CROSS CULTURE MANAGEMENT 6 8
CrossCulture Management 6
“Howmight the ideas of Geert Hofstede be applied in real life?"
Hofstedeis credited for his research on different national cultures. In hisstudy of organizational culture, Hofstede argued that regional andnational cultures affects how individuals behavioral values insocieties and organizations. In his aggregation of individuals insocietal dimensions, Hofsted argued that he was able to explain thenational and individual personalities. These social dimensions werepower distances (PDI), individualism (IDV) v. collectivism,uncertainty avoidance index (UAI), masculinity (MAS) v. feminity,long-term orientation (LTO) and indulgence v. restraint (IVR). Inorder to analysis intercultural difference, the national cultures offour countries will be analyzed with regard to Hofstede dimensions ofcultural variations Sweden, Singapore, Egypt and India (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Briefdescription of each countries national culture
Themain language is Finnish, Swedish and Sami and these languagessignifies the ethnic groups in Sweden. Other ethnic groups are Danes,Norwegians, Greek and Turkish. The main religion is Lutheran,Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox and Buddhist. Modern Sweden has theworld’s most progressive social welfare policies, democraticgovernance, sustained economic priority, higher gender equality andhard work (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Egyptiansare open-minded when dealing with men and women and with otherreligions. Egyptians are not well educated, are conservative inwestern styles of dressing for men and women. Main religion is Islamwith minority Christians. Egyptians have more concern for the lessfortunate. The main ethnic group is mixed and does not affect workrelations and various races interact well. Egyptians believe ineffective working relationships with all people. They preferlong-term commitments (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Mainlanguage in India is Hindu, English and Bengali. Main ethnic groupsare Indo-Aryan, Mongoloid and Dravidian (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).Indians value family and marriage life. The Indian culture ischaracterized by caste structure. Indians maintain eye contact duringconversations. Professionals keep distance personal space anddistance is important in India. Public display of affection is keptminimal. Most Indians dress conservatively Indian men wear shirtsand dress pants while women wear saris of long shirt and baggy pants(Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).Seniority, education and experience are highly valued as well asprofessional and social status. Indians are quite conservative andnot flexible in accommodating other cultures. Gender discriminationis not visible in work places. Class divisions are more open inIndia between the rich and the poor. Ethnicity does not feature inIndia as it is hard to indentify anyone within a particular caste(Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Singaporeansare informal people and uncomfortable but feel proud of theirachievements (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).Singaporeans are researched and communicate in simple terms.Singaporeans are male centric people, secular society. However, somelike the Chinese are Christians or Buddhists while Indians are eitherHindu or Christian. Singapore is a meritocratic society no widevariation in social class between rich and poo r(Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).However, learned people are ‘privileged class and hold most keypositions. Main ethnic groups are Chinese, Malay and Tamil Indian.Indians and the Chinese are top ethnic groups. Establishing personalrelationship is essential in business activities. Corruption is notaccepted and is severely punished in government offices.
PowerDistance among the four countries
Accordingto Hofstede, power distance refers to the extent to which a societyaccepts that power is distributed unequally among the less andpowerful members of social institutions and organizations (Hofstede,1984).In short, higher level of hierarchy and inequality. As such,societies that have low power distance have more equality anddemocracy. With this perspective, the four countries exhibit variousaspects of power differences. On gender perspective, the Indianculture is characterized by caste structure while Singaporeans aremale centric people. Sweden and Egyptians have more gender balancedculture. This shows that the Indians and the Singaporeans have higherpower distance compared to Sweden and Egypt (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Swedenis more socially progressive compared to India, Egypt and Singaporeand this signifies low power distance. Indians and Singaporeans aremore conservative in style and social communications and this showthe element of high power distance (Hofstede,Hofstede and Michael, 2010).In addition, social class is more marked in India than othercountries and this explains higher power distance. Overall, Indiaexhibits higher power distance followed by Singapore, Egypt and thelowest in PDI is Sweden.
