Why the (possible) resignation of Mr. Berlusconi will not change the Italian situation.

Berlusconi

At the time of this writing he has not yet resigned. Mr. Silvio Berlusconi.

And even if he would or does, it will not make any difference to the Italian situation. The situation of (government) corruption, the general chaos in the country and the overall debt Italy is currently in.

Why not?

From a practical standpoint the reason is that there is very little “better” alternative. As a good Roman friend of mine once told me, when I asked him why (on earth) he voted for Berlusconi, his answer was quite frank and direct “it does not make a difference whom you vote for, all the other candidates are as corrupt as he is…”. From a cultural standpoint we can explain this prediction using 2 dimensions of professor Geert Hofstede’s culture model: Powerdistance and Individualism.

First of all, power distance is closely linked to corruption in general. The yearly publication of the corruption perception index clearly shows a positive correlation to power distance and corruption. Italy has a score of around 50 on this dimension, versus for instance Sweden with a score of 30.

The second dimension involved here is Individualism. Now, most countries in the world that score high on power distance, score low on individualism (=collectivistic). There are a few exceptions, and Italy is one of them (score of around 71 on individualism; but… only in the North of the country. The south does indeed score collectivistic)

The consequence of the combination of high score on power distance and a high score on individualism is that people (in general) will accept (not per sé respect) their boss (=government in this case), but in addition hold a very strong personal agenda (=individualism). This means that when their boss (again the government) is paying attention, people will generally do what they need to do. But, if the government is not paying attention, people will let their own agenda prevail. Resulting in the current state of affairs in the country.

And since every Italian politician also has his own personal objective (usually getting rich fast), the future will remain bleak.

What’s your opinion about this?

About: Chris Smit

I'm passionate about Cultural Awareness Training. I have been Teaching Culture for the last 12 years. I have had the fortunate opportunity to hold lectures and workshops on this subject World Wide. It has made me understand my own culture much better (Dutch), and appreciate the differences around the world. I have a Master Degree in Organisational Psychology and have lived in the USA, the Netherlands and, currently, in Belgium. Do get in touch with me should you want to ask me anything on the subject. I promise I'll get back to you personally. Thank you! Chris Smit

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