Hofstede Model

Hofstede's Model of Organisational cultures. An article outlining Hofstede's five factors that directly influence an organisations culture.

Table of contents

Hofstede Model [edit]

Hofstede, also known as Geert Hofstede, proposed that national and regional factors contribute to the culture of the organization and eventually influence the behaviour of employees in the organization.

Hofstede identified five factors which influence the culture of a workplace.

  1. Power Distance

    Organization A

    Here the power is distributed evenly among all employees, regardless of their position. Every individual received equal benefits and rights irrespective of their level in the hierarchy.

    Organization B

    In contrast, within organization B those in higher positions will enjoy special treatment from the management and the team leaders will be delegated more responsibilities as compared to the other team members.

    Power distance index refers to the differences in the work culture as per the power delegated to the employees. There are some organizations which believe in appointing team leaders or team managers who are responsible for their respective teams and have the challenge of extracting the best out of the members. The team members also have to respect their team leaders and work as per their orders and advice.

    However in some organizations, every employee is accountable for his own performance. No special person is assigned to take charge of the employees. The individuals are answerable to none except for themselves. Every employee gets an equal treatment from the management and has to take ownership of his /her own work.

  2. Masculinity vs. Feminity

    This refers to the effect of differences in male and female values on the culture of the organization. Organizations where male employees dominate their female counterparts will follow different policies as compared to organizations where females have a major say in the decision making process of the organization. Male employees would be more aggressive as compared to the females who would be more caring and softhearted. The responsibilities also vary as per the sex of the employees. The female employees are never assigned something which requires late sittings or frequent travellings.

  3. Individualism

    There are some organizations which strongly rely on team work. Here individuals with a common interest come together and work in unison as a team. These organizations believe that the output is always more when individuals exchange their ideas, discuss things among themselves to come out with innovative ideas. In such a scenario the employees share a healthy relationship and take each other’s help when required.

    However certain organizations follow a culture where individuals do not believe in working as a single unit and prefer working individually.

  4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index

    This factor addresses the ambiguity of unfamiliar or unusual situations presented to employees. The index refers to the tolerance level of employees within comfortable and uncomfortable situations. Organizations as a whole aim to reduce these types of situations for their employees and also ensure they are prepared for these types of challenges.

  5. Long Term Orientation

    In organisations that focus on the longer term relationship with employees, typically those employees work hard to live up to the expectations of management. Employees who notice the long term investment in the relationships often feel more attached to the company/ organisation, and focus on longer term goals. On the contrary, organisations that see employees as short term and do not invest in the relationships will likely experience a reduction in long term planning and prioritisation of short term objectives, but will leave when another better opportunity arises.