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Relational Models and Horizontal & Vertical Individualism-Collectivism:
Unformatted Document Text:  Relational Models 4 Power Distance The individualism/collectivism dimension alone, however, is insufficient in capturing even major differences between cultures. For example, Triandis (1995) observed that there were great differences among highly individualistic cultures as well as among highly collectivistic cultures. For example, American culture is very different from Swedish culture, even though both are very individualistic. Similarly, Korean culture is very different from the culture of an Israeli kibbutzim, even though both are very collectivistic. Based on such observations, Triandis and his colleagues (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995; Triandis, 1995; Triandis & Gelfand, 1998) have argued that there is at least one other important dimension that differentiates cultures: power distance, or the linear ordering of relationships as being either vertical or horizontal. Cultures with large power distance emphasize vertical relationships and differentiate persons from one another according to rank and create a strict social hierarchy. By comparison, cultures with small power distance emphasize horizontal relationships and stress the equality of all persons and create a flat social hierarchy. Although Triandis and his colleagues were among the first to use the horizontal and vertical labels to describe this dimension, other scholars (e.g., Hofstede, 1984, 1991; Schwartz, 1994, 1999) have discussed similar cultural dimensions in their work as well. Like individualism and collectivism, power distance is conceptualized to exist along a continuum. According to Hofstede’s Power Distance Index (PDI), Asian and South American countries such as the Philippines (94), Mexico (81), and Venezuela (81) are highest on power distance, whereas European countries such as Austria (11), Israel (13)

Authors: Koerner, Ascan.
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Relational Models
4
Power Distance
The individualism/collectivism dimension alone, however, is insufficient in capturing
even major differences between cultures. For example, Triandis (1995) observed that there
were great differences among highly individualistic cultures as well as among highly
collectivistic cultures. For example, American culture is very different from Swedish
culture, even though both are very individualistic. Similarly, Korean culture is very
different from the culture of an Israeli kibbutzim, even though both are very collectivistic.
Based on such observations, Triandis and his colleagues (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, &
Gelfand, 1995; Triandis, 1995; Triandis & Gelfand, 1998) have argued that there is at least
one other important dimension that differentiates cultures: power distance, or the linear
ordering of relationships as being either vertical or horizontal. Cultures with large power
distance emphasize vertical relationships and differentiate persons from one another
according to rank and create a strict social hierarchy. By comparison, cultures with small
power distance emphasize horizontal relationships and stress the equality of all persons and
create a flat social hierarchy. Although Triandis and his colleagues were among the first to
use the horizontal and vertical labels to describe this dimension, other scholars (e.g.,
Hofstede, 1984, 1991; Schwartz, 1994, 1999) have discussed similar cultural dimensions
in their work as well.
Like individualism and collectivism, power distance is conceptualized to exist along a
continuum. According to Hofstede’s Power Distance Index (PDI), Asian and South
American countries such as the Philippines (94), Mexico (81), and Venezuela (81) are
highest on power distance, whereas European countries such as Austria (11), Israel (13)


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