Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions 3 Countries

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Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture: An overview of Venezuela, Belgium and Japan International Business

In this book, he divides cultures into four basic categories. These categories are individualism, masculinity, dower distance and uncertainty avoidance. Hofstede assigns different cultures a number on a scale between 1 and 100 for each category depending on how their culture corresponds to the description.

By analyzing how a country fits into each section a person can get a better understanding of how a culture operates in their daily lives and also in their business. Individualism Individualism refers to how people within a culture interact with one another. Knowing how people work with one another will help you to understand how they will work with you in a business setting. High individualism will display characteristics like importance of employees’ personal life, emotional independence from the company, calculative involvement and more importance attached to freedom and challenge in their jobs (Hofstede).

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People with high individualism prefer individual decisions as opposed to group decisions. Society encourages individuals to show their own initiative which relates to them finding smaller companies more attractive. High individualism can be seen as a more selfish and self-serving way of living (Nasierowski). This is very important when conducting business in a different culture. If you are looking for innovators, new ideas, and self-motivated people, who will contribute more than just labour to your company you should look for a country with high individualism.

When conducting business in a high individualism society it is important to recognize individual achievements and reward people on an individual basis. Recognising individual differences and ideas is important as well as giving individual praise and recognition. This will keep employees satisfied and motivated. Individual workers want to chance to excel and they tend to look after themselves and their own needs and advancement and are not concerned with “stepping on others to get ahead”. Masculinity This dimension is not looking at gender roles specifically, but at the characteristics generally associated with masculinity and femininity.

Masculinity is referring to aggressiveness, the desire for power, wealth and achievement. A country with a high masculinity will show traits including admiration for the strong, importance placed on earnings, recognition, advancement and challenge, employees attracted to larger organizations and higher job stress. They also find it acceptable for the company to interfere with their private life. This can be an advantage if you are looking for highly motivated individuals (Hofstede). High masculinity is good for doing business because these employees will be competitive, aggressive and driven for success.

They are willing to make sacrifices in their personal lives to achieve success in their business. When working in this type of environment people are more willing to work over-time. You can easily get results from your employees by throwing money and power at them. These employees are not as concerned with ethics or the environment as they are with economic growth (Nasierowski). Power Distance Inequality is the main issue that power distance addresses. Power distance measures how a culture, group or organization views themselves and each other in terms of authority and value.

In a county with a high power distance value is placed on obedience to the person who is seen as in charge. Children obey parents, students obey teachers, employees obey employers, etc. , without question. There is a large amount of fear associated with high power distance and those seen as “lower” or “less important” show resentment towards those higher than them and also show distrust to one another. In business, employees do not have input into the company and simply follow orders. Employees are viewed as unmotivated and unhappy with their jobs (Hofstede).

Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance is a fear of the unknown. If a culture has high uncertainty avoidance then they are looking to escape any type of difference or change that would occur in their lifestyle, job, culture, government, etc. Characteristics typical of high uncertainty avoidance include a fear of failure, higher job stress, frequent worry about the future and less achievement motivation. Loyalty to ones employer and a tendency to stay with that same employer are also characteristics. This could be viewed as a very positive or negative quality depending on your type of business (Nasierowski).

In a business that requires controls and regulations, for example a factory. You would prefer a country with high uncertainty avoidance because you know that they will not try to change any of the products you are producing. They will be more likely to continue following the exact rules, regulations and policy that you have placed in front of them. In business, you will not have to worry about any radical changes or interference. If you want anything new it will have to be introduced slowly and carefully with clear direction. However, you know that once an idea is taken on it will not be tampered with.


As the world continues to “shrink”, we begin to experience more globalization and must interact more frequently with other cultures. Through Hofstede’s dimensions we can gain a greater understanding of how to integrate our business with other countries. Being able to understand a country’s culture and how it is different from your own is vital to success in international business. We can decide where would be the best place to do business and how to make it more successful. Before entering a new market the culture and values inside and outside the workplace need to be understood.

