Cultural Dimension: low versus high power distance


POWER DISTANCE Do you feel more comfortable working in a strong
hierarchy or do you prefer a sense of equality with
all of your colleagues? This sensibility is called “power distance” and it concerns the degree to which power
is distributed and expected in an organization or other culture. How does an individual, or group perceive inequalities amongst people? In a “high power distance” culture like the military or a large law firm or a
country like Russia strong vertical hierarchy is expected. Think of the relationship of a general in the military
to enlisted soldiers or a senior law partner to a mere associate or the Pope to a parish priest. In a “high power distance” culture every person has a definite place and role. In a “low power distance” culture, say a unionized work
force or a legal services organization or a country like Norway, there’s a strong expectation of equality in power in decision making job benefits and other work conditions What about you? Do you prefer to give orders or do you couch them as suggestions? Do you assume your boss MISTER GREGORY should have a high-designed, large, windowed office even though
you have only a small inside cubicle? Or do you envision that you and your colleagues are more or less equal, with your supervisor Suzanne being only a little bit more equal and maybe only
a supervisor in name? Your deep-seated assumptions about power distance will affect how you perceive and navigate relationships at work.




Comments
  1. This is over simplification to suit business interests overseas and to have more control over the processes there . Power distance is there in every culture – how about corportae bosses in the US with big, corner offices? And Norway is such a bad example as its a Kingdom, which means the society is stratified from the word go. Most countries in the rest of the world including India & China are *not* – and so are far more democratic. They dont have the Billionares either!

  2. dude,are you kidding… ?"as its a kingdom"… it's not like the royal house have any power at all, it just a figure head. I'm from denmark myself, and we are in a similar situation… we use our royal house as a diplomatic icebreaker, and enjoy a big part of the populations support (i think it's a but expensive, but the major part of the population doesn't, so we keep them, because

  3. – suprice – we are a democracy, and i can say this because – suprice – other countries than the USA got freedome of speech… the monacies in europe haven't had any power for the last 150 years, please stop watching fox-news !

  4. That was a good video. In high power distance cultures the leader generally does not tolerate criticism. Everything has to seem like the leader's idea.

  5. This is a great example. As we work more and more with diversityDNA concepts, we have found that it becomes less important where one is geographically (i.e. culture doesn't always trump or determine behavior) than each individual's diversityDNA. Cultures clearly demonstrate preferences, but it is entirely possible to be affiliated with a culture and yet exhibit very different behavior or preference.

  6. THANK YOU! geez. finally i understand what high and low means with examples. everywhere i read didnt give any type of analogy or example. so USA is a Low power distant country which means they want everyone to have equal power and dont do well with authority.

  7. Great video and demonstration. Before we bite each other's head off about who is right about the PDI remember that the Hofstede theory is measured on a continuum and countries can fit anywhere on the line. Meaning countries will display both characteristics with just a stronger tendency for one (no matter how minimal the difference 49-51 on a 100 number line). No. Countries is an extreme.

  8. Power distance is a strange term to me; but I think the crust of the matter is who do you see your fellow men are? God made man and woman equal in the first place. He expects man to be the head of the household by being a servant of all. And this principle extends to one of the well known English sayings: Do you others as you would have them do to you. God see us all equal in His eyes, regardless of your roles, your responsibilities and your social status in society. The more is required from whom more is given to. Power/authority is not meant to be a symbol for showing that you are better or greater than those under you, therefore, you deserve more privileges, entitlements or rights, honor or glory if you wish. Power and authority granted to an individual is to use it for good: helping those under you to do right, to take responsible action, to achieve team goals, to advance justice etc.

  9. Thank you for clear explanation. I'm from a Nordic country, and I feel generally there is quite low power distance. I'm living in UK now, and I realised that some of my problems at work is caused by higher power distance that is present here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *