Business Culture: Know the Country

vickilynn by Chief Happiness Officer Blog

Evaluate a country’s culture with these metrics.

Gerd Hofstede is a Dutch Sociologist who has been analyzing business culture worldwide for 40+ years. According to Alexander Kjerulf, author of the Chief Happiness Officer Blog, Hofstede quantifies business culture base on the following criteria:

  • Power Distance Index (PDI) This is how well, less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.
  • Individualism (IDV): The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups.
  • Masculinity (MAS): Masculine cultures are very assertive and competitive, feminine cultures are modest and caring.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): This deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

Using these measurement dimensions can help an organization adapt its approach based on the local culture.  Application of Hofstede’s  dimensions result in the following cultural evaluations:

Denmark: The Culture in Denmark tends to be individualistic rather than collective and is very feminine. Uncertainty avoidance is very low, meaning Danish workplaces can handle uncertainty.

United States: The culture is more masculine and individual. American workplaces are characterized by high levels of individualism.

Guatemala: (Included because the blogger was in this country as he wrote the blog) Guatemala society has an extremely low level of tolerance for uncertainty. This country also has a high level of inequality when it comes to power and wealth.

Scandinavia: (Identified by Kjerulf as the happiest place to work) Scandinavia is much like Denmark, This country is individualistic rather than collective, feminine and features workplaces can handle uncertainty.

When you are doing business in a culture outside your own, application of these metrics will help you adapt and succeed.