A study of cultural dimensions by Geert Hofstede

As with any large international move, cultural differences always play a huge part when integrating into the new environment. Entelect Netherlands has many South African whom over the years have experienced differences and sometimes difficulties in the new host environment of the Netherlands. Understanding these cultural differences can sometimes be difficult. Luckily a framework exists to help us better understand the differences between nations.

Geert Hofstede is a Dutch social psychologist from the 1960s to 1980s conducted a large scale international study at IBM. Geert initially discovery four dimensions of culture. Two additional dimensions were later added with the help of Geert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov.

Culture, as defined by Geert is “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others”.

The content of this article was collected from Geert book, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. The Hofstede Insights country comparison page has a lot of information regarding the topic and an interactive tool where you can learn more about your own country.

We welcome you to compare your own country with that of the Netherlands, as an example. This tool can be very useful, especially when interacting with a new culture for the first time. Next time you prepare for an interview with a potential employer, make sure to consult these references and tools to get a better understanding of what would be considered good behaviour and what might be considered strange or different.

The cultural dimensions are defined as follows:

Power Distance (PDI)

“The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.”

The Netherlands scores very low on this dimension, with a score of 38. Here are some of the characteristics of power distance:

* Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 72

** Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 76.

*  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 113.

**  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 124.

 

Masculinity and Femininity (MAS)

“A society is called masculine when emotional gender roles are clearly distinct: men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success, whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with quality of life. The predominant pattern is for men to be more assertive and for women to be more nurturing.”

“A society is called feminine when emotional gender roles overlap: both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life.”

The Netherlands scores very low on this dimension with a score of 14, which means the Netherlands is a Feminine country. Here are some of the characteristics of MAS:

*  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 155.

**  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 170.

Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

“The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations”

The Netherlands scores average on this dimension with a score of 53. That does still indicate that the Netherlands has a slight preference towards uncertainty avoidance. Here are some of the characteristics of UAI:

*  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 203.

**  Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189 - Page 217.

 

References:

Hofstede, Geert H. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (3rd edition) : intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival / by Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. ISBN: 9780071664189.

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