Hofstede Dimensions on India Comparison

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Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions * Average Hofstede Dimensions of all counties surveyed Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society and anybody with some international experience will be aware that ‘all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others’. Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family.

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On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word ‘collectivism’ in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women’s values differ less among societies than men’s values; (b) men’s values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women’s values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women’s values on the other. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest, caring pole ‘feminine’.

The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men’s values and women’s values. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, different from usual.

Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side.

People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions. Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation: this fifth dimension was found in a study among students in 23 countries around the world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars It can be said to deal with Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance; values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one’s ‘face’.

Both the positively and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B. C. ; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a Confucian heritage. Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions of India & its analysis with respect to today’s business environment Power Distance Index (PDI) – Power Distance Index PDI (India 77 vs. World Average 56. 5)

India has Power Distance (PDI) as the highest Hofstede Dimension for the culture, with a ranking of 77 compared to a world average of 56. 5. This Power Distance score for India indicates a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the population as a cultural norm. The Hofstede analysis for India suggests a large power distance society and all other measures are relatively moderate. This would be indicative of the fact that India is in the midst of change.

The traditional caste systems has been outlawed, however the large power distance score indicates that the attitudes still remain This Power Distance score for India indicates a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the population as a cultural norm. In India, social hierarchies are very much in place and even at work it is not easy to be friendly with one’s boss in most organizations. Calling one’s boss by his first name is rare in India.

In fact abuse by seniors is also common and usually the employee is helpless and his only recourse is to leave. Individualism (IDV) – Individualism IDV (India 48 Vs. World Average 40) In India there is no standard for rewarding individuals of a company that are pro-active in their career advancement. This concept is traditional to an individualistic culture, which India is not. This means that we cannot expect ACI managers in India to ask for decisions from an employee of a company without them contacting someone of authority first.

According to our research, religion is not the reason for individualism. Some religions have a greater set of rules that need to be followed. Doing business in India involves building relationships. Indians only deal favourably with those they know and trust – even at the expense of lucrative deals. It is vital that a good working relationship is founded with any prospective partner. This must take place on a business level, i. e. demonstrating strong business acumen, and at a personal level, i. e. relating to your partner and exhibiting the positive traits of trustworthiness and honour.

If business dealings in India involve negotiations, it should be born in mind that it can be slow. If trust has not yet been established then efforts must be place on building a rapport. Decisions are always made at the highest level. If the owner or director of the Indian company is not present, the chances are these are early stage negotiations Masculinity (MAS) – India has Masculinity as the third highest ranking Hofstede Dimension at 56, with the world average just slightly lower at 51. The higher the country ranks in this Dimension, the greater the gap between values of men and women.

It may also generate a more competitive and assertive female population, although still less than the male population. In a MAS workplace, there is a high level of male dominance and less gender equality. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)- India’s lowest ranking Dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) at 40, compared to the world average of 65. On the lower end of this ranking, the culture may be more open to unstructured ideas and situations. The population may have fewer rules and regulations with which to attempt control of every unknown and unexpected event or situation, as is the case in high Uncertainty Avoidance countries.

Normally a low score is ‘good’, as it means that the society has fewer rules and does not attempt to control all outcomes and results. It also means a greater level of tolerance for a variety of ideas, thoughts, and beliefs and a high tolerance for ambiguity. Uncertainty Avoidance Index UAI (India 40 vs. World Average 65) Long-Term Orientation (LTO) – India’s Long Term Orientation Dimension rank is 61, with the world average at 48. A higher Long Term Orientation score can be indicative of a culture that is perseverant and parsimonious.

India has a very high score meaning that their culture is more persistent and thrifty. Indian’s have a sense of shame that is shared amongst a group of people and relationships are viewed by order of status. It is expected that the Indian businessperson will need to plan further out in their business plans because of their need for Long-Term Orientations. It’s interesting to note that even when Indians travel abroad they work very hard and sacrifice a lot for long-term benefit, which is the education of their children.

Staying put in one job is also an indication of long term orientation and this once was very common in India, however this is changing due to economic growth In the future globalization will continue to increase the flow and interactions of people across cultures, which surfaces even more international differences. Understanding the different dimensions of culture provides an initial knowledge base to develop cultural intelligence and competence for effective international business relationships.

However, global managers require cross-cultural training to advance their learning and growth in cultural intelligence and competence as they take on international assignments. More importantly, organizations will have an increasing need for global managers to become c-agents to develop effective international relationships. In addition, government leaders have opportunities to shape their national culture and support international competitiveness with new multiculturalism policies that promote both the inclusion of multiple cultural identities and the development of local communities in an era of globalization.

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