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In any discussion of culture it is helpful to be cognizant of the various dimensions on which one culture can vary from another. There has been considerable research in this field dating back to Geert Hofstede who surveyed over 116 000 IBM employees in 40 countries.
Some dimensions to consider:
- Power distance. Some cultures maintain many layers between those that are in charge and those that do the work, and it is understood and expected that power will be distributed inequally. Other cultures are more egalitarian, and some even punish the successful in their collection of power.
- Past/present/future tense. Backward looking, revering history and ancestors, versus the here and now, and versus "Damn the past, let's change the future!"
- Monochronic vs polychronic. A monochronic individual is someone who is very linear; someone who is procedural, methodical, and insensitive to current situation. The long-term thinker. Conversely, we have the non-linear polychronic; someone who multitasks, worries about the now, is oriented towards people, and prefers choosing the way in which he or she works. The short-term thinking.
- High context vs. low context. How much reliance on non-explicit context is there? How much happens outside the official channels, is the meeting where everything is discussed or is it just a formality at the end? How readily should a statement on the front page be taken literally?
- Collectivism vs. individualism. 
- Uncertainty avoidance.  The degree that individuals prefer structured situations. People who have a high degree of uncertainty avoidance are more anxious, stressed, and aggressive.
- Universalism vs. particularism.  - Where people think they can discover everything what is true and good is defined as universalism. In contrast where the unique circumstances and relationships are more important than abstract rules concerning what is right.
- Quality of life vs. quantity of life. Quantity of life measures how much one prefers assertiveness, materialism, and competition; i.e. capitalistic self-interest. Quality of life measures how much one prefers relationships and empathy.
Comparison of Cultural Dimensions
| Country || Power Distance || Individualism/Collectivism || Emphasis on Quantity/Quality of Life || Uncertainty Avoidance || Long-term/Short-term |
| Canada || Moderate || Individualist || Quantity || Moderate || Short-term |
| China || High || Collectivist || Moderate || Moderate || Long-term |
| France || High || Individualist || Moderate || High || Short-term |
| West Germany || Low || Individualist || High || Moderate || Medium-term |
| Hong Kong || High || Collectivist || Quantity || Low || Long-term |
| Indonesia || High || Collectivist || Moderate || Low || Short-term |
| Japan || Moderate || Moderate || Quantity || Moderate || Medium-term |
| Mexico || High || Collectivist || Quantity || High || (no data) |
| Netherlands || Low || Individualist || Quality || Moderate || Medium-term |
| Russia || High || Moderate || Quality || High || Short-term |
| United States || Low || Individualist || Quantity || Low || Short-term |
| West Africa || High || Collectivist || Moderate || Moderate || Short-term |
Sources: Hofstede 1993, p.91; Hofstede 1983, pp. 75-89; Stephens and Greer 1998, pp. 43-49.
G. Hofstede, "Cultural Constraints in Management Theories," Academy of Management Executive, February 1993.
G. Hofstede, "The Cultural Relativity of Organizational Practices and Theories," Journal of International Business Studies, 14, 1983.
G. Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (London: McGraw-Hill, 1991)
G. Hofstede, Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1980)
G.K. Stephens and C.R. Greer, "Doing Business in Mexico: Understanding Cultural Differences," Organizational Dynamics, Special Report, 1998.
In a sense, high-context is contrary to OpenProcess ... or is it?
My brief reading so far hasn't pointed out conformance vs diversity, which is subtly different from collectivism vs individual, although related. This is also known as "plurality" in the USA - that dimension of US culture has received a great deal of attention following the events of September 11, 2001.
Contributors: EricScheid, SunirShah