The theory of cultural measurements G. Hofstede - Intercultural Communication

The theory of cultural measurements G. Hofstede

In his theory of cultural dimensions, the Dutch sociologist, expert in management theory, Gert (Gerard Hendrik) Hofstede (born 1928) proposed a set of indicators that determine the cultural characteristics of different peoples. A study by G. Hofstede (Figure 4.1) consisted of the questioning of a large number of employees (over 1000) transnational corporations in more than 100 countries with regard to their attitude to work and behavior in the workplace. As a result, five indicators ( criteria ) were formulated, according to which he distinguished cultures:

1) distance from power (low to high):

2) separateness (collectivism - individualism);

3) assertiveness (masculinity - femininity);

4) Avoiding uncertainty (rejection of uncertainty);

5) strategic thinking (short-term or long-term future orientation).

As an empirical base, the results of a written survey conducted in the 1960s-1970s were used. in 40 countries of the world (with the exception of the former socialist countries). These studies have made it possible to establish that various cultural phenomena can be measured by several specified parameters, which in practice appear in different combinations among themselves, which determines the mentality of the corresponding culture. The results of H. Hofstede's research were published in the works "Consequences of Culture" (1980) and "Measures of National Cultures in Fifty Countries and Three Regions" (1983).

Distance from power - the degree to which society accepts the uneven distribution of power between its members. In cultures with a short distance from power, for example, in Scandinavia, the communicative style of politicians differs markedly from what has been adopted, for example, in Turkey, where a politician must radiate significance, power and might.

Gert Hofstede, Dutch sociologist, creator of the theory of cultural dimensions

Fig. 4.1. Gert Hofstede, Dutch sociologist, creator of the theory of cultural dimensions

Some cultures have a hierarchical, vertical structure of the organization. In other cultures the hierarchy is not so strong, its structure has a horizontal character of building relationships. In hierarchical societies with a high power distance, the powers between subordinates are distributed unevenly. In such cultures, it is customary to obey all the superiors: anyone who has power is traditionally given respected respect. In such cultures, rigid criticism of leadership is not allowed.

For cultures with large the distance from power is characterized by the perception of power as the most important part of life, admiration to the authorities. These are Arab countries, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Russia.

In cultures with a low distance from the authorities, the view is taken that inequality in society should be minimized. People who belong to this type of culture view the hierarchy as a conditional consolidation of the inequality of people in society. In such cultures, values ​​such as equality in relationships, individual freedom, respect for the individual are of greater importance. The subordinates consider themselves to be the same people as their leaders. Communication in cultures with a low distance from power is not so formalized, the interlocutors' equality is more pronounced, the communication style is consultative in nature. As an example, we can cite the principles of Western business culture, which is characterized by glass doors in the offices, a free entrance to the head, a mutually respectful form of communication between leaders and subordinates, which ultimately indicates a short distance from the authorities. In contrast to the Western business culture of countries with a high distance from power involves two or three hierarchical levels, a large number of orders of leaders to their subordinates on each of them, which significantly lengthens the distance between the boss and the subordinate and complicates the solution of all issues.

For cultures with little distance from power, which are characterized by the construction of relations on the basis of equality, respect for the individual, include Austria, Denmark, USA, Germany.

Isolation (collectivism - individualism) - the degree to which society agrees that the views and actions of an individual can be independent of collective or group beliefs and actions. For example, in the US, a person's success is linked to his individual achievements, individual responsibility for actions is emphasized, in contrast to Japan, where membership is valued.

Individualistic is a culture in which the individual goals of its members are more important than group goals. Individualism is common in societies with a free social structure in which everyone must take care of themselves and their families. In individualistic cultures, relations between people depend on individual interests and the claims of their participants and therefore change as interests and claims change. To the type of individualistic cultures (developed "I") are the cultures of Germany, the USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand.

The collectivist culture is characterized by the dominance of group goals and values ​​of the individual. Collectivism is inherent in societies with strict social structure, clear division into social groups within which each individual is guaranteed the care and attention of others in exchange for unconditional loyalty to the group. By type of collectivist cultures (the development of a collective start) include most traditional Asian and African cultures, as well as the Catholic countries of Southern Europe and Latin America, which are distinguished by special attention to family and community relationships and values.

