Culture Essay example

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Hofstede (1997) defined culture as the “collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (p. 6). He referred to mental programming in order to explain patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. Cultural manifestation is identified as symbols, heroes, rituals, and values as a learned programming that is dependent on a social environment. Values represented the deepest manifestations of culture and are considered culture’s building blocks (Hofstede, 1980).
One well-known paradigm Hofstede introduced is called cultural dimensions that include four independent cultural dimensions: power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, and uncertainty avoidance.
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India was ranked with a 77 power distance index, which is relatively high compared to the world average of 56.5. Hofstede’s rankings and research has shown hierarchy and levels of inequality are deeply rooted in their culture (Kirkman, Chen, Farh, Chen, & Lowe, 2009). Thailand scored a moderately average index of 64, while the United States ranked an extremely low index of 40 (Itim International, 2009). This demonstrated Indian and Thai cultures “expect people to display more respect for individuals of higher status” compared to Americans who expect greater equality between societal levels (Croucher et al., 2009, p. 177).
Individualism versus Collectivism
The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups will determine whether the cultural group is considered individualist or collectivist (Itim International, 2009). Collectivists place great importance on the in-group while individualists value the self. Therefore, collectivists stress group goals while sacrificing their personal objectives, value relationships to a high degree, and look after one another in exchange for loyalty. In contrast, individualists perceive themselves as independent from a group, emphasize personal goals over in-group objectives, and primarily focus on self-concepts and self-reliance (McCann, Honeycutt, & Keaton, 2010).
Cross-cultural studies discovered American participants preferred individualist values while Indian and Thai participants reported higher levels of…

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