Andrea Payre Madrigal: Greece, France, US, South Korea

473 631 Ellen Ensher
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Andrea Payre Madrigal in Greece

I have been in Greece for the past 3 weeks, as part of the LMU Odyssey study abroad program where we took a class in HR/OB, “Managing People and Organizations”. In this class we have studied many concepts and used many tools to help us better understand said concepts. One of these tools was the Hofstede Insights Country Comparison Tool which we used to compare the work and cultural differences between Greece and the United States. There were six categories of culture described and analyzed per country: Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long Term Orientation, and Indulgence. I also added both France and South Korea because I am interested in the countries for my professional life. I will thus share three of the six categories for these four countries. 

The first category is Individualism. As you may imagine, the US scores incredibly high in this category- 91%- especially in contrast with Korea which only scores 18%. Greece scores at 35% and France at 71%. The description of Greece’s score made me think about the way I have seen many family businesses in Spetses and also learned about the way Greek households are often multi-generational and how we learned in class that in jobs for interviews in Greece, the interviewers tend to ask about a person’s family life or their relationships, which is a big “no- no” in the United States because of the anti-discrimination precautions adopted by US companies.

The second category is Masculinity. Once again, the United States has the highest score (62%) and Korea the lowest (39%), while Greece has an average score of 57% and France a lower score of 43%. According to the descriptions of these scores, France and Korea have Feminine societies, which means that “conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favored. Focus is on well-being, status is not shown. An effective manager is a supportive one.” As a future entry-level employee, this is a very enticing description.

The third is Long-Term Orientation. Once again, Korea and the US’s scores are vastly different (100% and 26% respectively), while France and Greece’s are more intermediate (63% and 45% respectively). What this category indicates is the society’s priorities: long-term thinking and sustainability for future generations, versus immediate consumption and quarterly profits. This category is important to me especially because of the climate crisis the world is facing today, and the question of whether superpowers like the United States will be able to change their mentality to a more sustainable one like Korea’s.

In conclusion, I think it is interesting to see how some countries like Greece score intermediate scores in most categories while other score in extremes across the board. It seems that Hofstede’s framework is useful for understanding the complex cultural structures of countries across the world and this information I have gathered form this tool has inspired me to continue exploring the cultures of the world in travel and in work. If you are considering traveling and/or traveling abroad, I recommend using Hofstede’s country comparison tool!