Dimensions of culture
National cultural frameworks describe national-based cultural differences along some common ‘dimensions’.
But the frameworks have some similar dimensions, such as individualism-collectivism and power distance.
Individualism-collectivism looks at the extent to which cultures prioritise individual concerns over group concerns to guide actions.
In societies characterised by individualist values, your own interests would generally guide your actions. In societies characterised by collectivist values, the interests of your group would predominantly guide your actions.
For instance, in individualistic societies, it’s common for young adults to make their own decisions about their career path.
By contrast, in collectivist societies, young adults may prioritise their family’s preferences when it comes to deciding their career.
The power distance dimension, also known as hierarchy, addresses people’s attitudes toward power inequalities.
In societies with high power distance, people tend to accept the presence of power inequalities and this influences how they behave toward others below or above them in the hierarchy. For instance, in a high power distance culture, people generally wouldn’t question the authority of a supervisor at work.
But in societies with low power distance, the way people act is not driven so strongly by their position in a hierarchy.
Compare the Hofstede scores on the individualism-collectivism and power distance dimensions for your country and one other country.
Next, reflect on the following questions:
- Do you think your country’s score accurately depicts your own values?
- What about the values of the organisation you work in?
Discuss your findings in the comments.
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