Almost all businesses are to some degree impacted by globalisation and therefore having knowledge of other countries and other cultures is vital. In this paper we will address three countries from different culture groupings: Japan, from the Independent block, Belgium, from the Latin European block, and Venezuela from the Latin American block. These blocks are clusters of countries that share common aspects of culture; including geographic location, language, and history. For example, the Latin European block includes not only Belgium but France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Nasierowski). By explaining how these three countries fall into Hofstede’s dimensions we will be able to help you understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing business with these cultures (Nasierowski). Advantages include being able to understand what will motivate your employees and business partners and how to communicate properly in different business settings. For example, depending on what country you were in, Hofstede’s dimensions of culture will help you to know the best way to communicate changes to your business partners and employees.


Introduction to Venezuela

Venezuela is a Latin country that occupies most of the northern coast of South America on the Caribbean Sea. The rest of Venezuela is surrounded by Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana. Venezuela has a population over 27 million, which could be considered relatively small compared to other countries with thinking in terms of expanding business markets. The capital city is Caracas which has a population of over 3 million. After gaining independence from Spain in 1821, Venezuela continued to go through a period of unstable dictators.

In the early 1900’s it became a major exporter of oil. The oil wealth contributed to the large gap between the countries extremely wealthy and extremely poor. Venezuela’s current President is Left wing Socialist Hugo Chavez who promised to even the gap between the rich and the poor. He is dedicated to loosing Venezuela’s dependence on the U. S. for oil exportation and is therefore trying to strengthen his oil shipping business with China. This could be attributed to his close friendship with Dictator Fidel Castro of Cuba. ("http://www. state. ov") When reviewing the country of Venezuela within Hofstede’s dimensions of culture we find that it falls into extremes with both very high scores and one very low score. (Hofstede) Individualism In contrast to the rest of the scores Venezuela has received in Hofstede’s rankings, in this dimension they are only a 12 out of 100. This means a very low individualism in this culture. Low individualism means that they are group oriented people. They are concerned about how decisions will affect everyone in the group. They have in-groups and out-groups and think of people in terms of how they fit into such groups (Hofstede).

It is important when doing business to realize that they will be concerned with the training and physical conditions the organization provides. They have a moral involvement with the company and they place a great deal of emphasis on duty, expertness and prestige as life goals. This type of mind set is called collectivism. If you are doing business with a group of people with high collectivism, you must understand that they are looking at the age of a person. Age is an indicator of knowledge and experience. Collectivists want to do business with people who have been around for a while and know them as a group.

They do not like outsiders; you must earn your way into their trust and fit into their group the same way they want to fit in to their own group. For doing business with this group of people you must first learn to belong. You as an outsider will not be able to tell them anything or get them to follow you unless you first belong. The same can be considered when marketing or advertising to these countries as they will only want purchase things that will fit into their already preconceived ideas of life and work. Masculinity At 73 out of 100, Venezuela once again has a high ranking.

This means that it tends to be a male dominated society and power structure. This can cause the female population to become more competitive and assertive; however, they are still not on the same level as the male population. Masculinity also means that they are looking for earnings, recognition, advancement and challenge (Hofstede). This would be important to keep in mind when doing business with a Venezuelan company or employees because it can help you identify how to appeal to them to get better work or dealings from them.

You can recognize that they are looking for larger corporations and organizations and they are attracted to wealth and success. For countries with high masculinity you can easily motivate your employees with money and success. They are looking to own fancy material objects and have the latest technology and accessories. If you want your employees to do something or achieve something all you have to do is entice them with prestige and power. If you are having a business meeting, take them to an expensive restaurant, ear your best designer suit and pick them up in a flashy car. Power Distance This is Venezuela's highest ranking dimension with 81 out of 100. This is an indication of a high level of inequality of power and wealth which is accepted by the culture as a whole. Hofstede states that Venezuela is in the top 5 in the “employees afraid” category. This means that Venezuelans show a clear distinction between “boss” and “employee”. The boss makes all the rules and the employees follow. A Venezuelan employee would not offer their opinion or any ideas to management.

They would not ask questions or for clarification of their job either. The large power distance means that people are concerned with getting favour by saying “yes” to whatever the boss says (Hofstede). This means that when you are doing business with them you must always remember that if they are looking at you as being the one “in power” they will not contradict you or tell you if they do not understand anything that you are telling them about how your business is going to be conducted. They will not offer any suggestions.

