What about India
If we explore the Indian culture through the lens of the 5-D Model, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Indian culture relative to other world cultures.
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us.
Power distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed inequally.
India scores high on this dimension, 77, indicating an appreciation for hierarchy and a Top – Down Structure in society and Organizations. If one were to encapsulate the Indian attitude, one could use the following words and phrases : dependent on the boss or the powerholder for direction, acceptance of un-equal rights between the power-priviledged and those who are lesser down in the pecking order, immediate superiors accessible but one layer above less so, paternalistic leader, management directs, gives reason / meaning to ones work life and rewards in exchange for loyalty from employees. Real Power is centralized even though it may not appear to be and managers count on the obedience of their team members.Employees expect to be directed clearly as to their functions and what is expected of them. Control is familiar, even a psychological security, and attitude towards managers are formal even if one is on first name basis. Communication is top down and directive in its style and often feedback which is negative is never offered up the ladder.
The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”.
In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.
India, with a score of 48 is a society with clear collectivistic traits. This means that there is a high preference for belonging to a larger social framework in which individuals are expected to act in accordance to the greater good of one’s defined in-group(s). In such situations, the actions of the individual are influenced by various concepts such as the opinion of one’s family, extended family, neighbours, work group and other such wider social networks that one has some affiliation toward. For a collectivist, to be rejected by one’s peers or to be thought lowly of by one’s extended and immediate in-groups, leaves him or her rudderless and with a sense of intense emptyness. The employer/employee relationship is one of expectations based on expectations – Loyalty by the employee and almost familial protection by the Employer. Hiring and promotion decisions are often made based on relationships which are the key to everything in a Collectivist society.
Masculinity / Feminity
A high score (masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour.
A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (masculine) or liking what you do (feminine).
India scores 56 on this dimension and is thus considered a masculine society. Even though it is mildy above the mid range in score, India is actually very masculine in terms of visual display of success and power. The designer brand lable, the flash and bling that goes with advertising one’s success, is widely practiced. However, India is also a spritual country with millions of deities and various religious philosophies. It is also an ancient country with one of the longest surviving cultures which gives it ample lessons in the value of humility and abstinence. This often reigns in people from indulging in Masculine displays to the extent that they might be naturally inclined to. In more Masculine countries the focus is on success and achievements, validated by material gains . Work is the center of one’s life and visible symbols of success in the work place is very important.
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the UAI score.
India scores 40 on this dimension and thus has a medium low preference for avoiding uncertainty. In India there is acceptance of imperfection; nothing has to be perfect nor has to go exactly as planned. India is traditionally a patient country where tolerance for the unexpected is high ; even welcomed as a break from monotony. People generally do not feel driven and compelled to take action-initiatives and comfortably settle into established rolls and routines without questioning. Rules are often in place just to be circumvented and one relies on innovative methods to “bypass the system”. A word used often is “adjust” and means a wide range of things, from turning a blind eye to rules being flouted to finding a unique and inventive solution to a seemingly unsurmoutable problem. It is this attitude that is both the cause of misery as well as the most empowering aspect of the country. There is a saying that “nothing is impossible” in India, so long as one knows how to “adjust”.
Long term orientation
The long term orientation dimension is closely related to the teachings of Confucius and can be interpreted as dealing with society’s search for virtue, the extent to which a society shows a pragmatic future-oriented perspective rather than a conventional historical short-term point of view.
The Indians score 61, making it a long term, pragmatic culture. In India the concept of “karma” dominates religious and philosophical thought. Time is not linear, and thus not as important as to western societies which typically score low on this dimension. Countries like India have a great tolerance for religious views from all over the world – Hinduism is often considered a philosophy more than even a religion; an amalgamation of ideas, views, practices and esoteric beliefs. In India there is an acceptance that there are many truths and often depends on the seeker. Societies that have a high score on Long Term Orientation, typically forgive lack of punctuality, a changing game-plan based on changing reality and a general comfort with discovering the fated path as one goes along rather than playing to an exact plan.