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My Cultural Values

Cultural values are defined as the commonly held standards of what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable, etc., in a community or society (Cultural values, n.d.). In this journal installment we are going to cover what how my cultural values rack and stack based off my Individual Cultural Value Scale (CVSCALE) results. We are then going to bump my results up against those of America’s cultural values and see what similarities and differences there are. In order to do the aforementioned though, we have to understand what the CVSCALE is and why it is important, and to do this we have to first dive into Geert Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural values, which is where we will begin.

Hofstede’s Five Dimensions of Cultural Values

Hofstede’s five-dimensional measure of culture has been by far the most prominent and prevalent method for measuring demographic, geographic, economic, and political societal indicators since its inception in 1980 (Yoo, Donthu, & Lenartowicz, 2011, p. 194). In order to create his work Hofstede carried out his all-inclusive cultural study with IBM employees between ’67-’73 across70 countries (National culture, n.d.). Confining his work within IBM created a smaller control group that also allowed for greater scrutiny of the results. People tend to think that based off your line of work you think and act a certain way, which is far from true. I personally have met several “nerds” (people in the IT and medical fields) who were also some of the most skilled marksman and also some of the most savvy battle buddies with it comes to close-quarters battle (CQB). Getting back on track, while Hofstede’s metric is a staple in cultural research; it is on the national level, not the individual level, which is a minor setback when trying to decipher the wants and/or needs of a select few. This is where the CVSCALE comes into play.

Individual Cultural Value Scale

The CVSCALE is supposed to take all of the key points utilized by Hofstede on a national level, and scale them down to meet the needs of the individual. Several attempts prior to the CVSCALE have been made to capture at the individual level what Hofstede has at the national level but fell short because they lacked the depth and psychometric properties of all five dimensions (Yoo, Donthu, & Lenartowicz, 2011, p. 196-197). Based off the readings and the CVSCALE I was provided, I have to say that I find there to still be disparities between Hofstede’s five dimensions and the CVSCALE, which will come to light as we move through each section below. My completed CVSCALE can be found in Appendix A for referencing while reading this paper.

Power Distance

Based off the CVSCALE provided to me my Power Distance (PO) total is only five out of thirty-five. I personally cannot stand hoarding information, I see little to no value in keeping people in the dark on things that directly impacts them. I also know from firsthand experience that when decisions are made in a vacuum by higher ups things like morale, productivity, and employee buy-in fall which leads to dissention, disciplinary issues, and in sometimes employee’s quitting out of frustration. Additionally, leaders that implement a high PO having difficulty successfully negotiating because of their overwhelming need to compete instead of cooperate and complete (Ramping up your skills for cross-cultural negotiation, 2010, p. 60).

Hofstede’s finding for America as a whole in this category show that I am not alone when it comes to loathing PO. The difference here lies in that my feelings towards the issue are based on common courtesy and ensuring mission success, whereas America as whole dislikes PO because it hinders people’s ability to be self-sufficient, which we will delve into more a little later (Country comparison, n.d.).

Uncertainty Avoidance

Based off the CVSCALE provided to me my Uncertainty Avoidance (UN) total is 35 out of 35. To me this portion of the CVSCALE and Hofstede’s five dimensions should be called communication, because that is what it refers to. Lack of meaningful communication i.e. guidelines, feedback, detailed instructions, etc. leads to things like chaos, shortcuts, errors, laziness, etc. There is a major difference between telling someone “move that box over there” and “take this box and place it on the third shelf of the shelving unit in the corner with the label facing out.” Communication like that of the later removes any uncertainty of what the task is and is just good business.

According to Hofstede, America as a whole scored low in this section, but the way it is explained in the reading differs greatly from the questions contained within the CVSCALE. The CVSCALE focuses on task understanding, rules, standardized procedures, etc. but the reading describes this section as “the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known” (Country comparison, n.d.). This massive disparity between the two creates an inability, in my opinion, to properly correlate results between the two matrices.

Collectivism

Based off the CVSCALE provided to me my Collectivism (CO) total is 25 out of 42. As a senior leader, I believe that group success trumps individual success and rewards because I see them as interconnected. If the group is successful then as a result the individuals that make up the group will be successful and at the very least receive some form of praise. However, it is entirely possible for and individual to be successful while the rest of the group isn’t, so for me success as a whole is more impactful and more important than success as an individual. This is where I greatly differ from the culture of America as a whole.

As Hofstede put it, America is “one of the most individualist cultures in the world” (Country comparison, n.d.). As I alluded to earlier, I think this is based off convenience in that we as American’s are always on the move, so even in the work setting most of us have to become self-sufficient, taking away from the importance of group success. I see this more and more in the military and I find it very concerning because our sub-culture of camaraderie and esprit de corps, our military collective based on shared values and common goals, is being replaced by individualistic tendencies (Earley & Gibson, 1998, p. 266).

