The exercises learned over the last few lessons have helped me recognize the importance of understanding the 6 cultural dimensions that exist in all countries. Never before has there been such a need to evaluate power dimension, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation and indulgence from a standpoint of developing strategies for success in foreign countries.
In the most recent lesson, we focused on Asia as a whole, and China in particular, and the cultural dimensions, good or bad, that has developed over the years. China one of the largest countries in the world, has always viewed itself and its history with great pride. China’s name translates into “center of the world” (Moran, Abramson and Moran, 2014), a definition and viewpoint the Chinese greatly embrace.
From an outsider’s perspective, Chinese culture and history appear to have a vast and overarching influence over the many counties of East Asia. Understanding Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions makes it possible to identify cultural similarities and difference between countries connected by geography, and understand China’s cultural influence, if any, over it all.
The Philippines and Turkey are two counties that one would think are uniquely different. When one thinks about the Philippines one can easily see the Asian influence. However, when one thinks about Turkey, Chinese influence doesn’t naturally come to mind. Using Geert Hofstede’s dimensions of culture to compare the Philippines and Turkey against Chinese cultural influence, I was surprised to find noted similarities, as well as varying cultural differences between the two.
A little background on the two countries; Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. While there appears to be a heavy influence of the Asian culture, influence from other cultures have created cultural disparities. The Philippines on the other hand, is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific. The Philippines have heavy Asian influence and tend to fall almost perfectly in line with China. With the exception of long-term avoidance, the Philippines track almost perfectly with China cultural dimensions (CIA, n.d.).
From a leadership perspective, if I were tasked with developing a strategy to do business within the two countries, I would initially look for common ground from which to build. Having a culture that promotes the common goals of the team (Collectivism) versus the individual (Individualism) would appear to be a good foundation. In looking at China (20) and the Chinese influence over the region, it’s obvious that this the cultural dimensions of power distance and individualism have proliferated to both the Philippines and Turkey. Both countries closely share the power distance and individualism cultural dimensions.
|Country||Power Distance||Individualism||Masculinity||Uncertainty Avoidance||Long-Term Avoidance||Indulgence|
As depicted above, both the Philippines and Turkey Individualism dimension falls within one to one-half standard deviation of the world average of 47.17. The scores for the Philippines (32) and Turkey (37) mean that both countries have a penchant for working together for the greater good of the team and putting team goals ahead of individual needs. As stated by (Hofstede, G., & Hofstede, G. J., n.d. b), in an individualism culture, individual choices and decisions are expected. In a collectivist culture, one “knows one’s place” in life, which is determined socially.
Like China’s above average power distance score (80), both countries share a higher power distance over the world median of 59.30. However, the Philippines power distance score (94) is higher by almost 2 standard deviations. This means that while both countries do not mind having inequality between their societies powerful and powerless, the Philippines are far more tolerant and accepting of the disparities than Turkey.
From my perspective, an appreciation for working together towards the common good of the team is cultural dimension worth building on. Collectivist culture versus an individualist focused culture might make for a great foundation. Likewise, China’s influence over power distance means the both countries understand and accept the disparities of leadership and inequality that comes with corporate structure.
If I had to create a plan to bring these two countries and the business therein in sync, I believe it would require multiple strategies to address some of the larger differences exhibited in the dimensions of Masculinity, Long-Term Orientation, Uncertainty Avoidance and Indulgence. However, beginning with a foundation that both countries share the prevailing collectivist (Individualism) culture and an understanding of the inequality (Power Distance) that is often exhibited in society, is a solid foundation with which to start. While there are clear difference identified between the two countries, given that both share collectivism and power distance as a baseline, would make deploying an strategy to mitigate the deltas within the other four dimensions more achievable.
Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ). [Internet]. The World Factbook. Retrieved at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Geert Hofstede.com. (n.d.). The 6-D model of national culture. Geert Hofstede.com. Retrieved from https://geerthofstede.com/culture-geert-hofstede-gert-jan-hofstede/6d-model-of-national-culture/
Moran, Robert, Abramson, Neil, & Moran, Sarah. (2014). Ch. 12, 13 . Oxford: Routledge.
Pennsylvania State University. (2018). Leadership in a Global Context–OLEAD 410. Lesson 10: Asia: Focus on China and India. Retrieved from March 22, 2018. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com.