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Power distance

Describes cultural variation in hierarchy, which he defined as “the extent to which members of society accept the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally”.
- Lower ranked members in high-power-distance
cultures are not expected to disagree with higher
ranked members and that higher ranked members
are not required to consult lower ranked members in
the decision-making process.


Predictive power of cultural values

The cultural values of one’s home country predict behavior even when people are abroad.
- The predictive power of cultural values is likely to be
even stronger when people also face uncertainty.
- In an unfamiliar and uncertain context, they use past
experiences and cultural assumptions to make
sense of the novel environment.


Mechanisms needed in strong hierarchical cultures

Need to implement mechanisms geared toward encouraging low-ranking members to voice their perspectives and for high-ranking members to integrate this feedback.


Hierarchy can produce both best and worst outcomes

- Hierarchical differentiation can increase group
performance by clearly defining roles that facilitate
coordination (1) and the integration of information (2,
3) and by creating patterns of deference that reduce
intragroup conflict, especially when group members
are interdependent (4, 5).
- Hierarchy, however, also has the potential to kill. Rigid
hierarchies limit low-ranking group members from
voicing their opinions and concerns. This lack of p
articipative voice can produce negative outcomes,
including greater mortality (6, 7).
- Hierarchy can also reduce feelings of psychological
safety (8), thereby impairing group communication (9)
and performance (10).


When are the benefits of hierarchy especially pronounced?

Under conditions of high interdependence.


2 studies performed demonstrate

Study 1 demonstrates that expert mountain climbers believed that climbing teams with a hierarchical culture would be more likely to engage in group processes that both improve and harm their chance of success compared with climbing teams with an egalitarian culture.
- A hierarchical culture may improve team
coordination, but harm team psychological safety
and information sharing.
Study 2 showed: Consistent with the dysfunctional perspective on hierarchy, expeditions consisting of climbers from countries whose culture strongly embraced hierarchy had more climbers die while climbing.
- Hierarchical cultural values predicted summiting and
fatality rates only for group expeditions. Hierarchy
did not predict summiting or fatality rates in solo
expeditions, providing evidence that group
processes are a critical driver of the observed