Communication in multinational teams. Hofstede’s dimensions
At Incora, we normally work in multicultural environment, where much attention is paid to cultural diversity. Choosing communication style and problem solving approach differs from county to country and we do our best to take into consideration all aspects.
Knowledge of cultural differences helps us to build trust and brings the relationship with clients to the next level. To understand our customers’ needs better, our managers apply Hofstede’s dimensions. They give us a better insight into customers’ culture and helps to work in their teams.
Geert Hofstede (born in 1928) is a Dutch social psychologist, well known for his research on cross-cultural groups and organizations.He has developed a cultural dimensions theory, which divides cultures according to six dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism, Uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity, Long Term Orientation, and Indulgence vs. restraint. Each dimension is expressed on a scale from 0 to 100.
This dimension shows how power is distributed among people and how the society deals with inequality. A high degree of Power Distance means a hierarchical order in which everyone has a place. In societies with low Power Distance, people expect the power to be distributed equally.
INDIVIDUALISM VS COLLECTIVISM
Individualism presupposes that people have loose social bonds, where people care only for themselves and their immediate family members. In Collectivism, “we” is more important than “I”. People value relationships with distant relatives or group members and are ready to support and take care of them as a sign of loyalty.
MASCULINITY VS FEMININITY
People in masculine society are very competitive. They value material achievement, heroism, rewards, and success. Feminine societies value cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life.
Some societies feel very uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. That’s why they comply with strict laws and rules, take safety and security measures. Countries with strong Uncertainty Avoidance index are rigid about their belief and behaviour, and are intolerant of novel or unusual idea.
Cultures with low level of uncertainty avoidance tolerate different opinions and value practice more than principles.
LONG VS SHORT TERM ORIENTATION
Societies with long term orientation value traditions and norms. Any change is viewed with suspicion, people are not willing to change. Other cultures are more pragmatic and prefer short term orientation. They are more flexible and quicker adopt innovation.
INDULGENCE VS RESTRAINT
Indulgence dimension stands for cultures that let themselves have fun and enjoy life without any restrictions. People don’t feel guilty for following natural human drives. Restraint cultures suppresses gratification of needs, which are often associated with shame or guilt according to social norms.
These dimensions are very helpful in building strategic communication with our partners. They help us to understand the emphasis of traditions and long-lasting relationship on business, how decisions are made, how to report and behave with the authority. We hope Hofstede’s dimensions will be helpful in your communication and make it more clear for your international team mates.