Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory. Also, Definition and Example of Six Cultural Dimensions.

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication. It was developed in 1980 by Dutch management researcher Geert Hofstede. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory shows the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members. It also shows how these values relate to behaviour, using a structure derived from factor analysis. Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty, masculine-feminine, high context-lower context, also monochronic- polychronic. Therefore, it is also known as the six cultural dimensions theory.

This cultural dimensions theory is very useful to understand and change the work attitude of the organization, group, as well as team members. The cultural conflict is also known as communication noise or barriers.

What is Culture?

Culture is a set of values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours,  symbols, and norms shared by a group of people in a society or community.

Hofstede’s six Cultural Dimension

Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty, masculine-feminine, high context-lower context, and, also monochronic- polychronic. It is also known as Hofstede theory.

Hofstede’s six Cultural Dimensions are
  1. Individualism – collectivism (Act independently or interdependently)
  2. Power distance (Extent of equity or status among members)
  3. Uncertainty avoidance (Extent of comfort in uncertain situations)
  4. Masculine – Feminine (Self success versus caring and sharing)
  5. High context – lower context (Directness of communication in specific circumstances)
  6. Monochronic time – Polychronic time (People organize and value time)
Hofstede's cultural dimensions - Hofstede's 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory. Hofstede's 6 Dimensions are Individualism– collectivism, Power distance, Uncertainty, Masculine–feminine, High context-lower context, Monochronic- polychronic.
Figure 1: Hofstede’s cultural dimensions – Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimension Theory
Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
1. Individualistic/ Collectivism

(Prefer to act independently or interdependently)

Individualism: Individualistic members like to work alone and seek credit for their own work. They value individual achievement and freedom. For example people from the US, Australia, and Canada.

Collectivism: Collectivist members like to work in groups and try to help each other. Collectivist members may prefer face-to-face discussions instead of virtual discussions. Emphasize group identity. For example, people from Asian and Latin American countries.

Recommended adaptations

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory encourages collectivism. Make sure that individualistic members understand that they are part of a larger group, therefore, need their input and participation to achieve a shared goal. Tuckman’s theory discusses more on how to avoid conflict during working together in a team or group.

2. Power distance

(Extent of equity or status among members)

High power: Inequity between high- and low-status members. For example people from Mexico, India, and Singapore.

Low power: Equity and interdependence among group members. For example people from New Zealand and Denmark.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, establish clear norms for member behaviour. To what extent will members participate in decision-making? How will specific tasks be assigned? How and by whom will members be evaluated? also Who will serve as leader(s)?

3. Uncertainty avoidance

(Extent of comfort in uncertain situations)

High uncertainty: Prefer rules, plans, and routines. For example, Japan, Belgium, Greece.

Low uncertainty: Comfortable with ambiguity and unpredictability. For instance, Jamaica, Hong Kong

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory, provide clear instructions to the high uncertainty members while giving low uncertainty members opportunities to function unaided.

4. Masculinity – Feminists

(Concern for self success versus a focus on caring and sharing)

Masculine: Masculine-oriented members focus on the task and personal success. Assertive, decisive, dominant. For example Japan, Venezuela, Italy.

Feminine: Feminine-oriented members focus on member relations and respect for others. Nurturing, cooperative. For example, Sweden, Norway, Denmark.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, persuading people to work together to achieve independent as well as interdependent goals.

5. High context – low context

(Directness of communication in specific circumstances)

High context: High context members consider background, nonverbal cues, and interpersonal history when communicating. Messages are implied and context-sensitive. For example, Japan, China, Greece, Mexico

Low Context: Low-context members want facts a clear, direct, communication. Messages are explicit, factual, and objective. For example England, the US, and Germany.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory,  give high-context members time to review the information and react; demonstrates the value of going beyond “just facts” very low context members.

6. Monochronic Polychronic

(How people organize and value time)

Monochronic: Monochronic members focus on one task at a time and work hard to meet deadlines. Adhere to plans, schedules, and deadlines because time is valuable. For example, North American and Northern European.

Polychronic: Polychronic members are frequently late, do many things at once, are easily distracted and tolerant of interruptions. Not obsessed with promptness or schedules because time is not highly valued. For example, Kenya, Argentina, African Americans.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory, encourage monochromic members to take responsibility for time-sensitive tasks. However, it is believed that polychromic members will vary Punctual based on the nature and importance of a situation or relationship.

Discriminative, Comprehensive, Empathic, Analytical & Appreciative Listening

Discriminative Listening, Comprehensive Listening, Empathic Listening, Analytical Listening, and Appreciative Listening are the 5 types of listening. Examples of the Five Types of Listening. Difference between Discriminative Listening and Comprehensive Listening.

