Culture Dimensions

How would you define culture? Culture is the coordination of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people. Culture is the behaviours, philosophies, beliefs, morals, ethics and symbols that a group of people accept, generally without thinking about them. Culture is also passed along from generation to generation through communication and social learning. 2. Briefly explain the difference between high and low context cultures? High Context Cultures: In high context cultures the message is one in which most of the information is already in the person.

Very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message. The speaker and listener rely on a common understanding of the context. Example: Twins communicating Example of countries: China, India Japan, and Saudi Arabia Low Context Cultures: Low context message is the opposite – the majority of the information is expressed explicitly. Most of the information is contained explicitly in the words. It is written, recorded, said, etc. There is also a big importance of instructions, regulations, written contracts, meeting agendas and so on. Examples: Lawyers representing angry clients

Example of countries: North America, UK, Australia 3. Outline and briefly discuss the five Hofstede dimensions. How might each of these dimensions impact on work practices? Hofstede’s 5 culture dimensions: Power distance Power distance expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The essential matter here is how a society handles inequalities between individuals. Individuals in societies showing a large degree of power distance accept a hierarchical order, and have top down decision making.

In cultures with low power distance, individuals make every effort to equalise the spreading of power and demand justification for inequalities of power. Uncertainty avoidance The uncertainty avoidance dimension expresses the amount to which the individuals in a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. The essential matter here is how a culture deals with how the future can be difficult to for see: should there be attempts to control the future or just let it happen? Countries showing strong Uncertainty avoidance keep rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas.

Weak Uncertainty avoidance cultures maintain a more calm attitude in which practice counts more than principles. Femininity vs. masculinity This dimension distinguishes between a feminine and a masculine culture. A masculine culture is achievement oriented and has a preference in society for assertiveness and material reward for success. Society at large is more competitive. An example of a country is The United States. A feminine culture is the opposite and stands for a preference for cooperation, nurturing, modesty, and caring.

An example of feminine countries are the countries in Scandinavia. Individualism vs. collectivism Individualism is the idea that an individual’s identity is fundamentally his or her own, and that individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate family only. Collectivism is the idea that an individual’s identity is fundamentally tied to the identity of his or her collective group. Individuals can be expecting their relatives or members of a particular group to look after them in exchange for loyalty. Confucianism or long-term orientation

The long-term orientation dimension can be understood as dealing with society’s pursuit for virtue. Societies with a short-term orientation are concerned with the past and the present and are normative in their thinking. They respect traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results. In cultures with a long-term orientation people are more concerned with the future. They demonstrate an aptitude to adapt traditions to changed conditions, a strong tendency to save and invest and a determination in achieving results.


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