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Hofstede's cultural dimensions

The model of national culture consists of six dimensions. The cultural dimensions
represent independent preferences for one state of affairs over another that
distinguish countries (rather than individuals) from each other. The country scores
on the dimensions are relative, as we are all human and simultaneously we are all
unique. In other words, culture can be only used meaningfully by comparison. The
model consists of the following dimensions:

Power Distance Index (PDI)


This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal it
expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power
Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions
and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed
unequally. It has to do with the fact that a societys inequality is endorsed by the
followers as much as by the leaders. 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. In societies with low Power Distance, people
strive to equalize the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities
of power.

Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)


The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of
interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether
peoples self-image is defined in terms of I or We. The high side of this
dimension, called individualism, can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit
social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves
and their immediate families. Its opposite, 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.

Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)


The Masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for
achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success. Society at
large is more competitive. Its opposite, femininity, stands for a preference for
cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is
more consensus-oriented. In the business context Masculinity versus Femininity is
sometimes also related to as "tough versus tender" cultures. A Feminine society is
one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is
not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be
the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine).

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)


The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals
with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future
or just let it happen? It expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel
uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. This ambiguity brings with it anxiety
and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The
extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown
situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is
reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance. Countries exhibiting strong UAI
maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox
behaviour and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which
practice counts more than principles.

Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Normative Orientation


(LTO)
This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own
past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies
prioritize these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score
low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honored traditions and
norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which
scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage
thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future. In the
business context this dimension is related to as "(short term) normative versus
(long term) pragmatic" (PRA). In the academic environment the terminology
Monumentalism versus Flexhumility is sometimes also used.

Indulgence versus Restraint (IND)


One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which
small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become human. This
dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and
impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called
Indulgence and relatively strong control is called Restraint. Cultures can,
therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained. 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.

NEW ZEALAND CULTURE ON HOFSTEDE


CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

Power Distance
New Zealand scores very low on this dimension (22). Within organizations, hierarchy is established
for convenience, superiors are always accessible and managers rely on individual employees and
teams for their expertise. Both managers and employees expect to be consulted and information is
shared frequently. At the same time, communication is informal, direct and participative.

Individualism
New Zealand, with a score of 79 on this dimension, is an Individualist culture. This translates into a
loosely-knit society in which the expectation is that people look after themselves and their immediate
families. In the business world, employees are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative. Also,
within the exchange-based world of work, hiring and promotion decisions are based on merit or
evidence of what one has done or can do.

Masculinity
New Zealand scores 58 on this dimension and is considered a Masculine society. Behavior in
school, work, and play are based on the shared values that people should strive to be the best they
can be and that the winner takes all. New Zealanders are proud of their successes and
achievements in life, and it offers a basis for hiring and promotion decisions in the workplace.
Conflicts are resolved at the individual level and the goal is to win.

Uncertainty Avoidance
New Zealand scores an intermediate 49 on this dimension. This score does not show a preference.

Long Term Orientation


With a low score of 33 in this dimension, New Zealand is shown to be a normative country. People in
such societies have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth; they are normative in their
thinking. They exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future,
and a focus on achieving quick results.

Indulgence
New Zealand's relatively high score of 75 indicates that its culture is one of Indulgence. People in
societies classified by a high score in Indulgence generally exhibit a willingness to realize their
impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun. They possess a positive attitude
and have a tendency towards optimism. In addition, they place a higher degree of importance on
leisure time, act as they please and spend money as they wish.

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS NEW ZEALAND VS INDIA

In the Power Distance dimension India scores high on this dimension, 77 as


opposed to New Zealands 22, indicating an appreciation for hierarchy and a topdown structure in society and organizations. Communication is top down and
directive in its style and often feedback which is negative is never offered up the
ladder. In the Individualism dimension India, with a rather intermediate score of
48, is a society with both collectivistic and Individualist traits in comparison to New
Zealands 79. The Individualist aspect of Indian society is seen as a result of its
dominant religion/philosophy - Hinduism. The Hindus believe in a cycle of death and
rebirth, with the manner of each rebirth being dependent upon how the individual
lived the preceding life. This focus on individualism interacts with the otherwise
collectivist tendencies of the Indian society which leads to its intermediate score on
this dimension. In the Masculinity dimension India scores 56 on this dimension
which is fairly equal to New Zealands score and thus both can be considered to be
Masculine societies. India is actually very Masculine in terms of visual display of
success and power. In the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension India scores 40 on
this dimension and thus has a medium low preference for avoiding uncertainty as
opposed to New Zealands 49 which is unable to show a preference. In India, there

is acceptance of imperfection; nothing has to be perfect nor has to go exactly as


planned. There is a saying that nothing is impossible in India, so long as one
knows how to adjust. In the Long Term Orientation dimension India has a
score of 51 on this dimension in comparison to New Zealands 33 which indicates a
preference for a more long-term, pragmatic culture. In India the concept of karma
dominates religious and philosophical thought. Hinduism is often considered a
philosophy more than even a religion; an amalgamation of ideas, views, practices
and esoteric beliefs. In the Indulgence dimension India receives a low score of 26
in this dimension, meaning that it is a culture of Restraint. Societies with a low score
in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism.

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS NEW ZEALAND VS USA

In the Power Distance dimension USA scores 40 on this dimension, which


is still higher than New Zealands 22 and the similar difference is visible in
Individualism dimension indicating The American premise of liberty and justice
for all. This is evidenced by an explicit emphasis on equal rights in all aspects of
American society and government. In the Masculinity dimension of USA scores
58 on this dimension which is fairly equal to New Zealands score and thus both
can be considered to be Masculine societies. India is actually very Masculine in
terms of visual display of success and power. In the Uncertainty Avoidance

dimension USA scores 46 on this dimension and thus Americans tend to be more
tolerant of ideas or opinions from anyone and allow the freedom of expression.
At the same time, Americans do not require a lot of rules and are less
emotionally expressive than higher-scoring cultures. In the Long Term
Orientation dimension USA has a score of 26 close to New Zealands 33 which
indicates Americans are prone to analyze new information to check whether it is
true. American businesses measure their performance on a short-term basis,
with profit and loss statements being issued on a quarterly basis. This also drives
individuals to strive for quick results within the work place. In the Indulgence
dimension USA receives a high score of 68 in this dimension. This, in
combination with a normative score, is reflected by the following contradictory
attitudes and behavior - Work hard and play hard. The States has waged a war
against drugs and is still very busy in doing so, yet drug addiction in the States is
higher than in many other wealthy countries.

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS NEW ZEALAND VS UK

In the Power Distance dimension UK scores 35 on this dimension, which is still


higher than New Zealands 22. This indicates that the PDI score at first seems
incongruent with the well-established and historical British class system and its
exposes one of the inherent tensions in the British culture between the importance
of birth rank on the one hand and a deep seated belief that where you are born
should not limit how far you can travel in life. In the Individualism dimension, at a
score of 89 the UK is amongst the highest of the Individualist scores, beaten only by
some of the commonwealth countries it spawned i.e. Australia and the USA. In the
Masculinity dimension of UK scores 66 on this dimension which is greater than New
Zealands score indicating Britain is a Masculine society highly success oriented
and driven. What is said is not always what is meant. In the Uncertainty Avoidance
dimension UK scores 35 on this dimension quite lower than New Zealands 49 which
means that as a nation they are quite happy to wake up not knowing what the day
brings and they are happy to make it up as they go along changing plans as new
information comes to light. As a low UAI country the British are comfortable in
ambiguous situations - the term muddling through is a very British way of
expressing this. In the Long Term Orientation dimension UK has a score of 51 higher
than New Zealands 33 but a dominant preference in British culture cannot be
determined. In the Indulgence dimension UK receives a high score of 69 in this
dimension. They possess a positive attitude and have a tendency towards optimism.

In addition, they place a higher degree of importance on leisure time, act as they
please and spend money as they wish.

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS NEW ZEALAND VS AUSTRALIA

In the Power Distance dimension Australia scores 36 on this dimension, which is still
higher than New Zealands 22. Within Australian organizations, hierarchy is
established for convenience, superiors are always accessible and managers rely on
individual employees and teams for their expertise. Both managers and employees
expect to be consulted and information is shared frequently. At the same time,
communication is informal, direct and participative. In the Individualism dimension,
at a score of 90 Australia is amongst the highest of the Individualist scores which
shows it is a highly Individualist culture. In the Masculinity dimension, Uncertainty
Avoidance and Indulgence dimensions, the scores of both the countries are very
close to each other which indicate the proximity of both the countries. In the Long
Term Orientation dimension Australia receives a high score of 33 in this dimension
higher than New Zealands 21 and therefore has a normative culture. They exhibit
great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and
a focus on achieving quick results.

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS NEW ZEALAND VS INDIA

In the Power Distance dimension China scores very high on this dimension, 89 as
opposed to New Zealands 22, i.e. a society that believes that inequalities amongst
people are acceptable. Individuals are influenced by formal authority and sanctions
and are in general optimistic about peoples capacity for leadership and initiative. In
the Individualism dimension China, with a rather minimal score of 20, is a highly
collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not
necessarily of themselves in comparison to New Zealands individualistic society. In
the Masculinity dimension China scores 66 on this dimension which is slightly
greater than New Zealands score of 58 and thus both can be considered to be
Masculine societies. The need to ensure success can be exemplified by the fact that
many Chinese will sacrifice family and leisure priorities to work. Service people
(such as hairdressers) will provide services until very late at night. Leisure time is
not so important. Another example is that Chinese students care very much about
their exam scores and ranking as this is the main criteria to achieve success or not.
In the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension at 30 China has a low score as opposed to
New Zealands 49. The Chinese are comfortable with ambiguity; the Chinese
language is full of ambiguous meanings that can be difficult for Western people to
follow. Chinese are adaptable and entrepreneurial. In the Long Term Orientation
dimension China has a score of 87 on this dimension in comparison to New
Zealands 33 which means that it is a very pragmatic culture. They show an ability
to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and

invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results. In the Indulgence


dimension China receives a low score of 24 in this dimension, meaning that it is a
culture of Restraint. Restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time
and control the gratification of their desires.