Portugal and Germany: Geert Hofstede's Five Cultural Dimensions

Seminar Paper, 2013

10 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Geert Hofstede - Five cultural Dimensions
2.1. Power Distance
2.2. Individualism versus Collectivism
2.3. Masculinity versus femininity
2.4. Uncertainty Avoidance
2.5. Long-term vs. short-term orientation

3. Cooperation between the cultures

4. Literaturverzeichnis


Why Portugal and Germany?

The political situation between Portugal and Germany is very solid and is based on abroad basis. After Portugal´s revolution in the year 1974, Germany helped Portugal tointroduce the democratic structure of the country and promoted Portugal´s EU membership in the year 1986. The governments of the two countries work very closely together and in the majority of political aspects, concerning the European and the international policy, they agree with each other (Comp. Auswärtiges Amt, Jan. 2013). ThePortuguese economy depends a lot on tourism, most of the tourists came from Germany and France. Each year millions of tourists from different countries with differentcultures visit Portugal for holidays and it is interesting to find out, whether the different cultures modify the Portuguese way of life and what influences the many cultures have ( Comp. ETC European Travel Comission Q1/2013,p.12/13). This is whyPortugal and it´s culture is an interesting topic for the research and investigation. Thefollowing term paper explains, describes and compares the difference in culturebetween Germany and Portugal.

2. Geert Hofstede - Five Cultural dimensions

Geert Hofstede is a Dutch psychologist. He studied at the Delft Technical University.He closed it with a diploma in mechanical engineering and worked for ten years as anengineer and in management. During his work he studied social psychology at the University in Groeningen. After that, Hofstede worked for IBM Europe and founded theresearch staff of the company IBM Europe and was the head of the Department. Duringhis career he held lectures at universities across the entire world and advised many different companies (Comp. Geert Hofstede, 2011 p. 520). While he was working at IBM,he created, based on different studies, a large amount of data about people in over 50countries, which reported on their values within their culture. In the study, he noted thatthere are similar problems, but different solutions of the problems in the differentcountries. These problems first appeared in four areas, then another area was added. Hecalled these areas then dimensions( Comp. Geert Hofstede, 2011 p.29f. And 40).

2.1. Power Distance Index

Hofstede´s first dimension is the Power Distance Index. This dimension describes howfar subordinate groups tolerate the unequal distribution of power and the emotional distance between an employer and an employee (Comp. Geert Hofstede 2011, p. 51 and p.57). Cultures with a high level of Power Distance have a very unbalanced distributionof power. This means that these cultures have a strict hierarchy and that for example theemployees do not accept an superior who asks for the opinion of the majority. Peopleliving in these cultures do not like to contradict their superiors. In a culture with a lowlevel of Power Distance, Superiors make the decision by the opinion of the majority andthey consult their subordinates. Most of the time, the emotional distance between thestaff and their boss is low and if there are any problems, they talk with each other tosolve them (Comp. Geert Hofstede 2011, p. 57). Portugal has a Power Distance IndexLevel of 63. Compared with Germany (35) is it quite a high value. It is usual that inPortugal the decisions are made solely by the supervisor. Most employees expect astrong and assertive boss, which can be influenced only slightly in his opinion, but in acompany in Portugal there is a familiar dealing with each other in spite of all authority.Many bosses have, as a sign of their power and their hierarchical position, status symbols so that they can show their power outwards. Meetings, often unprepared, only havean exchange as target rather than the development of a strategy (Comp. Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst e.V., 2012). The Power Distance in Germany is muchlower than in Portugal. The hierarchies are significantly lower than the Portuguese andthe performance of the employees is more important for the employers. The employersoften ask for the opinion of employees and they are controlled by internal and externalinstances like the works council for example (Comp. Anna K. Glahn, 2010, p. 21).

2.2. Individualism versus Collectivism

In this Dimension, Hofstede separates two poles from each other: on the one hand thereis the Individualism and on the other hand is the Collectivism. The unit of thisdimension is called the „individualism index” (Comp. Geert Hofstede, 2011, p. 97).Individualism exists in societies in which it is expected that the individual will take care of himself and its family. Children are taught that they have their own personality andthat their personality is different from the other ones. That way, they learn how to liveon their own and it is expected, that as soon as they are adult and that they are possibleto live on their own, they will leave the house of the parents. The opposite of Individualism is Collectivism. Collectivism describes that a person with the beginning ofhis life is part of a strong group. In the group he is safe and he has always to be loyal tohis group (Comp. Geert Hofstede, 2011, p. 96f.). Friendships with other people areoften chosen by the family or the group, the loyalty to family and friends is maintainedby the respect which is given in these groups ( Comp. Geert Hofstede, 2011, p.103). Incollectivistic cultures there is often a strong personality who has influenced the country.This is characteristic for Portugal. This country has a score of 27, which is comparedwith Germany (67) much more collectivistic than the Germans. Portugal was a dictatorship until the Carnation Revolution in the 25th of April. During the dictatorship, it wasimportant for the Portuguese population to live in small closed groups and to supporteach other. Only in this way it was possible to survive in this time. Another behaviorthat confirm that Portugal is a collectivistic culture is that the Portuguese do not haveinitiative since the decisions are always made in the group. Even the own opinion is nottold directly and they do not accept the direct opinion of another stranger withoutknowing him, they think this behavior is rude (Comp. Silvia Baumann, 2010, p. 125).In Germany it is different. The Children were taught to be individual and the parentsmost of the time ask for the opinion when there are decisions to make. Friendships aremade by the own choice and they are not prescribed (Eigene Erfahrungen des Autors).Another confirmation is that young adults in Portugal stay for a long time at home withtheir parents. This may be sometimes until they are 30 year old or go even longer.Usually young couples move in together after their marriage, so it is usual to live a verylong time in their own home (Comp. Silvia Baumann, 2010, p. 229f.). On average,people leave the parental home in Germany five years rather than the young people inPortugal . This is another prove, that Germany is much more individualistic than Portugal. Living apart from the parents is a typical symbol of individuality( Comp. Staatsinstitut für Frühpädagogik, 2010).


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Portugal and Germany: Geert Hofstede's Five Cultural Dimensions
University of applied sciences Dortmund
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Vergleich zweier Länder (Portugal Deutschland) anhand Hofstede und Bildung eines Teams aus Personen dieser Länder. Hier werden die beiden Länder "Portugal und Deutschland" gegenübergestellt anhand der Theorie von Gert Hofstede. Es wird auf die einzelne Dimension eingegangen und am Ende erfolgt eine Ausarbeitung, wie eine mögliche Zusammenarbeit stattfinden kann. Der Text ist auf englischer Sprache.
portugal, germany, geert, hofstede, five, cultural, dimensions
Quote paper
Miguel Fonseca (Author), 2013, Portugal and Germany: Geert Hofstede's Five Cultural Dimensions, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/268958


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