It also means that if they consider themselves to be the ones in power they are not looking for you to disagree with them or ask them any questions. They are also not looking for any suggestions or ideas either. They are only looking for a “yes sir”. There is also a large wage difference between the top employees and the labourers. Uncertainty Avoidance Venezuela scores 76 out of 100 on the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. This indicates a high level of uncertainty avoidance. As we have discussed earlier, high uncertainty avoidance indicates a resistance to change and new ideas.

There are three indicators for uncertainty avoidance, rule orientation, employment stability and stress (Hofstede). Venezuela being a country with a long history of dictatorship and having a large gap between the rich and the poor can easily fit these three indicators and therefore explain the high uncertainty avoidance. People are used to having on leader and being forced to follow their rules. They are very concerned with their employment because there are not a lot of good jobs to be found. Stress can mean many different things and have many different triggers.

For a citizen it could be fear of punishment for rebellion and for an employee, a fear of losing one’s job. When thinking about doing business with Venezuela, you would have to take into account that their high uncertainty avoidance would mean that your employees or business partner are looking for rules and regulations to follow. They want stability and are looking for a routine. They do not like change or progression in their jobs. They are not risk takers in business and would need reassurance.


When viewing the country of Venezuela through Hofstede's dimensions of culture, you can get a better understanding of how decisions are made in this culture and how you can create more profitable business dealings within this country or with companies from this country. For Venezuelan’s we see that there is a high power distance which means you should appeal to those who are in power if you are looking to create a business deal or if you are looking to make a change. It will also help you to know that you would have to accommodate your employees who would not be willing to contradict you or ask questions.

You must also remember that no one appreciates change or is willing to initiate it, which can be very difficult to deal with in today’s ever changing society. Large corporations are more appealing to Venezuelans, as is money, power and appreciation, but Venezuelans live within groups and therefore are concerned about what is best for all those involved in their group. With these things in mind you would be able to create a successful business relationship as long as you are willing to show understanding for the differences in our shrinking world.

Other things that need to be taken into account are the political factors. For Venezuela this is a negative factor as the government has control over everything in this country. The banking process is very complex and so is the purchasing system. You require identification and verification for all purchases. The government is very concerned about citizens investing their money in other countries and would therefore be very involved in any business associations with companies in Venezuela.

Your business would have to have some sort of gain for the country as well as your own profits ("BBC News"). Another indication of the possible difficulties in doing business in Venezuela is that of the ranking given to this country from the World Bank, International Finance Corporation. Each year they show the results from a series of questions they ask of each country for things like getting a permit, property rights, etc. ; all things that would be considered when starting a business in that country. With these results they rank the countries in order.

Venezuela is very close to the bottom of the list, which means that obtaining permits, business rights, starting a business, paying taxes, and dealing outside of the borders are all more difficult compared to other countries. The official ranking is 177 out of 183 countries ("Doing Business: Measuring Business Regulations"). This is all an example of Porter’s Diamond which is a theory that helps you look at a country and see certain factors that affect business. Porter discusses how business has several different factors and government is a specific element that can make a difference at any one of the four points in the diamond.

The four areas include: firm, strategy and structure; demand conditions; related and supporting industries; factor conditions (Nasierwoski). This country shows an example of how government is heavily involved in the firm, strategy and structure as well as the related and supporting industries. In fact, you could suggest that government is a factor in the entire diamond. This is why it is so difficult to do business in Venezuela. Not only is government involved in everything but it is a very strict and controlling government.


Introduction to Belgium

Belgium is a small country surrounded by France, Germany, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Located in one of the world’s most advanced continents and industrialised regions, Belgium is an important international trading partner and a powerful force in the world of international business. Belgium relies heavily on both imports and exports to fuel its growing economy. It was one of the founding countries of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The country also belongs to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Currently it has the 9th largest GDP in Europe (World Bank) and its per capita GDP ranks among the worlds highest. The country is also home to Europe’s second largest port, importing and exporting goods internationally, in 2010 exports made up 261 billion dollars. The country has a large industrial sector which includes; steel, textiles, refining, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobile, electronics, and machinery fabrication. ("Belgium Europe") It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population of over 10,400,000. "Belgium Facts")Belgium has three official languages; Dutch, French and German although English is widely spoken. The country grants more new citizenships than any other country besides Canada. ("Eupedia's Belgium Guide")Belgium is one of the most economically and technologically advanced countries in the world and has very high standards of living. They were one of the first countries to legalise gay marriage and the first county to issue electronic passports. The country is number the one chocolate exporter in the world and ninety percent of raw diamonds are negotiated and distributed in Belgium.

