Cultural dimensions

The IB Guide (2017) tells us that “Cultural dimensions refer to the values of members of a society living within a particular culture” and include…

Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Long term/Short term Time Orientation

Exam questions cannot specify which dimension you must answer on and the guide simply says you must study at least one of them. Choose a dimension which allows you to answer 22 markers including command terms such as ‘Discuss’ and ‘To what extent’…as well as the easier ones like ‘Evaluate research into…’

Read up on cultural dimensions here with this google book by Stella Ting -Toomey where you will find some useful material in Chapter 3 Value Orientations and Intercultural Encounters, p66-76.

This is is an excellent article covering much of the material: Cultural_Dimensions.pdf
Activities and notes:
Test your understanding:
  1. Who came up with the concept of cultural dimensions? (1)
  2. Describe his early research into cultural dimensions (5)
  3. Evaluate Hofstede study of cultural dimensions (GRAVE) (10); think about the sample, use of questionnaires, qualitative data, inductive content analysis etc.


Find the answers here:

Some extra links looking at examples of cultural differences:

Independent research task

Each of you will give a short presentation (5 minutes max) about one of the cultural dimensions. In you presentation you must..

  • outline the values associated with the two extremes of your dimension, e.g. individualist values versus /collectivist values
  • give examples of countries that are high and ow on this dimension
  • describe one piece of research which demonstrates how this dimension affects either behaviour or cognition.

Assessment Questions:

  1. SAQ: Explain how one cultural dimension influences behaviour with reference to one research study. (9) SAQ – Cultural dimensions -AJW