Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Model Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1731 Words
Date:  2022-10-06


Due to the increased globalization and diversity, business across borders has largely increased despite the fact that it faces a lot of challenges from factors such as political instability, cultural differences, and socio-economic issues. With the increasing international competition, it is important for business managers to understand both the domestic culture and the host county's culture. It is essential to understand and acknowledge the diversity in national cultural characteristics in order to manage the global operations (Dartey-Baah 2013; 39). Multicultural environments also seem to be a major problem for expatriates due to the inter-cultural conflicts. These inter-cultural conflicts cause organizational conflicts between its members in a workplace, and as a result, the organization's goals may not be achieved. Thus, it is important to understand the diversity in cultural characteristics as it an obstacle to many multinationals across the border. So what is culture and how does it affect business operations across borders and in workplaces?

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Culture is a way of life of a society, and it involves distinctive practices in the codes of conduct, language, religion, norms of behavior, beliefs, and traditions, language, spiritual and emotional traits among others. The first step to effective management of cultural diversity is to acknowledge that there are cultural differences and domestic strategies may fail in the international markets (Samaha et al. 2014; 80). Hofstede's publication of cultural dimensions has been used over the years for understanding the cultural differences in a workplace and in the international markets.

Through a study conducted by Geert Hofstede, organizational values of a workplace are influenced by culture. This study was analyzed based on the extensive data collection collected by IBM in more than 50 countries and three regions, and from the results, Hofstede developed the first four dimensions that helped in understanding the different cultures. He later developed other two dimensions with the help of Dr. Michael H.Bond and Michael Minkov that defined the different cultures in a workplace and international borders, and these dimensions correlate with other countries, cultures and religious practices (Minkov and Hofstede 2014; 161).

These dimensions include; Power Distance Index (high versus low), Individualism versus Collectivism, Masculinity versus Feminity, Uncertainty Avoidance Index (high versus low), Long versus Short Term Orientation and finally the Indulgence versus Restraint (Rienties and Tempelaar 2013; 180). Power distance relates to the equality and inequality of people within a culture. Uncertainty avoidance shows how people react to uncertainty caused by sudden changes and situations, while scores for individualisms shows the accountability for different actions and outcomes. Masculinity refers to the behaviors of a country in terms of nurturing the differences in gender roles. A degree of long term orientation and short term orientation reflects on the decisions made and whether they benefit the present or the future through the long term goals. Indulgences scores relate to the gratification processes of a country and the effects it has on its employees.

Power Distance Index (Low versus high)

This refers to the inequality that exists and is accepted between the people with authority and the ruled and it differs from on culture to another (Hofstede 2013; 115). A high Power Distance Index reflects how society accepts that there is a hierarchy in power distribution and they understand and accept their positions in the hierarchy. It is characterized by centralized organizations where a leader's status is highly regarded, and there is a big gap between authority and compensation (Hofstede 2013; 118). A low Power Distance Index on the hand reflects a society where power is shared equally, and the hierarchy in power distribution is not acceptable. It is commonly practiced in flatter organizations where supervisors and employees have equal powers, and employees often communicate with their superiors for decision making (Hofstede 2013; 118).

Individualism versus Collectivism

Individualism is where a person only cares for himself and his family whereas collectivism refers to a group of people who always take care of each and defend the interests of those who are loyal to the group (Triandis 2018). Individualism is characterized by the need for an individual to have his own freedom and enjoy his privacy to avoid mixing work life and social life (Triandis 2018). Collectivism calls for harmony within a group of people and feelings that may disrupt harmony such as publicly saying no to someone are suppressed.

Masculinity versus FeminityMasculinity refers to a culture where men are considered to be more tough and strong, and women are deemed to be very delicate, while in the feminine culture, both men and women are considered in equal terms of strength and vulnerability, and modesty is considered a virtue (Rienties and Tempelaar 2013; 189). Masculinity s characterized by strong egos of men placing themselves above women, differentiated gender roles with money and achievements being the main goals. In feminine practices, success is achieved through collaboration from all genders with flexibility in the workplace taken into consideration as it is concerned with the quality of life.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index

This dimension describes how people deal with anxiety with regards to sudden changes and situations (Minkov and Hofstede 2014; 161). Companies that have high Uncertainty Avoidance dislike uncertainty and always try to make life as predictable and controllable (Minkov and Hofstede 2014; 161). They want to be in control of their lives and avoid as much as possible the possibility of being overwhelmed by sudden changes and situations (Frijns 2013; 2457). Companies that have low Uncertainty Avoidance are always prepared for any changes and are more relaxed and open to changes and innovation. Companies are more concerned with learning and decision making and how well one copes with all circumstances, both favorable and unfavorable.

