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Different Typologies:

Hofstede’s Value Dimensions:

Hofstede Value Dimensions was a study done to examine cultural values.  He uses five separate classifications, which can help compare the differences in different cultures and countries.  These four classifications are Individualism/Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity/Femininity, and Long Term/Short Term. 

Individualism/Collectivism- Defining a culture as individualistic generally means that the culture does not rely on others but themselves as individuals. Defining a culture as collectivist generally means that community is very important and everyone in the community works together and thinks of themselves as a whole rather than individuals.

Vietnam is considered a fairly collectivist culture.  Because of their Confucian roots, their culture is strongly orientated around family and community.  Family comes before oneself. Therefore, they value the collective whole rather than the individual. To bring pride to ones family is the ultimate goal.

High Uncertainty Avoidance-Low Uncertainty Avoidance-The idea of high and low uncertainty avoidance deals with whether or not a culture is very aware of what could happen in the future and how much control they feel is necessary to have over this.

Vietnam is classified as a Low Uncertainty Avoidance culture. Although they have had decades of invasions to their country they choose not to dwell on this, or live in fear. They are welcoming to outsiders and are less tense and more relaxed.  Furthermore, Vietnam is confident in their country and comfortable with the uncertainty that tomorrow brings.

Power Distance- Power distance in a culture is measured by the distance of power that there is between the powerful and the less powerful and if the less powerful accept this. High power distance means that all individuals accept the power distance as a way of life. Low power distance signifies that inequality in a society is not accepted as natural or good.

Vietnam is a social republic state and has a high power distance.  The power in Vietnam is not distributed equally but this is accepted as part of the culture from all ends of the social classes.

Masculinity/Femininity-Whether a culture is considered to be a more masculine or feminine society is to say whether or not the culture values masculinity or femininity more. A masculine culture is considered to be more patriarchal and value the men’s role in the culture more. The opposite, a matriarchal society, means the culture values women's role in the culture more.

Masculinity is highly valued in Vietnam.  Vietnam follows the Confucianism dyad of the father to son relationship and this signifies that the father is always the head of the household.

Long-Term/Short-Term-Long-term and short-term classifications have to do with a culture and if it values short-term or long-term results. If they value long lasting relationships or if they just want quick, gratifying results.

Vietnam is high on long-term orientation.  They are hard-working and respect their superiors. They value the relationships they build not the results they get right away.


Hall's High and Low Context:
Hall's definition of high and low context relates to the idea of how much information is explicitly in the communicated message or how much is not directly said. A high context culture has very little information in the explicit part of the message while a low context culture relys heavily on the explicit part of the message.

Vietnam is considered a more high-context society. Vietnam has its roots in Confucian ethics. Vietnamese often use nonverbal cues as a means of getting a message across.

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's Human Nature Orientations:

Human Nature: The Vietnamese believe that people are basically good. Vietnam is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, specifically Confucianism and Buddhism, which both enforce the mind-set that people are basically good.

Relation to Nature: Vietnamese are more in harmony with nature, using what they can but not doing so much as to conquer nature.

Time orientation: The Vietnamese culture is a mix of both present and past oriented. They rely on many of their traditional values that are rooted in Confucianism from thousands of years ago but are also moving towards a more market economy, satisfying their needs in the present.

Vietnam is a "being" orientation. It is not necessary for one to achieve great things in life in order for one's life to feel worthwhile.

Social Relationships: Vietnamese are very much group oriented. They are a Collectivist culture and place special emphasis on their roles and obligations within the group rather than their own desires.

(Source 18)


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Cultural Portfolio Fall Semester 2007. See Cultural Portfolio Homepage here