Hofstede’s Cultural Theory and Its Dimensions

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 2
Words: 371
Reading time:
2 min

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework utilized in evaluating the effects of cultures on the behavior of members of a group, company, market, or society. It was developed by Geert Hofstede, who performed a worldwide survey of values of company members, engineers, and managers in IBM and basing his factor analysis on those results. His theory includes six different cultural dimensions, which affect organizational and individual behavior, which, in turn, has an impact on the overall performance. These dimensions are as follows.

Individualism versus collectivism

Hofstede defines these parameters as the predisposition towards individual activities versus acting as a group. Individualism focuses on personal benefit, while collectivism is considered more about the needs of the many rather than the needs of the few.

Uncertainty avoidance

This dimension defines willingness to step away from established rules and take risks to achieve maximum potential. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance tend to be rigid, hierarchical, and structured. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance is characterized by daringness and high social mobility, coupled with a certain disregard for authority.

Masculinity versus femininity

Hofstede attributes certain gender traits to society. In ‘masculine’ societies and companies, the emphasis is on power and achievement, which often results in competition and struggle. On the other hand, strive for universal agreement and improvement in the quality of life.

Long-term versus short-term

Hofstede understands economic development through a focus on long-term and short-term perspectives. A developing country with a perspective on long-term development has better chances to grow than one concerned only with immediate profit. This relates to management and planning.

Indulgence versus restraint

This is the dimension of emotional control. According to Hofstede, western societies are more indulgent, whereas eastern and Asian societies are more restrained.

Power distribution

Another factor that affects how people perceive power in society. Hierarchical structures tend to gather power at the top without sharing or distributing it to the lower levels. In contrast, equality-based societies and structures tend to distribute it evenly among their members.