Compare and contrast Hofstede's cultural dimensions of Australia and China.

Essay by georgia131University, Bachelor'sB+, August 2008

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Mismanaging cultural differences can render otherwise successful managers and organisations ineffective when working across cultures. As stated byOsland (1990, p. 4) ``The single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture''. Hofstede (1983) defines culture as "the mental programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another" (Hofstede 1983 p. 25). Through the comparison of Chinese culture and Australian culture using Hofstedes five cross-cultural dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, individualism, and long-term orientation an insightful view into the differences and similarities of the cultures can be obtained (Chong & Park 2003). Human Resource Management (HRM) activities such as: recruitment and selection, career planning and development, employee motivation, and compensation and benefits need to be performed in alignment with national culture as effectiveness of a human resource management practice hinges on the degree to which it fits the values and beliefs of people in the host country.

By exploring the differences and similarities of Chinese and Australian culture from a HR perspective strategies aimed at achieving organisational goals can be better achieved. The inherent weaknesses of Hofstedes framework will also be discussed to emphasise the importance of other methods for determining culture.

Greet Hofstede's (1980) landmark study involved more than one hundred thousand IBM employees in forty countries. From those results, and later additions, Hofstede developed a model for classifying national cultures and analysing work behaviour according to five underlying dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, individualism, and long-term orientation (Chong & Park 2003). Hofstedes analysis of each country can provide a better understanding into the national culture that is specific to each country. The significant findings of Hofstedes analysis of Australia include a low power distance score of 36 (ITIM International 2003). Societies with low power distance are characterized by the...