Power distance is the degree to which less powerful members of an organization tolerate unequal distribution of power. So in a high power distance culture, people tend to accept the inequalities between employers and employees, or parents and children. In the opposite, people from a low power culture cannot easily tolerate the unfairness. Uncertainty avoidance is the tendency to behave so as to arrange things in a way that minimizes unforeseen consequences. In a high uncertainty avoidance culture, people value traditions and routines, whereas in a low uncertainty avoidance culture, people have a propensity to change. It is easier for them to adapt to new things.

According to Hofstede’s cultural Dimension, China sits in the higher rankings of PDI, at 80. People in China don’t always agree on “all men are equal. They respect or even fear of the elderly and authority. Children are expected to “behave themselves”. However, China has a low score on uncertainty avoidance. It can be well explained just by the rapid and amazing changes China has made in the past 30 years. With 30 years of reform and opening to the world, China has quickly accumulated tremendous riches that makes the national power boost up and the international status further improved.

Doing business in a high power distance culture, like China, requires the preparation to be real professional. People are expected to be called by their title and last name. So be specific about the titles. During a meeting, be a good listener. Don’t interrupt or question in the meeting, especially do not question authorities. When at a business dinner, learn about the dining rules ahead of time. But since China is a low uncertainty avoidance culture, new ideas and technology are always very welcome. So be open-minded to new ideas and keep up!


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