My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

The dimensions may be described as follows. “Power distance” relates to the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. “Individualism” versus its opposite, collectivism, concerns the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. “Masculinity” versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders. Finally, “uncertainty avoidance” deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. Later, he added a fifth dimension of “long-term orientation”, referring to values such as thrift and perseverance (Minkov & Hofstede, 2011). Recently, he added a sixth dimension “indulgence versus restraint”, referring to the allowance or suppression of needs like enjoyment of life and having fun (Hofstede, n.d. b). However, both “long-term orientation” and “indulgence versus restrained” were studied only in part of the world and not in all cultures relevant in the present study. Therefore, I will expand in this study only on the original four dimensions.

Hofstede’s work was replicated in many settings and his findings were used in many academic fields, mostly in quantitative research. He suggested that his work may be base for qualitative research as well, comparing value dimensions in two or more cases. He cited a host of research studies that used his indices and linked the dimensions to an immense number of variables. Among these variables are: attitudes toward a range of topics, satisfaction with personal or national issues, subjective well-being, emotional expression, conflict handling, and preference for certain pass-times (Hofstede, 2001).

One could compare the cultural dimensions as suggested by Hofstede with those suggested by Schwartz (on the country-level). Conceptually, we could postulate that Hofstede’s dimension of individualism-collectivism is comparable with Schwartz’s dimension of autonomy versus embeddedness. It seems that Hofstede’s dimension of power distance is comparable with Schwartz’s dimension of egalitarianism versus hierarchy. Furthermore, Hofstede’s dimension of uncertainty avoidance could be related to Schwartz’s dimension of harmony versus mastery. Perhaps also Hofstede’s dimension of masculinity-femininity is related to harmony versus mastery.


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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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