Evaluation of Culture Background of Germany, Japan, and Ireland

Topics: Cross-cultural communication, Geert Hofstede, Culture Pages: 5 (1711 words) Published: March 3, 2013
Evaluation of culture background of Germany, Japan, and Ireland through Hofstede Cultural Dimension As professor Geert Hofstede put, "Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." Therefore, understanding different cultures in different countries is a significant issue for multinational enterprises, especially for the inevitable trend of globalization. As our project aims at analyzing the international expansion of German, Japanese, and Irish enterprises, I would like to depict the culture background of these three countries through the method of Hofstede Culture Dimensions. First of all, I want to introduce the Hofstede Cultural Dimensions briefly. This theory classified the characteristics of different cultures into five aspects, which are so-called cultural dimensions. They are Power Distance (PD), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), and Long-Term Orientation (LTO). Hofstede analyzed large database of cultural statistics of various countries, and found clear patterns of similarity and difference in the five dimensions. His research is regarded as one of the most effective method to evaluate different culture backgrounds.

( geert-hostede.com, 2003)
What are those cultural dimensions stand for respectively?
Firstly, Power Distance (PD) is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Countries of high level of power distance often have a centralized structure and the people are willingly to obey superiors. But for those of low power distance, the structure is more decentralized. Secondly, Individualism (IDV) versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. People in highly individualistic countries are usually wealthier and have greater individual initiative. Oppositely, collectivism means less support of protestant work ethic, less individual initiative. Then, Masculinity (MAS) also versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. As for Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), it deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man's search for Truth. In countries have high level of uncertainty avoidance, most people do not like changes and have high need for security. They also strongly believe in expertise. Lastly, Long-Term Orientation (LTO) associated with Short Term Orientation. If people are long-term oriented, they might hold the value of thrift and perseverance. On the opposite side, short-term oriented values include respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face'. (geert-hostede.com, 2003)

Though the method of Hofstede Cultural Dimensions, we can get a deep understanding of German, Japanese, and Irish culture, especially how it influences the way they do business. Starting with Germany, the index of the five Hofstede dimensions is shown in the chart below. (geert-hostede.com,2003)

According to the graph, the IDV, MAS, and UAI figures of Germany are around 70. On the other hand, the index of PDI is relatively low, which is about 40. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), German is in the middle. (clearlycultural.com, 2011) It seems that German society is more individualistic and masculine. It also has a high level of uncertainty avoidance and the people are more short-term oriented. How do these dimension figures reflect in German people’s real life? In other word, what are the special values that Germans hold? Germans are sometimes described as people who make things difficult, not only for them self, but for others also. German people usually give others...

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2. Power Distance Index, Available at: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/power-distance-index/ (Accessed 9 November 2011)
3. Psychological Cultural Dimensions of Germany, Available at: http://internationalbusiness.wikia.com/wiki/Psychological_Cultural_Dimensions_of_Germany (Accessed 9 November 2011)
4. Germany – German Business Etiquette, Manners, Cross Cultural Communication , and Geert Hofstede, Available at: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/germany.htm (Accessed 9 November 2011)
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