The country also has the highest proportion of female ministers in the world and the smallest salary gap between males and females in the EU. ("Eupedia's Belgium Guide") This small but powerful country continues to grow and expand its international reach. Individualism Belgium’s second highest dimension is individualism with a score of 80 which means that they put a strong emphasis on the individual rather than the group. There is a large focus on individual achievement, initiative and success. When doing business in Belgium it’s important to treat everyone as an individual who has their own ideas and personality.

Individualism is something to be celebrated and standing out is important. Therefore, when working with this type of society, it is important to recognise individual achievements and give rewards and recognition to employees on an individual basis. Recognition and rewards are good ways to motivate employees. In this society personal time and personal freedom are highly valued and therefore it is important to give employees their space and freedom to work. It is important not to monitor employee’s work too closely as this can be interpreted negatively, and employees expect to have the freedom to work independently.

Work life and personal life are two different and separate things and privacy in both are respected. High individualism is reflected on the emphasis of ‘I’ as opposed to ‘We’. Individuals look out for themselves and their immediate family and therefore look out for ways to better themselves and advance themselves and their immediate family. It is common to pursue individual goals and self advancement at the expense of others. When making decision people think about how the decision will affect them and do not always think of what is better for others.

Employees will often change jobs and job loyalty is not very high. When working in this society it is important not to depend on others or on groups and to work on your own. Promotion and ranking often depend on individual performance and not on seniority. ("Individualism,") (Hofstede) Masculinity Belgium’s lowest cultural dimension is Masculinity, at 49 putting it in twenty-second place. Belgium is almost right in the middle so therefore they don’t have any extremes towards masculinity or femininity. The country falls in the middle and value both femininity and masculinity equally.

It is important to have both these traits. As a leader it is important to display the traits associate with both a masculine and a feminine work ethic in order to fit in and be accepted. A culture that is more masculine tends to focus more on advancement and earning whereas a culture that is more feminine tends to focus more on a friendly atmosphere and position security. Because Belgium is almost in the middle its important when conducting business to maintain both masculine and feminine characteristic and not bend toward extremes.

Realise that although advancement, earnings and money are important it is also important in the Belgium business setting to have cooperation, security and a good work environment. High masculine societies prefer large businesses and high feminine societies prefer small busyness therefore the idea business size for Belgium’s is somewhere in the middle. Big enough to be competitive and aggressive, yet small enough to have a nurturing stable environment for the employees. In the Belgium society there is less of a distinction between genders and gender roles.

Therefore when conducting business do not assume that someone has certain responsibilities or has a certain roles due to their gender. Support and friendliness are just as important as brilliance and performance in Belgium. To be successfully in business dealings with Belgium remember to display a mix both feminine and masculine qualities and to treat both genders as equally important. (Hofstede) Power Distance Belgium’s third highest dimension is power distance. Belgium has a power distance of 60 which means that to some degree it is thought that power is not distributed evenly.

Although Belgium has a higher power distance they do not have a really high power distance so people respect authority but are not always afraid to ask questions to superiors. Although there is some two way communication, it tends to be more one way communication. A high power distance means that decision making is more centralised and roles and responsibilities are more clearly defined. Organisations have more bureaucracy and larger pay difference exist between jobs and positions. In Belgian businesses there exists a more vertical organisational structure and more vertical communication.

In an organisation with a vertical structure there tends to be more rules and policies and it is important to be aware of these rules and policies when conducting business in the country. Information and communication move upward and downward throughout the ranks. It is important when doing business to give clear and precis directions to insure that everyone understands because they might not be comfortable asking for clarification. The relationship between the member of the top of the hierarchy and the bottom of the hierarchy are limited and very professional.

