HOFSTEDE’S THEORY ON JAPAN AND GERMANY

POWER DISTANCE:
The Japanese culture has high level of power distance. In terms of power it’s not equally distributed in the
organisation. The decision-making is more centralised and all the decision making power rests among the
superiors and they are treated with respect, the subordinates usually await for instructions and then continue
their work. The decision making process is quite slow because of rigid hierarchical process. In comparison to other
Asian countries the Japanese have lesser level of Power Distance because this society puts a lot of emphasis on
caliber rather than class privilege or wealth. In Germany, things are quite different. It’s a low power distance
culture where, people do not await for instructions but take decisions themselves unless, they are not sure of how
the task is to be done. It is required by management to understand Co-determination rights. (Denise Rotondo et
al., 1997) For example, When a Japanese manager joins a German organisation, he must not only evaluate the
enterprise but also give the subordinates the authority to make their decisions, rather than pushing his decisions
over them which would be acceptable in Japan but the German’s would consider the employees more
authoritative which can create a lot of misunderstanding.

Uncertainty Avoidance:
Uncertainty avoidance basically means how a society deals with ambivalence and anxiety. The Japanese culture
have high level of uncertainty avoidance due to the fact that they have face several natural disasters and are all
always well adapted for the worst. They have the same mind-sets when taking up projects. They undertake a very
detailed and in-depth research of the project before making a move. Compared to Japan, Germany has lower
uncertainty avoidance. They strongly believe in deductive attitude rather than making broad abstraction from
some particular observations. Being a low power distance culture and high on uncertainty avoidance they depend
heavily on competence for restitution. (Denise Rotondo et al., 1997)

Individualism/Collectivism:
The German culture is more of an individualistic society. Their relationship is more concerned with their family and
their immediate society and outsiders are not allowed and are not a part of it a lot of impetus is given to loyalty.
Japan is low on individualism but scores highly on collectivism. They are a collectivist society where preference is
given to the group rather than an individual. It’s a condescending society where promotes the interests of the
group rather than interests of individuals. (Denise Rotondo et al., 1997) For example when a German manager
joins a Japanese organization, the German manager has understand his subordinates and work with them as a
group rather than pushing his own decisions on them. He needs to adapt himself to such situations because these
create a major impingement with his professional life.

Masculinity/Femininity:
A Masculine society is where men are given a lot of importance. The men usually are the ones having competence
and position. The society is encouraged by contention and accomplishment instead of concern and quality of life.
The Japanese culture is more of a masculine society but being collectivist in nature major components such as
conclusiveness and high contention are not quite seen. (Greet-Hofstede) In comparison to Japan, Germany tend to
be inclined towards being masculine in nature they are quite lower. But recently it has been seen that the
Germans are inclined towards a feminist society where they believe in “work to live”.

Long Term/Short Term:
Long term acclimatization basically gives an idea of what is the perspective of the country. It helps in
understanding whether a country has long-term goals or is working on achieving short term objectives. The
Japanese pertain more towards long term goals, they accept excellence and character and believe in putting their
best effort in whatever they do. On the other hand, the Germans are more inclined towards short term
orientation and their primary focus is on achieving short term objectives and staying at par with current
competition. This is usually how the Western countries operate.