Part 7: Autism and Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory - Long Term Orientation

After Hofstede’s initial research various researchers explored his findings and looked for areas that might have been overlooked. In 1985 a group of primarily Chinese educators administered a test that showed a fifth dimension, one that by its very nature was bound to escape European researchers as it was alien in many aspects. Originally called Confucian Dynamism it was later renamed Long Term Orientation and China was the bell weather example scoring at 118 out of 120 for the category. The basic premise is that a Long Term Orientation culture is focused on thrift, persistence and a stolid social order with rankings and duties for each ranking. While an underling might be obligated to follow their boss without question the boss is also obligated to care for the underling; this concept alone would be very alien to many Western managers. Short Term Orientation cultures are focused on the past and present, respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligations such as reciprocal gift giving.

The English speaking cluster of the US, UK, Australia and Canada all scored low (the US was the highest at 29) on the scale indicating extreme short term orientation; indeed every colonial power and subsequent filial colony (e.g. Canada & US with Britain) scored on the low end. China was already mentioned as being the extreme top with Hong Kong reporting a score of 96 which I suspect was diluted due to long time British occupation. Taiwan, Japan and South Korea also scored on the higher end of the dichotomy. India was almost dead center with 61 and probably showing influence of the multiple subcultures that make up large parts of the Indian nation. Considering Pakistan, a neighbor and similar ethnicity to many in India scored a zero on the scale one could surmise that that influence alone is weighing the score for India.

Given the issues with executive function (Source) and the general travails of the ASD subculture I suggest that as a subculture ASD folk would score on the Short Term Orientation end of the spectrum. Whether dealing with the trauma of growing up in an NT society or combating addiction (substance or behavioral) used as a coping mechanism many ASD folk are literally taking it ‘one day at a time’ almost necessitating a short term outlook. Additionally the resistance to authority figures would be well within the Short Term Orientation mode.

Sadly Kwintessential has not created specific tips for this Hofstede dimension yet. However, due to the strong showing of China on the scale, the tips for China provide a useful alternative. While too long to go into in this article it is worth a read. Additionally, the dimension was not originally named Confucian Dynamism just because it sounded cool. The dimension adheres to the Confucian precepts very well so a study of the philosophy is a good idea. Start with the Wikipedia article on Confucianism to get a good introduction and go from there. One rule that many of us have heard of (and rarely seen practiced in the West) is “Do not treat others as you would not have them treat you” [double negative intended].

Helpful Resources:

Kwintessential Tips on China

Wikipedia article on Confucianism

Analects of Confucius at Project Gutenberg

Scott J. Shea is the proprietor of Job Sink, offering career advice and exploring employment issues and workplace difficulties faced by those on the autism spectrum.

Part 7: Autism and Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory - Long Term Orientation, the seventh in a series of nine, appears here by permission.

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[image via Psychology Wiki]

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