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Elephants and Hofstede

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Jessica Fox

on 24 June 2015

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Transcript of Elephants and Hofstede

Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)
"We"=We will do it.
Tightly-knit society
Unquestioned loyalty and devotion
High value on group conformity and unity
Power Distance Index (PDI)
The degree of inequality between people with or without power.
Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
Quality of life
Care for the weak
Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)
Flexible structure, more informal
More relaxed approach to differences
Embrace the unpredictable
Risk-taking is rewarded

Future: "let it just happen."
Long-term versus Short-term Orientation (LTO)
Cultural Dimensions
Elephants and Hofstede
Limitations of Hofstede's Theory:
Only one company (IBM) studied
Some invalid data
Population as a homogenous whole?
Culture=national culture
Culture as a process vs. dimensions
Cross-cultural relationships have shifted in the past 30 years
What else?
Geert Hofstede
Born in 1928
Social psychologist and anthropologist
Equal distribution of power

Fewer layers of management

Differences in power levels require reasons (i.e. qualifications, experience, credentials)

Decentralized political power
Hofstede's Research
Time span: 1978-1983
Range: 53 countries
117,000 questionnaires
Target population: IBM employees
Results: five dimensions identified and rated across 53 countries, normalized to values (usually) of 0 to 100.

Any questions?

Jessica Fox, 1jessfox@gmail.com
Which countries do you expect to have a HIGH power distance and why? A LOW power distance and why?
Which countries do you expect to have high individualism and why?
Which countries do you expect to high masculinity and why?
Hierarchy and inequality is expected and accepted

Large differences in salary and status

Parents teach obedience and respect

Teachers are automatically esteemed

Centralized political power


The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups.
"I"=I will do it.
Values independence and self-reliance
Expects privacy
Rewards individual achievement
Material reward for success
Society in constant competition
the degree the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control, and power
The degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.
How does a society deal with an unknown future?
Rules, regulations, rigid codes of belief and behavior
Intolerance of unorthodox ideas or behaviors
Threatened by unpredictability and differences

Future: control over destiny, everything has already been written
LOW, just go with the flow
Thrift and perseverance
Have a sense of shame
Protecting one's "face"
Fulfilling social obligations
the degree the society embraces, or does not embrace, long-term devotion to traditional, forward thinking values
Short-term Orientation
Long-term orientation:
Which countries do you think have a Long-term Orientation and why?
Respect for tradition
Less likely to save for the future
Focused on quick results
Reciprocation of greetings, favors, gifts
How do blind men and an elephant help us think about culture?
Like the story, we are all "blind" to parts of culture
Culture = BIG BIG elephant
Each person will "see" parts of culture more clearly than another, and to "learn the truth, we put all the parts together."
Descriptions of the elephant:
Brick wall-Snake-Spear-Tree-Fan-Rope
Indulgence vs. Restrain Index
Full transcript