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Culture and Public Administration Relationship in Canada Report

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2021

Culture in Organizations in Canada

Organizations in Canada can be characterized as ones who base their development on the principles not of the strong hierarchy and centralization, but on the possibilities for the communication and interaction on all the levels in the company for achieving the best results. Thus, managers in Canada accentuate the effectiveness of teamwork and involving a lot of people in the decision-making process as equals (Carter, Giber, & Goldsmith, 2009). In this situation, it is possible to focus on creativity and individualism in solving definite problems and completing the organizational tasks.


Canadians can be considered as self-confident and praying their individualism and personal freedom, but quite open to the discussions for gaining the results. Moreover, the peculiarities of the behavior also depend on the region of the country. Thus, “there is tension between the French province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Quebec tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is high throughout Canada, but particularly in Quebec” (Canada business etiquette & culture). In spite of the fact, Canadians are quite open to innovations, changes, and differences; they can be rather strict in relation to the following definite rules and norms (Carroll, 2009).


When Canadians work, they are oriented to the best results of their working process. Thus, they do not hesitate to implement the necessary changes in the working process according to the effects which are provided. It is typical for employees and managers in Canada to find the most effective and efficient ways for achieving definite goals and for the realization of the necessary strategies while arguing and debating the most controversial aspects of the problem with expressing the personal vision of it (Dobuzinskis, Howlett, & Laycock, 2007). The possibilities to use these ideas should be openly discussed because of the principle of transparency (Parker, 2011).

Hofstede’s Five Dimensions for Canada

To determine the level of the 5-dimensions model’s realization in Canada, it is necessary to examine the situation for the country as the whole one, without dividing it into two parts according to the language used.

Power / Distance

This dimension is used to determine the level of social equality or inequality in a definite country according to which the relationship in companies and administrations is organized. The high level of power/distance is characterized by the development of centralized companies with strong hierarchies, and the low level is characterized by focusing on supervising and teamwork (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions). According to this criterion, the score of Canada is 39, which can be considered as rather low. The managers in companies concentrate on communication, information exchange, and consultations. Thus, “hierarchy in Canadian organizations is established for convenience, superiors are always accessible, and managers rely on individual employees and teams for their expertise” (What about Canada?).


This dimension accentuates the strength of the connections between the persons in the society. Do they think about themselves as individuals or as a part of a group? When the level of individualism is high, people focus only on their personal interests and freedoms, and their families (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). Such a society respects the privacy and encourages the expression of the individuals’ ideas. When the level is low, people think about the supportive atmosphere and respect traditions (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions).

Canada’s score is 80, that is why it can be considered as having an individualistic culture (What about Canada?). Thus, the managers in companies wait for the employees’ initiative, and the employees do not accentuate the attention on their private lives, focusing on the career’s achievements. The general strength of the interpersonal connections in society is low because people try not to be involved in the aspects of other people’s lives. The high level of personal responsibility is also typical for this society.

Masculinity / Femininity

The high level of masculinity in society stresses that social roles and jobs for men and women are strictly defined according to gender roles. When this level is low, society values skills but not pays much attention to the sex of the employee or gender roles (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions). Canada’s score is 52. That is why it is possible to say about the balance between the high masculinity and femininity in society. Canadians focus more on the other aspects of their everyday life than on the sex of the employee when he or she is quite skillful. Therefore, “Canadians also tend to have a work-life balance and are likely to take time to enjoy personal pursuits, family gatherings, and life in general” (What about Canada?).

Uncertainty / Avoidance

This criterion discusses society’s abilities to accept or not definite changes and differences in traditional norms and rules. Thus, those societies with a high level of the dimension conduct a very formal business based on avoidance of differences, on the rules and plans when the societies with the low dimension accept changes and risks (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions). “The Canadian score on this dimension is 48, and Canadian culture is more “uncertainty accepting” (What about Canada?). Canadians are ready to examine something new or different and “allow the freedom of expression” (What about Canada?).

