Measure the differences

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Vision of Time, Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation

The measurement of cultural differences makes sense when it is done in comparative terms, and not in absolute terms. In the following table we show some comparisons between countries with respect to the four dimensions (some of the more extreme scores are highlighted in bold). To create the table, indicators (indices) were produced that measure certain behaviors and attitudes on the four variables:

  • power distance index (PDI).
  • individualism index (IDV)
  • masculinity index (MAS)
  • uncertainty avoidance index (UAI)

Tab. 9 – Scores of some countries with respect to the parameters of cultural difference (Hofstede), scale from 0 to 125

CountryPOWER DISTANCE (Low/High)INDIVIDUALISM COLLECTIVISMFEMININITY MASCULINITYUNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE (Low/High)
Australia36906151
Canada39805248
Indonesia78144648
Portugal632731104
Norway3169850
Jamaica45396813
Greece603557112
Japan54469592
Sweden3171529
USA40916246
Venezuela81127376

The scores allow us to confirm some common stereotypes, such as the fact that Latin American countries are predominantly male-dominated cultures, Norway is very little, that the US is individualistic, or that the Japanese are a very structured society. Without getting tired of repeating it, these classifications speak in probabilistic terms, and nothing prevents you from finding Venezuelan companies headed by female managers, or collectivistically managed US companies, or extremely competitive and aggressive Norwegian managers, and other major deviations from cultural stereotypes.

Vision of time, Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation

Time Orientation distinguishes cultures based on the propensity to reason and plan in the long run, vs. an orientation “to the day”, and is related to dimensions such as spiritualism vs materialism, the religious concept of life, knowing how to live in meditative phases or only in active phases. Hofstede’s studies also distinguish between monochronic and multi-chronic time. Monochronic time has the following characteristics

  • the tendency to do one thing at a time – one after the other, in a linear way, a long-term orientation, dependence on agendas and calendars;
  • in monochronic time, precision is generally rewarded;
  • time is often scarce, we are often late. On the other hand, multicronic time is a multi-tasking, non-linear time, a short-term orientation, a life lived without an agenda and calendar, precision is something suspicious or at most irrelevant, the sense of time is cyclical (as in Hinduism ).

In the ALM method there is a tendency to distinguish the culture of the times by using in a disjoint way the evaluation of single psychological times (monochronic) or the condition of living in multiple psychological times (multicronicity), concentration on the task (monotasking) or application on several tasks (multitasking).

Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

For further information see:

intercultural negotiation working communication

Masculinity vs Femininity

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Uncertainty Avoidance

This dimension has given rise to much controversy, because it is considered sexist and discriminatory. Hofstede’s will, on the other hand, was simply to analyze a gendered behavior as a cultural category, such as “caring” (taking care of children), deriving from the biological history of the female human race, vs. the prototypical male role in archaic societies linked to defense, competition, hunting and fighting.

By identifying phenomena related to gender, we can see nations such as Japan where there are strong expectations of roles, men are expected to differ from the behavior of women, an “in-charge” role. countries like Norway, or Sweden, the dimension is more feminized, which means that the roles between men and women are much more fluid and interchangeable in social organizations.

Tab. 7 – Differences between high masculinity and high femininity cultures

FemininityMasculinity
The roles between genres are interchangeableThe roles between the sexes are very distinct
Nutrition, careAssertiveness, aggression
Equality, solidarity, quality of life, quality of workCompetition, performance, success, money
Managers use intuition and seek consensusManagers are authoritarian and assertive
Humility and modesty are important in both sexesThe man must be tough, the woman tender
Conflict resolution occurs through compromise and negotiationConflict resolution occurs through disputes, fights and fighting (also figuratively)

The vision of the role of women is certainly a still strong variable that differentiates some cultures (where, for example, women are prevented from appearing in public with their faces uncovered) from others where a woman is encouraged to assume roles of visibility and responsibility on the social scale. As social roles become less distinct, the masculinity-femininity scale is increasingly independent of genetic sexuality, and becomes above all a “way of being”, an existential condition, a way of living and being, which can be adopted or modified without changing one’s sexual identity.

The avoidance of uncertainty, the tolerance of ambiguity. Distinguishes the need for clear rules, procedures, well-identified work responsibilities (high degree of avoidance of uncertainty), from the ability / condition to act in conditions of uncertain or imprecise rules, without well-identified responsibilities or in climates of organizational chaos , or in poorly structured environments (low degree of uncertainty avoidance). This variable is related to the “need for structuring” and the “tolerance for ambiguity” which varies greatly in cultures, or between social classes, and even between families, and therefore also between negotiators of different cultures.

Tab. 8 – Differences between cultures with high and low uncertainty avoidance

Acceptance of uncertaintyAvoidance of uncertainty
Uncertainty is a normal feature of lifeThe uncertainty present in life is a constant threat that must be fought
Low consciousness of time, fluid timeHigh awareness of time, programmed time
The day is accepted as it isThe day must be structured
People appear calm, relaxed, calm, sometimes sluggish or lazyPeople appear active, busy, emotional, aggressive
Low stress, well-beingHigh level of stress, subjective experience of anxiety
What is different is curiousWhat is different is dangerous
Ambiguous situations are experienced without problemsFear of what is unknown
Risk acceptanceFear of risk
The rules must be kept to a minimumStrong emotional need for detailed rules
What is new is sought and deviations from the norm are acceptedInnovation is resisted, new or deviant ideas encounter strong obstacles
If the rules are not followed, they must be changedIf the rules are not respected, guilt arises
The rules are few and genericThe rules are many and precise
Citizens can protestProtests must be suppressed
Tolerance and moderationConservation, extremism, law and discipline
Nobody can be blamed for their ideologies and ideas. ToleranceDifferent ideas (religious, political, social) are pursued. Fundamentalism and intolerance
Students feel comfortable in open-ended learning situationsStudents feel comfortable in structured learning situations, they look for the “right answer”

As can also be seen from the last difference (high or low structuring of a training or school intervention), interculturality can also occur in the same country, between a trainer who uses experiential and active techniques, in the face of a traditionalist culture and structured mindset. Or again, in the didactic and training situations carried out between different countries and cultures. Interculturality also opens the way to the existence of other “ways of being”, of new ways of living life, and can be very therapeutic.

The real problem of cultural psychology is to recognize how much cultural absorption has affected one’s personality, and to regain possession of a different way of being, be it less “anxious” or “more dynamic”, with the awareness that it is not possible to “have everything ”, Be busy and relaxed at the same time. Intercultural communication, seen in the ALM method, poses the challenge of “internal multi-existentiality” – the new ability to live in different states of the personality by absorbing the best of different cultures – eg: knowing how to be lively and dynamic in certain moments, relaxed in others, and includes the ability to avoid existential and cultural drag, eg: living a vacation with anxiety and over-planning stress, or on the contrary not knowing how to live in a system that requires deadlines and planning, when necessary.

It can be said that the intercultural dimension opens the doors to new frontiers of the human being, who (at least in Western societies) for the first time in history can choose to adhere to a culture or not, can change their way of being and of to live.

Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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