Revisiting Hofstede’s Uncertainty-Avoidance Dimension: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Organizational Employees in Four Countries

Jung-Soo Yi


The present study was designed to explore the validity and applicability of the uncertainty-avoidance dimension in the contemporary world. Because social, cultural, and commercial interrelationships among countries have significantly increased since the introduction of this dimension, it would be advisable to revisit and investigate the substantiality of this dimension before making beneficial suggestions to people who engage in cultural encounters. A questionnaire was constructed, tested, edited, and distributed to 2,000 organizational members in Japan, France, Great Britain, and Singapore. Among the 1,258 questionnaires returned, 1,215 were included in the analysis. Not surprisingly, cultural differences among countries still exist. The findings of the present study suggest that cultural characteristics have become more complicated since the uncertainty-avoidance dimension was introduced four decades ago. To yield more detailed guidelines on cultural variabilities, future studies should examine factors such as education, generation gaps, occupations, religions, and degrees of intercultural contacts, along with how these factors influence variability among cultures.

    uncertainty avoidance, cultural comparison, organizational communication

Full text article

Generated from XML file


Afifi, W.A. & J.L. Weiner (2004). Toward a theory of motivated information management. Communication Theory, 14(2): 167-190.
Andersen, P. (2000). Cues of culture: The basis of intercultural differences in nonverbal communication. In L.A. Samovar & R.E. Porter (eds.), Intercultural Communication: A Reader (258-270). Wadsworth.
Ashkanasy, N.M., V. Gupta & M.S. Mayfield (2004). Future orientation. In R.J. House, P.J. Hanges, M. Javidan, P.W. Dorfman & V. Gupta (eds.), Culture, Leadership, and Organization: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies (282-342). Sage.
Ayyash-Abdo, H. (2001). Individualism and collectivism: The case of Lebanon. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(5): 503-518.
Babbie, E. (2001). The Practice of Social Research (9th ed.). Wadsworth / Thompson Learning.
Beamer, L. & I. Varner (2001). Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill.
Behr, D. (2017). Assessing the use of back translation: The shortcomings of back translation as a quality testing method. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20(6): 573-584.
Berger, C.R. & R. Calabrese (1975). Some explorations in initial interactions and beyond: Toward a developmental theory of interpersonal communication. Human Communication Research, 1(2): 99-112.
Bhagat, R. & S. McQuaid (1982). Role of subjective culture in organizations: A review and directions for future research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67(5): 653-685.
Boyd, R. & P. Richerson (2005). The Origin and Evolution of Cultures. Oxford University Press.
Bradac, J.J. (2001). Theory comparison: Uncertainty reduction, problematic integration, uncertainty management, and other curious constructs. Journal of Communication, 51(3): 456-476.
Brislin, R.W. (1980). Translation and content analysis of oral and written materials. In H.C. Triandis & H.W. Berry (eds.), Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology (389-444). Allyn & Bacon.
Browaeys, M.J. & R. Price (2008). Understanding Cross-Cultural Management (4th ed.). Pearson.
Chen, G. & W.J. Starosta (1998). Foundations of Intercultural Communication. Allyn & Bacon.
Cheung, H.Y. & A.W.H. Chan (2007). How culture affects female inequality across countries: An empirical study. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(2): 157-179.
Choi, J., K.E. Kushner, J. Mill & D.W.L. Lai (2012). Understanding the language, the culture, and the experience: Translation in cross-cultural research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(5): 652-665.
Clark, R., B. King & D. Laylim (1990). Tin Sin Kuk (Heavenly Swindle). New South Wales: Asian Community Research Unit State Intelligence Group.
Cox, P.L., B.A. Friedman & T. Tribunella (2011). Relationships among cultural dimensions, national gross domestic product, and environmental sustainability. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 12(6): 46-56.
Demaree, H.A., M.A. DeDonno, K.J. Burns & D.E. Everhart (2008). You bet: How personality differences affect risk-taking preferences. Personality & Individual Differences, 44(7): 1484-1494.
Douglas, S.P. & S. Craig (2007). Collaborative and iterative translation: An alternative approach to back translation. Journal of International Marketing, 15(1): 30-43.
Douglas, W. (1991). Expectations about initial interactions: An examination of the effects of global uncertainty. Human Communication Research, 17(3): 355-384.
Erez, M. (2011). Cross-cultural and global issues in organizational psychology. In S. Zedeck (ed.), APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 3 (807-854). American Psychological Association.
