Revealing Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and Chinese Culture

Revealing Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and Chinese Culture

I. Introduction
In the study of international business and cross-culture encounter, we have to face a series of culture differences. And, Hofstede’s mentions that culture is not a synergy, but is more likely a conflict among the world. Culture differences are usually a disaster. By the way, more and moer scholars agree with it, because cultural factors relate to ideology and values. Obviously, sectarian and ethnic problems are main reasons to cause wars and conflict between countries, even though, there are still other reasons, as competition for land, energy. So, many scholars are focusing on this field. Especially for Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, this divides cultural dimensions of a country into five areas for evaluating a country’s cultural issues in accordance with these five areas by rating and scoring (Laura, 2011, pp. 38-54). He pointed out that comparative analysis of different countries can come to cultual differences. But, the problem is can Hofstede Dimensions can accurately describe the features of Chinese culture, among the countries, only according to five standard concepts. However, this paper will reveal it.

II. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and Chinese Culture
To understand a country’s management, it can not only rely on surface knowledge about this country, but also its deep culture to have a complete concept to take the hint. So, Hofstede try to explore each country as China through Cultural dimensions model. This model includes Individualism-Collectivism, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity and Long-term Orientation (Laura, 2011, pp. 38-54). In order to verify the applicability of Hofstede’s cultural Dimensions in China, this paper will illustrate theory of Hofstede’s Culture Model with the actual situation in China.

2.1 Individualism-Collectivism
Hofstede has indicated that culture of individualism reflects a selfish side of people who only take care of their own interests and free to choose their own actions in individualistic society (Laura, 2011, p. 41). Respected collectivism in society, people must consider the interests of others and has a spiritual obligation and loyalty for their organisation (Xiao, 2009, pp. 127-128).

2.2 Power Distance
Leadership, decision-making and centralisation are interrelated in organisation management. In high power distance cultures, people often tend to rely on their leaders/managers (Xiao, 2009, p. 128). So, they adopt centralised decision-making and make decisions, and subordinates accept and implement (Xiao, 2009, p. 128). These are more often in Asian countries. In contrast, some of European countries have low power distance between managers and subordinates that allow them to participate in making decisions which are closely related with their work (Xiang, 2008, pp.125-127).

Individualism correspond high power distance, and collectivism is related to lower power distance. Hofstede has inducted Chinese management culture is individualism and high power distance (Hofstede, 2007, p.416; Hofstede, 2009). It seems like correct. But, high power distance is from father-child relationship in traditional China (Xiao, 2009, p. 128). This is ‘respect and admiration culture’ in their relationship, as ‘ruler and subject’ (Xiao, 2009, p. 128). And, Western though often interprete high power distance as unequally (Hofstede, 2007, p.416; Hofstede, 2009). In China, it never mean absolute obedience that is guidelines or guider (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). In Chinese history, leader often encourages subordinates to actively participate researching, analysing and planning, but the decision-making is only belong to leader (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). Here, leader is playing a role of guider. The process of decision making is completed quickly under the leader supervision (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). After making decisions, the subordinates must obey and implement the decisions. All of these are based on respect and admiration between good leader and loyal followers. This avoids the longer time to reach decisions and inefficient implement. Because of incompetent management in some areas in China and narrow theory can’t explain well on special case across the world, all of these are leading some Western researchers misunderstand Chinese management culture. Hofstede’s individualism-collectivism and power distance dimensions are narrow interpretation of the situation in China. It is not difficult to find that Hofstede is only relying on the basis of resources, his experience and narrow conceptions to construct the individualism and power distance modeles.

2.3 Uncertainty Avoidance
People, from different cultural backgrounds, have different views and understands for uncertain behaviour, situation or prospect in social life (Xiao, 2009, pp. 128-129). Hofstede (2007, p.418) believes, ‘uncertainty avoidance is that society members feel fear in the front of uncertain structured situation, which cause stress or force people look forward future predictability.’ These are reflected in people’s needs for written and unwritten rules.
Hofstede explains that uncertainty avoidance tend to affect activities of an organisation by affecting attitude to face unstructured situations (Hofstede, 2009). Under unstructured situations, high uncertainty avoidance is going to minimize these situations by strict rules, regulations, procedures and practices, and comply them. And, China, in Asia countries as Japan, should be high uncertainty avoidance compared to some Western Countries as America and Denmark that are low uncertainty avoidance societies (Patrick, 2009, p.130). China and Japan don’t encourage adventure, and keep trying to avoid unstructured situations by implement ‘total quality management’ for operations standardisation as well as ‘lifetime employment’ (Nankervis, et al., 2010, pp.528-572; Patrick, 2009, p.130). These are not consistent with Hofstede’s evaluation of China. In Hofstede’s researching data, it shows that China has 37 of uncertainty avoidance index which is similar with America (43), and different from Japan (72) (Hofstede, 2009; Xiang, 2008, pp.119-120). Further more, people, in China as the high uncertainty avoidance society, can’t easily accept advices, can’t complete the superior authority by themselves, and are lack of ability to self-manage and work independently compared with America (43) and Denmark (23) (Hofstede, 2009; Xiang, 2008, pp.119-120). So, Hofstede’s remarks on Chinese culture are biases that can not exactly match Chinese Culture features of uncertainty avoidance. Until now, the research reflects that people from different countries have very different thinking, feeling and action even dealing with the most basic social issues. These lead to the different between theory and practice.

