Posted by: blogone | May 15, 2006

Ireland & Mexico Cultural Dimensions

Because I'm spending a lot of time in the restaurant kitchen with Noe, Primo, Elder and Juan I decided to have a look at Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions website to see how Ireland compares to Mexico from a cultural point.

Geert Hofstede:

Prof. Geert Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture.

Geert Hofstede analyzed a large data base of employee values scores collected by IBM between 1967 and 1973 covering more than 70 countries, from which he first used the 40 largest only and afterwards extended the analysis to 50 countries and 3 regions. In the editions of GH's work since 2001, scores are listed for 74 countries and regions, partly based on replications and extensions of the IBM study on different international populations.

Subsequent studies validating the earlier results have included commercial airline pilots and students in 23 countries, civil service managers in 14 counties, 'up-market' consumers in 15 countries and 'elites' in 19 countries.

Ireland / Mexico 5D image

The 5 Dimensions:

PDI = Power Distance Index

IDV = Individualism

MAS = Masculinity

UAI = Uncertainty Avoidance Index

LTO = Long-Term Orientation

Ireland ranks lower in the areas of PDI & UAI. Ireland is higher on IDV. Ireland and Mexico rank the same on UAI. What does that mean?

From the website:

Power Distance Index (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country's society. A High Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These societies are more likely to follow a caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens. A Low Power Distance ranking indicates the society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and wealth. In these societies equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed.

One of the things I notice in Ireland is the growing number of articles and radio commentry and dissatisfaction of youg(ish) people with the cost of living and the gap that is growing between the have's and the have not's. I'm basing that on articles in newspapers and radio commentry. It may not reflect the real situation. I'm not an expert is what I'm trying to say here. However the standard of living in San Diego is better than Dublin. San Diego offers better prices and better levels of service than Dublin.




Individualism (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships. A High Individualism ranking indicates that individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. Individuals in these societies may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships. A Low Individualism ranking typifies societies of a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. These cultures reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.

Much higher in Ireland than Mexico. A generation or two ago it may have been more similar.


Masculinity (MAS) focuses on the degree the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control, and power. A High Masculinity ranking indicates the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation. In these cultures, males dominate a significant portion of the society and power structure, with females being controlled by male domination. A Low Masculinity ranking indicates the country has a low level of differentiation and discrimination between genders. In these cultures, females are treated equally to males in all aspects of the society.

Same for Ireland & Mexico. I notice this a bit in the restaurant when Noe's better half comes to visit. She goes out the back and waits for him to come out to her. He would appear to hold the balance of power in the relationship.


Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) focuses on the level of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within the society – i.e. unstructured situations. A High Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates the country has a low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. This creates a rule-oriented society that institutes laws, rules, regulations, and controls in order to reduce the amount of uncertainty. A Low Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates the country has less concern about ambiguity and uncertainty and has more tolerance for a variety of opinions. This is reflected in a society that is less rule-oriented, more readily accepts change, and takes more and greater risks.

Ireland ranks lower.


Long-Term Orientation (LTO) explains us the extent to which a society exhibits a pragmatic future oriented perspective rather than a conventional historic or short term point of view. Countries scoring high on this dimension are the Asian countries. These countries believe in many truths, have a long term orientation, easily accept change and have thrift for investment. Cultures scoring low on this dimension believe in absolute truth, are conventional and traditional, have a short term orientation and a concern for stability. Most Western countries score fairly low on this dimension.

Links for more information:

Geert Hofstede Homepage:

Compare your home culture with a host culture:

International Business Etiquette & Manners:

Doing business in the U.S.A:

Doing business in the U.K:





  1. Interesting sfuff my boy… I would recommend, before you make any trip back to Ireland to take a trip into Mexico, I mean right into the country, forget Tijuana, I remember the day we both went down there for the day, on the tram to san Yisidro corssing… It was like stepping back 50 years when we crossed that line,(US/Mexico border line for all you thinker’s out there) I saw/felt similiar crossing form Laredo into Nuevo laredo back in december, but the country changes as you go further south and indeed Mexico city has to be seen to be believed.. 22 million people. I remember being in so many places thinking, this is what Ireland was like 30 years ago… I guess the catholic church rubber stamp on nations wasn’t so different after all. Theres one thing that stood out to me in Mexico and that was the very real sense of family values, I remember when Ireland was like that as well, im sure it;s still here in some way shape of form, but only really in a crisis. yes Al, to get a true sense of Hostede’s studies, I believe you need to go south my boy, and take Andrea, does she not deserve a nice vacation after all her hard studies? I recommend acapulco!
    later dude

  2. Thanks for the idea. I also agree about the family values of Mexico and Ireland some years ago.

  3. there is still significant support for Hofstede’s work and findings. There is also a counter-argument that contends that Hofstede’s work is too generalised.

    Do you agree that conducting a survey in 1967, Hofstede would have faced a far-more homogenous planet in terms of national and social groupings than say today. Ireland surveyed in 1967 would have been far more homogenous than say Ireland today. Isn’t this the case for so many of the countries.

    Hofstede in his work was at pains to point out that he didn’t see culture as a facet of nationality. If I recall correctly Hofstede Sr. does not place much value in the concept of national culture..

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