Let’s start with a definition of Long Term Orientation, so we’re all on the same page:
“A national culture attribute that emphasizes the future, thrift and persistence.“
It’s likely that you can find more definitions, but this one makes sense and is compact. The way this definition is phrased is from a relatively high score on this dimension.
In This Article
- 0.1 Why Is Long-Term Orientation So Difficult to Understand?
- 0.2 The Origins Of Long-Term Orientation
- 0.3 Characteristics of LTO
- 0.4 Scores of LTO
- 0.5 Geographical Borders
- 0.6 Finally
- 1 If you’re interested in learning more why not get one of these books?
Why Is Long-Term Orientation So Difficult to Understand?
During cultural awareness training, I hardly ever go over this dimension.
I usually stick to the first four main dimensions of culture (power distance, individualism, masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance). Why? Because, in my experience, long-term orientation does not add much practical information or applicability when it comes to understanding different cultures.
Only in very special circumstances, do I address this dimension, or where it really makes sense (I once did a workshop in Tokyo, with a large group of Japanese and a large group of Westerners; there it made sense!).
Here’s a typical long-term orientation riddle example, that usually leads to a lot of discussion and confusion:
“If a tree falls in the Forrest, and there is no one there, nor is it being recorded or broadcast in any form or shape. Does it make a noise?”
- A typical low long-term orientation scoring answer could be: “Yes, of course, it makes a noise. It will always make a noise…”
- A typical high-scoring long-term orientation answer could be: “I don’t know…”
The Origins Of Long-Term Orientation
When prof. Geert Hofstede first constructed his first four dimensions of cultural differences, he recognized that he too was influenced by his own Dutch culture, which he could not take out of the “cultural equation“.
Indeed the Canadian Michael Bond (working in Hong Kong at the time) re-ran Hofstede’s questionnaires (this was in the mid-70s) and found significant differences in certain answers to questions by people with an Asian background (=culture), leading to the addition of this 5th dimension Long Term Orientation or LTO.
Characteristics of LTO
A number of characteristics of relative high scoring countries are:
- persistence (perseverance)
- ordering relationships by status
- the possibility of having many truths (depending on time and context)
- having a sense of shame
On the other side of the dimension (low score) these characteristics:
- personal steadiness and stability
- short-term orientation; short feedback cycles
- respect for tradition
- reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts
- Absolute truths (e.g. law of gravity)
Scores of LTO
Below is a list of countries and their respective scores on this dimension. One reason for me to leave this dimension out when giving a cultural awareness training is not all scores are known in all countries.
- Australia 31
- Bangladesh – 40
- Brazil – 65
- Canada – 23
- China – 118
- Germany FR – 31
- Great Britain – 25
- Hong Kong – 96
- India – 61
- Japan – 80
- Netherlands – 44
- New Zealand – 30
- Nigeria – 16
- Pakistan – 00
- Philippines – 19
- Poland – 32
- Singapore – 48
- South Korea – 75
- Sweden – 33
- Taiwan – 87
- Thailand – 56
- USA – 29
- Zimbabwe – 25
The “geographical border” of relatively high and low scores on this dimension runs right between India (61) and Pakistan (00); then upward around India, China/Russia.
A strong correlation with this is the dominating religions. Whereby Pakistan is predominantly Muslim (One God, One Book) and India is predominantly Hindu (multiple Gods, not clearly one book). Following the “lines of Religion” is also a good indicator of low and high scores on this dimension.
If you’re puzzled by reading all this, you’re probably not alone.
If you’re not raised within an Asian context all of the above doesn’t mean much to you (as it doesn’t to me). And that’s OK.
The first four, or four main dimensions of culture are plenty enough to explain most (business) phenomena when it comes to cultural differences and diversity.
An article about examples of long-term orientation can be found here.
Here’s a specific article about doing business in Asia.
Examples of the dimension hierarchy or power distance can be found here.
Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
Call Direct: +32476524957
European Office (Paris) Whatsapp: +32476524957
The Americas (USA; Atlanta, GA; también en Español): +1 678 301 8369
Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
If you're looking for an Engaging, Exciting, and Interactive speaker on the subject of Intercultural Management & Awareness you came to the right place.
Chris has spoken at hundreds of events and to thousands of people on the subject of Cultural Diversity & Cultural Competence.
This is What Others Say About Chris:
- “Very Interactive and Engaging”
- “In little time he knew how to get the audience inspired and connected to his story”
- “His ability to make large groups of participants quickly and adequately aware of the huge impact of cultural differences is excellent”
- “Chris is a dedicated and inspirational professional”
In addition, his presentations can cover specific topics cultural topics, or generally on Cultural differences.
Presentations can vary anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours and are given World Wide.
Book Chris now by simply sending an email. Click here to do so.
Read more about what Chris can do for you.
- Percentage of People Rating a Presentation as Excellent 86% 86%
- Rating the Presentation as Practical 89% 89%
- Applicability of Chris' presentation 90% 90%
About Peter van der Lende
Peter has joined forces with Culture Matters.
Because he has years and years of international business development experience joining forces therefore only seemed logical.
Being born and raised in the Netherlands, he has lived in more than 9 countries of which most were in Latin America.
He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) with his family.
You can find out more at https://expand360.com/
Or find out what Peter can do for you here.
- 168 Heather Hansen and the link between language and culture - 23 January 2023
- 167 Allen Morrison on China - 19 December 2022
- 166 Douglas Herbert. France24 international commentator - 17 October 2022