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Meaning and Dimensions of Culture. Chapter 4. Chapter Outline. The nature of culture The nature of culture Values and folkways Comparing cultural values Sub-cultures and cultural change How culture affects management – see page 95 How cultures view each other. Chapter Outline (2).

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chapter outline
Chapter Outline
  • The nature of culture
    • The nature of culture
    • Values and folkways
    • Comparing cultural values
    • Sub-cultures and cultural change
    • How culture affects management – see page 95
    • How cultures view each other
chapter outline 2
Chapter Outline (2)
  • Cultural dimensions – how people look at life
    • Hofstede's dimensions
    • Trompenaars’ dimensions
the nature of culture
The Nature of Culture
  • Culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and generate social behavior
  • Cultural knowledge forms values, creates attitudes, and influences behavior
  • Not everyone in a culture has exactly the same values.
values and folkways
Values and Folkways
  • Culture sets norms (expectations) for behavior
    • Values are cultural beliefs about right and wrong. Values have moral significance and are often included in law.
    • Folkways are customary ways of behaving, with little or no moral significance.

Examples: wedding customs, what to wear to a funeral

table 4 1 cultural values
Table 4-1: Cultural Values

Arab Countries

United States


  • Family security
  • Family harmony
  • Parental guidance
  • Age
  • Authority
  • Compromise
  • Devotion
  • Patience
  • Indirectness
  • Hospitality
  • Freedom
  • Independence
  • Self-reliance
  • Equality
  • Individualism
  • Competition
  • Efficiency
  • Time
  • Directness
  • Openness
  • Belonging
  • Group harmony
  • Collectiveness
  • Age/seniority
  • Group consensus
  • Cooperation
  • Quality
  • Patience
  • Indirectness
  • Go-between
sub cultures and cultural change
Sub-cultures and Cultural Change
  • Groups within a culture may be part of a sub-culture that varies in some ways from the national culture.
  • Cultures can change gradually over time.
  • People who have worked outside their own country or have friends from other cultures may pick up some attitudes or behaviors from the other culture.
how cultures view each other
How Cultures View Each Other
  • Stereotyping: assumes that all people within one culture or group behave, believe, feel, and act the same.
  • Ethnocentrism: occurs when people from one culture believe that theirs are the only correct norms, values, and beliefs.
  • Self-reference criterion: the assumption that people in another culture will behave like people in your culture
hofstede s cultural dimensions power distance
Hofstede’s Cultural DimensionsPower Distance
  • Power distance: The extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations accept that power is distributed unequally
    • High power distance countries: people may blindly obey the orders of their superiors and are less likely to question authority. Companies tend to use centralized decision-making and tall organization structures (many levels of management)
    • Low power distance countries: flatter and decentralized organization structures, smaller ratio of supervisors. Employees are more likely to question their bosses. Participative management may be used.
hofstede s cultural dimensions individualism and collectivism
Hofstede’s Cultural DimensionsIndividualism and Collectivism
  • Individualism: Tendency of people to look after themselves and their immediate family only
    • Countries high in individualism: High individual initiative. Promotions are based on achievement. Salaries are based on market value.
  • Collectivism: Tendency of people to belong to groups or collectives and to look after each other in exchange for loyalty
    • Countries high in collectivism: Low individual initiative. Salaries and promotions may be based on seniority
hofstede s cultural dimensions uncertainty avoidance
Hofstede’s Cultural DimensionsUncertainty Avoidance
  • Uncertainty avoidance: Extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid such situations
    • High uncertainty avoidance countries: people have high need for security, strong belief in experts and their knowledge, more written rules and procedures, less risk taking by managers
    • Low uncertainty avoidance countries: people are more willing to accept risks associated with the unknown, fewer written rules and procedures, more risk taking by managers, higher employee turnover, more ambitious employees
hofstede s cultural dimensions masculinity and femininity
Hofstede’s Cultural DimensionsMasculinity and Femininity
  • Masculinity: the dominant social values are success, money and things
    • Countries high in masculinity: People place great importance on earnings, recognition, advancement, challenge, and wealth. High job stress.
  • Femininity: the dominant social values are caring for others and the quality of life
    • Countries high in femininity: great importance on cooperation, friendly atmosphere, employment security, and the natural environment. Low job stress.
trompenaars cultural dimensions
Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions
  • Universalism vs. particularism
    • Universalism – the belief that ideas and practices can be applied everywhere in the world without modification. People tend to focus on formal rules and expect business partners to do the same.
    • Particularism – the belief that circumstances dictate how ideas and practices should be applied and some things cannot be done the same way everywhere. People tend to focus on relationships, working things out to suit those involved.
trompenaars cultural dimensions 2
Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions (2)
  • Neutral vs. Emotional Cultures
    • Neutral culture – a culture in which emotions are held in check. People try not to show their feelings
    • Emotional culture – a culture in which emotions are expressed openly and naturally. People smile, may talk loudly, greet each other with enthusiasm, show happiness or unhappiness.
trompenaars cultural dimensions 3
Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions (3)
  • Achievement vs. Ascription n
    • Achievement culture - culture in which people are accorded status based on how well they perform their work and what they have accomplished
      • Job, work performance, education, etc.
    • Ascription culture - culture in which status is attributed based on who or what a person is
      • For example, status may be accorded on the basis of age, gender, family, tribe, ethnic group, etc.
trompenaars cultural dimensions 4
Trompenaars’ Cultural Dimensions (4)
  • Use of time
    • Sequential use of time - people do one thing at a time, keep appointments strictly, follow plans to the letter
    • Synchronous use of time - people do more than one thing at a time, appointments are approximate
trompenaars research on people and the external environment
Trompenaars' Research onPeople and the External Environment
  • Inner-directed:People believe in controlling environmental outcomes and think that they can control what happens to them
  • Outer-directed:People believe in allowing things to take their natural course and living in harmony with nature. People are less likely to believe that they can control what happens to them.