Listening Definition

Listening means hearing with interpreting the message intentionally to provide feedback. It is an active process of giving attention to hear the sounds. The active listening process has six steps such as receiving, selecting, interpreting, understanding, evaluating, and responding to the message. Therefore, listening is the ability to receive, select, interpret, understand, evaluate, and appropriately respond to the meaning of another person’s spoken and nonverbal messages. There are many types of listening that people use to communicate with each other.

In communication, people spend enormous time to listen(40 – 70%), speaking (20 – 35%), reading (10 – 20%), writing (5 – 15%). People listen most of the time in communication by using different types of listening strategies. Although there are many types of listening in communication, the author is going to discuss the basic 5 types of listening for example discriminative, comprehensive, empathic, analytical, and appreciative Listening.

Types of Listening

The 5 Types of Listening are Discriminative Listening, Comprehensive Listening, Empathic Listening, Analytical Listening, and Appreciative Listening. 

The 5 Types of Listening
  1.  Discriminative Listening (Differentiate the sounds of the voice)
  2. Comprehensive Listening (Understanding the meaning of message)
  3. Empathic Listening (Understanding the feeling and emotions of the speaker)
  4. Analytical Listening  (Evaluate the meaning of message based on evidence)
  5. Appreciative Listening  (Seeking certain information)
5 Types of Listening are Discriminative Listening, Comprehensive Listening, Empathic Listening, Analytical Listening, and Appreciative Listening. 
Figure 1:  5 Types of Listening- Discriminative, Comprehensive, Empathic,  Analytical, &  Appreciative Listening

Discriminative and Comprehensive Listening

1. Discriminative Listening

Discriminative listening means only interpreting the sound of the message rather than understanding the meaning of the message. It is also known as fundamental types of listening, therefore, people start to learn discriminative listening from the womb of mothers. This listening style involves hearing only the sound rather than listening to interpret the meaning of the message. It is the most important basic type of listening, where different sounds of words are recognized without understanding the meaning.

Example of discriminative listening

For Example, a Canadian person named Jon sits in Kualalumpur international airport in Malaysia. At the same time, two Malaysian people are speaking in the Malay language beside him. Actually, Jon does not understand what they are talking about, but he distinguishes that who is male and who is female based on the tone of voice. Based on the sound, he also identifies their age. Thus, discriminative listening helps to identify the age, gender, anger, happiness based on the sound.

2. Comprehensive Listening

Comprehensive Listening means understanding the meaning of the message rather than interpreting only the sound of the message. It is an active process of seeking the meaning of the message. Actually, It is the initial process of meaning the verbal and nonverbal messages, thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Listeners use knowledge and vocabulary to understand the meaning of the speaker’s message. It is not only the meaning of the words but also something more than that.

Listeners encounter obstacles or communication barriers to effective listening. These barriers or obstacles distract the listener to understand the meaning of the message. They are also known as the communication noise to effective listening. The 5 types of noises or barriers to effective listening are physical barriers, physiological barriers, psychological barriers, factual barriers, and semantic barriers.

Example of Comprehensive Listening

For example, Ela is listening to her lecturer’s speech who is giving a lecture in the English language. She understands almost everything about her lecturer’s message. She is able to understand the meaning of the message. Thus, Ela is practicing the comprehensive type of listening.

What brand name comes to your mind when talking about soft drinks? Most of them answer Coca-Cola and Pepsi based on cognitive skills. It is also an example the comprehensive listening that is more than understanding the meaning of the message.

Difference Between Discriminative & Comprehensive Listening
Discriminative Listening
Comprehensive Listening
Discriminative listening refers to translating sounds into words and sentences. In contrast, comprehensive listening means making meaning out of words and sentences rather than translating only.
It is all about assuming meaning from the tone and body language. On the other hand, using knowledge and vocabulary to understand the speaker’s speech.
Actually, discriminative listening is a process of hearing but not really listening. In contrast, comprehensive listening is a style of listening rather than just hearing.
For example, identifying who is a boy and who is a girl based on the sound of the voice. For example, understanding what is the boy and girl talking about.
3. Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is understood as the feeling and emotions of the speaker sometimes the listener can actually feel what the speaker is feeling. Therefore, this listening needs good close attention, discriminative listening, comprehensive listening, and deep connection with the emotion of the speakers.

Example of Empathic listening

For example, the Audience is thinking about the same things that the speaker thinking.

4. Analytical Listening

Analytical Listening means focusing on evaluating and forming the appropriate meaning of the message based on evidence. So, It is related to critical thinking and analysis. However, It helps to evaluate if speakers are right or wrong, logical, or illogical. Analytical listeners understand why they accept or reject another member’s ideas and suggestions.

For example, Speakers are showing a statistical report to persuade audiences, although audiences argue with others for better understanding.

5. Appreciative Listening

Appreciative listening is the type of listening behavior where the listener seeks certain information which they will appreciate and meet his or her needs and goals.

For example, listening to a favorite song, poetry, and seeking the stirring words of the speech.