Understanding Of The Greet Hofstedes Dimensions Commerce Essay

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Dr. Greet Hofsted had conducted a comprehensive study and explained how culture influences the values at the work place. He worked as a psychologist in IBM from 1967 to 1973. In the time of working in IBM he has collected the analyzed data from aver 100000 individual from more than forty different countries. To the above study he made some additions and he developed four dimensions and later on he added fifth dimension that is long term outlook. Geert Hofstede's dimensions investigation can support the trade individual in enhance understanding the intercultural variance within regions.

"Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." - Dr. Geert Hofstede

The different dimensions of the Geert hofstede are explained below they are

Power distance index (PDI)

Individualism (IDV)

Masculinity (MAS)

Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI)

Long term orientation (LTO)

Power distance index (PDI)

This dimension explains about the degree of equality or inequality between the people in the society of a nation. A high power ranking shows the inequalities of power and wealth which have been allowed to grow with in the society. The societies are mostly following a caste system which does not permits upward mobility of its citizens. Power distance is defined as "the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally". (Hofstede, 1994, p. 28)

Individualism/collectivism (IDV)

The second dimension of Hofstede is individualism/collectivism. The concept in this dimension is discussed most frequently and it is the researched concept. Hofstede defines this concept as "individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people's lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty." (Hofstede, 1994,p. 51) Individualism is the most important dimension in the hofstede dimensions it is cited in most of the variety intercultural research. This is the dimension which is grasped more easily and it is frequently encountered when looking at other cultural behavioral patterns.

Masculinity/feminity (MAS)

Masculinity and feminity both are equally powerful. A high masculinity ranking reflects a nation which experiences a high degree of gender variance. . In these cultures, males dominate a major part of the traditions and power structure, with females being controlled by male domination. The lower level of variance between the genders is shown by a low masculinity ranking.

Hofstede explains this dimension as "masculinity pertains to societies in which social gender roles are clearly distinct (i.e., men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life); femininity pertains to societies in which social gender roles overlap (i.e., both men and women are supposed be modest, tender, and Concerned with the quality of life)." (Hofstede, 1994, p. 82-3). Hofstede noticed that masculinity is often neglected. It is believed that the controversial name given to this dimension created some popularity to this dimension. It also seems to be confusion with the individualism.

Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI)

It is one of the other dimensions of hofstede. This dimension shows the level of tolerance for improbability and indistinctness inside the society. The low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity is shown by the high uncertainty avoidance ranking which resulted in creation of rule oriented society which constitutes of rules and regulations to control the uncertainty. A low uncertainty avoidance ranking shows about the society which is less rule oriented. Hofstede explained this dimension as "the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations." (Hofstede, 1994, p. 113

Geert hofstede had conducted another international study with Chinese employees and managers and that gave rise to a new dimension hofstede described the new dimension as long term orientation (LTO)

Long term orientation (LTO)

High long term orientation reflects the ethics of long term commitments and respects for society. A business may takes longer to enlarge in the the world particularly for an outsider. A low long term orientation shows the country which does not follow the concept of long term orientation. In the society changes may occur frequently and long term traditions may not implement and it may change rapidly. Hofstede describes long-term orientation as "characterized by persistence, ordering relationships by status and observing this order, thrift, and having a sense of shame, whereas short-term orientation is characterized by personal steadiness and stability, protecting your "face", respect for tradition and reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts.

Limitations of Hofstede

Some of the limitations of the hofstede model are

The classification in this theory is limited to some nations

The dimensions in this theory mainly concentrate on the need of qualitative scoring, which is not functional for any type of graphical representation.

This model did not explained about some other factors which influence the dimensions besides the 5 factors which is explained in hofstede theory

Fons tropenaars

Fons trompenaars is the author who belongs to dutch he is one the author of cross cultural communications. Fons studied economics from free university of Amsterdam and he got hid PhD from Wharton school. Trompenaars and Charles hampden have developed a culture which have seven dimensions. Five of his dimensions covers the way in which people interact with each other. The dimensions of trompenaars are explained below

Universalism versus particularism

The cultures in universalism stand for strictly implied rule based behaviors which indicate distrust in people. Particularism cultures focuses on the exceptional nature of present circumstance.

Individualism versus collectivism

Trompenaars identified this dimension as to indicate the conflict between group and individual interest. Trompenaars explained this dimension "Individualism as a prime orientation to the self and Collectivism as a prime orientation to common goals and objectives." Some of the factors that are affected by the by the individualism and collectivism are international management, negotiations, motivation and decision making.

Neutral versus affective

The range of feelings is included in this dimension. The relationships between people are very important reasons and emotions play a prominent and equal role in peoples relations. Some of the people will be belongs to neutral culture and some of the people belongs to affective culture. The people in the neutral culture keeps their feelings carefully and controlled. People who belongs to affective culture tends to be demonstrative

Diffuse versus specific

Diffuse indicates low context and specific indicates high context. The way in which individuals engaged in specific areas explores the culture. Task-relationships are segregated in specific cultures. There will be tacit communications ground between boss and subordinate in case of specific cultures. This dimension seems to have some of the particular significance to the evaluation in an international setting and it does not seems to be related in a national wide cultural context

Achievement versus ascription

Some people will ascribe higher status than some other people in the society so attention should be focused on that people and also on their activities. Some society's accord position to the people based on their achievements and the other ascribe the status to them by good worth of age, education and some other factors. The previous is categorized achieved status and the second as ascribed status.

