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Comparison of Singapore and Australia based on Hofstede's Theory

Discuss about the Hofstede’s Theory of Cultural Dimension.

The essay gives an overview of organizational change management. The essay commences with a comparison of Singapore and Australia based on the Hofstede’s cultural dimension. Hofstede’s theory of cultural dimension represents a framework for the cross-cultural communication. The theory describes the influence of the culture of the society on the value of the members and represents how the values relate to the behavior with a structure based on the factor analysis. There is also discussion on how national culture influences the Five Bases of Power of French and Raven. According to French and Raven, power took five separate and distinct forms. They identified these forms as the five-power base that included legitimate, referent, coercive, reward and expert. The report also puts forward an argument on the efficient of the usage of power in the change programs when the organizational change occurs in Singapore and Australia. 

According to Leo and Russell-Bennett (2015), the comparison based on the cultural dimension of Hofstede theory between Singapore and Australia is done based on six dimensions that include power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and indulgence(Ngai et al. 2015, 33-44).

Power Distance: This dimension refers to the extent in which the lesser powerful members of the organizations and the institutions within the country accept and expects that there is unequal distribution of power (Winterich, Karen and Yinlong 2014, 274-293). In terms of this dimension, Singapore scores around 74. Organizations in Singapore experiences a centralization of power with the managers relying on the bosses and rules implemented. There is also expectation amongst the employees for receiving orders regarding the performance of a task. There is expected control and the attitude towards the manager remains formal. There is also indirect communication with selective flow of information. Therefore, Singapore shows a higher Power Distance Index

In comparison to Singapore, the scores of Australia are lower in this dimension. The Australian organizations establish hierarchy for the matter of convenience (Winterich, Karen and Yinlong 2014, 274-293). Moreover, the supervisor remains accessible and the managers rely on the teams and the individual employees for expertise. Both the employees and the managers expect consultation with frequent sharing of information. Communication in Australia is direct, informal and participative.

Individualism: This dimension refers to the interdependence that a society maintains amongst members. Singapore scores close to 20 in this dimension and is identified as collectivistic society (Ng, Thomas and Daniel 2014, 360). In Singapore, in the organizational context, a person is not an individual but a member of the organization. Here communication remains indirect and the harmony of a group maintained with avoidance of open conflicts. Politeness is preceded over honest feedbacks. There exists moral basis of the relationship that has a priority over task fulfillments. In addition, it is also necessary for the managers to maintain calmness and respectability.

Influence of National Culture on French and Raven’s Five Bases of Power

Compared to Singapore, Australia score close to 90 and is an individualist culture. Therefore, in the business ambience, there is expectation from the employees to remain self-reliant and display necessary initiatives (Putzke et al. 2014, 519-530). Again, with the exchange based system of work, promotion and hiring decisions depends on the evidence and merit.

Masculinity: This dimension deals with a fundamental issue that ensures motivating people by being the best defined by Masculinity or by expressing likeness to what one does by being feminine (Soh and Kaycheng 2014, 455-471). Singapore has a score close to 48 and is more inclined towards the feminine side. In the business world, being humble and modest is an important criterion. There exist no conflicts in the private and work life along with an existence of consensus. Instead of being too persistent, cautiousness is important.

On the other hand, Australia scores close to 61 and represents a Masculine society. Behavior of the people is based on the shared on the value that helps people in bringing out their best with the winners taking them all (Hu et al. 2013, 51-77). However, the Australians are proud of their success and achievements that offers a basis for promotion and hiring decisions at the workplace. In Australia, conflicts get resolved at an individual level with the goal to win.  

Uncertainty Avoidance: This is represented by the extent to which the members of a particular culture usually feel threatened by the created beliefs and the unknown situations and along with the institutions that tries to avoid this (Karin et al. 2014, 55-77). Singapore, scores in this dimension measures at 8. The Singaporean people abide by various rules due to higher Power Distance Index. Therefore, in Singapore people are able to avoid uncertainty. In the similar context, Australia in comparison to Singapore reflects an intermediate score close to 51.

Long Term Orientation: According to this dimension, it is necessary for a society in maintaining certain links with the past while dealing with challenges of not only the present but also the future. Singapore has a score close to 72 in this dimension that shows the cultural qualities  of the country in supporting the long term investments including sustained efforts , perseverance, slow results, thrift and being quite sparse with the resources (Ferraro, Gary and Elizabeth 2017). Singapore has thus shown huge economic success.

Compared to Singapore, the score for this dimension stands at 21 for Australia. This reflects a normative culture where people have stronger concern with the establishment of the absolute truth. Australians, thus exhibits greater respect for the tradition, a smaller propensity for future savings and the focus on the achievement of quicker results (Venaik et al. 2013, 361-385).

Indulgence: This dimension reflects the degree to which people tries to control their impulses and desires based on the manner in which they are raised. Indulgence however refers to relatively weaker control (Liu et al. 2015, 564-575). Singapore is controlled by rules and regulations and therefore has a moderate score that stands at 46.

While Australia score high at around 71 and considered an indulgent country. A higher score and exhibited willingness in realizing their desires and impulses in having fun and enjoying life classify the Australian people (Borker and David 2013, 167). In addition, Australian people possess a positive attitude and a tendency to be optimistic. They also consider the importance of the leisure time and spend according to their wish.

