Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication, developed by Geert Hofstede. It shows the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members, and how these values relate to behaviour, using a structure derived from factor analysis.

Geert Hofstede in his research succeeded in identifying six characteristic models to measure a culture in cross-country society. The cultural dimension represents an independent preference for one of the above circumstances other countries that distinguish countries (not individuals) from one another.

  • Hofstede developed his original model as a result of using factor analysis to examine the results of a worldwide survey of employee values by IBM between 1967 and 1973. It has been refined since. The original theory proposed four dimensions along which cultural values could be analyzed: individualism-collectivism; uncertainty avoidance; power distance (strength of social hierarchy) and masculinity-femininity (task-orientation versus person-orientation). Independent research in Hong Kong led Hofstede to add a fifth dimension, long-term orientation, to cover aspects of values not discussed in the original paradigm. In 2010, Hofstede added a sixth dimension, indulgence versus self-restraint.
  • Hofstede’s work established a major research tradition in cross-cultural psychology and has also been drawn upon by researchers and consultants in many fields relating to international business and communication .
  • Dimensions of national cultures:
  1. Power distance index (PDI): The power distance index is defined as “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally”.
  2. Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV): This index explores the “degree to which people in a society are integrated into groups”.
  3. Uncertainty avoidance (UAI): The uncertainty avoidance index is defined as “a society’s tolerance for ambiguity”, in which people embrace or avert an event of something unexpected, unknown, or away from the status quo.
  4. Masculinity vs. femininity (MAS): In this dimension, masculinity is defined as “a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success”. Its counterpart represents “a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life”.
  5. Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation (LTO): This dimension associates the connection of the past with the current and future actions/challenges. A poor country that is short-term oriented usually has little to no economic development, while long-term oriented countries continue to develop to a level of prosperity.
  6. Indulgence vs. restraint ( IND ): This dimension refers to the degree of freedom that societal norms give to citizens in fulfilling their human desires. Indulgence is defined as “a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun”. Its counterpart is defined as “a society that controls gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms”.

Example: Country Comparison Indonesia and Malaysia
According to Geert Hofstede

  1. Power Distance: Indonesia has a high score on this dimension (score 78) means that the following characters are the hallmark of the style Indonesia: dependent on hierarchy, unequal rights between holders of power and not holders of power, superiors who unachievable, directive leadership, management control and delegation. Malaysia scores very high on this dimension (score 100) which means that people accept a hierarchical order in which each people have a place and need no further justification.
  2. Individualism: Indonesia, with a low score (14) is a collectivist society. This means there is a high preference for social frameworks that are very clearly where individuals are expected to conform to ideals of the communities and groups in which they are are.Malaysia, with a score of 26 is also a community collectivist. This is manifested in a long-term commitment that close to the “member” group, be it family, extended family or long term relationship.
  3. Masculinity: Indonesian value (46) on this dimension and thus masculine considered low. In Feminine countries, the focus is on “work to live”, the managers try their best to gain consensus, people value equality, solidarity and quality in their work life. Conflict resolved with 17 compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility preferred. Focus is on well-being, status is not indicated. Malaysia has a score of 50, which according to Hofstede is superior can not be determined
  4. Uncertainty Avoidance: Indonesia’s score (48) on this dimension so it can be said that in this dimension, Indonesian people have a low preference to avoid uncertainty. Malaysia score (36) on dimension so that it can be said that in this dimension, society Malaysia has a low preference for avoiding uncertainty. In a society with a low UAI maintain a more relaxed attitude where practice is more important than easier principles and deviations from norms tolerated.
  5. Pragmatism (Long-Term Orientation): Indonesia’s high score (62) indicates that Indonesian people have a pragmatic culture. In a society with orientation pragmatic, people believe that truth is very dependent on 18 situation, context and time. They show the ability to adapt traditions easily to changing conditions, strong inclination to save and invest, save and persevere in achieving results. Score low (41) in this dimension means that Malaysians have normative culture. People in such a society have a strong concern for establishing true truth; public is normative in their thinking.


  • Hofstede, G. (2003). Cultural dimensions. www. geert-hofstede. com.
  • Wu, M. (2006). Hofstede’s cultural dimensions 30 years later: A study of Taiwan and the United States. Intercultural communication studies15(1), 33.

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