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Geert Hofstede's 6 Dimensions of Culture Best Practices

Psychologist Dr Geert Hofstede originally published his cultural dimensions model in the 1970s, based on his cross-cultural psychology research of people who worked for IBM in more than 50 countries. His original research included only four dimensions, but a fifth and sixth dimension were added later. The model has since become an international standard in order for people to work more successfully across varying cultures.

More about Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture

Description of Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture

Because Hofstede’s research originally focused only on IBM employees, he was able to identify which cultural attributes could be ascribed to national differences and not company culture. The 6 Dimensions are as follows:

  1. Power Distance Index (PDI). The PDI refers to the degree of inequality that is acceptable between those in power and those not in power. A high PDI score suggests that a society is okay with a larger discrepancy of power between hierarchical levels. People in this type of culture understand their place in the system. A low PDI score will mean that power is shared and widely dispersed. In this type of society, people are not happy when power is not distributed equally.
  2. Individualism Versus Collectivism (IDV). IDV refers to the bonds that people have to others within their community. A high IDV score means that those within the community do not have strong ties to those outside their community who are not part of their core “family”. They tend to behave according to their own self-interests and are encouraged to discover and value their unique qualities. In a Collectivist society, people take more responsibility for the well-being of those within their community and will defend and act out of the interests of the group.
  3. Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS). This refers to the differences in the roles of men and women in a society. In masculine societies, the roles of men and women do not overlap as much as in feminine societies. Men act more assertively and are expected to be strong, act directively and demonstrate a high level of success. In feminine societies, there is more overlap between roles, and emphasis is placed on maintaining good relationships with supervisors and co-workers.
  4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). This dimension describes how well people can cope with uncertainty and anxiety. In societies that have high scores in this area, people are happiest when life is predictable and controllable, and make great efforts to achieve consistency. People in low-scoring countries are more relaxed, open and inclusive. More respect is given to those who can cope in all circumstances.
  5. Long- Versus Short-Term Orientation. This refers to the time horizon people look at in their lives. Countries with a long-term approach honor tradition, are more practical and conservative, and thriftiness is a positive value. Countries with a short-term approach emphasize principles and truth, and are typically more religious and have a great sense of national pride.
  6. Indulgence Versus Restraint (IVR). Countries with a high IVR score accept higher levels of self-gratification of people’s drives and emotions, such as enjoying life and having fun. In a society with a low IVR score, there is more emphasis on suppressing gratification, more regulation of people’s conduct and behavior, and stricter social norms.

Hofstede’s model helps to make cross-cultural interactions less intimidating and creates understanding and acceptance between countries. By understanding various cultural norms, conducting business across international borders can be less intimidating and more successful.

Praxie's Online Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture Tools & Templates

The ways managers usually share the six levels in Geert Hofstede’s Culture model include presentations, spreadsheets, and other strategic documents. Get started with our Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture template.

How to use it:

  1. Select countries to compare.
  2. Enter descriptions of each country for each dimension of the model.
  3. Create an action plan for addressing the specific cultural differences you identified.

Unlike most traditional culture assessment and management processes, Praxie’s online tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.