Geert Hofstede had the original ideas on the cultural concepts of power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long term vs. short term orientation. His research gives us insights into cultures so we can be more effective when interacting with people in other countries. Hofstede wants to educate us in how to go into other countries cultures and make the right gestures and decisions.
This idea deals with a culture’s response to spontaneous situations or the unknown. Cultures with a high uncertainty avoidance typically try to eliminate uncertainty by using “strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the belief in absolute Truth'” (www.geert-hofstede.com). These cultures want explanations for the unknown and want to avoid uncertainty at all costs. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance cultures “are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible” (www.geert-hofstede.com). These members are more open to change and do not fear it.
For Turkey, because much of their culture has been deeply rooted in their religion, it seems clear that it would have a high uncertainty avoidance. A long standing religion has developed traditions and values, making change new and different. This change still creates fears throughout the people as their past has been guided by religion. Because of this, change ultimately means change in religion which creates uneasiness in what they have known to be comfortable and familiar.
If a culture is considered to be masculine, the people tend to be more competive, concentrating on achieving material goals and worth. In order to show victory a this competitive and masculine culture, tangible items must be visible. A masculine culture also had specifically defined gender roles. A feminine culture will focus more on being caring towards one another, along with the focus for maintaining long standing relationships with others. The defined roles of the people in a feminie society turn into shades of grey. Both women and men have a close to equal say and importance in the culture.
Turkey is on the border of being masculine or feminine. Because of the religiously defined culture roles, the people have a hard time veering away from the traditional gender roles of Islamic Turks. The government however has made great strides to correct this imbalance in traditional roles. The government guarantees women equal work and
pay opportunities, but the traditional value system practices gender
segregation in the workplace and in other public places. Even though it may seem as though Turkey would be considered masculine, the people intensely focus on maintaining and establishing long term relationships, thus the emphasis on family. The importance of family in Turkey combatting traditional beliefs make Turkey neutral as a masculine or feminine culture.
Cultures can be defined as being individualistic or collectivist. An individualistic culture faces more attention and emphasis on the individual and his or her own personal goals, viewpoints and interests. On the contrary, a collectivist culture will be more focused on what is good for the group. This kind of culture emphasizes collaboration, community, harmony amongst people, and maintaining positive face.
Turkish culture places a strong emphasis on the group, thus making it a collectivist culture. With such a strong sense of religion and the engrained beliefs of Islam, all of the people of Turkey not only share the same religion, but the same values. With the overwhelming majority of Turks practicing Islam, there is a great sense of unity and group cohesion.
Power Distance can be described as “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally” (www.geert-hofstede.com). Many times this can be associated with inequality when looking at the relationship between the citizens and its leaders. Many high Power Distance cultures consist of laws, rules, regulations and controls.
Turkey is considered to have a high Power Distance because of its strong association with religion. Just recently in its attempt to become more westernized and secular, the Power Distance has began to decline and will continue to as religion doesn’t play as large of a role in their lives.
Long/Short Term Orientation
This concept deals the outlook of a country and whether acting for the present or the future. They can be defined as by have Long Term Orientation associated as “thrift and perseverance” while Short Term Orientation can be associated with “respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face'” (www.geert-hofstede.com).
This definition alone describes how Turkey can be considered Short Term in that the Turks are highly concerned with tradition and facework. Since they are a collectivist group face is very important and they strive to create a positive face. Religion creates tradition thus creating a Short Term Orientation for their culture.
Summaries of Typologies Cited From www.geert-hofstede.com