The power distance concept originates from Geert Hofstede, a renowned psychologist, and professor. Before embarking on his career, he visited many places by the sea, which influenced his perception of cultural diversity and prompted him to perform a cross-country study that spanned 50 countries.
After the study, he observed four cultural dimensions: power distance, masculinity/femininity, individualism/collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance. He also developed the power distance index to determine if a country has high, low, or moderate power distance.
Countries with Power Distance
Countries with highly structured high indices are regarded as high power distance countries. Basically, they have a PDI score of 80-100. They include:
Characteristics of Countries with High PDI
Apart from having a high PDI, high power distance countries are characterized by:
High organization structure: Countries with high PDI have hierarchical organizations with a strict command and control structure Communication: The countries also don't allow low-ranking individuals to challenge superiors Decision making: Only leaders can make decisions, and subordinates can’t challenge them Classes: There is a large gap between the wealthy and poor Accountability: Leaders in high power distance countries are hardly accountable for their actions Merit: Leaders distribute power to family, friends, and allies. Conversely, low power distance countries require leaders to justify their position by merit. This means anyone can contest for a position because they believe they can lead Independence: Low-ranking individuals are controlled and monitored closely. On the other hand, people in countries with low power distance have some degree of independence, with knowledge workers having significant freedom to practice their profession as long as they achieve a set of objectives Paternalism: High power distance countries lead to paternalistic societies whereby governments control many aspects of an individual’s life