Power Distance explained by the words of Professor Geert Hofstede.

Power Distance is one of the easiest dimensions to understand in when it comes to understanding cultural differences from Professor Geert Hofstede’s 4 primary dimensions of culture is.

Sometimes it is attributed to as much as 80% of all the “difficulties & frictions” people experience when working internationally. Why is that?

This generally has to do with the different styles of management preferred by cultures scoring high on this dimension and cultures scoring low. High scoring cultures are used to delegating limited tasks and inspecting if the work has been done. Low scoring cultures do not necessarily inspect the work that has been done and they expect that you will come to them if something is unclear or you need help.

Should you want to read more on PDI on Wikipedia, click here. In this short video, Professor Geert Hofstede explains the essentials of one of his dimensions called Power Distance.

How is Power Distance Spread Around the World?

To give you an idea, more than 80% of the world population has a relatively high score on this dimension (high is >60 points). Think of countries like China, India (that’s already 2.5 billion people), the rest of Asia. The whole of Central and South America and the whole continent of Africa (except the white South Africans).

But also France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, and Spain score high on this dimension.

If you’re interested in seeing more video explanations by Professor Hofstede, check out this post in Individualism and Collectivism. Other articles that you might find interesting are:

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