Cultural Awareness and the Second Primary Dimension of Culture

Let’s start with a definition of Cultural Awareness:

“Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values.”

Source: Collings Dictionary

There are four primary dimensions of culture:

  1. Hierarchy
  2. Loyalty
  3. Goal Orientation
  4. Predictability

The second dimension is called Individualism by Professor Geert Hofstede. When a country/culture scores a high score on this dimension, it is called individualistic; when it scores low on this dimension, it’s called… Collectivistic.

See the table below for some scores.

  Hierarchy Loyalty Goal-Orientation Predictability
USA 39 90 63 45
Guatemala 89 16 35 99
India 74 48 65 43
France 65 75 49 88

As you can see the USA is very individualistic, while Guatemala is very (the most) collectivistic.

What Does This Mean For Your Cultural Awareness?

Do you leave each other alone and respect each other’s privacy, or is the neighbor more of a neighborhood whereby you might even keep in touch with neighbors from a long time ago?

From a western perspective it is one of the most difficult dimensions of Hofstede to comprehend; What is Individualism versus collectivism?

Professor Geert Hofstede even wrote a book on it Individualism and Collectivism: Theory, Method, and Applications. In more simple (and his own) words it is explained in this short video below.

I hope that after watching this video your cultural awareness has increased a bit and that you’ve learned some.

Want to see more explanations by Professor Geert Hofstede, check out this video on Hierarchy as well.

Cultural Awareness and Individualism

An article on task orientation and relationship orientation can be found here.

A video of Prof. Geert Hofstede can be found here. In this video, he explains the importance of being culturally competent.


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