This blogpost has been published in: https://blogessayss.blogspot.com/2018/12/cultural-differences.html 13.12.2018
A couple months ago I hosted a training session with a colleague of mine. It was about cultural differences and how to understand them. We used Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions as a tool to find out about other countries. There are six dimensions in Hofstede’s theory; Power Distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and indulgence. There are many very good tools online to use this theory. It might be helpful to check how to do business with people from different cultures before you start doing it. No one wants to look like a fool, right?
Power distance index
With the power distance index, you can observe the differences in how equality is valued in different countries. In a culture that has high power distance the people are accepting a more hierarchical order. And cultures with low power distance are equalizing the distribution of power.
The power distance in china is 80 on a scale from 1 to 100. That means that all individuals in the society are not equal. There are huge differences if you compare an employer and an employee.
Individualism vs. collectivism
Individualism means that individuals prefer a loose social framework and like to take care of themselves and immediate families only. In this case collectivism represents its opposite.
Masculinity vs. femininity
Cultures with high masculinity tend to enjoy heroism, achievements and material rewards for success. The femininity side stands for cooperation, modesty and caring for the weak.
“In the business context Masculinity versus Femininity is sometimes also related to as “tough versus tender” cultures.” (Hofstede Insights, National culture)
Uncertainty avoidance index
Expresses how comfortable the members of a society are with uncertainty. Countries exhibiting strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles.
Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation
Societies who score high on this dimension encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future. For example, if you give someone a seed, will they plant it or trade it for something to have right away?
Indulgence vs. restraint
The higher the score here, the more you can show your feelings and don’t have to worry about strict social norms.
By using these six dimensions it will be relatively easier to do business with foreigners. You’ll start to understand the differences in your cultures and why the other person is doing something the way they are. With this tool it is possible to build more tolerance.