Each time we talk about culture here, it is necessary to remember what concept of culture we are talking about, which is culture as the identifying factor of a social group.
According to the American anthropologist Kluckhohn, culture is a pattern of behavior (thinking, feeling and reacting of a human group) that is acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols within that group and represents its specific identity. It includes the concrete objects produced by the group and its heart is in traditional ideas and values.
Based on this concept of culture, the Dutch culture researcher and psychologist Geert Hofstede* conducted a study there in the 1960-70s among IBM employees in 50 countries, in which he realized that all cultures have common traits, that he called “cultural dimensions”, and what determines the difference between cultures is the degree of importance that each cultural dimension has within them.
The five cultural dimensions initially defined by Hofstede are:
- Power distance
- Uncertainty avoidance
- Individualism vs. Collectivism
- Masculinity X Femininity
- Short term vs. long term orientation
A sixth dimension was defined after this first study, Indulgence x Restriction.
Each of these cultural dimensions shows how a particular culture behaves concerning the theme, indicating relative predictability of behavior, which is of great value when establishing relationships with a new culture.
To know each of the cultural dimensions above and understand how they present themselves in different cultures, follow the next posts, where they will be conceptually presented, accompanied by illustrative cases for better understanding.
* Geert Hofstede: is a Dutch expert in cultural studies. He is an emeritus professor of organizational anthropology and international management at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. His research area is organizational culture and he has analyzed the relationships between national cultures and corporate cultures. His analysis was made famous by IBM company employees.
The concepts presented in this post that need to be noted are:
- cultural dimensions
- behavior pattern
- group identity