Human culture is dynamic and different among people in different regions. Hofstede managed to evaluate culture through five cultural dimensions discussed below in detail.
Power distant index
This refers to the extent within which the members of organisations and institutions expect power to be distributed unequally (Hofstede 2001). This can be seen in institutions whereby it measures how the less powerful members of the organization accept the unequal distribution of power. This however depends with the power distance in their countries. In Countries with a small power distance such as Ireland, people generally accept and expect power relations that are consultative or democratic. Despite the diverse formal power positions people relate to one another as equals. Individuals in this type of society expect that they are allowed to contribute and oppose decisions made in the public domain.
In societies with a large power distance such as Malaysia, subordinate individuals accept and expect that the power relations that are paternalistic and autocratic. They recognise the power of other people based on their formal positions. The concept of power distance does not analyse power distribution but looks at the individual perception towards power differences.
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Individualism and collectivism
Collectivism explains the degree to which individuals are integrated to groups (Hofstede 2001). This measures how individuals within the society view themselves with/ without regard to group memberships. In cultures that support individualistic cultures people are expected to develop characteristics of their own and display these personalities in their day to day life. In collectivist culture people display the characteristics of long term groups that they are affiliated to. Such as the family, religious groups, cohort and professions among others.
Masculinity and femininity
Refers to role distribution between genders i.e. man and woman. This is more on how male and female values are distributed in a culture. In masculine cultures, members of the society value ambitions, competitiveness and assertiveness (Hofstede 2001). These people tend to be more oriented to wealth and material accumulation. In feminine cultures people value relationships and quality of life (Hofstede 2001). This has however been viewed by others as the quantity of life. In masculine cultures differences between gender roles are less fluid than in feminine cultures.
Uncertainty avoidance index
This deals with community's tolerance to uncertainty and ambiguity. This measures how the members of a culture are anxious about uncertainty and as a response mechanism they try to minimize uncertainty (Hofstede 2001). People prefer structured activities and employees tend to remain longer with their current employer. In cultures where people have a weak uncertainty avoidance index they tend to shift between jobs more frequently. Here people prefer flexible guidelines and informal activities.
Long term orientation (LTO) versus Short term orientation
This dimension looks to the value the society attaches to the future in relation to the present and past. Thrift and perseverance are always associated with long term orientation whereas fulfilment of social obligations, respect for traditions, protecting ones image are values associated with short term orientation (Hofstede 2001). These values are further outlined in detail by the Chinese philosopher Confucious. This is also referred to as the society time horizon: In long term oriented societies people value activities that affect their future thrift e.g. perseverance. In short term orientation people value actions and attitudes affected by the past and present.
The study was conducted using 250 respondents from Russia. The study aimed at examining Hofstede's 5 cultural dimensions in the Russian society (Naumov & Puffer 2000). The parameters examined were occupation, work experience, Geographical location and number of subordinates (Naumov & Puffer 2000). The average responses showed that in the 1900s the Russian culture was moderate in consideration to individuality, power distance and masculinity but was high on paternalism and uncertainty avoidance dimensions (Naumov & puffer 2000).
The dimensions were measured through a research instrument empirically. The five dimensions of the national culture are assessed to see how they help manage problems within the society this is in turn compared in relation to other cultures. Questionnaires containing 29 items were used during the research (Naumov & Puffer 2000). The research was conducted during the period between October 1995 and June 1996.Three hundred questionnaires were administered but out of these only 250 were approved for the final analysis. Basically the 29 research items used in the questionnaire captured each of the five cultural dimensions (Naumov & Puffer 2000). The Russian respondents included students, professionals, managers and members of the business faculty in different a five point response scale was offered for each question which were averaged for each cultural dimension (Naumov & Puffer 2000).
Hofstede explains that in cultures with a strong need for uncertainty avoidance there is a strong emotional need for rules leading to a rule based culture (Naumov & puffer 2000). In this culture the rules are often unclear and inconsistent. People in this case are contented with the formal structure and seem to ignore reality (Naumov & puffer 2000). The correspondents scored 68 points for uncertainty avoidance. These seem at par with the results from other nations such as Taiwan and Germany which scored 69 and 65 points respectively (Naumov & Puffer 2000). This is somehow promoted by the fact that most Russian citizens are guaranteed a modest living standards and a job. However, the change of the Russian society into a market oriented one, greater uncertainty set in resulting in the need for individual decisions (Naumov & puffer 2000). Uncertainty avoidance levels did not vary significantly according to age, number of subordinates, geographical region or work experience (Pearce & Frese). However, Occupation was a significant variable because people employed in the business sector seemed to score high uncertainty avoidance as opposed to workers and students in education institutions such as universities. Consequently the university atmosphere has less emphasis on work instructions and policies.
Collectivism refers to a situation whereby the individuals give loyalty to groups and in turn receive protection. Individualism refers to a position whereby the individuals are expected to take care of themselves and make decisions independently (Naumov & Puffer 2000). This may involve taking decision and protecting ones family. According to this survey Russians scored 41 points with regard to individualism (Naumov & Puffer 2000). These results placed Russia bat the top of developing countries and at the bottom of the developed ones (Naumov & Puffer 2000). Economic reforms in Russia saw the disintegration of the Russian communal collective culture (Pearce & Frese). This led to an individualistic approach to Russian communism. In 1920s the Stolypins reforms played an important part in disintegration of the Russian collectivism (Naumov & puffer 2000).
As explained earlier, power distance refers to the expectations of the least powerful individuals on the level of inequality in power distribution. The Russian respondents averaged 40 points on power distance. This put Russia on the same level as other developed countries such as Canada (39) and USA (40) (Naumov & puffer 2000).
The concept of paternalism aims at protecting the vulnerable members of the society from the stronger counterparts. The state is often involved in the long term protective functions of the society. The average score for paternalism among the Russians was 59 points older respondents showed a higher level of paternalism as compared to the younger respondents (Naumov & Puffer 2000). A social system based on a high power distance seems to practise a higher level of paternalism (Pearce & Frese). The level of paternalism in Russia can be attributed to a succession of Russian governments that conferred control in the agricultural industrial and social spheres to the government (Naumov & Puffer 2000).
Masculinity and femininity
Contrary to Hofstedes estimate that masculinity in Russia would be 40 points the score from the respondents was 55 (Naumov & puffer 2000). Masculinity was found to be low within the Russian community. Masculinity is usually larger in societies with sharply defined social roles for both men and women. Masculinity was found to be higher among managers who were had a less than 5 years work experience.
The responses to each cultural dimension were later on converted to the 100 point scale developed in 1980 by hofstede in order to make the results comparable with other studies
This study compares Hofstede's estimates in the 1980s with those found in the mid 1990s. 250 Russian residents were involved in the study which involved students, managers, and professional and faculty members in various business schools (Naumov & puffer 2000). The methodology of the study was through the use of one research instrument i.e. questionnaires. The research would have been much more credible if a few more instruments such as cross sectional studies were employed (Pearce & Frese). The cultural dimensions show how society's cultural behaviour helps solve emerging problems. The results of the study showed that the culture in the mid 1990s appeared moderate in power distance, Masculinity and individualism and comparatively high in uncertainty avoidance as well as paternalism.
The study group involved had less experience in communism seemed more oriented to the western culture. The study group was representative of only a small section of the general population which included the educated and the working class. Comparison with Hofstede's study in 1980 will not yield true results. The other sectors of the population have to be included in the final research. The results in general are amazing because they seem close to those of the developed western countries (Pearce & Frese). Taking into consideration that Russia had distinct isolated political, social and economic systems.