Home Societal / Political Cross Cultural My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

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The dimensions may be described as follows. “Power distance” relates to the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. “Individualism” versus its opposite, collectivism, concerns the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. “Masculinity” versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders. Finally, “uncertainty avoidance” deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. Later, he added a fifth dimension of “long-term orientation”, referring to values such as thrift and perseverance (Minkov & Hofstede, 2011). Recently, he added a sixth dimension “indulgence versus restraint”, referring to the allowance or suppression of needs like enjoyment of life and having fun (Hofstede, n.d. b). However, both “long-term orientation” and “indulgence versus restrained” were studied only in part of the world and not in all cultures relevant in the present study. Therefore, I will expand in this study only on the original four dimensions.

Hofstede’s work was replicated in many settings and his findings were used in many academic fields, mostly in quantitative research. He suggested that his work may be base for qualitative research as well, comparing value dimensions in two or more cases. He cited a host of research studies that used his indices and linked the dimensions to an immense number of variables. Among these variables are: attitudes toward a range of topics, satisfaction with personal or national issues, subjective well-being, emotional expression, conflict handling, and preference for certain pass-times (Hofstede, 2001).

One could compare the cultural dimensions as suggested by Hofstede with those suggested by Schwartz (on the country-level). Conceptually, we could postulate that Hofstede’s dimension of individualism-collectivism is comparable with Schwartz’s dimension of autonomy versus embeddedness. It seems that Hofstede’s dimension of power distance is comparable with Schwartz’s dimension of egalitarianism versus hierarchy. Furthermore, Hofstede’s dimension of uncertainty avoidance could be related to Schwartz’s dimension of harmony versus mastery. Perhaps also Hofstede’s dimension of masculinity-femininity is related to harmony versus mastery.

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