Masculinity

Based off the CVSCALE provided to me my Masculinity (MA) total is 12 out of 28. This is another category where the disparity between the CVSCALE and Hofstede’s five dimensions creates an inability, in my opinion, to properly correlate results between the two matrices. On the CVSCALE the questions are worded in a fashion that speaks directly to a belief that men are better than women (should one agree with the statements). However, Hofstede uses this section to mean either high competition or success, i.e. masculine, or high caring for others and quality of life, i.e. feminine (Country comparison, n.d.). I can see where there might some confusion though, because it is implied in the writing that caring for others is more womanly than manly, but ask anyone who’s talked someone off the ledge, or patched up a wounded battle buddy, caring for people isn’t feminine at all, its human.

Long Term Orientation

Based off the CVSCALE provided to me my Long Term Orientation (LT) total is 29 out of 42. I gave myself low marks here because I tend to be impulsive and focused more on the here and now than on the future. This is evident by the fact that saving for retirement didn’t come into my sight picture until the twilight of my military career. With that though, I find that yet again there are inconstancies between the two matrices utilized in this lesson, which makes creating a conclusive comparison impossible. The CVSCALE speaks more to saving money, planning ahead, and choosing success over fun but Hofstede utilized this section to speak more to either maintaining traditions or looking towards future ideas (Country comparison, n.d.).

Final Thoughts

My overall thoughts upon completing this journal installment is that there is still some work that needs to be done in order to create true harmony between Hofstede’s five dimensions and the CVSCALE. Additionally, I have gained some insight into how my collective and “feminine” nature can make me successful in this growingly individualistic culture. For starters, when it comes to cross-cultural negotiating I have a leg up on because my intentions are not win-lose, but win-win (Earley & Gibson, 1998, p. 266). Additionally, I have found that no matter the team I lead or am a part of, even though focus is placed on collective success, a byproduct is individual success and reward, and as a leader I know how to make people see this and understand this.

Conclusion

In this journal installment we learned the definition of cultural values. We then covered Geert Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural values and how they influenced the development of the CVSCALE. We then covered how my cultural values racked and stacked based off my CVSCALE results and bumped them up against those of America’s cultural values and discussed the similarities and differences between my cultural values and those of America as a whole. Lastly, we covered some additional insights into how feel my collective and feminine nature can be successful in America’s individual culture.

References

Country comparison. (n.d.). Hofstede Insights. Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/the-usa/

Cultural values. (n.d.). Business Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/cultural-values.html

Earley, P., & Gibson, C. (1998). Taking stock in our progress on individualism-collectivism: 100 years of solidarity and community. Journal Of Management, 24(3), 265–304. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.519.702&rep=rep1&type=pdf

National culture. (n.d.). Hofstede Insights. Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/models/national-culture/

Ramping up your skills for cross-cultural negotiation. (2010). Leader to Leader, 2010(56), 60–61. doi:10.1002/ltl.417

Yoo, B., Donthu, N., & Lenartowicz, T. (2011). Measuring hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural values at the individual level: Development and validation of cvscale. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3/4), 193–210. doi:10.1080/08961530.2011.578059

Appendix A: My CVSCALE Scores

The CVSCALE: Five-Dimensional Measure of Personal Cultural Values

Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement. There are no right or wrong answers—just give us your honest opinion. Score 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree)

1

People in higher positions should make most decisions without consulting people in lower positions.

1

People in higher positions should not ask the opinions of people in lower positions too frequently.

1

People in higher positions should avoid social interaction with people in lower positions.

1

People in lower positions should not disagree with decisions by people in higher positions.

1

People in higher positions should not delegate important tasks to people in lower positions.

5

Power Distance (PO) Total

7

It is important to have instructions spelled out in detail so that I always know what I’m expected to do.

7

It is important to closely follow instructions and procedures.

7

Rules and regulations are important because they inform me of what is expected of me.

7

Standardized work procedures are helpful.

7

Instructions for operations are important.

35

Uncertainty Avoidance (UN) Total

3

Individuals should sacrifice self-interest for the group (either at school or the workplace)

3

Individuals should stick with the group even through difficulties.

5

Group welfare is more important than individual rewards.

7

Group success is more important than individual success.

3

Individuals should only pursue their goals after considering the welfare of the group.

4

Group loyalty should be encouraged even if individual goals suffer.

25

Collectivism (CO) Total

1

It is more important for men to have a professional career than it is for women.

1

Men usually solve problems with logical analysis; women usually solve problems with intuition.

3

Solving difficult problems usually requires an active, forcible approach, which is typical of men.

7

There are some jobs that a man can always do better than a woman.

12

Masculinity (MA) Total

3

Careful management of money (thrift)

7

Going on resolutely in spite of opposition (persistence)

7

Personal steadiness and stability

4

Long-term planning

3

Giving up today’s fun for success in the future

5

Working hard for success in the future

29

Long Term Orientation (LT) Total

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