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What about Ecuador?

If we explore the Ecuadorian culture through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the  deep drivers of its culture relative to other world cultures.

Power Distance
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 unequally.

At 78 Ecuador sits in the higher rankings of PDI – i.e . a society that believes that inequalities amongst people are simply a fact of life. This inequality is accepted in all layers of society, and often linked to race and social class. People of European extraction often feel themselves as “superior” to those of local Indian extraction, and this is largely accepted by society as a whole. The military, as power holders, are also considered an elite group per se. They play an important role in political life. No political leader in Ecuador will get very far without their support. “Coups d’etat”  have been frequent throughout Ecuador’s history, reflecting this aspect.

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.

At a score of 8 Ecuador is amongst the lowest Individualist scores; in other words, it lies amongst the most collectivistic cultures in the world, beaten only by Guatemala. Since the Ecuadorians are a highly collectivistic people, belonging to an in-group is very important. Combined with the high scores in PDI, this means that groups often have their strong identities tied to race and class distinctions. Conflict is avoided, in order to maintain group harmony and to save face. Struggles for power among different political factions, though frequent, seldom have become very violent.

Relationships are prioritized over tasks and groups can quickly enlarge their numbers. This may even result in a task being completed quickly through cooperative effort, or it may be abandoned (if that is the opinion of the group). Of course, this is also linked to PDI, so power holders determine the outcome. Ecuadorians can show a lot of solidarity towards members of their in-groups.  Those perceived as “outsiders” can easily be excluded or considered as “enemies”; foreigners can easily be found in that position, unless they cultivate relationships and gain access to in-groups. The preferred communication style is context-rich, so people will often speak profusely and write in an elaborate fashion.

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 life.

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).

At 63 Ecuador is a Masculine society – highly success oriented and driven. This contradicts the stereotype that Latin Americans avoid hard work. Ecuadorians are competitive and status-oriented, though collectivistic rather than Individualist. This means that competition is directed towards members of other groups (or social classes), rather than towards the members of your own in-group. People seek membership in groups which give them status and rewards linked to performance, but they often sacrifice leisure against work. It is difficult to “let go” of work and often this only happens through binge drinking, a common practice among the working classes.

Uncertainty Avoidance   
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 score on Uncertainty Avoidance.

At 67  Ecuador has a high score on Uncertainty Avoidance which means that as a nation they make use of several mechanisms seeking to avoid ambiguity. Emotions are openly expressed; legislation is extensive and detailed;  social conservatism prevails. Rules are not necessarily followed, however: this depends ultimately, on the decision of power holders, who make their own rules, and on whether the group feels the rules are applicable to their members.

Religion and superstition have large followings, the tradition of each group is very respected by their members, though they may not necessarily respect another group’s tradition. The combination of high UAI and PDI, combined with Collectivism, results in that the status quo will only change when a figure of authority (such as the military) lead them towards change amassing a large group of followers.

Long Term Orientation 

This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.

There is currently no score for Ecuador in this dimension.


One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. Cultures can, therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained.

There is currently no score for Ecuador in this dimension.

Scores of countries marked with an asterisk (*) are - partially or fully - not from Geert Hofstede but have been added through research projects of other researchers or have been derived from data representing similar countries in combination with our practitioner experience. For the official scores check Hofstede`s books or his private website