XI. Power distance

„Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.“ (Hofstede page 262).

Power distance describes also the extent to which employees accept that superiors have more power than they have. Furthermore that opinions and decisions are right because of the higher position some has. In countries with high power distance employees are too afraid to express their doubts and disagreements with their autocratic and paternalistic bosses. The index for power distance describes the dependence of relationships in a country.

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It is small in countries where bosses and subordinates work close together and consult each other. Subordinates and superiors consider each other as or less equal even there is a difference in education level. The hierarchical system can always change depending on the circumstances. The hierarchies are flat with a decentralized organization and a small number of supervisors who are expected to be accessible for their subordinates. Within a company the degree for unequal treatment is reduced to a low level. There is a interdependence between employer and employee. The salary range is narrow between the top and bottom in companies. Subordinates expect to be consulted within the decision-making process.

In contrast in large power distance countries the relation between boss and subordinate is strictly ruled and dependent on the decisions of the boss. In companies with larger power distance which have a very centralized organization, subordinates expect to be told what to do from their superiors because they consider each other as unequal. Inequalities are normally expected and privileges are seen as desirable by superiors. There is a large extend to centralization and the salary range is wide. People in high power distance cultures positive emotions are expressed to superiors and negative emotions to subordinates.