International and Intercultural Communications
Differences and Similarities Between Spain and United States According to Hofstede’s six Cultural Dimensions
Power Distance Index
This refers to how society reacts to the diversity and the fact that our societies are made of inequality. In Spain, children are taught to respect their elders through language and teachers at school, which reflects in the job market where the managers and authorities are highly distinguishable and respected (Hofstede, 2010). In the United States, people are more liberal and out to create equality; they do not distance themselves from those in power, but instead, they challenge them and maintain good relationships.
The Uncertainty Avoidance Index
U.S. society accepts change and uncertainty very quickly and welcomes new ideas while Spain is reluctant, and the people prefer not to get into risks (Hofstede, 2010). A study carried out in the two countries shows that 75% of the Spanish youth would choose a civil service job because it guarantees stability. However, only 17% of the young people in America would go for a civil service job as they rather prefer a higher salary (Samovar, Porter, McDaniel, & Roy, 2014).
Masculinity Versus Femininity
Spain is a relatively masculine country compared to the United States, which is very competitive, and success is a measure of an individual’s achievements. Spain, on the other hand, cares for others, values life and inclusiveness of the minority.
Individualism Versus Collectivism
In Spain, people work in groups and success is mostly measured according to teamwork; this culture is well cultivated from their school system and continues to the job market. The United States portrays the best illustration of an individualist culture; people tend to do it on their own since a young age (Hofstede, 2011). Despite the huge gap difference between the two societies, a study shows that both nations have started to appreciate the importance of teamwork in job places, enhancing a more collective culture in the job market.
Long-Term Versus Short-Time Orientation
In both Spain and U.S., they share a culture of short orientation, whereby the both societies prefer to live in the moment and plan for the future; they also hold strong beliefs in their traditions. (Hamilton & Webster, 2015).
Spain is less indulgent than the United States; this apparently means they are laid back and resilient and may tend to be pessimistic or cynics (Samovar et al., 2014). U.S., on the other hand, is very indulgent and the people tend to emphasize more on leisure time and out to satisfy their desires (Hofstede, 2010).
Recommendations for Conducting Business Between Spain and United States
Both parties should use a handshake for the greetings; the Spanish should focus on eye contact with the U.S., a firm handshake, and avoid touching or close talks due to the individualism that exists with the U.S. (Hamilton &Webster, 2015). On the other hand, the U.S. negotiator should try and use formal communication so as to respect the culture of high distance preference that exists within Spanish society.
Spanish are more human relationship oriented while United State society is time conscience and “business first” mentality. Spanish people must ensure they always arrive on time or offer an apology if they are late; negotiations of the trade must occur, and the relationship might be less personal. The U.S., on the other hand, must be prepared that schedules might not be necessarily followed, and the first meeting might be used to know each other instead of getting into the business.
U.S. society is well known to be very direct to the point; this would mean some word that needs key attention may be taken at face value; the Spanish negotiator must know that they should ask questions if something is not clear.
Spain has entirely different business hours, which run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m.; the business is closed and resumed at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while Americans work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Hamilton & Webster, 2015). Organizations must take critical notice of such differences and reorganize their schedules to fit in these differences.
Hamilton, L., & Webster, P. (2015). The international business environment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Hofstede, G. (2010). Cultural Dimensions. Geert Hofstede. Retrieved from https://geert-hofstede.com/cultural-dimensions.html
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1), 1-26.
Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., McDaniel, E. R., $ Roy, C. S. (2014). Intercultural Communication: A reader. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.