Individualismamong the four countries
AccordingHoofsted, the degree of individualism is determined by the level ofindividual integration in the group (Hofstede,1984).Individualistic societies put more stress on personal achievement andindividuals’ right. In this case, according to the interculturalaspects discussed in the four countries India and Singapore appear tohave higher individualism index when compared to Sweden, India andEgypt (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).Egypt and Sweden have more social concerns for the less fortunatethan Singapore and India. The level of conservatism in social classis more marked in India than the rest of the countries. The castesystem, professional class and rich versus poor in Idia manke it havehigher individualism. Singapore does not exhibit social classdifference but individual achievements are more marked than Egypt andSweden
Masculinity/Femininityamong the four countries
Masculinityhas to do with the distribution of emotional roles between genders(Hofstede,1984).Singapore and India are male centric societies compared to Sweden andEgypt. Sweden has more equality among genders than the rest of thecountries. All the countries support education for all genders butSingapore and India have lower literacy rates among the females thanmen due to the masculinity culture (Hofstede,Hofstede and Michael, 2010).
Althoughthe distribution of the gender roles is not discriminatory in workplaces in India and Singapore, gender discrimination is more visiblein family institutions. Egypt is relatively masculine owing toIslamic teachings that assign females subordinate roles (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).As such, India and Singapore can be regarded as more masculine thanSweden and Egypt.
UncertaintyAvoidance among the four countries]
Hofstedeexplains uncertainty avoidance as the capacity of a given society totolerate ambiguity and uncertainty (Hofstede,1984).Uncertainty avoidance also shows the level of coping or minimizinguncertainty. Societies with higher avoidance are more emotional.Singapore has higher uncertainty avoidance than India, Egypt andSweden. In particular, the Singaporeans are more conservative whenmeeting new people, the same phenomena are evident with the Indiansand relatively visible among the Egyptians (Centerfor intercultural learning. 2009).
Although,it cannot be conclusive to state that no country is tolerant tochange, Indians and the Singaporeans exhibit higher levels ofuncertainty (Hofstede,1984).For instance, it is a must to create personal relationship withSingaporeans before any business. Likewise, the Indians are moreconservative when meeting new people and this signifies some elementof uncertainty. Egyptians are more open minded, relaxed and warmwhile the Swedes are more socially progressive and adapt to changeseasily (Hofstede,1984).It is important to note that religion ale plays an integral role ininfluencing uncertainty. Muslims and the Hindus are more conservativein embracing changes than Christians (in this case the Swedes).
TemporalOrientation among the four countries
Temporalorientation refers to the degree of cognitive perception and thedegree of information processing in events such asinterrelationships. Temporal orientation can be related to whatHofstede refer to as indulgence and restraint. In the analysis,Singaporeans and Indians are conservative when relating with others(Hofstede,1984).This conservativeness makes them have lower cognitive perception.Temporal orientation also relates to how individuals behave in regardto present, past and the future. Indians have had slight history oftension with Islam and this makes them less approachable(Hofstede, Hofstede and Michael, 2010).
Egyptianshave a relative temporal orientation due to long history ofinteraction with other cultures and have never faced harsh‘situational demands’ like Singapore and the Indians. The Swedesare more temporal oriented due to enhanced education, social progressand wider equality. The Singaporeans are informal with majorityilliterate and this makes them less temporal oriented. Furthermore,due to past political instabilities countries like Sweden, India andSingapore have higher levels of temporal orientation(Hofstede, 1984).
Theanalysis of Indian, Swedish, Egypt and the Singaporean interculturalissues along Hofstede dimensions reveals a rather despicable culturalvariation. Indeed Hofstede cultural dimensions are useful inunderstanding intercultural variations. One distinguishable aspect isthat, the more a country is developed, religion and level of ethnichomogeneity, the more that country ranks higher according to Hofstededimensionalities. For instance, countries with higher illiteracy,social class divisions, gender inequality and ethnic-religioustensions, the more those countries exhibits differences when relatingwith other cultures(Center for intercultural learning. 2009).
Centerfor intercultural learning. (2009). Canada. Retrieved fromhttp://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/culture-culture-eng.asp?iso=se
Hofstede,Geert (1984). Culture`sConsequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values(2nd ed.). Beverly Hills CA: SAGEPublications.
Hofstede,Geert, Gert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov (2010). Culturesand Organizations: Software of the Mind, 3rd ed.New York: McGraw-Hill.