Why Chinese and Japanese are different from other Asians? 

Comparison of Cultural Dimensions (US, China, S. Korea, Japan, and Taiwan)

In general, far eastern Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are known for their collectivistic, hierarchical, and uncertainty avoidant national culture that are contrasting to individualistic, horizontal, and uncertainty tolerate culture of the United States. 

National culture theorist Hofstede introduced five cultural dimensions: power distance, individualism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation, and his studies have specified national cultures with multidimensional indices: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation (Hofstede, 1994, 2001). Figure 1 presents comparisons of five cultural indices of the U.S., China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.  

Figure 1. Comparisons of Hoftede's Cultural Dimensions of the U.S., China, S. Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Note: Adapted from Hofestede’s cultural dimension indices (http://geert-hofstede.com/, Retrieved on Oct. 2012)

PDI: Power distance

IDV: Individualism

MAS: Masculinity / Femininity

UAI: Uncertainty avoidance

LTO: Long term orientation

According to Hofstede’s contemporary cultural dimension indices, China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have high power distance and low individualism that are contrast to the U.S. culture. This fact may indicate that employees in those Asian countries accept a hierarchical order and live in a collectivistic society that emphasizes strong work interactions or social relationships. 

However, Chinese culture has a contrasting dimension to other Asian countries: much lower uncertainty avoidance than any other Asian countries, and even than the U.S. Hofstede explains that China’s very low uncertainty avoidance may come from the fact that the majority (70–80 percent) of Chinese businesses tend to be small to medium-sized and family-owned, which contributes to being adaptable and entrepreneurial (see http://geert-hofstede.com/china.html).

On the individualism dimension, Japan scores 46 that is lower than the U.S. but much higher than any other Asian countries. This may indicate that Japanese employees are experienced as collectivistic by Western standards and experienced as individualistic by Asian standard. The most popular explanation for this is that Japanese more emphasizes their individual choice of in-group relationship than inherent situations such as family or their local community   (see http://geert-hofstede.com/japan.html).


Hofstede, G. (1994). The business of international business is culture. International Business Review, 3(1), 1-14.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations: Sage Pubns.



All right reserved by Jeonghwan Choi (2012) Nov. 06, Integral Leadership Center (http://leadershipcenter.tistory.com). 


Posted by Jeonghwan Choi

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