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• Professor of Organizational Anthropology and International Management of Maastricht University • Senior Fellow of IRIC, the Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, and Extra-Mural Fellow of the CentER for Economic Research, both at Tilburg University • Occupational activities have varied from sailor, factory worker, industrial engineer, plant manager and personnel director to teacher and researcher at various academic institutions in Europe
McGraw-Hill, New York 1997
New edition in press 2004 (Hofstede & Hofstede) Translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish Older book in Italian New edition forthcoming in Russian Website www.geerthofstede.nl
Hofstede Cultural Framework
What is Culture?
A system of learned values and norms shared among a group of people and, when taken together, constitute a design for living.
Abstract ideas about the good, the right, the desirable
Like evil-good, abnormal-normal, dangerous-safe, dirty-clean, immoralmoral, indecent-decent, unnaturalnatural, paradoxical-logical, uglybeautiful, irrational-rational
Social rules and guidelines; determine appropriate behavior in specific situations Folkways: norms of little moral significance –dress code; table manners; timeliness Mores: norms central to functioning of social life –bring serious retribution: thievery, adultery, alcohol
Definitions of Culture
is… the unwritten rules of the social game
Culture is the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one human group from another (Hofstede, 1980).
Why is knowledge of culture important in today‟s organisation? "The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.” Oscar Wilde
Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." Prof. Geert Hofstede, Emeritus Professor, Maastricht University.
Culture Shock Cycle
V-for victory in US is obscene in some European countries
• English-speaking: OK • France: zero, nothing, worthless • Japan: money • Brazil & Germany: vulgar, obscene gesture
Fingers crossed: • Europe: good luck, protection • Paraguay: offensive gesture
Thumbs up: • Australia: rude gesture • Most of the world: okay
Different connotations in different cultures
Sacred colors Green and blue in Arabic countries Yellow in Buddhist countries Colors of mourning: black / white / purple / saffron... Warning indicators: yellow / red
The way to deal with diversity is not to deny it or ignore it, but to learn about differences so they don’t impair communication
Hofstede’s IBM study
• Geerte Hofstede was a staff psychologist at IBM
International Business Machines Corporation .
• He conducted a global survey of IBM WORK force & set forward a questionnaire to 160000 IBM managers across more than 70 countries. • Resultant database was & is a gold mine for people who study cultures. • He found four fundamental differences in national style
Hofstede‟s Four Dimensions
• Power Distance • Individualism • Masculinity • Uncertainty Avoidance
• individualism versus collectivism
• large versus small power distance
• masculinity versus femininity • strong versus weak uncertainty avoidance
• “...the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.”
Power distance focuses on the degree of equality or inequality between people in the country or society or the extent to which power inequality is accepted.
High Power Distance cultures believe that the more powerful people must be deferred to and not argued with, especially in public
– Based on gender, age, seniority, position
Inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. Latin American and Arab nations are ranked the highest in this category.
Low Power Distance cultures believe people are equal. The society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and wealth. In these societies equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed. Scandinavian and Germanic speaking countries the least.
Power Distance at Work
• • • • • Hierarchy Centralization Salary range Participation Privilege & status symbols
• • • •
Wide salary range Taller organization structure Strict obedience is in practice Employees accept that superiors have more power tan they have & seldom bypass chain of command. • Employees are seen as frequently afraid of disagreeing with their bosses • Privileges and status symbols for managers are both expected and popular • Centralization is popular
Power Distance : Low
• Superiors & subordinates are regarded as one • Flatter organization structure • Employees are not seen as very afraid and bosses are not often autocratic or paternalistic. • Hierarchy in organizations means an inequality of roles, established for convenience
Consultative relationship between boss and employees. There is less dependence on a superior and more interdependence. Subordinates will readily approach and contradict their boss. • Decentralisation is popular, narrow salary ranges, consultation, democratic bosses, and limited privilege and status symbols are emphasized.
