United Kingdom – Cultural Leadership Style
A wise Professor named Geert Hofstede established one of the best studies that put into account a countries culture and how values in the workplace can affect them. Today I will look at a particular country that is quite similar to the United States. The country I have chosen is the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom encompasses England, Wales, and Scotland (which combined make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland. Before looking at how United Kingdom numbers there first needs to be a description of what is in fact being numbered.
Hofstede created five cultural dimensions. In each dimension whether it marked high or low can help a business determine how it should operate in that specific country. The first Hofstede dimension is the Power Distance Index. The Power Distance Index has to do with the inequality that not only is accepted but the inequality in existence between individuals of power and also to those without it. There will always be some kind of level of power in all societies and although some may be very unequal this measure simply shows the level of inequality they really are.
A low Power Distance Index would mean that power and equality are shared. Society may view them as being a society where power is well dispersed among each other. In a high Power Distance Index however there is an unequal distribution of power and people simply understand their place in the society. When it comes to the United Kingdom though the Power Distance Index is relatively low and has a thirty PDI. This number is an indicator that the ranking of a person or the status in conjunction with their inequalities are low.
When relating to more of the office structure this can be more illustrated when looking at the relationship between the superiors and the subordinates. The relationship is more casual like and not as structured and strict as in a high power distance would have been. The second Hofstede dimension is Individualism. Individualism refers to the community and all the ties that link people to them. If there is a high individualism score than there is a loose connection which only means that sharing of responsibilities are low and a lack of interpersonal connection nless of course it is between family and a few close friends. It also means that an individual’s rights are quite dominant. If there is a low individualism score than there is a strong group bond in which there is much respect and loyalty for all members of that group. The group itself would be much larger in comparison to a high score and would take more responsibility for each person making it more collective. In the United Kingdom they score a quite high one with eighty nine being there IDV number. Therefore there is a need of people’s freedoms and the valuation of their time.
They enjoy challenges and expect some sort of reward for their accomplishments. There is also more of a respect for their privacy. In this sense the United Kingdom has a nuclear family that is the more leading form of basic social structure. When you think of this on more of a business aspect having a high score would also mean that individuals would be thinking about themselves more instead of the group. High scores would promote individual success but may affect the group which should be monitored. The third Hofstede dimension is Masculinity.
Masculinity refers to the traditional roles of a male and female and how much they are valued and stuck to within a society. Having a high Masculinity score would mean that these countries have males that have high expectations to being tough and being the provider for the family as well as being assertive and strong. When pertaining to females in a high context score if they worked would be doing a profession that men did not. There would also be a distinction between men and women’s work. In a low masculinity score for a country you would see more of a balance when it came to jobs and skills.
Women would be able to have success doing the exact same thing as a man. The role of both genders just becomes a bit blur where women work equal across professions with men. Men are also allowed to be sensitive. The United Kingdom had a score of about sixty two. Therefore they try to be somewhere in the middle. Men and women can work equally with each other although a bit of gender bias may still exist. This bias may not be as apparent if the score was a fifty but because it exceeds a little more than fifty it shows that it is an underlying bias maybe just below the surfaces.
When relating this to a more business aspect in a high masculinity score the leader of the team should be a male if you wanted to obtain greater success however in a low masculinity score the team should be more balanced with a greater emphasis on skill instead of on gender. The fourth Hofstede dimension is Uncertainty/Avoidance Index. Uncertainty/ Avoidance Index refer to the degree that society members may feel while being in an anxious or uncertain situation. This can also relate to whether or not a person is comfortable or uncomfortable within a certain situation.
In a high uncertainty/avoidance index country avoidance of ambiguous situations is a must with the creations of lots of rules and regulations. There is much order with a collective type of truth that is held. Business is also very formal with the need for structure and differences are highly avoided. If there is any level of nervousness it creates high levels of emotion mixed with high levels of expression. In a lower uncertainty/avoidance index the society will enjoy surprises and the differences between individuals are highly valued.
They are actually encouraged to seek for their own truth. The United Kingdom has an Uncertainty/Avoidance index of about thirty which means in a more business aspect that they have a more informal business attitude. There is also a more concern on the long term goals and strategies instead in comparison to the more daily happenings. There is a far greater acceptance of change and this society is more prone to taking a few risks unlike a high UAI group which would avoid risk taking.
Conflicts and disagreements would also be seen as a healthy relationship amongst workers even at times superiors with different views taken into account to conclude with a better outcome. The last Hofstede dimension is Long Term Orientation. Long Term Orientation refers to how society views the long term standing of traditions and values in comparison to the short term traditions and values. In a high long term orientation score the individuals in a society would refrain from losing face and have social obligations. Traditions are valued to the extreme and family is the basis of the society.
Parents and men are seen in these societies to have far more authority than women and young adults. There are very strong work ethics and a high value is placed on the education that is obtained as well as any training. The United Kingdom has a long term orientation score of about twenty. Being that it is very low in comparison to Asian cultures this just means that much can be expected when discussing the creative expression that is in the United Kingdom’s culture. Traditions may not be valued here as much as they would be valued in other societies. This then ust sums that they would be more likely to help when it came to the business aspect of innovating any sought out plans. There would be an execution of those plans as well with the compromise that there will be full participation. In a low long term orientation there is also promotion of equality. Creativity and individualism is also a definition of a low long term orientation where what is strived for is self actualization. Although some may see the United Kingdom as being more traditional with all its associations it still promotes equality which in the end makes it different from other cultures or societies.
The five dimensions that Geert Hofstede established were one being Power Distance Index (PDI), two being Individualism (IDV), three being Masculinity (MAS), four being Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), and five being Long Term Orientation (LTO). Each one looked at in pertaining to the United Kingdom gives more of an insight on how the societies culture is and how a business can benefit better if in the United Kingdom. Although many cultural norms play a huge part in the procedure and interpersonal associations at work all these things may seem to just be. Each and every norm just comes natural to the society that you live in.
However, when you move outside your norms and are found in a new society knowing what to do or how to run a business may be very intimidating without knowing how that society’s culture may behave. Once you step foot in a foreign place everything may seem different with completely different norms that are followed. Hofstede’s five dimensions can thus be a starting position for one to use in determining how to act when comparing what the reactions might be and how that society might think about how you just acted. It would also help in evaluating your approach and the decisions that you make in an organization or business.
There may be other deviations from all the norms that may make up a society but having a guide like Geert Hofstede’s five dimensions will help to not feel completely off guard when encountering new societies. Sometimes not knowing what to expect can be very threatening and not knowing how to act or not knowing how your actions will be perceived can be scary. However, using Hofstede’s five dimensions can bring new light on any society. When looking at the United Kingdom it is quite similar to the United States so intimidations can be a little lower but taking into account every dimension will help in creating a successful business.