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Cultures Influence on Workplace Values

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1 Cultures Influence on Workplace Values

2 Theory of 6 Cultural Dimensions
There are several theories that help to explain how culture influences values in the workplace Dutch anthropologist Geert Hoftsede described specific aspects of culture using five cultural dimensions, which help those doing business in other countries understand the cultural differences between two countries Keep in mind that the following dimensions reflect a society’s overall tendencies NOT those of specific individuals

3 5 Cultural Dimensions 1. Low power distance vs. high power distance
2. Low uncertainty avoidance vs. high uncertainty avoidance 3. Masculinity vs. femininity 4. Individualism vs. collectivism 5. Pragmatism 6. Indulgence

4 1. Power Distance Used to measure the difference how power between people is perceived Cultures that consider superiority on the basis of social status, gender, race, age, education, birth, wealth and personal achievements, or family background accept a high power distance Cultures that tend to assume equality among people and focus more on earned status than prescribed status are described as having a low power distance

5 Power Distance Cont’d According to Hofstede’s research, Mexico, Indonesia, and India have high power distance Austria, Israel and Canada have low power distance India is a strong example of high power with their caste system People are born into 1 of 5 caste levels or groups, each having a higher status than the one below it Indian citizens belong to the caste they are born into and cannot aspire to enter another From birth, their power is defined by the caste

6 2. Uncertainty Avoidance
Has to do with the way in which various cultures adapt to change Countries that tend to attempt to avoid uncertainty prefer formal rules & rituals, and hold especially strong religious convictions These cultures tend to have high uncertainty avoidance High value on conformity, little tolerance for outsiders perceived as untrustworthy Countries: Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Japan

7 Uncertainty Avoidance Cont’d
Cultures with low uncertainty avoidance tend to value risk-taking, seek change instead of avoiding it, and demonstrate a high tolerance for difference Outsiders find it much easier to establish business relationships in these countries Countries: Canada, Sweden, Singapore

8 3. Masculinity vs. Femininity
Hofstede uses the term masculinity to refer to the degree to which a culture values assertiveness, competitiveness, ambition and the accumulation of material goods Femininity refers to the degree to which cultures value nurturing, family relationships, and social support systems Highly masculine cultures: Japan, Mexico (more rigid gender roles) Scandinavia, Thailand, and Portugal more feminine; value co-operation and solidarity with those less fortunate

9 4. Individualism vs. Collectivism
This dimension refers to the extent to which people are expected to make their own decisions re: education, job, or even life partner Highly individualistic cultures encourage each citizen to make personal choices and stand up for themselves Collectivist cultures value the greater good, and many members have their future prescribed by the government, family or church

10 Individualism vs. Collectivism Cont’d
High levels of collectivism are seen in Communist societies, such as Cuba and China Canada, U.S., Australia have high levels of individualism

11 # 5 - Pragmatism How people in the past as well as today relate to the fact that so much that happens around us cannot be explained. In societies with a normative orientation, most people have a strong desire to explain as much as possible In societies with a pragmatic orientation most people don’t have a need to explain everything, as they believe that it is impossible to understand fully the complexity of life. The challenge is not to know the truth but to live a virtuous life

12 Pragmatism Cont’d Normative societies have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth…ex Canada They exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results China and Japan are highly pragmatic In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on situation, context and time…very much oriented for the long term They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results

13 #6 - Indulgence the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised Relatively weak control is called “indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “restraint” Canada, Australia and U.S are “indulgent” exhibit a willingness to realize their impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun positive attitude and have a tendency towards optimism they place a higher degree of importance on leisure time, act as they please and spend money as they wish

14 Indulgence Cont’d China is a “restrained” society
have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires perception that their actions are restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong


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