femininity A cultural characteristic in which the dominant values in society are caring for others and the quality of life.
Source: Original graphic by Ben Littell under supervision of Professor Jonathan Doh based on data from The World Bank and from G. Hofstede and G. J. Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005).
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 0
Brazil ⬥ Mexico ⬥
Chile⬥ Venezuela⬥ Argentina⬥
United Kingdom ⬥
Figure 4–4 GDP per Capita in 2015 versus Individualism
Chapter 4 The Meanings and Dimensions of Culture 133
Countries with a low masculinity index (Hofstede’s femininity dimension), such as Norway, tend to place great importance on cooperation, a friendly atmosphere, and employ- ment security. Individuals are encouraged to be group decision makers, and achievement is defined in terms of layman contacts and the living environment. The workplace tends to be characterized by low stress, and managers give their employees more credit for being respon- sible and allow them more freedom. Culturally, this group prefers small-scale enterprises, and they place greater importance on conservation of the environment. The school system is designed to teach social adaptation. Some young men and women want careers; others do not. Many women hold higher-level jobs and do not find it necessary to be assertive.
Time Orientation Originally called Confucian Work Dynamism, time orientation is defined by Hofstede as “dealing with society’s search for virtue.” Long-term-oriented societies tend to focus on the future. They have the ability to adapt their traditions when conditions change, have a tendency to save and invest for the future, and focus on achiev- ing long-term results. Short-term-oriented cultures focus more on the past and present than on the future. These societies have a deep respect for tradition, focus on achieving quick results, and do not tend to save for the future.40 Hofstede’s original time orientation research only included 23 countries, leading to some criticism. However, in 2010, the research was expanded to include 93 countries. Table 4–3 highlights ten differences between long- and short-term-oriented cultures.
Asian cultures primarily exhibit long-term orientation. Countries with a high long- term orientation index include China, Japan, and Indonesia (see Figure 4–5). In these cultures, individuals are persistent, thrifty with their money, and highly adaptable to unexpected circumstances. Relationships tend to be ordered by status, which can affect the way that situations are handled. Additionally, people in long-term-oriented cultures are more likely to believe that there are multiple truths to issues that arise, rather than just one, absolute answer.
Table 4–3 Ten Differences between Short- and Long-Term- Oriented Societies
Short-Term Orientation Long-Term Orientation
Most important events in life occurred in the past or take place now
Most important events in life will occur in the future
Personal steadiness and stability: a good person is always the same
A good person adapts to the circumstances
There are universal guidelines about what are good and evil
What are good and evil depend on the circumstances
Traditions are sacrosanct Traditions are adaptable to changed circumstances
Family life is guided by imperatives Family life is guided by shared tasks Supposed to be proud of one’s country Trying to learn from other countries Service to others is an important goal Thrift and perseverance are important
goals Social spending and consumption Large savings quote, funds available
for investment Students attribute success and failure to luck
Students attribute success to effort and failure to lack of effort
Slow or no economic growth of poor countries
Fast economic growth of countries up until a level of prosperity
Source: From G. Hofstede, “Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context,” Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2 (2011), http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss1/8/.
134 Part 2 The Role of Culture
Spain, the USA, and the UK were identified as having a low long-term orientation index (Hofstede’s short-term orientation). Individuals in short-term-oriented societies believe in absolutes (good and evil), value stability and leisure time, and spend money more freely. Traditional approaches are respected, and feedback cycles tend to be short. Gift giving and greetings are shared and reciprocated.41
Indulgence versus Restraint Based on research related to relative happiness around the world, Hofstede’s most recent dimension measures the freedom to satisfy one’s nat- ural needs and desires within a society. Indulgent societies encourage instant gratification of natural human needs, while restrained cultures regulate and control behavior based on social norms.42 The research leading to the identification of this sixth dimension included participants from 93 countries. Table 4–4 highlights ten differences between indulgent and restrained cultures.
Countries that show a high indulgence index tend to be located in the Americas and Western Europe, including the USA, Australia, Mexico, and Chile (see Figure 4–6). Freely able to satisfy their basic human desires, individuals in these societies tend to live in the moment. They participate in more sports and activities, express happiness freely, and view themselves as being in control of their own destiny. Freedom of speech is considered vital, and smaller police forces are commonplace. People in indulgent cultures tend to view friendships as important, have less moral discipline, and exhibit a more extroverted, positive personality.
Countries that show a low indulgence index (Hofstede’s dimension of high restraint) tend to be located in Asia and Eastern Europe, including Egypt, Russia, India, and China. In these societies, individuals participate in fewer activities and sports, express less happiness, and believe that their own destiny is not in their control. Main- taining order is seen as vital, resulting in larger police forces and less crime. People tend to value work ethic over friendships, exhibit introverted personalities, and follow a stricter moral discipline.43
Figure 4–5 Countries with Very High Long-Term and Short-Term Orientation Scores