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The Hofstede cultural dimensions originated from a survey distributed to over 116,000 IBM employees in global offices between 1967 and 1973 (Kirkman et al. 2006). Results from this survey identified how workplace interactions and organizational management are influenced by culture. Survey responses were categorized into four cultural dimensions: power distance, individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance, detailed in Table 1. For further details on Hofstede's methodology we refer the reader to his previous work (Hofstede 2001). Two additional dimensions were added in 1991 and 2010: long-term orientation and indulgence versus restraint. Due to the decreased availability of national data for these dimensions, only the original four are used here.

Table 1

Hofstede cultural dimensions, defined

Cultural dimensionDefinitionSelected applications from existing literature
Power distance index (PDI) The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally For national and urban contexts, PDI is the statistically dominant factor for the construction of piped-to-premises water supply between 1990 and 2012 (Kaminsky 2016)
Countries with a high PDI have a ‘negative influence’ on knowledge sharing in construction projects (Kivrak et al. 2014) 
Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV) Individualism stands for a society in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family only. Collectivism stands for a society in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people's lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyaltya In rural contexts, nations with high IDV correlate with a higher increase in the percentage of national populations with piped water on premises (Kaminsky 2016)
Countries with greater individualistic tendencies are more likely to have increased environmental health outcomes (Onel & Mukherjee 2013) 
Masculinity vs. femininity (MAS)b Masculinity is a society in which social gender roles are clearly distinct: Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. Femininity stands for a society in which social gender roles overlap: Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life Highly masculine cultures tend towards sewer connections and away from onsite technologies, while the opposite is true for more feminine cultures, based on linear regression analysis (Kaminsky 2015)
Cultures with higher masculinity desire more strategic and economic information from public disclosure (Frías-Aceituno et al. 2013) 
Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations. Uncertainty avoidance is not the same as risk avoidance, but rather can be described as lead[ing] to an escape from ambiguity In rural, urban and national contexts, high UAI scores correlate with a higher increase in the percentage of national populations with piped water on premises (Kaminsky 2016)
Higher uncertainty avoidance correlates to greater problems with knowledge sharing in construction projects (Kivrak et al. 2014) 
Cultural dimensionDefinitionSelected applications from existing literature
Power distance index (PDI) The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally For national and urban contexts, PDI is the statistically dominant factor for the construction of piped-to-premises water supply between 1990 and 2012 (Kaminsky 2016)
Countries with a high PDI have a ‘negative influence’ on knowledge sharing in construction projects (Kivrak et al. 2014) 
Individualism vs. collectivism (IDV) Individualism stands for a society in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family only. Collectivism stands for a society in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people's lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyaltya In rural contexts, nations with high IDV correlate with a higher increase in the percentage of national populations with piped water on premises (Kaminsky 2016)
Countries with greater individualistic tendencies are more likely to have increased environmental health outcomes (Onel & Mukherjee 2013) 
Masculinity vs. femininity (MAS)b Masculinity is a society in which social gender roles are clearly distinct: Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. Femininity stands for a society in which social gender roles overlap: Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life Highly masculine cultures tend towards sewer connections and away from onsite technologies, while the opposite is true for more feminine cultures, based on linear regression analysis (Kaminsky 2015)
Cultures with higher masculinity desire more strategic and economic information from public disclosure (Frías-Aceituno et al. 2013) 
Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations. Uncertainty avoidance is not the same as risk avoidance, but rather can be described as lead[ing] to an escape from ambiguity In rural, urban and national contexts, high UAI scores correlate with a higher increase in the percentage of national populations with piped water on premises (Kaminsky 2016)
Higher uncertainty avoidance correlates to greater problems with knowledge sharing in construction projects (Kivrak et al. 2014) 

Source: Definitions from Hofstede (2001).

aThere has been some debate as to whether individualism and collectivism exist as polar opposites rather than having overlapping qualities. For example, within religious organizations, both individualistic and collectivistic qualities, such as uniqueness and self-sacrifice, are encouraged (Schimmack et al. 2005). Regardless, studies have validated Hofstede's work to determine that IDV is adequate for comparison of culture (Schimmack et al. 2005).

bThe author contends that these traits can be attributed to both men and women within a society; this dimension more accurately describes the styles of socialization rather than gender roles. However, to maintain consistency with published literature, the existing nomenclature will remain intact for the present analysis.

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