Hofstede's Value Dimension

Hofstede’s Value Dimension is a reflection of the diverse cultural patterns that characterize the perceptual and communication differences among people. It presents a number of concepts. First, there is the concept of the power distance. There are two aspects of power distance: large power distance, which is marked by centralized authority, large number of supervisory staff and autocratic leadership, among others. On the other hand, there is small power distance, which allows for the consciousness of rights, small proportion of supervisory staff and flat organizational structures, among others.

Secondly, there is the concept of uncertainty avoidance, which is divided into two, weak and strong uncertainty avoidance. Characteristics of weak uncertainty avoidance include flexibility and risk taking among others. Strong uncertainty avoidance involves avoidance of risk, intolerance for deviants and respect for authority. Hofstede maintains that uncertainty avoidance is a uniquely western value.

Hofstede also advances the concept of individualism/ collectivism. Individualistic cultures focus on the self and lay emphasis on pleasure and personal enjoyment rather than adhering to social norms. They also give precedence to horizontal relationships at the expense of vertical associations. Collectivistic cultures, on the other hand, focus on social norms that govern small groups. They also consider the consequences of their actions to the wider society rather than the individual. Essentially, they strive to regulate behavior by enforcing group norms.

The fourth concept is masculinity and femininity. In masculine cultures, gender roles are clearly defined. They expect men to be tough and assertive, as well as aspiring for wealth. Acts of benevolence have little room in masculine cultures. On the other hand, gender roles do overlap in feminine cultures. These cultures do not necessarily seek material success.



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