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Five dimensions of culture: A study of Catholics in Pakistan

BY: Harris | Category: Religion | Post Date: 2009-11-18

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• Low vs. High Power Distance

This dimension speaks of the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and societies expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. It is found that the Catholics in Pakistan are high in power distance which means that the less powerful accept power relations that are more autocratic. Subordinates acknowledge the power of others simply based on where they are situated in certain formal, hierarchical positions, which shows that the Catholics accept that the power lies with the Muslims as it covers the majority of the population in the country.

• Individualism vs. Collectivism
Individualism is contrasted with collectivism, and refers to the extent to which people are expected to stand up for themselves and to choose their own affiliations, or alternatively act predominantly as a member of a life-long group or organization. Catholics fall in the collectivist category since it follows the Pakistani culture which emphasizes on joint family and following a single organization to support their family financially.

• Masculinity vs. Femininity

Masculine cultures tend to be ambitious and need to excel. Members of these cultures have a tendency to polarize and consider big and fast to be beautiful. In workplaces employees emphasize their work to a great extent (live in order to work) and they admire achievers who accomplished their tasks. Feminine cultures consider quality of life and helping others to be very important. Working is basically to earn money which is necessary for living. In business as well as in private life they strive for consensus and develop sympathy for people who are in trouble. Small and slow are considered to be beautiful. So called 'masculine' cultures value competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition, and the accumulation of wealth and material possessions, whereas feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life.
Catholics or Pakistani culture in general are considered to be a masculine in nature as they possess wealth and believe in domination through power and rigidity, but at the same time they do reflect a feminine culture as they don't strive for better but rather just work to earn money.

• Uncertainty avoidance

This dimension reflects the extent to which members of a society attempt to cope with anxiety by minimizing uncertainty. Catholics in Pakistan scored high in uncertainty avoidance as they prefer rules and structured circumstances, and employees tend to remain longer with their present employer. They try to avoid uncertainty on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; 'there can only be one Truth and we have it'.

• Long vs. Short term orientation

Describes a society's "time horizon," or the importance attached to the future versus the past and present. In long term oriented societies, values include persistence (perseverance), ordering relationships by status, thrift, and having a sense of shame; in short term oriented societies like the Pakistanis, values include normative statements, personal steadiness and stability, protecting ones face, respect for tradition, and reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts. Catholics in Pakistan value social responsibility and therefore live by traditions and rituals that have been followed since their ancestors. Their lifestyle is ‘laid back' and they do not accept the change that easily.

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About Author / Additional Info: Harris Gul

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