Six Sigma Green Belt—Define: Team Dynamics and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions


In the last post I discussed many of the issues that can impede the development of group dynamics. The last type of issue I listed was that of cultural issues. I wanted to go further into this topic in this post using the cultural dimensions developed by Geert Hofstede.

His theory is that different countries have different cultures or value-systems that be compared by looking at several dimensions along which these cultures can be said to reside. He started out with four different dimensions, and the theory has gradually grown to six of them.

Let’s take a look at each of these dimensions in turn.

Cultural Dimension

Definition and Contrasting Pairs

1. Power Distance Index (PDI) The extent to which less powerful members of organizations accept that power is distributed unequally.

High power distance countries are more autocratic, low power distance countries are more democratic.

2. Individualism (IDV) The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups.

Individualistic societies stress personal achievements, individual rights. Collectivist societies stress group affiliations and loyalty

3. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) The degree of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

High uncertainty avoidance cultures are more emotional, and control changes with rules, laws and regulations. Low uncertainty avoidance cultures are more pragmatic, and have as few rules as possible.

4. Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS) The distribution of emotional roles between genders.

Masculine cultures are competitive, assertive, materialistic; feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life issues.

5. Long term orientation (LTO) The time horizon of a society.

Long term oriented societies are oriented to the future, and are pragmatic, rewarding persistence and saving.  Short term oriented socieites are oriented to the present and the past, and are steady, rewarding reciprocity in social relations and the fulfilling of social obligations.

6. Indulgence vs. Restraint (IND) The ability to show one’s inner feelings.

Indulgent societies are those that allow the expression of one’s inner feelings to others, whereas societies that are restrained discourage this kind of expression.

For these six cultural dimensions, here are some examples of countries or regions that have high, medium, or low values in each dimension. In the case of countries, their scores are given on a ranking scale from 1 (lowest) to 120 (highest).

High

Medium

Low

PDI Latin American, Asian, African, Arab countries; Southern and Eastern Europe United States Northern Europe
IDV North America, Europe Japan, Arab countries Asia, Africa, Latin America
UAI Latin American, Germanic countries, Southern and Eastern Europe, Japan Latin America (varies from country to country) Anglo, Nordic countries, China
MAS Japan, Germanic countries Nordic countries
LTO East Asia Eastern and Western Europe Anglo countries, Arab countries, Africa, Latin America
IND Latin America, Africa, Anglo and Nordic Europe East Asia, Eastern Europe, Arab world

Knowing the difference between cultures can be the first step in avoiding cultural miscues between team members from those cultures, and eventually developing cross-cultural leadership.

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2 Responses

  1. […] image (2012). Six Sigma Green Belt—Define: Team Dynamics and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. (online) Retrieved from; […]

  2. […] Green Belt—Define: Team Dynamics and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. [online] Available at: https://4squareviews.com/2012/12/19/six-sigma-green-belt-define-team-dynamics-and-hofstedes-cultural-… [Accessed 25 Feb. […]

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