According to G. Hofstede, the vast majority of people live in collectivist societies in which the interests of the group prevail over the interests of the individual.

Persistence (masculinity - femininity) suggests that masculine (masculine) should be considered a culture in which vanity is valued, the pursuit of success, recognition of personal achievements and care for high prosperity. Women (feminine) should recognize the culture in which the importance of interpersonal relationships, cooperation, the desire for understanding and the manifestation of concern for others prevail.

In masculine cultures, values ​​such as perseverance, strength, independence, material success, openness dominate. Such cultures are typical for Austria, Great Britain, Venezuela, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, the Philippines, Japan. Sex differences of male and female roles in society are clearly marked: boys are taught to be resolute and persistent, and girls are easygoing and caring. In this work, the result is most valuable, and the rewarding is based on the principle of a real contribution to this result.

In feminine cultures, for example, in the cultures of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Chile, Sweden, emotional ties between people, caring for other members of society are more appreciated. Men in such cultures should not be assertive, they should take part in the upbringing of children. Accordingly, in the education of children great importance is attached to developing a sense of solidarity and modesty. Here, social equality of the sexes and sympathy for losers are preached, conflicts are usually resolved through negotiations and reaching a compromise.

Avoidance of uncertainty (rejection of uncertainty) - the degree to which members of society feel insecure in uncertain, pre-structured situations and try to avoid them, developing rules, formulas and rituals and refusing to tolerate behavior, deviating from the standard. Societies with a high degree of avoidance of uncertainty are afraid of innovation, welcome the search for absolute truth.

In cultures with high levels of avoidance uncertainties in the situation of uncertainty, people are constantly experiencing stress and a sense of fear. Here there is a high level of aggressiveness, for the exit of which special channels are created in the society. Representatives of such cultures try to avoid ambiguous situations, securing themselves with a lot of formal rules, rejecting deviations from the norm in behavior, believing in absolute truth. People who belong to this type of culture are intolerant of people with a different type of behavior, more resistant to any changes, are sensitive to ambiguity, worried about the future, are less prone to risk. They prefer clear goals, detailed tasks, hard work schedules and timetables.

This type of culture includes the cultures of Belgium, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay, France, Japan. For example, during a conversation in France it is not accepted to immediately touch upon a question that interests the person most of all. They approach him gradually, after a long conversation around and around on different neutral topics, and as if casually, without pressure, often at the end of lunch or dinner.

For cultures with low avoidance , uncertainty is characterized by a more optimistic attitude to any situation than people belonging to cultures with a high level of avoidance of uncertainty, the hope of success in any business, the desire to live for today. Representatives of these cultures are prone to risk, they resist the introduction of formalized rules of command, less exposed to stress in unusual situations. Such people are very efficient and active, and also inclined to critical thinking.

This type of crops include the cultures of Singapore, Jamaica, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Britain, the United States. For example, for students belonging to this type of culture, it is entirely permissible if the teacher answers their question: "I do not know". This is regarded as an incompetence of the teacher, but as the equality of the student and teacher, teacher and student, readiness for dialogue and exchange of opinions.

Strategic thinking (short-term or long-term future orientation) is the focus on strategic, long-term goals, the desire to look into the future. For cultures with large the values ​​of this parameter (Southeast Asia) are characterized by prudence, persistence in achieving goals, resistance, for cultures with small value (European countries) - commitment to traditions, fulfillment of social obligations.

Remember to remember

The significance of Hofstede's theory, formulated by him as a result of extensive research, lies in the fact that features have been singled out that can describe national cultures according to their position relative to each other. The resulting features as a result of statistical processing allowed to make important observations about cultural oppositions.

In general, the system of typologies of culture, created in the XIX-XX centuries, is very diverse, allows modern researchers to use different methodological principles and principles of classifications and with their help to carry out analysis of cultures.

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