Hofstede’s Model

by on February 22nd, 2015
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China as a country has a strong culture that is very unique. According to Professor Geert Hofstede, “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster.” Because culture can be confusing, Hofstede has provided the world society a tool for analyzing and understanding the differences in cultures. The analysis from Hofstede provides a thorough analysis about the Chinese culture. The cultural dimensions in Hofstede‘s research include power distance, time orientation, individualism, masculinity vs. femininity, and uncertainly avoidance. Using these dimensions we can analyze for ourselves the culture of china in any situation.

The power distance in China is well noted in the society. This cultural dimension rates second highest on the scale in Hofstede‘s research. The hierarchy in China is represented through families and the government. There is a large gap between the powerful and the weak. The levels and distances are well known within their society and are abided by at all times. Through primary research that was personally conducted, found was that when making phone calls home in China, people first speak to their eldest relative. After speaking to the first eldest relative the person then speaks to the relative that is second eldest and so on. The power distance in China is well represented in this research.

Time orientation, also known and long-term vs. short-term orientation, is how people interact in the culture. As for China this dimension is rated the highest at a scale rating of 118 in Hofstede’s research. Time is valued high in this country. The people of this culture are constantly thinking in the long-term. The Chinese scholar Confucius has influence on this culture and according to Hofstede, “Respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and respecting once face are very important. In Chinese culture having great respect and strong traditions are an obligation, and are highly valued. Hofstede also points out that in this society emotional responses are noticed as a weakness. Within the personal research that was done it was concluded that Chinese people discuss their deceased relatives during typical conversations they speak with great respect, but with little emotion. The Chinese go to great lengths to hide their emotions from others.

Collectivism is the degree of which people value individual thoughts versus the thoughts of a group. Collective societies care more about the success the group as whole rather than individual achievements. Chinese culture is a collective society. What you do individually is a representation of the society as whole. The Hofstede shows that the Chinese culture has a low rating of 20 for individualism. This means that individual achievements are attributed to everyone. Collectivism can be seen in sports, workplace, and family life in this country. In China the feeling is that if you work together to do something it will be even better then do that job as one person. If everyone contributes then there will be success.

China is considered to be a slightly more feminine country based on their values. People from the Chinese culture are concerned for caring for others. Elders are very important and prized in this society. From primary research, the findings that were unconverted support the statement that china is more feminine as a culture. Collectivism is shown in the way people speak to each other. When making calls back home to catch up on family matters the first person that is spoken to is the eldest and so on. This supports the fact that China values elders and wishes to care for them more. The government in China is well known to be communism. Seen as bad, some in the culture of China value this form of government. Communism can be interpreted as making sure all members of a society are taken care of and supported.

Uncertainty avoidance is to what extent members of a culture go to avoid risk. The uncertainty avoidance in China is relatively low. If they are uncertain about something, the people of this culture will continue to go with something. The fear of risk is not high in most situations. This can be because as they work collectively the risk factor lowers. Through business China represents this cultural dimension strongly. As a country China makes many business deals with other countries. While making business deals a risk is involved. The risks in making business deals can vary but are usually a high risk. They are not afraid to take a high risk. The feeling is that the end result will be worth it. The government also plays a factor on the uncertainty avoidance in China. As a citizen of the country you are raised in that specific culture. The country takes the risks for you. All in all what is discovered is that China has a low level of avoiding uncertainty and a higher level of embracing the uncertainty of a situation.

Social norms when traveling to another country may not be well known. With the dimensions of culture that Professor Hofstede has provided us with the ability to relate to countries and understand those from different countries with a deeper understanding. Studies from journals, internet research, and primary research have shown a correlation between the culture of a country and the way the people of that country exist. China is a country with strong values. I feel that it is a great example as a whole to represent Hofstedes research in a clear and concise format. Through all of this research we can learn how to adapt to the culture easier and understand the question why. They question of why they feel they way they do about certain topics. Hofstede has provided us with a tool to identify with cultures when we are communicating through business and personal relations.


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