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Hofstede’s Cultural Model

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Essay title: Hofstede’s Cultural Model

Introduction:

Due to rapid technology advancement, we now live in a ‘small world’ with a global marketplace. Foreign ideals and culture are easily spread and adapted by indigenous people in all corners of the globe via radio, television and now especially, computers software and the Internet. This whole dilemma has been termed as “Globalisation”. The concept of globalization refers to increasing global connectivity, integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural, political ad ecological spheres. Industrial globalization has taken its grip and businesses are going across the cultural boundaries. Worldwide production markets and broader access to a range of goods for consumers and companies is available. Globalization has some pros and cons. The convergence enhances the communication level between cultures. On the other hand, with globalization cultural differences are also highlighted.

What is Culture?

Culture is an inclusive concept embracing a wide variety of activities, places, values and beliefs that contribute to a sense of identity and well-being for everyone in our communities. It is about our way of life and our quality of life.

A single definition of culture is not enough because the concept is far too complex.

The word culture has many different meanings. For some it refers to an appreciation of good literature, music, art, and food. For a biologist, it is likely to be a colony of bacteria or other micro-organisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory Petri dish. However, for anthropologists and other behavioural scientists, culture is the full range of learned human behaviour patterns.

Culture is a thin but very important veneer that you must be careful not to scratch. People from different cultures are basically the same and respond in the same way. However, make sure that you understand their basic customs and show an interest and willingness to learn the differences between your cultures.

(Mike Wills)

Culture is the way in which a group of people solves problems and reconciles dilemmas.

(E. Schein)

Culture is the fabric of meaning in terms of which human beings interpret their experience and guide their action.

(Clifford Geertz)

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

(Mahatma Gandhi )

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/culture.html [viewed 11/10/2007].

HOFSTEDE’S CULTURE:

Hofstede defined culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.”

According to his findings individuals’ behaviour is determined by their mental programming, however they have the ability to deviate from this and react in many ways, which are different than their culture.

HOFSTEDE THEORY

Hofstede in his theory gave four dimensions to culture.

Individualism/Collectivism

Power Distance

Uncertainty Avoidance

Masculinity/Feminine

Individualism/Collectivism

Individualism/Collectivism is the relationship between individuals and their fellow individuals. Hofstede said that individualism stands for “a society in which the ties between individuals are loose. Everyone is looking after him/herself and their immediate families only.” Collectivism stands for “a society in which people are integrated into strong cohesive groups, which protect them throughout their lives”. Individualism is often regarded as the characteristic of a modernising society, while collectivism reminds us of both more traditional societies and the failure of the communist experiments.

Power Distance

Hofstede proposed power distance as the extent to which the organizations expect and accept the unequal distribution of power. A High Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These societies are more likely to follow a caste system that

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