Influence of National Culture on French & Raven’s Five Bases of Power

French and Raven described the five bases of power that included legitimate, reward, expert, referent and coercive. Later in a matter of six years, they added an extra power base known as informational that resulted from a person’s ability if controlling the information. In this section, the essay focuses on the influence of the national cultures on these five power bases.

Legitimate power refers to the power due to someone’s organizational role or position. For, instance, the legitimacy of the boss in assigning projects, police officer in arresting citizen and a teacher in assigning the grades (Blois, Keith, and Gillian 2014, 1143-1162) Others simply comply with the requests made by the individuals since they accept the legitimacy of the position irrespective of whether they like it or not. Moreover, the individual could set deadlines that might force the employees to think them as being overly ambitious. Start up organizations uses their legitimate power in influencing the individuals in working longer hours for ensuring the survival of the company. 

Reward power refers to the ability of granting a reward including an increase in the pay, perk or job assignment. The reward power has the tendency of accompanying the legitimate power and is at the highest level when there is a scarcity of reward (Landells, Erin, and Simon 2013, 357-365). This type of power can be yield by anyone in the form of the public praise or giving someone something in the exchange of his or her compliance. For instance when Steve Jobs ran Apple reward power came in the form of raises and promotions. Bill Gates, the founder of the Idealab, also represented one of the prominent examples of reward power, as he had possessed the power of launching newer companies, the moment there was development of viable ideas.

Expert power results from the skills and knowledge. Employees having expert power in an organization includes long time employees who the expertise of getting the best of the yields. In this context, one can draw in the example of Steve Jobs too had the expert power in knowing the wants of the customers even before they articulated (Hopkinson, Gillian and Keith 2014, 131-149). High-end companies based on technology are characterized by expert power. Many firms used a flat or matrix structure that blurred the clear lines of the legitimate power as everyone communicated with the others irrespective of the position.

Referent power results due to the personal characteristics of a person thereby referring to the degree of liking or respecting or wanting to possess similar characteristics like them. Referent power also referred as Charisma that reflects one’s ability of attracting others, winning their admiration and making them spellbound (Beck, Matthew and Elaine 2014, 2057-2085). For instance, Steve Jobs is an example of referent power.

Coercive Power represented the ability of taking something away or punishing someone for non-compliance (Kastlunger et al. 2013, 36-45). The coercive power often works through the process of fear and forces people to adopt something that they would not have adopted otherwise. The extreme examples of the coercive power represent the government dictators who cause physical harm for the purpose of noncompliance. For instance, parent often makes use of coercion for grounding their child as punishment for the non-compliance. Steve Jobs also used the power of coercion for yelling at the employees and threatening for firing them.

Information power is quite similar to the expert power but it differs in the source. Information power is distinguished from the expert power in terms of the access to the specific information (Shafritz et al. 2015). For instance, having the information of prices empowers the person with the power of information during the negotiations. Within organizations however, the social network of a person either isolates them from the information power or serves in creating it.

Usage of power in change programs of any organization is presented based on the five perspectives of the power dynamics and relation of the perspectives to the models of the organizational change. The very first perspective focuses on the noticeable the purposely-used authority, and the justifiable power of the agent (Cummings, Thomas and Christopher 2014). The perspective finds its roots in the social psychological tradition of research that investigated the power base. However, when viewed from the perspective, change in organizations happens as a result of the demand of top managers and their requirement of  the position of power for  making the change. According to the Hofstede theory of cultural dimension, power distance index is higher in Singapore compared to Australia. Hence, the use of power in the change programs in organizations will be more efficient in Australia than Singapore. According to the second perspective, personal power is necessary to ensure the changes taking place in the organizations. Based on this perspective, consultants and managers exercises influences by referring to the facts and the logical arguments based on their expertise. Again, in the context of ‘Individualism’ dimension of the Hoftstede theory, Australia scores higher compared to Singapore thereby implying the power usage in the organizational change program of former country. The third perspective finds its roots in the management and the organizational theory that highlight distribution of the power within the organization and the usage of the supremacy of the agencies in controlling the change in organizations. Power usage comes to the visibility when various interest groups undertake negotiation in the direction of the change process. In this context, if a link is drawn with the Hoftsede Theory, then Australia proves to be more masculine in dimension compared to Singapore hence the power usage in the organizational change would finds its effectiveness in Australia compared to Singapore. The fourth point of view also finds its foundations in the organization and management theory although there is a shift in focus towards the unconscious and the less visible forms of power. The integral issues in this arena include construction of the values, norms and the perceptions. Here also if the dimension of masculinity of Hofstede theory is drawn it will show that the use of power in the change programs of  organization is more effective in the Australia compared to Singapore. The fifth perspective puts forward open discussion, agents who mutually influence the attitudes of one another, visibility in the power processes and opinions based on the democratic dialogue (Langley et al. 2013, 1-13). If the dimension of indulgence of the Hoftstede Theory is brought in this context, then Australia seems to score higher than Singapore thereby proving the effectives in the use of the power change in the organizations of the country.


The essay ends by providing an insight into the effectiveness of the use of power in the change programs of the organizations thereby proving the effectiveness of Australia compared to Singapore. The essay also discusses about the influence of the national culture in respect to the French and Raven Five Bases of Power. There is also a comparison between Singapore and Austalia based on the Hofstede theory of Cultural Dimension.


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