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Black tea - the symbol of Turkish sociability

Culture and Values

Important aspects of Turkish culture as the basis for entrepreneurial activities

Especially the high power distance index can be seen as a central aspect of Turkish culture. Using Hofstede’s model of the five dimensions of culture and statistical data, further important cultural characteristics of Turkey come to light.

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The situation in Turkey

Empirical data is not available for all the dimensions mentioned above.  
Using the available data, however, the following picture can be created:

  • Turkey is characterised by a high power distance factor, i.e. existing hierarchies are accepted to a comparably high degree
  • Turkish culture seems to be characterised by low individualism and high collectivism respectively
  • Within Turkish society, the values described by Hofstede as "feminine" dominate, for instance caring, cooperation, sensibility and humility. "Masculine" values such as competitiveness, assertiveness and performance orientation play a more subordinate role.
  • Willingness to take risks is more limited. Strategies for the avoidance of insecurity dominate.

Geert Hofstede, Petra Mayer, Martina Sondermann: Lokales Denken, globales Handeln: Interkulturelle Zusammenarbeit und globales Management (local thinking, global action: inter-cultural cooperation and global management)

Background information: The five cultural dimensions model

Hofstede developed his model after polling 116,000 IBM-employees world-wide in the 1970s.
He showed that one can find national and regional culture groups in the world and that these culture groups have an essential influence on a company’s behaviour, its organisation and management.
In his study, he developed the five cultural dimensions model:

  1. Power-Distance-Index: The PDI indicates the measure to which less powerful individuals accept and expect an unequal distribution of power. High power distance stands for very unequal power distribution, low power distance stands for less unequal power distribution.
  2. Individualism and collectivism:The stronger the prevalence of individualism in a culture, the higher the self-determination, subjective awareness and personal responsibility of the members.
    In contrast, in a collectivist culture, integration into strong and closed solidarity groups dominates. The feeling of togetherness characterises such a culture that protects the individual, but, on the other hand, expects unconditional loyalty from him or her.
  3. Masculinity versus Femininity: The intensity of the prevailing values which are present in both genders. Hofstede counts as “feminine“ values: caring, cooperation, sensibility and humility. "Masculine" values in contrast are competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition and self-confidence. At the empiric level it can be shown that the segregation into "typically male" and "typically female" values was to be found in each of the (IBM) cultures. However, these converged closer in "masculine" societies, so that, for instance, women showed competitiveness more often or that men found important values for instance in the care of other people.
  4. Willingness to take risks and uncertainty avoidance: Hofstede defines uncertainty avoidance as the desire to avoid uncertain and unknown situations or risks. Cultures that wish to avoid uncertainty are characterised by many laws, guidelines, safety measures, etc.
    Their members are more emotional and feel threatened by uncertainty; stress and feelings of fear and an inner nervous energy dominate.
    Cultures that accept uncertainty are tolerant, have few rules, are more willing to take risks and/or are more flexible. The members are phlegmatic and do not expect their fellow beings to show their feelings.
  5. The long-term or short-term orientation of a culture shows the importance that the time horizon has in a society. Through this, virtues are emphasised that will bring success in the future, such as perseverance and frugality.

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