Cultural Dimensions: Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory With Six Dimensions

Cultural Dimensions: 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 behavior, using a structure derived from factor analysis. Culture is a pattern of values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors,  symbols, and norms, shared by a group of people.

Six categories of cultural dimensions are:

  1. Individualism – collectivism
  2. Power distance
  3. Uncertainty avoidance
  4. Masculine – feminine values
  5. High context – lower context
  6. Monochronic time – Polychronic time
1. Individualistic/ Collectivism: Prefer to act independently or interdependently.
  • Individualism: Individualistic members will work alone and seek credit for their own work. Value individual achievement and freedom. US, Australia, Canada.
  • Collectivism: Collectivist members will work in groups and try to help each other. Collectivist members may prefer face-to-face discussions instead of virtual discussions. Emphasize group identity. Asian and Latin American countries.

Recommended Adaptations: Encourage collectivism. Make sure that individualistic members understand that they are part of a larger group that needs their input and participation to achieve a shared goal.

2. Power distance: Extent of equity or status among members.
  • High power: Inequity between high- and low-status members. Mexico, India, Singapore.
  • Low power: Equity and interdependence among group members. New Zealand, Denmark.

Recommended Adaptations: Establish clear norms for member behavior. To what extent will members participate in decision-making? How will specific tasks be assigned? How and by whom will members be evaluated? Who will serve as leader(s)?

3. Uncertainty avoidance: Extent of comfort in uncertain situations.
  • High uncertainty: Prefer rules, plans, and routines. Japan, Belgium, Greece.
  • Low uncertainty: Comfortable with ambiguity and unpredictability. Jamaica, Hong Kong

Recommended Adaptations: Provide clear instructions to the high uncertainty members while giving low uncertainty members opportunities to function unaided.

4. Masculinity – Feminists: Concern for self and success versus a focus on caring and sharing.

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

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

Recommended Adaptations: Give high-context members time to review information and react; demonstrate the value o going beyond “just facts” to low-context members.

5. High context – low context: Directness of communication is specific circumstances.
  • High context: High context members consider background, nonverbal cues, and interpersonal history when communicating. Messages are implied and context-sensitive. Japan, China, Greece, Mexico
  • Low Context: Low-context members want facts a clear, direct, communication. Messages are explicit, factual, and objective. England, the US, and Germany.

Recommended Adaptations:  Give high-context members time to review the information and react; demonstrate the value of going beyond “just facts” too 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. North America 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. Kenya, Argentina, African American.

Recommended Adaptations: Encourage monochromic members to take responsibility for time-sensitive tasks while accepting that polychromic members will vary Punctual based on the nature and importance of a situation or relationship.

Listening Style: People-Oriented, Content-Oriented, Action-Oriented, and Time-Oriented Listening

Listening Style or PACT Listening: People-oriented listeners, content-oriented listening, action-oriented listening, and time-oriented listening. Four types of Listeners.

The Listener Preference Acronym PACT represents the four types of listening preferences presented. The four types of listening style are People-oriented listeners, content-oriented listening, action-oriented listening, and time-oriented listening.

Four types of Listening Style:

  1. People-oriented listeners
  2. Action-oriented listeners
  3. Content-Oriented Listeners
  4. Time-Oriented Listeners
  1. People-oriented listeners

Listeners demonstrate people-oriented preferences when they show care and concern for others’ feelings, emotional and try to find areas of common interest. Listeners are very Sensitive to others. They try to find areas of interest between themselves and the speaker—telling a personal story to calm down members who may be upset and angry. These kinds of listeners may also become distracted by others’ problems. They may engage in too many side conversations during meetings.

For example, an audience is crying for listening to the pathetic history of Mother Teresa.

Strategies for Communicating with People-Oriented Listeners: Use emotional examples and appeals, Use “we” rather than “I” in conversations.

2. Action-oriented listeners:

Listeners demonstrate action-oriented preferences when they jump ahead to get the point quickly. They give clear feedback concerning expectations. They also encourage others to be organized and concise. Less likely to pay attention to the relational communication dimension of a message

Strategies for Communicating with Action-Oriented Listeners: Keep main points to three or fewer, Speak at a rapid but controlled rate.

3. Content-Oriented Listeners:

Listeners demonstrate content-oriented preferences when they test or evaluate facts and evidence. They pay more attention to technical information rather than general information. Content-Oriented Listeners enjoy receiving complex or challenging information. They are very careful to evaluate information before forming an opinion about the information by asking questions.

For example, an audience just raises his hand and asks the speaker that may we have an example regarding this issue.

Strategies for Communicating with content-oriented Listeners: Use two-side arguments when possible.

4. Time-Oriented Listeners:  

Listeners demonstrate time-oriented preferences when they let others know how much time they have to listen or tell others how long they have to meet.

For Example: Manage and save time, Set time guidelines for meetings and conversations, Discourage wordy speakers, Give cues to others when time is being wasted.

Strategies for Communicating with Time-Oriented Listeners:  Ask how much time the person has to listen

Types of Listening: Discriminative, Comprehensive, Empathic, Analytical, & Appreciative Listening

Types of Listening: Discriminative Listening, Comprehensive Listening, Empathic Listening, Analytical Listening, Appreciative Listening.

The Essence of LISTENING
  • Listening involves hearing and interpreting.
  • Active process of listening: Listening is the ability to receive, select, interpret, understand, evaluate, respect and appropriately respond to the meaning of another person’s spoken and nonverbal messages.
  • We spend an enormous amount of time listening (40 – 70%), speaking (20 – 35%), reading (10 – 20%), writing (5 – 15%).

Types of Listening: 

Here are five types of listening

1. Discriminative Listening (Differentiate Sounds)

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)

1. Discriminative Listening:

It is the most basic type of listening, where different sounds of words are recognized without understanding the meaning. Discriminative listening is fundamental listening. Discriminative Listening means the interpretation of sounds rather than the meaning of words and ideas. It involves hearing only the sound rather than listening to the meaning of the message.

For Example, The sound may anger, happiness, or other forms, People start to learn this listening form the womb of mothers.

2. Comprehensive Listening:

Comprehensive Listening is the understanding of the meaning of the message, and little more of seeking the meaning of the message. It is the initial process of meaning of the messages, thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Audiences use knowledge and vocabulary to understand the speaker.

For example, what brand name comes to your mind when talking about soft drinks? Most of them answer Coca Cola or Pepsi. Based on cognitive skill.

Discriminative Listening versus Comprehensive Listening
Discriminative Listening Comprehensive Listening
Translating sounds into words and sentences Making meaning out of words and sentences
Assuming meaning from tone and body language Using knowledge and vocabulary to understand the speaker
Hearing but not really listening Listening rather than just hearing

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. This listening needs good close attention, discriminative listening, comprehensive listening and deep connection with the emotion of the speakers.

For example, Audiences are 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. It is related to critical thinking and analysis. 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. Sometimes, audiences argue with others for better understanding.

5. Appreciative Listening

Appreciative listening is a 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 favorite song, poetry and seeking the stirring words of the speech.