Hickey, Samantha (2007) Power Distance in Cross Cultural Workplaces. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
PDF (Master of Arts)
The main focus of my dissertation is on Power Distance in organisations as a Dimension of National Culture.
Power distance is defined by Hofstede as 'the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations expect and accept that power is distributed'.
I am intrigued by the dimension of Power Distance as I have worked in five different countries and with hundreds of people of different nationalities.
I have observed on many occasions that there people in different national cultures behave differently towards their bosses, in some cases not calling them by their first name.
I was sure that the differences in hierarchical relationships were not just dependent of the corporate structure, size of company or industry.
When I started my research into the subject I was interested to see that this dimension has been classified as a characteristic of cultural orientations in societies are there have been broad surveys carried out in more than fifty countries giving each country, with statistical confidence, a power distance score.
Hofstede is a key figure in my research. He began to measure power distance in the sixties and his findings have stood the test of time.
In my literature review I look at the academic roots to gain an understanding of the concept.
I show studying theory what the sources of power distance are. This is fascinating. By knowing these you can predict the power distance of a society without knowing much about them.
I also look at the how it manifests in the societies in question and how we can improve our awareness in cross cultural encounters.
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