2.4 Masculinity-Femininity
According to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, people in the societies of masculinity and femininity have different perceptions on different cultures (Laura, 2011, pp. 40-42). He indicates that roles of gender are very clear in masculine societies (Laura, 2011, pp. 40-42). Men should be self-confidence, determination, and materialistic. And, women are modest, gentle and pursuing on quality of life (Luthar, and Luthar, 2001, pp. 268-284). The culture of masculinity emphasises on equity, competition and job performance. In contrast, in feminine societies, gender roles are usually overlap (Laura, 2011, pp. 40-42). Both of men and women are not only modest and gentle, but also focusing on life quality (Luthar, and Luthar, 2001, pp. 268-284). People resolve conflicts by reconciliation and negotiation in organisation (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). The culture of femininity is equality and solidarity. From Hofstede’s study, he shows that China is medium masculinity. It is focusing on harmony, moral and ethical, as well as, respected individual dominance (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). These descriptions are acceptable for Chinese characteristics.

Long-term Orientation
Long-term orientation focuses on the future values that emphasis on the future consideration with a dynamic view, and pay attention on saving, thrift and reserves (Xiao, 2009, pp. 127-128). Short-term orientation concerns about immediate interests, respects tradition, regards social responsibility (Xiao, 2009, pp. 127-128). In the operation management, it will consider the short-term profit rather than long-term one (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). Hofstede has clear indicated that China is long-term orientation. China has huge population who consume a huge amount of nature resources, and the quality level of population is lower than developed countries (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). According to China’s current situation, it has to make a long-term measures to integrate department functions to formate a high efficient-saving government (Melissa,, 2008, p.107). However, Hofstede’s long-term orientation is consistent with China’s actual situation.

III. Conclusion
Hofstede in cross-cultural management research has played a pioneering role that is a very profound impact to later scholar researches (Melissa,, 2008, p.107). Especially, from the business management, Hofstede’s view is useful (Melissa,, 2008, p.107). But, his research is still incomplete. There are lack of relevant data in mainland China as well as Russia and many Eastern European. His philosophy is based on surface knowledge. He is ignoring the Chinese traditions and the values of Confucian culture’s impact on China. It leads to misinterpret Chinese Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism-Collectivism. Through, general observation and analysis, China is a medium masculinity and long-term orientation that are acceptable to describe characteristic of Chinese culture (Kim, Wright, & Su, 2010). However, world’s culture towards multi-cultural integration. With the economic globalisation, it will press processes of the multi-cultural integration which gradually eliminate the estrangement and misunderstanding (Laura, 2011, pp.53-55). If there is no cultural exchange, the consequences could be disastrous. So, it can not only understand a race or a nation through knowledge of books.

Nankervis, A., Compton, R., Baird, M., and Coffey, J., 2010, Human Resource Management: Strategy and Practice, 7th edn, Cengage Learning, Sth Melbourne, pp.528-572.

Journal Report
Kim S., Wright P.M. and Su Z., 2010, Human resource management and firm performance in China: A critical review, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 48(58).
Hofstede, G., 2007, "Asian management in the 21st century". Asia Pacific journal of management, 24 (4), p. 411-420.
Patrick, R., 2009, 21st Century Japanese Management: New Systems, Lasting Values.(Book review), Pacific Affairs,82 (1), p.130.
Laura, A.M., 2011, Relation between big five personality traits and Hofstede's cultural dimensions, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 18 (1), pp. 38-54.
Xiao, S., 2009, The cultural different between China and America in Guasha from Hofstede’s Cultural View, Journal of Suihua University, Foreign Language Department of Zhanzhou Normal College, 29 (6), pp. 127-129.
Xiang, Z., 2008, Cultural Dimensions and Framing the Internet in China : A Cross-Cultural Study of Newspapers' Coverage in Hong Kong, Singapore, the US and the UK, The International Communication Gazette, 70 (2), pp. 117-136.
Melissa, N., 2008, Managing mexican workers: implications of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, Journal of International Business Research, 7 (2), p.107.
Luthar, H., and Luthar, V., 2001, Using Hofstede's cultural dimensions to explain sexually harassing behaviours in an international context, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13 (2), pp. 268-284.

Internet Resources
Hofstede, G., 2009, Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions, Geert Hofstede’s personal Website, viewed 15 Sep. 2011, .