Hofstede looked for national differences between over 100,000 of IBM’s employees in different parts of the world, in an attempt to find aspects of culture that might influence business behaviour.
He found five traits.
§ Individualism vs. collectivism – some cultures are more cohesive than others. Anglo Saxon cultures are generally more individualistic than the collectivist cultures of South America.
§ Uncertainty – some cultures, e.g. France and Japan use bureaucracy to reduce uncertainty because they dislike it.
§ Power distance – the degree to which cultures are willing to accept an inferior position. In South American societies, differences in power were tolerated more than in North European cultures.
§ Masculinity vs. femininity – a masculine role is one where the distinction between the roles of the genders is large and the males focus on work, power and success, e.g. in Japanese culture, whereas in feminine cultures such as Finland, there differences between the gender roles is much smaller.
§ Confucianism vs. dynamism – this looks at the attitude to change over the long term, e.g. does a culture embrace globalization?
Test your understanding 4
Looking at the Hofstede traits, choose the classification that most closely fits Great Britain.
Individualistic or collective?
Large power distance or small?
Masculine or feminine roles?