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Applying Hofstede's theory to Finnish culture

The Dutch cultural theorist Geert Hofstede was a pioneer, with his development of Cultural Dimensions theory based on his analysis of data collected in the late sixties when he worked in the Personnel Research department of IBM. His model divided a culture into six dimensions and I thought it may be interesting to talk about how these dimensions relate to Finnish culture because in my discussion of this theory with my students there has been some debate as to whether this analysis is still relevant in modern Finland.

For this post I would like to concentrate on Power Distance, which is how much a society expects and accepts that power is not equal in society. Finland scores a low score of 33 which means that it has a pretty low tolerance for inequalities of power and enjoys equal rights, coaching leaders, empowerment and employees expectation to be consulted in management decisions. Also, Finnish people tend to dislike control, have an informal culture, and accept hierarchy for convenience only.

Does this mean that Independence Day is one of these convenient times?

In my experience this description seems to be accurate but the study was done in the late 1960's and it would therefore be interesting to see what the influence of social change in Finland through economic growth and decline have had on this score. Has there been any move towards less formality and tolerance of inequalities in society or has it moved in a more conservative direction? What has the influence of digitisation and social and political change had on Finland and how will it change going forward?

A little bit of food for thought.

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A book from Richard D. Lewis (2005) "Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf" also discuss of Finnish culture. I recommend to read especially the language chapter. For example, we say "I wonder whether we ought to go or not." with only one word "Lähtisimmeköhän!"

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