International and Intercultural Communication Essay
International and Intercultural Communication
International and Intercultural Communications have been of great interest to the Hofstede Centre for many years. In fact Geert Hofstede’s dimensions of culture have been the most widely disseminated of all theories. Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions are, “1) Power Distance, 2) Individualism or Collectivism, 3) Masculinity-Femininity, 4) Uncertainty Avoidance, and 5) Short or Long Term Orientation.” (Donald Baack, 2012, Chapter 2.4). “Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. He analyzed a large database of employee value scores collected within IBM between 1967 and 1973. The data covered more than 70 countries, from which Hofstede first used the 40 countries with the largest groups of respondents and afterwards extended the analysis to 50 countries and 3 regions.” (The Hofstede Center, n.d.).
In the next few pages I will compare the similarities and differences in scores between the countries of Croatia and Slovenia in relation to Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions as well as provide a scenario involving two organizations, one located in each country and their business practices relating to the different cultural perspectives. In the dimension of Power-Distance Croatia scores high with a score of 73 which means the people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In this type of society people expect to be told what to do and this is accepted as the norm. (Hofstede Centre, n.d.). Slovenia also scored high in the dimension of Power-Distance with a score of 71. What this displays is two of the former eastern European countries, are very similar in their societal beliefs in hierarchal order and the populace was still routed in a culture where subordinates do as they are told by the boss and the boss is an autocrat in the bigger sense.
In the second of the five cultural dimensions Individualism or Collectivism, Croatia scored 33 which are considered a collectivistic society. “This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link); hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.” (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.). Slovenia, had a score of 27 is also considered a collectivistic society just like we saw in Croatia. Once again the two bordering countries are nearly identical in their collectivist societies.
Our third dimension of Masculinity-Femininity resulted in a score of 40. With this score they are considered a relatively feminine society. Feminine societies focus on the theory of work to live. In a feminine society it is also common for managers to seek consensus. Even with such a disparity in scores and Slovenia’s’ score of 19 on this dimension, they too are considered more of a feminine society. Like the culture of Croatia they work to live and the people value things like equality, solidarity and pleasure in their working lives. “Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favored. Focus is on well-being, status is not shown.” (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.). The fourth dimension of Uncertainty Avoidance resulted in a score of 80 signifying a very high preference for avoiding uncertainty. As stated in the Hofstede report, “Countries exhibiting high uncertainty avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas.
In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work) time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation.” (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.). Slovenia also scored quite high with an 88 signifying they too choose to avoid uncertainty and need rules regardless of the effectiveness of them. Our final dimension is the dimension of Short or Long Term Orientation. In the comparison statistics this is referred to as pragmatism and indulgence. Croatia achieved scores of 58 and 33 respectively. These figures indicate that the Croatian society believe truth is dependent on situations, context of what is said and the time. “They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results.” (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.).
The 33 score received for indulgence is an indication of a restrained country. “Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Also, in contrast to indulgent societies, restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.” (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.). Slovenia had scores of 49 in pragmatism and 48 in indulgence. These scores both result in no clear preference for one or the other. As I have demonstrated by comparing the results for these two countries, bordering countries can be quite similar in some aspects of International and Intercultural Communications but quite different in others.
As an example if I opened a car repair business or franchise in these two countries and expected them to work together some of the things I could expect is, they both would struggle with working together since they both prefer autocratic leaders and operate under the concept of being told what to do. What this means to me is that regardless if I am physically there with them or providing communication from afar they will execute all actions to benefit the business in a positive manner. These societies rely on face and losing face through failure is not an option they accept easily. In contrast to this is they both enjoy the benefits of family time, strong ties to immediate and extended family (the organization), managers often seek consensus and conflict is resolved through compromise and negotiation. This later part about conflict resolution is because both societies are feministic in nature and as we all know, women are often times more level headed and less apt to fly off the handle over little issues that can be resolved in an agreeable manner when thought out and discussed properly.
This could be beneficial or difficult since us Americans believe in more time at work than time with family in today’s working environment. I believe this is an instance where I would need to adjust my work ethic in order to gain more from these two countries in keeping with their societal beliefs and standards. From my perception of Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions is that two companies in these two countries of Croatia and Slovenia would work very well together and in fact complement one another nicely, leading to great success for the organization. What I have done in the past few pages is to demonstrate the similarities and differences in scores between the countries of Croatia and Slovenia in relation to Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions as well as provided you with the scenario involving two organizations, one located in each country and their business practices relating to the different cultural perspectives. I believe Hofstede’s five dimensions were quite relevant when originally complied and are still quite relevant today.
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The Hofstede Centre, National Cultural Dimensions, n.d. Retrieved from http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html The Hofstede Centre, National Cultural Dimensions, n.d. Retrieved from http://geert-hofstede.com/croatia.html