Como caracterizar um país quanto às características culturais do seu povo?
De acordo com o que aprendi no meu mestrado em Economia Internacional, Hofstede em 1980 achou a melhor resposta até à data a esta questão (Wikipedia). Ele dividiu a sua caracterização cultural em 4 Dimensões (a que mais tarde juntaram a 5ª). A saber:
- PDI (Power Distance Index) – Distância ao Poder – Mede até que ponto os membros menos poderosos de uma sociedade aceitam e esperam uma distribuição desigual do poder. Representa a desigualdade medida a partir de baixo e sugere que este é o nível relevante no nível de desigualdade em que se irá encontrar uma sociedade.
- Ind – Individualismo – A mentalidade é individualista ou colectivista? Nas sociedades individualistas, as ligações entre indivíduos são mais soltas, esperando-se que cada um seja capaz de tratar de si próprio e se precaver para eventuais adversidades. Nas sociedades mais colectivistas, as pessoas desde o nascimento que são integradas em grupos (familiares mas também profissionais ou de interesses) que são coesos, fortes, protectores e onde se espera uma lealdade inquestionável.
- Mas – Masculinidade – A comunicação é directa e assertiva ou cheia de floreados? A sociedade é mais competitiva ou mais modesta e sentimental?
- UAI (Uncertainty Avoidance Index) – Aversão à Incerteza – A sociedade evita o risco e prefere a certeza e o Status Quo ou aceita o risco? Despreza ou valoriza os que falharam em tentativas anteriores?
- LTO (Long Term Orientation) – Orientação para Longo Prazo – A orientação é para soluções de curto prazo ou de longo prazo? (proposta por investigadores Chineses, só disponível para 23 países)
If we explore the Portuguese culture through the lens of the 5-D Model, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Portuguese 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 unequally.
Portugal’s score on this dimension (63) reflects that hierarchical distance is accepted and those holding the most powerful positions are admitted to have privileges for their position.
Management controls, i.e. the boss requires information from his subordinates and these expect their boss to control them. A lack of interest towards a subordinate would mean this one is not relevant in the Organization. At the same time, this would make the employee feel unmotivated.
Negative feedback is very distressed so for the employee it is more than difficult to provide his boss with negative information. The boss needs to be conscious of this difficulty and search for little signals in order to discover the real problems and avoid becoming relevant.
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.
Portugal, in comparison with the rest of the European countries (except for Spain) is Collectivist (because of its score in this dimension: 27). This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.
Masculinity / Femininity
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).
Portugal scores 31 on this dimension and is a country where the key word is consensus. So polarization is not well considered or excessive competitiveness appreciated.
In feminine countries the focus is on “working in order to live”, managers strive for consensus, people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favoured. Focus is on well-being, status is not shown. An effective manager is a supportive one, and decision making is achieved through involvement.
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.
If there is a dimension that defines Portugal very clearly, it is Uncertainty Avoidance.
Portugal scores 104 on this dimension and thus has a very high preference for avoiding uncertainty. Countries exhibiting high uncertainty avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work).
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 Portuguese score 30, making it a short term orientation culture. Societies with a short-term orientation generally exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save, strong social pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”, impatience for achieving quick results, and a strong concern with establishing the Truth i.e. normative. Western societies are typically found at the short-term end of this dimension, as are the countries of the Middle East.”