Relationships within organisations are more distant. Therefore in business it is important to know the different levels of jobs and who makes the decisions. Depending on what position you hold you will answer to others who hold higher positions of authority and make most of the rules and decisions. It is important to show respect to those in higher positions. If you are on a lower level you may be restricted to certain information. Problems are usually blamed on the people who work in lower positions. ("Power Distance Index. ")(Hofstede)

Uncertainty Avoidance

The countries highest dimension is uncertainty avoidance, with a 94 which mean that Belgium as a society not mot like taking risks. This high level also indicates the country’s low tolerance for uncertainty. Belgium’s very high level of uncertainty avoidance affects how they do business and must be considered and understood before conducting business with a Belgium company or with someone from Belgium. If you think you can change a Belgian businesses way of thinking or doing something in a short period of time you will not be successful.

One of the main aspects is that they like to avoid risk and stay away from uncertain and risky situations, including foreigners and foreign ways of doing business. Having things well planned out and prepared in advanced and having things clearly explained is important. Resistance to change is high and therefore changes must be slowly introduced. Laws of the workplace as well as all other laws tend to be carefully followed so it is very important to understand and abide by Belgium laws when doing business in Belgium. They rely heavily on rules, laws and regulation in order to avoid risky situations.

When doing business in Belgium it is important to know your facts and be very organised. Belgians will move towards stable low risk investments and avoid unstable high risk investments. Unstructured and uncertain situations are avoided. Because they fear the unknown, foreigners and new ideas are regarded warily and foreigners who want to conduct business with the country must be careful. Because of the fear of the unknown employees are often stressed and anxious, if it is possible to reduce stress and anxiety you will be a lot more successful.

Changing jobs is done less frequently and therefore employee turnover is much smaller and employee loyalty is much higher. (Hofstede) Conclusion When doing business in this country foreigners have to take the cultural dimensions of Belgium into careful consideration of they want to be successful. According to The International Finance Corporation 2011 economy rankings, Belgium is in 28th place out of 183 countries. The countries are raked on various variables, such as permits and taxes, that look at the ease of doing business in the country.

Belgium’s reasonably low score indicated that it is possible to enter the market without too many difficulties. Therefore it is a country that should be given much consideration when looking at foreign markets. Before conducting business with any foreign business it is important to look at the cultural differences and how these differences impact business. In order to understand the culture and values of a society it can be usefully to look at the country’s history and past. Belgium has some similar cultural dimensions to Canada and they are used to working with foreigners and different ways of doing business.

Because of this Belgium tends to be fairly open and understanding of other cultural differences. However, in order to be successful and gain the trust and acceptance of local workers and businesses it is vital to understand the countries cultural dimensions and how to act inside and outside the boardroom. The biggest disadvantage to working with or in Belgium is their extremely high uncertainty avoidance. The Belgium’s avoid risk and unknown situations in order to protect themselves and their country. If there is anything new or risky it has to be introduced very carefully and slowly, the Belgians would never change overnight. This does not mean however that they are narrow minded or unwilling to change. If you are well prepare, respectful and follow the rules of the country and company you can be very successful in the Belgium market.


Introduction to Japan

Japan is an island surrounded by Russia, China, and Korea. Japan has a population of 127. 08 million, this is a fairly large number considering Japan is only an island, as the population gets bigger the island stays the same size, creating a deficiency of land. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo. ("U. S. Department of State") After the second world war ended Japan started to prosper in their business doings, in 1956 they joined the United Nations, 70 percent of Japan's workforce is in services while the remainder 30 percent are in agricultural and industry. The agricultural good that they produce include rice, vegetables, fruit, milk, meat, and fish, they also export some of these items. The official language of Japan is Japanese, while their business language is English . The Japanese have a parliamentary government and a constitutional monarch. ("U. S. Department of State") Japan has a free market economy, it is currently the third largest in the world, its economy is highly competitive and efficient in international trade. Productivity is low in agriculture, distribution, and services. Since Japan has few natural resources trading helps them to earn foreign exchange needed to purchase raw materials for its economy. ("U. S. Department of State") Individualism When doing business with Japan it is important to remember that they have very low individualism and high collectivism. Japan does not believe in individual freedom or rights, it is all about the group and what is best for the group.

