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Hofstede's cultural dimensions are important to cross-cultural understanding in the training arena. Define TWO of Hofstede's cultural dimensions and discuss how they are relevant to training and development. Provide an example of a training method that would be effective for a particular culture and explain why you believe that method would be effective, based on Hofstede's dimensions.
Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions: This theory was first developed by Geert Hofstede in 1980. This theory is used to understand and analyzing differences in cultures in different countries and find ways to do business with different cultures. In other words, this theory is useful in understanding different country cultures and the effect of different cultures in business planning.
There are six Hofstede's cultural dimensions that are listed as below:
a. Power Distance Index.
b. Individualism Versus Collectivism.
c. Masculinity Versus Femininity.
d. Uncertainty Avoidance Index.
e. Restraint Versus Indulgence.
f. Short Term Versus Long Term Orientation.
Now we will discuss two important Hofstede's cultural dimensions with examples:
a. Power Distance Index (PDI): Power Distance Index is one of the most important dimensions suggested by Hofstede in his research about different cultures. This dimension explains the degree of inequality existed and accepted between people. As per this dimension, less powerful people accept that power is divided unequally. In this dimension, the inequality and difference in power between people are two components to understand and analyze cultural differences between countries. This is further divided into two sub-parts,
i. High Power Distance Index: High PDI refers to the society in which inequality and power distribution between members are accepted. In this type of culture, the organization will have a hierarchical distribution of power, a centralized decision-making process, and high bureaucracy between members. The member will have the ideal of their actual place in the system. In this type of culture high rank and officer level, people are respected and followed. Saudi Arabia and China are the best examples who have high power distance index culture among society members.
ii Low Power Distance Index: Low PDI refers to the society in which inequality and power distribution between members are less. Organizations that follow low PDI will have a flatter organizational structure, decentralized decision-making process, and more participation between members. In this type of organization, the seniours and employees are considered as equal. For example, Israel and Denmark have a low PDI index.
Importance in training and development: It is very important to understand the power distance index for the training and development process for employees. Countries that have high PDI, there would be a difference in powers allocated to seniors and employees. Employees will be trained in such a way that employee follows their seniours rules and guidelines. The boss's decision will be the final decision and every employee has to follow these decisions. The employee has no power to attend the decision-making process.
b. Individualism Versus Collectivism (IDV) explains the relative importance of individual or group interests. This dimension is useful in understanding and analyzing the degree to which members are integrated into groups, and the priority level of fulfilling interest between an individual or the whole group. That means this concept is useful in understanding the mutual ties between an individual with a certain group. This also further divided into two sub-parts:
i. A high IDV explains fulfilling of more individual interest in the group. That means lesser interpersonal connections between members of the group and individual will take lesser responsibility for other's actions and work. In this type of culture, the member will give more importance to achieving personal goals rather than thinking about the society members. In this kind of organization or culture, people will have respect for self privacy and will have an expectation of individual rewards. For example, the USA is considered the most individualistic country in the world where people will think about themselves rather than family or society.
ii. A low IDV explains the better importance of achieving the goals of the group rather than attaining personal goals. In this type of culture, there would be a large amount of loyalty and respect for each member's goals in the communities. People with low IDV will have more interest in achieving the group's goals first that means personal goals will be attained automatically. In this type of culture, the members of the society will give importance to building skills and become master in something. Wisdom is more important in this type of culture. For example, India is one of the best examples that have a more collectivist nature.
Importance in training and development: For example, the USA is one of the most individualistic country in the world. A person belongs to the USA will give importance to individual benefits and rewards rather than thinking about the whole society. So a manager who is responsible for training and development will have to use monetary benefits/ motivation for a USA person to make him work effectively towards attaining organizational goals.
Hofstede's cultural dimensions are relevant to organizational development. A manager should understand and analyze different cultures and adopt different training and development methods for their employees. A person belongs to different cultures will have different opinions and work behavior when he is working in different places around the world. A USA person will be motivated by monetary benefits so if he is given more monetary benefits will work effectively towards attaining organizational goals.
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