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Hofstede’s 5 Cultural Dimensions

24 February, 2015 - 17:30

The Power Distance Index (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country's society. The Individualism (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective, achievement and interpersonal relationships. The Masculinity (MAS) focuses on the degree the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control, and power. The Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) focuses on the level of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within the society. These dimensions are measured on a scale from 0 to 100, include 75 countries or regions, and scores are determined by “high” or “low” rankings within each category.

Cultural values determine the way people think and behave. International marketers must understand many subtle differences that may affect the way their marketing is made and perceived in foreign markets. One medium in which many such differences reside is language. Because language is a reflection of culture, some words cannot be cross-culturally translated, which implies that it is often better to have local copywriters write and translate marketing and advertising content to avoid cultural misunderstandings. Because of this phenomenon, global advertising, which is a main component of global marketing, often relies on symbol recognition to convey meaning in their ads, instead of words.

The approach to discussing culture, as it relates to global marketing, in most textbooks is a three-pronged approach. First, the concept of culture is defined, second, the various components of culture are identified, and third, vivid examples of cultural differences are provided. The dire consequences of firms not taking these differences into account are invariably described, as adherence to local culture is considered one of the most important, if not the most important, components of success in international marketing (Hofstede, 1996).