Long versus Short-Term Orientation

Originally described as Pragmatic versus Normative refers to the differences in time horizon in a society whereby long term orientation means focusing to the future while short term orientation deals with the present and past (Venaik et al. 2013; 361). Long term orientation is characterized by pragmatism and modesty whereas the short term orientation places emphasis on a society's traditions and principles.

Indulgence versus Restraint

A high Indulgence score depicts countries that allow free gratification of people's own motivations, drives, and emotions. People are always optimistic trying to find purpose in their lives and achieving personal happiness through flexible working and work-life balance (Beugelsdijk 2015; 227). A low Indulgence score on the flipside puts more emphasis on suppressing gratification, and rather more emphasis is on the regulation of conduct and behavior with stricter norms. The behavior in a low Indulgence score is more rigid, professional and avoids jokes in formal settings.

The advantages and disadvantages of Hofstede's cultural dimensions model

Some of the advantages of Hofstede's cultural dimensions model are that it helps people in the day to day business operations making them understand the different cultures and acknowledge the diversity. The different cultures in the workplace and international markets facilitate the growth of fascinating circumstances in the operation and management of any business (Dartey-Baah 2013; 39). Understanding the different cultures as illustrated by Hofstede helps us become accustomed to the demanding situations imposed by the diversity in the cultures. The global business culture is a reflection of the industry traditions and cultural powers in terms of body language, communication, time punctuality, different social conditions just to mention a few (Dartey-Baah 2013; 39).

Hofstede's model has helped many organizations to expand their business in the international markets. By understanding the cultural differences, it is easier to engage in business with different countries without facing cultural hindrances (Dartey-Baah 2013; 39). For instance, it is possible to examine and understand the difference in terms of attitude and behavioral impacts used in international marketing, advertising, and brand strategies. This makes management and promotion of global operations much easier and efficient. With regards to a workplace cultural differences, Hofstede's dimensions model help in analyzing the organizational culture and the national culture which helps the multinationals as it reduces the organizational conflicts between the employees (Dartey-Baah 2013; 39). Multinational managers use his model in enhancing employee motivation and reducing conflicts in order to achieve and improve organizational performance.

Hofstede's dimensions model has received a lot of criticism over the years with some critics questioning the relevance of the models, saying it is not accurate. Critics claim that the research and findings are too simple to incorporate all the differences in cultural diversity experienced globally (Beugelsdijk 2015; 223). The use of bilateral models such as the high and low power distance index is debatable in terms of its relevancy due to the modern globalization where a number of cultures are interacting. Hofstede's model is based on findings gathered from one company throughout different countries, and this makes the sample size small and biased. He should have done research on the different cultures experienced in more than one company to get a gist of the cultural differences. The findings from one company make the research to have low validity and accuracy since the information is not sufficient. To improve Hofstede's model, a new and larger sample size should be conducted across different companies representing the different parts of the world and how different workplaces react to cultural differences (Beugelsdijk 2015; 223). This will make the research more accurate supported with a variety of evidence.

According to Hofstede, his model was based on the concept that all nations share a homogeneous society, but in reality, some countries have different ethnic groups with different cultures and traditions (Mazanec et al. 2015; 300). For instance, it is far-fetched to claim that there is only one culture in China because they are all Chinese, there are several ethnic minorities that have different cultures and traditions. Hofstede also ignored the fact that there are others various factors that culture which includes non-cultural factors and human nature such as institutional influences, social structures and economic factors (Mazanec et al. 2015; 300). His findings also suggest that location does not affect employee's reaction to the different cultural practices, but in reality, people react differently to situations and places.

The research methodology of questionnaires used by Hofstede is not convincing in that it is impossible to collect and establish research findings of the six dimensions with this as the only type of research methodology (Rienties and Tempelaar 2013; 190). He should have used different methodology to gather information for the different dimensions and have a variety of findings to support his theories. Questionnaires may be biased, and this may produce inadequate and irrelevant information. It is also impossible to get real answers from questionnaires especially if the people being interviewed do not understand the values of their life and work (Rienties and Tempelaar 2013; 190). Some questionnaires were answered in gro...

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Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Model Paper Example. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/hofstedes-cultural-dimensions-model-paper-example

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