Hofstede's 5 Dimensions of Cultural Differences

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There is no questioning the United States status as a global leader in virtually all aspects of life. The products we export and images we send out across the international airwaves are often openly adopted or rudely rejected by foreign cultures based on the American qualities they possess. Just like are popular culture, there are certain attitudes and values that precede U.S. businessmen whenever they are dealing in the international business world. Researcher Geert Hofstede’s “five dimensions of cultural differences” help to define how the American workplace is reflected in the country’s societal values. Hofstede categorizes the five dimensions of cultural differences under the headings of individualism versus collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity, and time orientation. We can begin to understand the dynamics of the American workplace when viewed through these dimensions. The United States would be seen as an individualistic culture as opposed to collectivist. We see this in the fact that the business world is a sort “every man for himself” environment and that our culture emphasizes individual status and position as opposed to group success. The United States maintains a low power distance, meaning that people in business are treated as equal human beings even if they are of different business titles. A higher power culture puts more privilege in job title and inequalities between people are more commonly seen and accepted. Even though the United States has a low power distance, this country generally has a masculine value system. A masculine culture puts emphasis on being assertive and achieving material status, whereas a feminine culture focuses less on individual accomplishment and more on meaningful relationships. This difference in cultural dimensions is particularly interesting as females in the U.S.

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