Chapter 6 of “Culture, Communication, and Cyberspace” deals with the concept of the five dimensions of culture. The chapter presents a study with examples of statistics driven in the area of dimensions of culture from several societies.
I have found some interesting trends that can be seen from these statistics.
The higher the power distance (40 for USA, 80 for China, 74 for Singapore, and 77 for India), the higher the Long-term Orientation (29 ,118, 48, 61).
The higher the Individualism (USA 91, China, 20 Singapore 20, India, 48) the higher the Uncertainty Avoidance (46, 30, 8, 40).
The data used is very limited, yet the correlations could result in some interesting hypothetical conclusions.
1) Cultures where people feel powerless and in a sense not in control of their own cultural fate (High Power Distance), such as China, where people accept that the Communist party will pave the path for the country, also tend to be able to view the world with a Long-term Orientation.
- Does that mean that taking people out of governance and putting their lives in the hands of an institution lends them more time to worry about different aspects of life such as loosing face and looking towards the future?
2) Cultures with a higher focus on the individual, such as the US, are more likely to need certainty in their lives. Since the culture is based on the individual and not on the collective, then the individual does not feel like a part of a strong group. The individual cannot handle uncertainty and hypothetical prospects due to the fact that he does not ave the group’s support. It is much easier for a culture like China, where the group comes before the individual, to face adversary and uncertainty because they have strength and reassurance in the collective.
- Does this mean that capitalism and democracy lead to an increase in uncertainty avoidance? Does the Western way of life actually affect a culture so drastically as to influence its key dimensions? Will the globalization of Western cultural ideals increase the dimensions of individualism and uncertainty avoidance in countries such as China and India?
For now, we can speculate on what the answers are, but only time will truly tell. It is fascinating to live in such a capricious, fast moving modern world.