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Requirement 2

Critical Differences among team members on Hofstede Dimensions



Power Distance: 


As with most of our examples, our group was evenly split with respect to how power distance manifests itself in our respective cultures. Both American men experienced a low power distance, citing a desire to “bridge the personal gap” and to establish “emotional connection” to the team. Though they acknowledge the existence of a power imbalance, they also tend to bridge that imbalance. This is in keeping with power distance score for the United States of 40 found on the Hofstede Center's Culture Compass web page (2014).


Both women held significantly different views. Our Indian member said “I have a high respect for higher authority and find it somewhat difficult to talk to people in high positions.” In a similar vein, our Syrian member said “Most of the time, they [people in positions of lower power] wouldn’t be involved in any type of decision making and usually the concept of suggesting new ideas doesn’t exist for these people.” The high power distance views held by these members reflect their culture’s view of power distance, with Syria and India scoring 80 and 77 respectively according to the Hofstede Center (2014).



Individualism vs. Collectivism:


The examples for this dimension were divided between American men who identify strongly with individualism and the women who are from an Indian and Syrian culture that relate more to collectivism. The men value individuals who show initiative, make choices, and work well independently. This is exemplified by a comment from one of the men regarding a class project who said his group had no “interest in doing any of the work, so, over the span of five weeks, I completed the entire project without their input.” American culture ranks very high in individualism dimension which according to the Hofstede Center (2014) scores 91 out of 100.


On the other hand, in Indian and Syrian culture, people are strongly tied to their nuclear and extended families. The women on the team confirmed this point. According to one of the women “all major decisions, for example like marriage, need to be approved by my direct family, my extended family and sometimes even by people who are so close they are practically family.“ The Hofstede Center (2014), gave Syria and India a score of 35 and 48 respectively on the individualism dimension. According to Hofstede Center (2014) individuals in this space expect their close relatives to take care of them in exchange for loyalty. Loyalty could have a broader significance in India and Syria where the culture is influenced by Islamic values/Arab culture which includes strong sense of personal loyalty according to Caswell (2007).



Indulgence vs. Restraint:


There are two aspects to consider when looking at the results of indulgence vs. restraint in our group. The answers were split by sex and culture. America is an indulgent country. As one of the Americans said “my wife and I will go out to dinner with friends and we always eat far too much and drink much more than we should.” This attitude is consistent with the prediction that a more indulgent life style tends to make for a more satisfying family and social life, see DeVito (2013, p41). DeVito also pointed out that indulgent people tended to feel more in control of their lives.The Americans’ responses are in alignment with Hofstede as America has a score of 68 out of 100 according to the Hofstede Center (2014).


India scores well into restraint with 26 score of indulgence dimension, being one of the most restrained countries according to the Hofstede Center (2014). The Indian team member commented that “I don’t drink no matter how much pressure I get because it is not culturally/religiously accepted. I don’t spend a lot of money on things that I find too indulgent and also stay away from things my culture views as inappropriate or wrong such as late night partying or traveling by myself just for fun.” These comments in regards to spending and behavior do fall inline with behavior reflective of that score. Unlike the Americans who are indulgent based on personal preference, the Indian member identified with restraint due to social or religious values, traditions, beliefs and constraints or in other words social acceptance.


The team member from Syria noted two significant points regarding her culture. In terms of restraint, she said “my culture in general is a fairly restraint culture, we do care a lot about what people are going to say.” She also noted the role of gender in terms of restraint saying, “there’s huge amount of differentiating between girls and guys. Guys are always allowed to do anything they want and stay late at night however they want but not girls.”  The Hofstede Center (2014)  currently has no data on Indulgence for Syria, so our Syrian team member gave it a score of 10.



Masculinity vs. Femininity: 


One of the most surprising findings in our examples is that the split between masculine and feminine alignment did not happen on the basis of gender. The Americans were split between a feminine and masculine. It is important to note that both Americans are not from the same generation. It is possible that an older generation would relate more with masculine as a younger or specifically Generation X align more feminine. This actually opposite of findings by the Hofstede Center (2014). Their study suggests that men generally tend to be more feminine as they get older. This split is hard to explain with respect to the Hofstede Center (2014). America scored 62 on the masculinity dimension.


Equally surprising was the dimensional difference between the Indian member, who tended toward the masculine and the Syrian member, who tended toward the feminine. According to the Syrian woman, “we would support cooperation, caring for the weak and quality of life more than material rewards for success.” The Indian woman had a different experience with this dimension saying, “I want to work my way up in the workplace so that I can one day hold an executive position in IT..” These results are perplexing as again, both Syrian and Indian cultures are seen as masculine scoring 52 and 56 respectively according the Hofstede Center (2014). This may also be a result of deep seated cultural changes taking place on a global scale.



Uncertainty Avoidance: 


Uncertainty avoidance was consistent across all cultures represented by our group. Though there were differences, they were generally considered to be unimportant. This is corresponds to the description by the Hofstede Center (2014), which ranged from 40-60. We consider this dimension to be unimportant for our subsequent analysis.



Time orientation: 


The time-orientation division fell along the lines suggested by the Hofstede Center (2014). The Americans and the Syrian members all had a strong short-term time orientation. The Syrian woman put it most clearly saying “we feel like you never know what’s gonna happen in 10 years, let’s just enjoy the moment.” The examples are consistent with the Hofstede Center (2014) results of 30 for Syria and 26 for America.


The Indian team member has a long-term time orientation. Citing that she often forgoes “things that have short term beneficial gain for things that have long term beneficial gain,”  which is an archetypal for a long-term time orientation. India scores a 52 for this dimension, which puts it in the cultural center, but by comparison the Americans and the Syrians tend more toward the lower quarter, so this represents a significant difference.

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