AI and the Hofstede Principles

What is Hofstede?

Hofstede included six key aspects of national culture country comparison scales, including: the power distance index (PDI), individualism vs. collectivism (IDV), motivation towards achievement and success (MAS, formerly masculinity versus femininity), uncertainty avoidance index (UAI), long term orientation versus short term normative orientation (LTO), and indulgence versus restraint (IVR).”

“The six principles of Hofstede are the dimensions of national culture that he identified based on his research. They are:

  • Power distance index (PDI): The degree to which people accept and expect unequal distribution of power in society.
  • Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV): The extent to which people prioritize their own interests and goals over those of their group or community.
  • Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): The level of tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty in life and work situations.
  • Masculinity vs. femininity (MAS): The preference for achievement, competition, and assertiveness (masculine values) or cooperation, caring, and quality of life (feminine values).
  • Long-term vs. short-term orientation (LTO): The orientation towards future rewards and challenges (long-term) or present gratification and traditions (short-term).
  • Indulgence vs. restraint (IVR): The tendency to allow or control the expression of basic human desires and impulses.”

Hofstede Applied to Cyber-Security

“Hofstede principles can be applied to cyber security to understand how different cultures may influence the behaviors, preferences, motivations, and values of cyber actors, such as attackers, victims, and defenders. By using Hofstede’s six dimensions of culture, researchers can identify and analyze the cultural patterns and markers that are observable in the cyber space, such as website defacements, sentiment analysis, imaging, and other aspects of online interactions. This can help to predict, prevent, or respond to cyber threats more effectively and efficiently, as well as to foster cross-cultural collaboration and awareness in the cyber domain123.”

Pitfalls of Hofstede and AI

“Applying Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to AI can have some pitfalls, such as:

Therefore, applying Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to AI requires careful consideration and validation of the data, methods, and outcomes, as well as awareness and respect for the diversity and dynamism of human cultures.”

To graphically display the six dimensions and how they vary across countries, click here:

Power Distance

“This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.”


“The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people’s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”. In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.”


“A high score (Decisive) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational life. A low score (Consensus-oriented) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Consensus-oriented society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Decisive) or liking what you do (Consensus-oriented).”

Uncertainty Avoidance

“The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance.”

Long Term Orientation

“This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.”


“One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. ..”

Points to Think About

  1. Good match between Hofstede, and chat services to score cultural differences and similarities. If you revisit the graphs, differences are assigned an integer value. Chat engines will return subjective value.
  2. Always validate. I have used ChatGPT and CoPilot . Responses vary.
  3. If you are going to leverage chat services, do so logged on to a persona that you have created. Your queries are collected and analyzed.
  4. Always use a sand box to query.
  5. Thanks to Treadstone71 and The Culture Factor.
  6. Ever so slowly, there is change. Defense yes. But being proactive is a game changer.

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