Compare and Contrast Two Countries Using Hofstede’s Six Dimensions

Option #1: Compare and Contrast Two Countries Using Hofstede’s Six Dimensions

ORG 300 – Applying Leadership Principles

Colorado State University – Global Campus

Option #1: Compare and Contrast Two Countries Using Hofstede’s Six Dimensions

Geert Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture has been used to help model the cultural drivers of counties around the world. After reviewing the material presented in this weeks lecture and choosing two countries, The United States of America (U.S.A.) and Japan, to compare and contrast in the Country Comparison section of The Hofstede Center website, I have outlined both countries Six Dimensions. I will explain how the different cultural drivers affect each country and that, although the United States and Japan are both economic powerhouses, the factors that drive their cultures are very different especially in the workplace.

Comparing Scores

The Six Dimensions of Culture are Power Distance, Individualism, Indulgence, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long-Term Orientation. The U.S.A. scored, out of 100, a 40 in Power Distance, a 91 in Individualism, a 68 in Indulgence, a 62 in Masculinity, a 46 in Uncertainty Avoidance, and 26 in Long-Term Orientation. Japan scored 54, 46, 42, 95, 92 and 88 respectively. The most drastic difference is seen in Long-Term Orientation and the biggest similarity is seen in Power Distance.

Power Distance measures how comfortable people are with being involved in a countries leadership and having a say in how power is distributed (Hofstede, 2001). It describes how comfortable members of the society, who are not as powerful, accept that power is not distrubted evenly to all (Hofstede, 2001). The biggest similarity in the workplace is that both countries cultures believe strongly that anyone can get ahead by working hard and applying themselves to better their situation (Hofstede, 2017). The way this hard work, or lack there of, is communicated from management to employees is different as well. For example when an American manager is giving criticism, they will do so face to face with the employee, whereas in Japan such feedback is done through one of the employees coworkers as to ‘save face’ (Knowledge@Wharton, 2016).

Individualism, as opposed to collectivism, is the measure of how individualistic the people and organizations of a country tend to be. A country scoring high in this category puts individual needs above group needs and a country scoring low in this category works best in a group and sacrifices individual needs for the welfare of the group (Hofstede, 2001). One of the biggest differences when comparing the two countries is in the Individualism dimension, with the United States coming in at a high 91 and Japan at a moderate 46 (Hofstede, 2017).

The dimension of Indulgence points to the degree to which individuals in a culture will participate in self-gratifying acts. It is the measure of how much self-gratification is influenced by societies norms. A country scoring high here has a culture that believes, more so, that an individual is in control of their day-to-day decisions and activities. A country scoring low here points to a culture that believes that society plays a larger role and must not act solely out of self-interest (Hofstede, 2001).

The dimension of Masculinity is another where the United States and Japan differ. A high rating in this category shows a country whose culture exhibits more masculine traits, such as independence. Whereas a lower score represents a country whose culture is more feminine, with traits such as emphasizing quality of life (Hofstede, 2001). Because of the United States high ranking in masculinity, women tend to work more and longer hours like their male counterparts (Gallant, 2013). This is one major way that the workspace differs in Japan compared to the USA. Japans low ranking points to a culture where quality of life is stressed more. Japanese work culture consists of long hours, more than what women are expected to do, and that makes it harder for the women there to climb the corporate ladder (Hofstede, 2017).

Uncertainty Avoidance is determined by how a countries culture is influenced by rules and regulations (Hofstede, 2001). Japan has one of the highest ranking in the world here at 92, much higher than the USA, at 46. This is attributed to the fact that Japna has a constant possibiity of natural disatesrs (Hofstede, 2017). In the workspace, Japan is more risk averse than the United States with a score of 92, compared to the US score of 46. (Holfstede, 2017). Along with Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance is at an average level in the United States compared with the rest of the world. This indicates that a culture of less regulation and rules is acceptable and that everything is not trying to be controlled (Gallant, 2013).

Long-term orientation, as opposed to short-term orientation, is a countries cultural preference for making decisions in the here and now, or with a more forward thinking mentality. A country scoring high here emphasis tradition and makes decisions with a long term perspective, whereas a low score here signifies a country more open to making dcisions based on current circumstances (Hofstede, 2017). Long- Term orientation is the most drastic difference in scores out of all the cultural dimensions.


In conclusion, the United States and Japan are more different than they are similar. They differ by more than 25 percent in every dimension except Power Distance. They have an incredible 60 percent difference in Long-Term Orientation. Although the mentality that the harder you work the better you do resonate in both countries culture, every other dimension has stark differences that is represented by their scores.


Countries – Geert Hofstede. (2017). Retrieved 10 November 2016, from

Gallant, Melany (2013). The Business of Culture: How Culture Affects Management Around the

World. Halogen Software Talent Management Blog. Retrieved 10 November 2016, from


Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and

organizations across nations (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

How Cultural Factors Affect Leadership – Knowledge@Wharton. (2016). Knowledge@Wharton.

Retrieved 10 November 2016, from


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