Cultural Dimensions of Two Countries

According to Geert Hofstede there five dimensions of culture. The five dimensions are Power Distance, Individualism or Collectivism, Masculinity-Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Short or Long-Term Orientation. Power Distance The dimension of Power Distance is the attitude toward the inequalities amongst individuals in a society. Power Distance is “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations with a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally” (Hofstede). Trinidad scores low in power distance with a 47 (Hofstede).

Individuals in Trinidad tend to be very independent. The hierarchy present is merely for convenience. There are equal rights for all. Superiors are very accessible and coaching. Management facilitates and empowers the individual. Power is decentralized. Managers rely on the experience of team members and individuals expect to be consulted. Relationships between managers and employees is informal and generally on a first name basis. The United States also scores low in power distance with a 40. The US also has equal rights, a hierarchy for convenience only, accessible managers, and informal communication.

Individualism Individualism is “the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members” (Hofstede). It is whether an individual views their self-image as “We” or “I”. A society that is Individualistic, its members look after themselves and their direct family only. Trinidad scores low in the dimension of Individualism with a 16 (Hofstede). It is a collectivist society. Its members have close long-term commitments and strong relationships. Relationships between employers and employees are seen in moral terms. Hiring and promotions take into account the employees of the group.

Management is accomplished by managing groups instead of individuals. The United States is a very individualistic culture. The US scores 91 in this dimension. People look after themselves and their immediate family (Hofstede). Individuals are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative. Hiring and promotions are merit based. Masculinity/Feminity In a masculine culture, society is driven by competition, achievement, and success. Successful individuals are considered to be the winners or the best in their field. A feminine culture has cares for others. The quality of an individual’s life is a sign of success.

Being different is not a trait that is admired. Trinidad, with a score of 58 is a masculine culture (Hofstede). Management is decisive and assertive. Competition and equality is stressed. Conflicts are resolved by fighting it out. The United States is also considered a masculine culture with a score of 62 (Hofstede). In the US, people tend to talk about their successes and achievements. The goal is always to win. Conflicts are resolved individually. Uncertainty Avoidance Uncertainty Avoidance is how a society reacts to the fact the future is not known. Different cultures deal with the anxiety that this can bring.

The people of Trinidad prefer to avoid uncertainty and score a 55 (Hofstede). They have strong beliefs and expectations for behavior. The Trinidad culture is not accepting of beliefs and behaviors that are outside the norm. The people are very precise, punctual, hard working, and busy. Their culture is very resistant to innovation. The US scores a 46 and is uncertainty accepting (Hofstede). In the US, new ideas and products are welcomed. Individuals are open to trying new ideas and technology. The culture does not require many rules. People in the US do not express their emotions are openly.

Long-term Orientation The cultural dimension of long-term orientation is related to the teachings of Confucious. It deals with a cultures search for virtue. A society with a high score in long-term orientation has a future oriented view. A society with a low score has a short-term point of view. Trinidad has no score in this dimension. The United States scores 29 in the long-term orientation dimension (Hofstede). It has a short-term point of view. Its people focus on tradition. American business measure their success with financial statements issued quarterly. Individuals work for fast results.

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