, Italy and the Arab World all have a high desire for avoidance of uncertainty while Indonesia scores only medium low on this index.
At 86 France has one the highest scores on the UAI Index, compared to 71 for Italy. Certainty is often reached through academic work and concepts that can respond for the need of detail, context, and background. Teachings and trainings are more inductive. In management structure, rules and security are welcome and if lacking, it creates stress. Therefore planning is favored, some level of expertise welcome, when change policies on the other hand are considered stressful.
Indonesia scores (48) on this dimension and thus has a medium low preference for avoiding uncertainty. This means that there is a strong preference in Indonesia toward the Javanese culture of separation of internal self from external self. When a person is upset, it is habitual for the Indonesian not to show negative emotion or anger externally. They will keep smiling and be polite, no matter how angry they are inside. This also means that maintaining work place and relationship harmony is very important in Indonesia, and no one wishes to be the transmitter of bad or negative news or feedback. Another aspect of this dimension can be seen in Conflict resolution. Direct Communication as a method of conflict resolution is often seen to be a threatening situation and one that the Indonesian is uncomfortable in.
The Arab culture scores 68 on this dimension and thus has a high preference for avoiding uncertainty. Countries exhibiting high uncertainty avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work) time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation.
Please define Temporal Orientation in one sentence and summarize the differences (if any) in Temporal Orientation among France, Italy, Arab World and Indonesia.
Societies with a have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth, are normative in their thinking, and exhibit great respect for traditions, with a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results. Both France and Italy are while Indonesia and the Arab World were not scored in this category.
At 39 France is a short-term oriented society, as is Italy with a score of 34. This means a great respect for tradition as well as a need for norms and absolute truth as guidelines. In terms of business this on quick results i.e. companies are driven by quarterly results. Consumption is driven by immediate gratification, sensitivity to social trends and rituals. There’s not much focus on saving. Management is based on self-reliance, personal achievement, hard work and managers are judged on short-term results.
No scores available for Indonesia and the Arab World on this dimension.
In summary, France and Italy have the most in common, both being Western, democratic societies, although France is both more authoritarian and less masculine than Italy. Both are highly individualistic and short-term in temporal orientation, though. Indonesia and the Arab World all score high on the Power Distance scale compared to Italy, which makes them more authoritarian societies. France and Italy are both highly individualistic Western societies, while Indonesia and the Arab World are collectivist cultures. Italy is by far the most masculine culture of the four, followed by the Arab world, with France and Indonesia more on the feminine side. France, Italy and the Arab World all have a high desire for avoidance of uncertainty while Indonesia scores only medium low on this index. Both France and Italy are short-term oriented societies while Indonesia and the Arab World were not scored in this category.