When doing business with Japan, you must never address a single individual as the company, you must address the entire group. When working in Japan, your work becomes your life and whenever your work needs you must put everything else on hold. Japanese emphasize teamwork and loyalty, groups/colleagues learn to trust and work together at a young age. When entering the Japan market you must first be accepted by the group, once you have the groups support you will be able to trust them to your company good and they will be willing to work long hours for you if provide them with what they need.

When working for a company in Japan, the likely-hood of you being promoted is based on your seniority in the company, someone who has been there longer than you is more likely to get the promotion, even if you are more qualified for the job. Masculinity During the IBM study for Hofstede's five dimensions Japan ranked number one out of all the countries for the highest masculinity, not only is the country masculine but the citizens are as well. It is unacceptable for a woman to wear pants in a business setting, the men find it extremely offensive. The women must either wear skirts or dresses when in a business environment.

Men are the masculine ones of the society, during business discussions when things are not going as planned it is normal for individuals to become aggressive in order to get things completed. The women are the ones to calm the men down and provide comfort for them. Women who are in more qualifying jobs are very assertive, just so that they can be seen as equal to their male co-workers. The management structure of a business is built on rules and order among individuals, there is a hierarchy of power in Japan society and in business'. An employee at the bottom of the ierarchy has no right to talk to someone higher up or even suggest ideas that they feel will benefit their company. It is the employees’ job to do what is told of them and to never question their employer. In Japan, one must sacrifice everything for their work, that includes family and social life, the term "karoshi" is Japanese for dying because one is overworked. Since the population in Japan is so large, the men and women learn to become competitive and have placed a high importance on achievements, if children were to do poorly in school it would be a disgrace to their family. Power Distance

Japan's power distance is a little higher than average. When doing business with them one must watch out for a few things. When working in Japan, for a Japanese company, it is unacceptable for an employee to talk to their superior with disrespect or talk to someone higher up in the working chain about their current manager, doing such a thing is considered disgraceful and could cause you to lose your job. In Canada it is common for an employee to comment and try to make their company better, where in Japan if an employee were to make such a comment their employment with said company would be terminated.

The employees are dependent on their managers, to tell them what to do and how to do it, it is not their responsibility to think for themselves, that is the job for their superiors. Finding a job in Japan could be difficult for people who are migrating to the country and do not already have a job lined up for them. Japan has a caste system in place, once you are born into a caste it is not very likely that you will move away from it, this being said, the occupation that your father has would be the occupation that you will take over.

There is a large income difference in Japan, it is easy to tell what class you belong to. Business cards are very important for the Japanese, when going on business meetings you should always have about 100 business cards on hand for a one week business trip. Having a double sided business card is very important, make sure that one side of the card is in Japanese and the other side is in English. When giving your business card to others you must hold it in both hands, with the Japanese side facing upwards, also, make sure to bow while passing on your business card.

Never forget to pick up the business card and put them in your case, if you forget one of the business cards it is like a slap in the face for the other individual. You will have to bring a small notebook to write notes in and never write on the business cards, it is another sign of disrespect. ("Venture Japan") Uncertainty Avoidance Hofstede gave Japan a score 92/100 for uncertainty avoidance, it is Japans most prominent cultural characteristic. Citizens do not like change so they tend to stay with the same company for the rest of their lives, staying loyal to their employer.

Individuals are willing to work if they are provided with job security in return. It is important to remember that Japan does not take well to foreign companies that they do not know, coming into their country and starting a business there. You must first gain the citizens trust and acceptance if you want to do well with your business venture. With uncertainty avoidance comes anxiety. Japanese individuals put up with a lot of anxiety about their work and colleagues. "In Japan there is the outlet of getting drunk along with colleagues after working hours.

During these parties, men release their pent-up aggression, even towards their superiors; but the next day business continues as usual. Such drinking bouts represent one of the major institutionalized places and times for anxiety release" (Hofstede, 118) An important thing to remember is that if you want to work in Japan it is accepted to drink in the office after working hours, during the day it is unacceptable to relieve your aggression towards your superiors but it is accepted during "such drinking bouts".

