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The Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ Overview Print E-mail

Culture, what Geert Hofstede refers to as "software of the mind/mental programming," is a critical variable that guides peoples' actions and reactions.

 "The Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ is effective, easy to use and understand. Highly recommended!"

Doug Stuart
Leading expert in the field of intercultural communications

Understanding one's own culture and the impact of culture on the actions of others is essential for effective global business interactions. The Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire" will provide you with insights about yourself and a better understanding of how your cultural preferences, as well as the cultural preferences of others, impact working relationships. It will also provide you with a framework for understanding diverse approaches to workplace interactions such as problem solving, working in teams and managing projects.

Cultural Preferences

Cultural misunderstandings can be counterproductive for individual development, organizational effectiveness and profits, as well as international relations. As members of the global workplace, your effectiveness depends on many factors, chief among them the capacity to understand your cultural preferences and how these influence, and are influenced by, those from other parts of the world. Click here for more information on cultural preferences and how they affect your interactions with others.

Background on the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™

The Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ is derived from the work of Dr. Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social scientist who developed this questionnaire to illustrate culturally dependent work preferences.  He is Director (Emeritus) of the Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation (IRIC) at the University of Limburg at Maastricht, the Netherlands.  Dr. Hofstede's pioneering study of IBM affiliates in fifty countries, elaborated in his book Culture's Consequences, helped to form the foundation of the field of comparative management.  A number of questions in the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire" were designed and researched by Dr. Hofstede's colleague, Professor André Laurent, Emeritus Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD.

ITAP licenses the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ from Dr. Hofstede and has the worldwide exclusive rights to its use. This instrument provides an individual profile compared against country averages.

The dimensions, as described and interpreted in the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™, are:

Individualism: The degree to which action is taken for the benefit of the individual or the group.

Power Distance: The degree to which inequality or distance between those in charge and the less powerful (subordinates) is accepted.

Certainty: The extent to which people prefer rules, regulations and controls or are more comfortable with unstructured, ambiguous or unpredictable situations.

Achievement: The degree to which we focus on goal achievement and work or quality of life and caring for others. This dimension also tracks the relative masculine and feminine influences in the workplace.

Time Orientation: The extent to which members of a society are prepared to adapt themselves to reach a desirable future, or the extent to which they take their guidance from the past and focus on fulfilling their present needs and desires.

navigating cultureThe most important use of the Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ is learning your own cultural profile and how that might compare to others.  Responses to the questionnaire help to illuminate attitudes and values,and provide a springboard to understanding and discussion of cultural differences and similarities.  The insights are then built upon to create more effective and productive cross-cultural working relationships.  Global businesses are constantly building bridges across cultural and other boundaries in order to carry out their work more effectively and productively.  Knowing your own profile will help you learn about others and build those bridges together.

Would you like to discover where you fit into the following graph?

The graph below is an illustration of a participant's Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ results for one of the dimensions, Certainty.

Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ Preferences for Certainty barchart

In these scores, we are comparing the participant's individual scores to country averages.  As such, there are many individuals in these countries with scores that differ from their own country averages (and that may be closer or further from the participant's scores).  The participant (an American) also differs from the larger U.S. sample in some respects.  However, national tendencies are indicated clearly through the country scores.  American participants often, but not always, score quite "low" on the Certainty dimension, meaning that they prefer an entrepreneurial environment which is less bound by rules and regulations more than many of their counterparts in other countries.

Interpretation of the Bar Chart

In the Certainty area, the participant's score is at the low end of the Certainty dimension and indicates a strong preference for tolerance for ambiguity. People with a high tolerance for ambiguity appreciate organizations that encourage individuals to take initiatives and use creative approaches. They believe that there should be no more rules than is strictly necessary, and that rules may be broken for pragmatic purposes. It is acceptable to challenge and question "the way things are done." There is a tolerance of differences, innovative ideas and a wide range of behaviors. Managers are mainly concerned with strategic issues and it is accepted that they may not have all the solutions at any given time.

In high need for Certainty countries such as Japan, loyalty to an employer is seen as a distinct advantage, and a specialist career is generally preferred over a career in general management. In countries such as Japan, the participant would need to appreciate others' need for compliance with procedures and the "normal" approach, and understand that they are likely to expect the same of the participant. Overemphasis on a preference towards a "just do it" attitude on the part of the participant may lead to resentment and withdrawal of cooperation, rather than the intended impact of "empowering" others and achieving objectives.

To learn more about your own preference for Certainty, try the questionnaire below!
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Preference for Certainty Questionnaire

Please indicate your level of agreement to the following 6 statements using this scale:

1
Strongly Disagree
2
Tend to Disagree
3
Undecided
4
Tend to Agree
5
Strongly Agree

Please click on a number from 1 to 5 for each of the 6 statements below.

1.    Most organizations would be better off if conflict could be eliminated.
1
2
3
4
5
2.    One can be a good manager without having precise answers to most of the questions that subordinates may raise about their work.
1
2
3
4
5
3.    An organization structure in which certain subordinates have two bosses should be avoided at all costs.
1
2
3
4
5
4.    In order to have efficient work relationships, it is often necessary to bypass the hierarchical lines.
1
2
3
4
5
5.    I am uneasy in situations in which there are no clear rules or guidelines.
1
2
3
4
5
6.    Conflicts with our opponents are best resolved by both parties compromising a bit.
1
2
3
4
5

Countries for Comparison (choose ONLY 2):

Argentina France Mexico
Brazil Germany Russia
Canada United Kingdom South Africa
China Japan USA

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After answering the questions and filling in the above information, please press the Submit button below.


For more information about the full five dimension Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ and its cost, please contact ITAP International.

 

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