Spanish Culture, Education, and Hofstede’s Dimensions

Culture elements:

  • History
  • Religion
  • Social and political organization
  • Rituals, celebrations, heroes
  • Writing, speaking
  • Weather
  • Gastronomy
  • Clothing
Personal competences research:
  • To design a specific job position
  • Staff selection process
  • Identify training needs
  • To design training programs
  • To control and support the staff performance
4 pillars of education (Dellors 1996):
  • Learn to know: Learning throughout life. Learn new (general and specific) knowledge. This pillar refers to the basic knowledge that we need to be able to understand our environment. To awaken curiosity, to decode reality and stimulate critical sense.
  • Learn to do: Look at how we can live different situations that allow us to select and use meaningful info, to face different job situations, take risks, to communicate and work as a team.
  • Learn to live together: Refers to the development and understanding of others through dialogue.
  • Learn to be: Give freedom of thought, judgment, feelings, and imagination that people need in order to reach their splendor and still be the creators of their own destiny.
Hofstede Spain: <Power distance: 57 Spain’s score on this dimension (57) is a high score, which means that Spain has a hierarchical society. This means that people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy in an organization is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities, centralization is popular, subordinates expect to be told what to do and the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat.
Individualism: 51. 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.

Spain, in comparison with the rest of the European countries (except for Portugal) is Collectivist (because of its score in this dimension: 51). However, compared with other areas of the world, it is seen as clearly individualist. This has made Spaniards quite easy to relate to certain cultures – mainly non-European – whereas other cultures can be perceived as aggressive and blunt. On the other hand, teamwork is considered as something totally natural, employees tend to work in this way with no need for strong motivation from Management. Masculinity: A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement, and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in the field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organizational life. A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine 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 (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine). Spain scores 42 on this dimension and is a country where the key word is consensus. So polarization is not well considered or excessive competitiveness appreciated. Spanish children are educated in search of harmony, refusing to take sides or stand out. There is a concern for weak or needy people that generate a natural current of sympathy. Regarding management, managers like to consult their subordinates to know their opinions and, according to it, make their decisions. In politics, it is desirable to have participation of all the minorities, trying to avoid the dominant presence of just one winning party. It is the country opposite to ‘the winner takes it all’. Uncertainty avoidance: If there is a dimension that defines Spain very clearly, it is Uncertainty Avoidance, as is reflected in a high score of 86. Spain is considered the second noisiest country in the world. People like to have rules for everything, changes cause stress, but, at the same time, they are obliged to avoid rules and laws that, in fact, make life more complex. Confrontation is avoided as it causes great stress and scales up to the personal level very quickly. There is great concern for changing, ambiguous, and undefined situations. Thus, for example, in a very recent survey, 75% of Spanish young people wanted to work in civil service (i.e. a job for life, no concerns about the future) whereas in the USA only 17% of young people would like it. Long term orientation: Despite an intermediate score of 48, Spain is a normative country. Spanish people like to live in the moment, without great concern about the future. In fact, Spain is the country that has given the meaning of ‘fiesta’ to the world. In Spain, people look for quick results without delays. Moreover, there is a need for clear structures and well-defined rules prevailing against more pragmatic and relaxed approaches to life, particularly in the long term time. Indulgence: With a low score of 44, Spain is not an Indulgent society. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Also, in contrast to Indulgent societies, Restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are Restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.