In Japan it is common for others to ask straight forward questions like "how much do you make? " and "how big is your house? " such questions are asked so that they are able to assess what position of the hierarchy you at. Conclusion When viewing Japan through Hofstede's dimensions, you get a better understanding of how they do business based on cultural differences. Japan has a high masculinity, and low individualism, this is beneficial for companies seeking loyalty, and who wish to get tasks done on a timely basis. There are many advantages with doing business with Japan, when you gain heir trust and confidence then they will always be loyal to you and assist with what they can. They will get work done when asked and on time, as long as they are provided with instructions they will do the work to the best of their ability. Only a few disadvantages exist with doing business with Japan, a reason why someone would not want to do business with them would be that they consider work to be very important, you would not be able to be sarcastic with them or even try to discuss ways to better the company if you are positioned slightly lower than them on the hierarchical business poll.

In the end, if you are doing business with Japan you will always be able to count on them, making Japan an excellent country to do business with. Another factor of doing business in Japan is based on the study that The World Bank does each year that addresses the ease of doing business within a country. Japan has a score of 18/183, they have a relatively low score which indicated that doing business with them would be easy and have benefits in the long run, such as obtaining permits, business rights, starting a business, paying taxes, and dealing outside of the borders is very easy for foreign companies to do in Japan.

Japan ranked second as the most technologically powerful economy in the world, after the U. S.. Technology innovation is very important for a countries development, having a company in Japan helps that company because of all the technology advancements that they make, helping them become first in a market and having an advantage above everyone else. Conclusion to Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture As the saying goes “our world is shrinking”. This means many different opportunities for businesses to grow and expand.

It offers more opportunities to people for competition, access to new goods and services, new technology and knowledge. Everyday our world continues to gain new inventions and ideas. However, with this progress also comes a great responsibility. It is the responsibility of each individual to make sure that they have a respect and understanding for this new accessible world. Another saying is “knowledge is power”, in the world of business this is very true. In the world of globalization this is even truer.

The more knowledge you have about the customs and beliefs of a certain culture, the more successful your dealings with them will be. Geert Hofstede understood this thought and through his research we are able to gain a better understanding of many different cultures and how when we apply them to the business world we can become more successful. In this paper we reviewed three different cultures from three different areas of the world. Although, we did find many differences in the history, background and specifics of the cultures, we also found some similarities in the behaviours of the people who live in these different cultures.

Through these observations we are able to understand that when doing business in Venezuela, if you want to be successful you must look and act as though you already are successful because the country has a high masculinity which means they value money, power and success. We also know that to succeed you must be ready to deal with the difficulties and interference of the government. Venezuelans are collectivists and so they look out for one another inside their perceived groups however this also means that you must appeal to the group when marketing or dealing with them.

They also have a high power distance and so they will not disagree with the boss nor will they let you know if they don’t understand. All of these differences are not necessarily bad things but they can make it more difficult to do business with this country. The important thing to remember is that if you know these things about them then you can work around these obstacles to achieve success. Japan is a very masculine country, making them more aggressive which helps to increase efficiency among employees which benefits the company that they work for.

Japan also has high uncertainty avoidance, with high uncertainty avoidance employees do not take change very well, Japan has been doing business the same since World War II ended, some would see this as a bad thing but in reality it is very good, this is helpful because it provides a more secure environment and no one is afraid of what they already know. When doing business in Belgium it is important to keep in mind their high cultural dimensions and how this affects doing business.

Their highest dimension is uncertainty avoidance flowed by individualism, therefore, it is important to introduce new ideas slowly and celebrate individuality. Although there are differences that must be considered if you do your research Belgium can be a warm and welcoming environment to do business in and to expand your international reach. We have presented in out paper three very different countries from different sides of the world. But which one is best to do business with? Venezuela, although it is the cheapest market to enter, has a very high rating on the WBI and is extremely difficult to enter and presents many obstacles.

Also, as we have discussed earlier in this paper Hofstede’s dimensions of culture outline the differences and difficulties that one would encounter when dealing with the work force in Venezuela. Japan, although the highest ranking on the WBI, has a very different culture and very different language when comparing it to Canada and therefore would present many different challenges also outlined in the paper according to Hofstede’s dimensions. Belgium is therefore our best choice when considering internationalising into a broader market.

Its ranking is close to Japan, well above Venezuela however, it is also a lot similar in culture, demographics and attitudes to Canada. One of Belgium’s official languages is French, which is also a benefit to Canadian business people. However, Belgium would be definitely a smaller market expansion according to population size.


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