A Comparison of the United States and Tanzania’s Cultures using Hofstede’s Dimensions
The two countries that have been picked for comparison are the United States and Tanzania. The geographical distance between the two countries is huge. However, when the two countries are compared using Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions, there are both similarities and differences.
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The first dimension to be evaluated is power distance. The United States has a power distance of 40 while Tanzania has a score of 70. This implies that people in the United States are less tolerant to inequality as compared to the people of Tanzania. This also means that it is harder to question and communicate with leaders in Tanzania. However, in the United States, leaders are accessible and they tend to rely on their employees.
The second dimension is individualism where the United States has a score of 95 while Tanzania has 25. The biggest difference between these two cultures is in their individualism. While the United States is a very individualistic society, Tanzania’s society is mostly collective. In addition, this means that the Tanzanian society is uneasy about outsiders while the United States’ society is open to aliens.
On the masculinity and femininity dimension, the scores of the two countries are 62 for the United States and 40 for Tanzania. These scores indicate that the society in the United States is more ‘masculine’ and therefore more competitive (Hofstede, 2005).
On the other hand, Tanzania is a feminine country that does not overemphasize hard work and shuns cutthroat competition. For instance, an effective manager in the United States is able to encourage and foster competition while an effective manager in Tanzania works hard to maintain a sense of equality among employees.
The two countries have almost equal scores in uncertainty avoidance with a score of 46 for the United States and 50 for Tanzania (Hofstede, 2005). Therefore, both countries do not go to great lengths to prepare for uncertainties. Nevertheless, Tanzania is more likely to put measures to prepare for uncertainties. While the United States is less anxious about new ideas and products, Tanzania is likely to be more suspicious about the introduction of new ideas and products within its borders.
The long-term orientation scores of the two countries are 29 for the United States and 30 for Tanzania. This means that both societies adhere to the short-term cultures. Both the United States and Tanzania are societies that respect traditions and lack the need to save money for future use. The low scores in long-term orientation also mean that both societies are concerned with quick results such as making profits using the stock exchange.
Recommendations for Business Between the two Countries
If an organization in Tanzania is conducting business with an organization in the United States, there are few cultural considerations to be made to ensure effective communication. The first consideration is how to address superiors in the two organizations. While it is easy to gain audience and casually address management personnel in the United States, in Tanzania managers are highly regarded and addressed with more respect than in the United States.
It is important for the management in the United States to note that the society in Tanzania does not emphasize on the importance of personal space, as Tanzania is a collective society (Koester & Lustig, 2012). The Tanzanians on the other hand should be able to respect the Americans’ personal space. The use of ‘we’ when addressing Tanzanians is more effective than the use of ‘I’ because the Tanzanian society does not embrace individualism.
Hofstede, G. (2005). National cultural dimensions. Retrieved from https://geerthofstede.com/
Koester, J. & Lustig, M. (2012). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall.