Young man working on laptop at home

The Geert Hofstede site offers a wonderful source of information for people who are interested in understanding different cultures in the workplace and/ or for those who work internationally.  It is also a wonderful place to learn more about the Australian culture. You can even compare countries in different core areas. For example Australia is a very Masculine culture, in contrast to Sweden which is considered a feminine culture. Visit the Tools area of the site to compare countries and learn more about culture and strategy.

Masculinity 

Australia scores 61 on this dimension and is considered a “Masculine” society.  Behavior in school, work, and play are based on the shared values that people should “strive to be the best they can be” and that “the winner takes all”. Australians are proud of their successes and achievements in life, and it offers a basis for hiring and promotion decisions in the workplace. Conflicts are resolved at the individual level and the goal is to win.

Sweden scores 5 on this dimension and is therefore a Feminine society. In Feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Swedes are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached. Incentives such as free time and flexible work hours and place are favoured. The whole culture is based around ‘lagom’, which means something like not too much, not too little, not too noticeable, everything in moderation. Lagom ensures that everybody has enough and nobody goes without. Lagom is enforced in society by “Jante Law” which should keep people “in place” at all times. It is a fictional law and a Scandinavian concept which counsels people not to boast or try to lift themselves above others. 

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