Hofstede defined power distance dimensions as maintaining strict rules that establish the types of relationships individuals have with one another. Power represents the level of inequality and equality, as well as the level of hierarchy and upward mobility, within a cultural group. In regard to leadership, power dimension can also represent a culture’s tendencies toward authority, on one end, and one’s orientation toward laissez-faire leadership, on the other. Hofstede found that low-power-distance cultures emphasized equality and minimized power and status. The following is an example of this:
Susan is the president of a large manufacturing business. Although she is in a position of leadership and authority, she takes a “hands off management approach” to her employees, and in meetings provides a participatory, democratic engagement process.
Susan’s dimension of power is illustrated in Figure 3.6.