Hofstede:  Power Distance

This dimension focuses on how a society deals with levels of status or social power (and how much they perceive such status as good or bad (right or wrong, just or unjust, fair or unfair)

Basic areas of inequality:

  Review Hofstede’s country ranking for Power Distance.  

Traits of Power Distance

high power distance low power distance
Social norms those in power have privileges all have equal rights

powerful people try to look as powerful as possible powerful people try to look less powerful than they are

inequality the norm; everyone has specific place inequality should be minimized; no set hierarchy

respect for authority respect for individuality 

political military / autocratic / oligarchic government government based on majority

power struggle power sharing

little discussion / violence common much discussion, little violence

work tall organizational pyramids short organizational pyramids

wide salary range from top to bottom narrow salary range from top to bottom

subordinates expect to be told subordinates expect to be consulted

school students dependent on teachers teachers treat students as equals

parents side with teachers to maintain order parents may side with students against teachers

students treat teachers with respect – even out of class students treat teachers as equals