29 Nov 2022


Comparing And Contrasting Japan and USA Using Hofstede’s Six Dimensions

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Geert Hofstede established the six most fundamental issues that a society should comprehend for proper self-organization. The tenets are commonly referred to as the dimensions of culture each expressed with a reference to a scale that ranges from 0 to 100 (Hofstede, 2006). Culture can be defined as the general organization of the human mind that differentiates one group of people from the other. The organization of the mind is evident in the way people think evidenced by connotations of meaning people attach to various aspects of life (Hofstede, 2006). It should, however, be noted that this is usually not the case with everyone in the society as there exist differences between persons. The six dimensions have been used to identify the cultural drivers of countries and they include; power distance, long/short term orientation, individualism/collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity /Femininity, and Indulgence/Restraint. Using the six dimensions, this article will compare and contrast the national cultural drivers of the United States and Japan by outlining each country parameters based on the dimensions. It should also be noted that the culture drivers of these two countries are different despite the fact that they are both economic powerhouses. 

Comparing Scores 

The six dimensions of culture according to Greet Hofstede include long-term orientation, indulgence, power distance, individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance. Out of a maximum score of 100, the United States had the following statistics, a 40 on power distance, 91 on individualism, 62 on masculinity, and 46 on uncertainty avoidance, 26 on long-term orientation, and 68 on indulgence (Hofstede Insights, 2018). On the other hand, Japan had the following scores on the six dimensions out of the possible 100. power distance had a score on 54, a 46 on individualism, 95 on masculinity, 92, o uncertainty avoidance, 88 on long-term orientation while 42 on indulgence (Hofstede Insights, 2018). 

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Both countries have a high score on masculinity which can be explained by looking at the behavioral pattern of each country. Both countries have a high regard for being the best and having it all as is the definition of success. Masculinity can be evidenced in the corporate societies of these two countries especially places of work. 

The USA had a low score on masculinity (62) as compared to that of Japan which had a score of 95. This implies that the Japanese society is more competitive as compared to that in the USA. Japanese people also have a high regard for success and achievement as compared to their counterpart in the USA success being defined as being the best in a certain area. 

How we conduct ourselves in school, while at work and even when playing in the American setting is derived from the notion that one should strive to be the best. The Americans will talk about and showcase their individual successes and even talk of how well a certain job was done by them. The Japanese, on the other hand, they have a mild degree of collectivism and therefore the competition is more on group levels rather than individuals. Employees in Japan value when they succeed as a team rather than as individuals. In corporate Japan, the population strives for excellent and perfect production systems as an embodiment of masculinity. 

Uncertainty avoidance can be measured by the extent to which the rules and regulations impact on the culture of that very country (Hofstede Insights, 2018). Japan bears the highest score on uncertainty avoidance with a score of 92 as compared to 46 posted by the United States. This can be explained by the high probability of occurrence of natural disaster in Japan as compared to the USA. Risk averseness in Japan’s workspace is high. The United States posts an average score on power avoidance alongside uncertainty avoidance as compared to Japan which implies that the level of controlling things is low and there are fewer rules and regulation. 

Individualism gives a measure of how individualistic the population is. A country that has a high score on this index implies that the needs of an individual are highly ranked as compared to that of a group and a country that has a low score on this index means that they have a high regard for group work and the welfare of the group rather than individual needs. The United States has a high score of 91 while Japan has a low score of 46. This implies that United States’ population is more individualistic as compared to Japan. 

Based on power distance, both countries post an average score with the United States having 40 and Japan 54. Power distance gives an estimate of the level of satisfaction people have in influencing power distribution and their involvement in the leadership of the country (Hofstede Insights, 2018). It also indicates the satisfaction level of the less powerful on the fact that power is unevenly distributed. In both countries, it is regarded that working hard will propel someone to be ahead of others and bettering their situations. 

Long-term orientation implies the extent to which a society should give reference to the past while addressing the present and future issues. Societies with a high score on this index are described as being normative treating changes in the society suspiciously and value time-honored practices while pragmatic societies have a high score on this dimension implying that they value determinations in present education to comfortably handle the future (Hofstede, 2010). The United States is a normative society since it has a low score of 26 on this dimension while Japan with a score of 88 is a pragmatic society. Long-term orientation is evident in the Japanese society by each person doing his or her best while still living and their lives based on practical examples and virtues. On the degree of long-term orientation, a comparison can also be drawn from the corporate world. In United States businesses calculate their profits on a short-term basis and the statements released quarterly while the Japanese corporate class has a high investment rate in research and development, capital rate and prioritize a constant rise in market share rather than concentrating on quarterly profits. Businesses in Japan seek to benefit the stakeholders and society at large for a number of generations rather than making money on a quarterly basis for the shareholders (Hofstede, 2010). 


The differences between the United States and Japan are more than the similarities. The difference of nearly 25 percent is evident in a number of dimensions apart from power distance. Long-term orientation bares the highest difference of 60. An outstanding similarity in the cultures of the two countries is that the harder an individual works the more successful one becomes and apart from this dimension, all the others have a stark difference as indicated by their scores. 


Hofstede Insights. (2018). Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/japan/ [Accessed 25 Jun. 2018]. 

Hofstede Insights. (2018). Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/the-usa/ [Accessed 25 Jun. 2018]. 

Hofstede, G. (2006). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2. 

Hofstede, G. (2010). Geert Hofstede. National cultural dimensions. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Comparing And Contrasting Japan and USA Using Hofstede’s Six Dimensions.


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