Limitations or Weaknesses of Hofstede’s Dimensions
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Hofstede has presented six dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism-Collectivism, Uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity-Femininity, Long Term Orientation-Short Term orientation, and Indulgence-Restraint. All of them require a brief description. The first index concerns the degree of inequality between the authorities and the public. Countries that have low power distance are considered to be democratic. The next dimension determines if the inhabitants of the country tend to achieve goals through their own efforts or give preference to be part of a great team. Uncertainty avoidance applies to the way people relate to uncertainties and changes in the number of rules. Gender factor is taken into consideration when it comes to being focused on the task that is typical to men but is oriented at women. If a certain society usually pays attention to the future, it is long-term oriented; if it appreciates past and present, it is believed to be short-term oriented. The last index was added much later and indicates the degree of control of desires and impulses. Conceding these dimensions deeply, I can see some disadvantages such as excessive certainty and generalizing. The concept of culture is very broad and includes many areas of life; for example, people may prefer the certainty of work, but allow uncertainty in other areas of life or vice versa. The way people behave in various situations is determined by a variety of personal reasons. Therefore, to consider a person only within the culture and adjust representatives of a nation to certain parameters is not correct. In addition, the survey was conducted by questionnaire, which may not always show the actual data pertaining to culture. In this case, there is the human factor: a participant of the research cannot evaluate himself or herself objectively. I tink that the dimension of masculinity-femininity is controversial, because the characteristics of gender are too categorical.
Power Distance in the UAE
The highest level of indicators in the UAE was showed in the distance between the government and society. This result may be caused by religion, which is an integral part of the lives of the inhabitants of the Arab countries who are Muslims. The word “Islam” is translated as “obedience” and “submission”. Therefore, the public consciousness accepts the entire power of people who have the authority. Besides, it is because the UAE is a federation of absolute hereditary monarchies; thus, the posts of prime minister and president are hereditary. From this, it follows that any other leaders of the society have no right to take a position, and it creates a huge difference between people in authority and those who obey them.
Individualism-Collectivism Dimension in Public Service Announcements (the USA and Brazil)
Let us consider the advertisements of the two countries – the United States and Brazil. In the United States, individualism index is very high, while in Brazil, it is quite low. Values and preferences of a nation are often reflected in social advertising. Therefore, we have chosen two public service announcements that were created in the United States and Brazil. The first advertisement (Hampsong) was made by The Foundation for a Better Life showing Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who convinces that you cannot abandon your dreams at any age and under no circumstances. It is an example of individualism, because the announcement encourages people to make their own choices and achieve their goals. The slogan is “She dreamed a dream. Live your dream. Pass it on”.
At the same time, Brazilian advertising authored by the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplant (Leo Burnett) has the slogan “You can do the same. Become an organ donor and save up to seven lives. Tell your family”. It depicts a firefighter who saves the whole family. Although advertisement is directed at one person and the image shows a personality, the purpose of this announcement has the impact on the public, because it is possible to save many patients only through collective help.
The Problem of Racism
Referring to the topic of racism, many people today believe that the problem is already in the past. In fact, it is just not as obvious as it was hundred years ago. At that time, almost all rights of the Blacks were violated, but now the situation is much better. Because of this, there are many people now who have their prejudices believing that the Blacks get too many benefits. They consider them to be inferior accusing them of the lack of motivation to work and the desire to get everything without enough efforts. The number of immigrants from other continents to Europe is growing, and indigenous population can be not satisfied by the fact that these people take their jobs. As a result, they face discrimination at the workplace as well as in the education and medicine sphere. There are frequent cases of racist content on websites, in advertising and stereotypical television production. This contributes to resentment and negative thoughts that, in turn, lead to action. Therefore, the results of violence, harassment, and discrimination can be even worse than enslavement. This modern problem can only be solved by the elimination of long-term vision of the inequality of different races in our minds. It is important to realize that cultural dimensions represent our uniqueness, but not inequality.