Attitude to time

The perception of time can be ranged from sequential to synchronic. The central dimension of culture is orientation of time from past, present and future for enabling members to co-ordinate activities.

Attitude to environment

Attitude to environment is considered as major cultural variable by Trompneaars. There are two orientations of society towards nature they are that they should be able to control the nature by using their will and the other is they should believe that man is a part of nature and should go along with the law, direction and forces. The previous culture is observed with machines and it is known as inner directed and the second one is outer directed culture

Evaluation and application of frameworks:-

Market segmentation is the process of effectively differentiation the market regions based on several factors like consumers age, region, religion, nationality etc and dividing the market into smaller segments for the ease of business adoption and easy flow of business principles.

The main marketing mix is generally based on the 4p's namely-





As it is explained in the above marketing is very important factor in every business because it creates advertising to the company's products and services and also creates customers to the company. Targeting market is one of the important segments; it creates marketing mix for the segments identified by the market segmentation. Targeting market segment is very important factor and some of the important factors which should be considered while selecting target marketing segment are attractiveness and the fit between the segments.

Consumer behavior is very important for a business. Consumer behavior is the study about the customer's behavior regarding the products and services of the company. Consumer behavior is the study about that why, when and how the consumers buy the products. Consumer study helps the company to know the decision making process of a consumer incase of buying products that is both individually and group. Consumer behavior mainly influences the production of the company. It is the factor which mainly creates demand for the company's product by which the company can decide about the production. Consumer is very important for every company as he plays three different and more important roles that are user, payer and buyer. So as consumer is very important in every business consumer behavior is very efficient for all the organizations.

We take the examples of a developed nation-United Kingdom and an emerging nation-Brazil to critically evaluate the usefulness of the two cultural frameworks namely

Hofstede and Trompenaars Segments

Taking the case of the United Kingdom:-

Considering the evaluation grading system followed by Hofstede uncertainty avoidance in the UK is very high and there is a belief system practiced in the country on the regular products and the critical measures taken by the law make the products really assumable to the consumers. The long term orientation is really favorable of the country is high and it promises a bright and promises a good understanding between the consumers and the product manufacturers. Power certainty factor is high which makes the belief of power being evenly distributed according to the levels of governance.Feminity factor is too high which makes the country a real good place for a healthy product development and consumer relationship.

Considering the Trompenaar's particularism dominates the factor of universalism which is a good indication of individual decision making which makes it really easy to negotiate, motivate and even eases the burden of decision making. The effective relationships between people by means of human bonding and mostly by the use of social networking sites these days is making it easy for the marketing to pace up quite rapidly. The attitude to environment, time and achievements of individuals in the country are really favorable factors for a business growth.

On the above factors the main market segmenting should be done on thee factor of price and promotion and the targeting market should be product specialized where a firm concentrates on making a single product and catering the same product to various segments of the markets or society.

Taking the case of Brazil:-

Taking into account Hofstede's theory, power certainty is really low as the power is mainly considered to be in the hands of only a few authorities.uncertainity avoidance is very low and this is mainly due to the factors of huge population and the literacy rates prevailing in the country and the backwardness. Long term orientation ranking is high and this is good for the future of the country. High rates of collectivism make it difficult for decision making and negotiations.

Taking into consideration the Trompeenars theory, universalism affects the marketing and product development as it is really difficult to inject belief into the people. Collectivism format makes it even more difficult for the decision makers, negotiations and motivators. The effective relationships can to some extent help in the product variation and development. Attitude towards time and Environment is not so encouraging this makes it a slow process to bring awareness within the people.

From the above conclusions it can be stated that a variety of market segment strategies have to be implied and all the 4 P's price, product, promotion and place come into reference and the decision making and product management time taken are really huge and it needs to look into the aspect of catering a wide range of societies of different categories.

Targeting forms for such a country should be time dependent and if the product offers a small amount of time, then selective segment strategy should be adopted allowing different segment to deal with mix of products. If there is a lot of time allowed by the product then single segment specialization strategy should be followed allowing one segment to be dealt with one product at a time.


After a brief discussion of the two cultures of Hofstede and Trompnaars it is concluded that there are different cultural dimensions and different cultural theories. Hofstede and Trompnaars explained different dimensions in their theories and some of their dimensions are similar with each other's dimensions. It is concluded that different societies adopt different type of cultural dimensions depends upon different kinds of aspects. This paper presents the different dimensions of hofstede and trompnaars studies. It was followed by identifying and analyzing cultural typologies forwarded by hofstede, trompenaars. Sometimes different cultural dimensions may be applied to a single product for its market analyze. We can also get accurate results in case of cross culture by applying different dimensions jointly on a single product