Long-Term Orientation

If this dimension is high, society is inclined to follow norms and traditions in organizing its life and work. People respect families and parents. If the level is low, people are inclined to express their individualism and follow new trends (Hofstede’s cultural dimensions). “Canada scores 23 on this dimension and is a short-term oriented culture….Given this perspective, a Canadian business entity measures performance on a short-term basis, with profit and loss statements being issued on a quarterly basis” (What about Canada?).


If we discuss culture as a societal phenomenon, it is necessary to concentrate on it in connection with social structures, organizations, and public management and administration (Dunn, 2002). In this case, transparency can be considered as the measure according to which all the processes in companies and organizations should be done following the necessary rules and regulations typical for the definite society. Canadian principles to public administration accentuate the fact that the information should be available and accessible. Thus, enough information is provided for the public; it is easily understandable and transparent.


Canadian institutions and organizations reveal a high level of accountability, which means that these organizations should be accountable or responsible to the public. Thus, in relation to the culture and public administration, “accountability is a two-way street, and all parties need each other to achieve good results. This implies a high degree of cooperation, a clear understanding of their agreements, and how best to work together to achieve these objectives” (Centre of excellence on performance management and accountability). Moreover, the principles of accountability cannot develop without depending on transparency and the rule of law.


In connection with the relationship between culture and public administration, participation means the involvement of all the social groups in providing the social organization of the society. To become an effective factor for the development of the state and its organizations, all the social groups should be represented in the decision-making process. In Canada, it is rational for all the levels of social organization and structure, also including the governmental level and such different types of organizations as private and social. However, participation should be well-organized and based on the principles of freedom and individualism (House, Hanges, & Javidan, 2004).

Rule of Law

When it is associated with the public organization in Canada and the related cultural and social norms, the rule of law is considered as the basic criterion for implementing all the social principles with references to human rights and freedoms. The main peculiarity of the organizations in Canada is in the fact that their activities are based on the rule of law, and they are supported by those laws which are represented in the Constitution. All the actions should follow the legal principles and not restrict the freedoms of the other persons (Graham, 2007; Miljan, 2008).


In spite of the fact that Canadians pay much attention to the results of their work and can consider as results-oriented while completing the tasks, modern strategies which develop in the sphere of public administration also concentrate on the means with the help of which these results are achieved (Bourgault, 1997). Thus, the results-orientation also depends on the level of cooperation between the employees and managers, on the character of their communication, and on the general atmosphere while working toward achieving the best results (Schiavo-Campo, & McFerson, 2008).


Bourgault, J. (1997). Public administration and public management: Experiences in Canada. Canada: Gouvernemnet du Quebec.

Canada business etiquette & culture. (n.d.). Web.

Carroll, R. (2009). Risk Management Handbook. USA: Jossey-Bass.

Carter, L., Giber, D., & Goldsmith, M. (2009). Best practices in organization development and change: Culture, leadership, retention, performance, coaching. USA: Pfeiffer.

Centre of excellence on performance management and accountability. (n.d.). The Institute of Public Administration of Canada. Web.

Dobuzinskis, L., Howlett, M., & Laycock, D. (2007). Policy analysis in Canada. USA: University of Toronto Press.

Dunn, C. (2002). The handbook of Canadian public administration. USA: Oxford University Press.

Graham, L. S. (2007). The politics of governing: A comparative introduction. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

. (n.d.). Web.

Hofstede, G. & Hofstede G. J. (2005). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., & Javidan, M. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The clobe study of 62 societies. USA: Sage Publications.

Miljan, L. (2008). Public policy in Canada: An introduction. USA: Oxford University Press.

Parker, M. (2011). Culture connection: How developing a winning culture will give your organization a competitive advantage. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Schiavo-Campo, S. & McFerson H. M. (2008). Public management in global perspective. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

What about Canada? (n.d.). Web.

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