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Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions (China and Germany)

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Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions | China and the comparison to Germany | | | | Dennis Keidat | 01.04.2013 | |

Gerard Hendrik Hofstede (born October 2, 1928 in Haarlem) is a Dutch expert in cultural studies [GHW]. Hofstede (1980) surveyed 88,000 IBM employees working in 66 countries and then ranked the countries on different cultural dimensions. His research resulted in four dimensions (power distance; individualism versus collectivism; uncertainty avoidance; and masculinity and femininity). In the beginning, China was not included in this study but later Bond and Hofstede looked at Chinese values. From this research they included a fifth cultural value dimension called: long-term versus short-term orientation [SKR].

Power Distance Index (PDI)
The Power Distance index shows how less powerful individuals accept and expect an unequal distribution of power. High power distance means that power is unevenly distributed; low power distance means that power is more evenly distributed [TIP].
According to Geert Hofstede’s 5 dimensions China is located in the higher ranking at 80. That means that this society “believes that inequalities amongst people are acceptable” [GER]. The Power is centralised and the management is autocratic. The subordinate-superior relationship tends to be cleaved and “there is no defence against power abuse by superiors” [GER]. This means that “people are less willing to challenge authority which is likely due to old communism beliefs which still have a strong influence on people’s behaviour” [SKR]. Managers expect subordinates to obey them. Subordinates automatically show respect and know that they have to earn their respect. They also expect to be told what to do. Therefore social interactions are formal. In general we can say that the Chinese are “optimistic about people’s capacity for leadership and initiative” [GER]. The general...

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