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Management in the Filipino Sense: A View from Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

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Multi-National Corporations (MNC’s) pondering to globalize operations have to look at the cultural similarities of its home country and the country where the operation will be set-up. The most familiar cultural factor to consider, as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” is the Power Distance Index. In addition, Prof. Geert Hofstede identified five more factors to consider such as individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and indulgence. These factors he calls “cultural dimensions” assign scores for each country. In this article, management in the Filipino sense will be examined from the cultural dimensions scores of the Philippines.

 

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Power Distance

The Philippines scores 94 which means that the Philippines is a hierarchical society. In this context, the subordinates view the boss to have higher power and viewed as a benevolent autocrat. The subordinates also have deference to the boss and careful not to upset authority. As such, the subordinates want to be viewed in a favorable way by the boss.

 

Individualism

In this dimension, the Philippines scored 32 which means that it is a collectivist society. In such a society, consensus is preferred to individual decision-making. This is evident as Filipinos frequently say “we” instead of “I”. Loyalty is also greatly valued among group members and they look after the welfare of each other. Because of the ties established, no one wants to be shamed within the group.

 

Masculinity

The country fared 64 which means that it has a masculine culture. It therefore expects that the managers are decisive and assertive while ensuring equity, competition and performance. If ever there are conflicts, it has to be addressed by fighting them out. Uncertainty Avoidance Filipinos seem to be risk takers as the Philippines fared a score of 44 on this dimension. This is manifested in the relaxed character of Filipinos and the penchant for practice rather than principles. Deviation from the norm is widely accepted and rules are only put in place when necessary. When rules become dysfunctional or ambiguous, it has to be discarded. Filipinos also like their schedules to be flexible and prefer “smart work” to “hard work.” It is noticeable that precision and punctuality does not come naturally and innovation is also not viewed as a threat.

 

Long Term Orientation

The Philippines got a very low score of 27 meaning it has a normative society where Filipinos conform to norms rather than pragmatism. Preservation of traditions is important with annual festivals celebrated in almost every corner of the country. With the low score, it comes as no surprise that Filipinos have among the lowest savings rate in the world. They also want quick results, that is why short-cuts/simplifications are prevalent.

 

Indulgence

In this aspect, the Philippines scored 42 meaning that Filipinos have a good control of their desires and impulses. The downside can be cynicism or pessimism, yet Filipinos have optimistic outlook in life. Due to societal factors, less emphasis is given on leisure time and gratification of desires.

 

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Generated from the website of “The Hofstede Center” (http://geert-hofstede.com/philippines.html)

 

 

Author: Jed Bellen, SCPM, Asian Institute of Management 
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Photo source:
Graph – http://geert-hofstede.com/philippines.html

 

 

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