Intercultural Communications

Read Complete Research Material

Intercultural Communications

Intercultural Communications

Fundamental dimensions of cultural variability

The cultural influence is evident, there seems to be little research yet that systematically analyzes culture-related guidelines for the development and design of web-based learning systems. One research stream concentrates on cultural design approaches which are based on Pedagogic Models of interactive learning systems extended by cultural dimensions. In literature, many Pedagogic Models of interactive instructional design consisting of different dimensions which should be considered for the instructional design of a system can be noted (Van Swol 2003). For example, Van Swol (2003)identified 19 critical dimensions: 4 related to time, 5 related to the content of the course, 1 related to flexibility in expected prerequisites , 4 related to instructional approach an resources, and 5 related to course delivery and logistics. The ("flexibility-")dimensions express how fixed or flexible the course design is. Higher flexibility provides that interactive learning systems are better adaptable to different cultural preferences.  

Hofstede is most well known for his work on four dimensions of cultural variability, commonly referred to as "Hofstede's Dimensions." These include: Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity-Femininity, Individualism-Collectivism, Confucian Dynamism. These dimensions were arrived in his 1980 publication, "Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values." The study took existing survey data (sample size of 116,000) collected from a multinational corporation (IBM). The result was a score in each of the dimensions for 40 different countries.

Power Distance reflects the degree to which a culture believes how institutional and organizational power should be distributed (equally or unequally) and how the decisions of the power holders should be viewed (challenged or accepted). In other words, people in high power distance cultures are much more comfortable with a larger status differential than low power distance cultures.

Individualism-Collectivism describes the degree to which a culture relies on and has allegiance to the self or the group.

Masculinity-Femininity (alternative label is achievement-nurturance) indicates the degree to which a culture values such behaviors as assertiveness, achievement, acquisition of wealth or caring for others, social supports and the quality of life. This dimension tends to draw unwarranted criticism for its name alone. It basically refers expected gender roles in a culture. According to Hofstede, people in high masculinity index (MAS) believe in achievement and ambition, in ostentatious manliness, with very specific behaviors and products associated with male behavior. The cultures that scored towards what Hofstede referred to as "masculine" tend to have very distinct expectations of male and female roles in society. Low MAS cultures believe less in external achievements and/or manliness, and more in quality of life such as helping others and sympathy for the unfortunate. Feminine cultures also prefer equality between male and female and less prescriptive role behaviors associated with each gender. • The more "feminine" cultures have a greater ambiguity in what is expected of each gender.

Uncertainty Avoidance refers to the extent to which a culture feels threatened by ambiguous, uncertain situations and tries to avoid them by establishing more structure. The high positive scores on the uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) indicate low tolerance for ambiguity. These cultures prefer to avoid uncertainty and dissent ...
Related Ads