Gender focuses on the degree of traditional gender role of achievement, control, and power. „a situation in which the dominant values in society are success, money & things.‟
Masculine roles – assertiveness – competition – Toughness Masculine societies: social gender roles are distinct (men focus on material success; women on quality of life)
• Feminine societies: social gender roles overlap (both quality of life) • Feminine roles – home and children – people – family
A High Masculinity ranking indicates the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation. Men are supposed to be assertive, ambitious, and tough; women tender and take care of relationships. Males fight back when attacked - females shouldn't. .
Japan is considered by Hofstede to be the most "masculine" culture,
A Low Masculinity ranking indicates the country has a low level of differentiation and discrimination between genders. Sweden the most "feminine."
Masculinity / Femininity
• Centrality of work • Ways of managing & decision making • Fem: equality, solidarity, quality of work life • Mas: equity, compete, performance • Conflict resolution
Masculinity : High
• Male dominate a significant portion of the power structure. • Great importance on earning, recognition, advancement & challenge • Independent decision making is encouraged • Achievement is defined in terms of wealth • Career is defined as most important
• Emphasis on striving to be the best and failure is regarded as a disaster. • Managers are decisive and assertive, stress is on competition and performance. • Conflict is resolved by fighting them out.
Masculinity : low
• Great importance on co-operation, friendly atmosphere & employment security. • Group decisions are encouraged • Managers use intuition and strive for consensus, stress quality of work life, and resolve conflict by compromise and negotiation. • Dominant values are caring for others and preservation, people and relationships are important, everyone should be modes • Low level of discrimination & differentiation between genders.
Identity focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships.
Collectivist societies: people integrated into strong, cohesive groups; protection is exchanged for loyalty
These cultures reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.
Harmony and consensus are ultimate goals
• Individualist societies: ties are loose and everyone looks out for himself or herself • Individualist cultures are expected to act according to their own interest, and work should be organised in such a way that this self-interest and the employer‟s interest coincide. • individual freedom prevails over.U.S.A. is one of the most individualistic cultures.
Individualism / Collectivism
• Employee-employer relationship • Hiring and promotion decisions • Managerial focus • Task vs. relationship priority
Individualism: at work
• Individual decisions are valued more than group decision. • Individual have the right to differ from majority opinion. • Promotion is on merit & performance. • Tasks take precedence over relationship. • Emphasize individual rights & goals • “I” instead of “We”.
Collectivism : at work
• In a collectivist culture, an employer never hires just an individual, but a person who belongs to an in-group. • The employee will act according to the interest of this in-group, which may not always coincide with his or her individual interest
• Promotion & advancement are based on seniority & loyalty. • Relations prevail over tasks
Uncertainty focuses on the level of avoidance or tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within the society.
• “…the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations.” • Presence of rules
Uncertainty avoidance : High
Hofstede described uncertainty avoiding societies are a society where there are many formal laws and informal rules. There is a high need of security. This creates a rule-oriented society that institutes laws, rules, regulations, and controls in order to reduce the amount of uncertainty • Japan rank the highest in this category
Uncertainty avoidance: Low
Societies have more tolerance for a variety of opinions, less rule-oriented, more readily accepts change. Societies are characterized by feelings that life is a continuous fight against threat, high anxiety and stress, acceptance of familiar risk but not of ambiguous situations.
• Necessity of rules • Time orientation • Precision & punctuality • Interpretation of “What is different…” • Appropriateness of emotional displays
High Uncertainty Avoidance: at Work
• • • • • High premium on job security Career Planning Insurance & retirement benefits Clear rules & regulations are welcomed. Managers prefer reduction of conflict, man precise instructions, detailed job descriptions to deal with job complexity, and avoidance of multiple bosses.
• Structure oriented organizations. Prefer strong codes of behavior & management practices. Tolerate less deviation from them
Low Uncertainty Avoidance: at Work
• • • • Entrepreneurial, innovation Exhibit less resistance to change More risk taking managers Managers empower team members and delegate authority, rather than direct and control team decisions.
• Single organization. • It assumes that national territory & limits of culture correspond. • It is not so in case of smaller country & in case of bigger country as there are sub cultures. • Over lapping of some dimensions.
Confirmation of Hofstede’s IBM study
Despite all the limitation, Hofstede‟s work is widely acknowledged.
No other study compares so many national culture in so much detail.
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