Developed by Geert Hofstede, the Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Theory looks at how a society impacts a persons behavior. While working for IBM Europe, Hofsted surveyed employees across the company and looked at the impact of national values on employees. Based on the survey results, Hofstede identified four different dimensions that appear across different cultures.
The first dimension is the Power distance Index (PDI). The PDI looks at the identification of a hierarch in a society. The power of the hierarchy comes from the followers or lower level citizens. The second dimension is Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV). This dimension is defined as “the degree to which people in a society are integrated into groups.” This dimension is about looking at the “I” vs. “me” attitude in a society. The third dimension is the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). The UAI looks at how a society deals with unknown or ambiguity. The fourth dimension is Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS). A society can lean toward being masculine or feminine based on the value system of the culture. The fifth dimension is Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation (LTO). This dimension looks at how a culture views the past and the future. A society that scores high in this dimension easily adapt while those that score lower tend to have lower development. Finally, the last dimension is Indulgence vs. Restraint (IND). This dimension looks at happiness within a culture.
This theory is important for people to be aware of when they are communicating across different cultures. Awareness can be beneficial in international negotiations, international management, and international marketing.