van Geen, A. (2013). Risk in the Background: How Men and Women Respond. Retrieved 1 June 2021 from
Giebels, E., M.S.D. Oostinga, P.J. Taylor & J.L. Curtis (2017). The cultural dimension of uncertainty avoidance impacts police–civilian interaction. Law and Human Behavior, 41(1): 93-102.
Gudykunst, W.B. (1995). Anxiety/uncertainty management (AUM) theory. In R.L. Wiseman (ed.), Intercultural Communication Theory (8-58). Sage.
Gudykunst, W.B., G. Gao, K.L. Schmidt, T. Nishida, M.H. Bond, G. Wang & R.A. Barraclough (1992). The influence of individualism-collectivism, self-monitoring, and predicted-outcome value on communication in in-group and out-group relationships. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 23(2): 196-213.
Gudykunst, W.B. & Y.Y. Kim (2003). Communicating with Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication (4th ed.). McGraw Hill.
Gunkel, M., C. Schlaegel & V. Taras (2016). Cultural values, emotional intelligence, and conflict handling styles: A global study. Journal of World Business, 51(4): 568-585.
Harvey, F. (1997). National cultural differences in theory and practice: Evaluating Hofstede’s national cultural framework. Information Technology & People, 10(2): 132-146.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Sage.
Hofstede, G. (1982). Culture’s Consequences (abridged ed.). Sage.
Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10(3): 301-320.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations (2nd ed.). Sage.
Hofstede, G., G.J. Hofstede & M. Minkow (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival (3rd ed.). McGraw Hill.
Jippes, M. & G.D. Majoor (2011). Influence of national culture on the adoption of integrated medical curricula. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 16: 5-16.
John, K., L.P. Litov & B.Y. Yeung (2008). Corporate governance and risk taking. The Journal of Finance, 63(4): 1679-1728.
Kelley, K., B. Clark, V. Brown & J. Sitzia (2003). Good practice in the conduct and reporting of survey research. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 15(3): 261-266.
Kirkman, B.L., K.B. Lowe & C.B. Gibson (2006). A quarter century of culture’s consequences: A review of empirical research incorporating Hofstede’s cultural values framework. Journal of International Business Studies, 37: 285-320.
Klopf, D.W. (1998). Intercultural Encounters: The Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication (4th ed.). Englewood, Colorado, USA: Morton Publishing.
Klyukanov, I.E. (2005). Principles of Intercultural Communication. Boston: Pearson Education.
Lee, J.A., E. Garbarino & D. Lerman (2007). How cultural differences in uncertainty avoidance affect product perceptions. International Marketing Review, 24(3): 330-349.
Lim, K.H., K. Leung, C.L. Sia & M.K.O. Lee (2004). Is eCommerce boundary-less? Effects of individualism-collectivism and uncertainty avoidance on Internet shopping. Journal of International Business Studies, 35: 545-559.
Lustig, M.W. & J. Koester (2006). Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.
Martin, J.G. & F.R. Westie (1959). The intolerant personality. American Sociological Review, 24: 521-528.
Martin, J.N. & T.K. Nakayama (2010). Intercultural Communication in Contexts (5th ed.). McGraw Hill.
Matsumoto, D., T. Kudoh & S. Takeuchi (1996). Changing patterns of individualism and collectivism in the United States and Japan. Culture & Psychology, 2(1): 77-107.
McKenna, S.P. & Doward (2005). The translation and cultural adaptation of patient-reported outcome measures. Value in Health: Journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, 8(2): 89-91.
McSweeney, B. (2002). Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith – a failure of analysis. Human Relations, 55(1): 89-118.
Merritt, A. (2000). Culture in the cockpit: Do Hofstede’s dimensions replicate? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31(3): 283-301.
Messner, W. (2016). The misconstruction of Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimension: The fallacy of ecological operation without construct validity at the individual level. Journal of Global Marketing, 29(5): 298-313.
Minkow, M. & G. Hofstede (2014). A replication of Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimension across nationally representative samples from Europe. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 14(2): 161-171.
Monette, D.R., T.J. Sullivan & C.R. DeJong (1986). Applied Social Research: Tool for the Human Services. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Mooij, M. & G. Hofstede (2002). Convergence and divergence in consumer behavior: Implications for international retailing. Journal of Retailing, 78(1): 61-69.
Morris, M.W. (2013). Values as the essence of culture: Foundation or fallacy? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 45(1): 14-24.
Nation, J.R. (ed.) (1997). Research Methods. Prentice Hall.
NCPG (2015). Report of Survey on Participation in Gambling Activities among Singapore Residents, 2014. Singapore: National Council on Problem Gambling.
Neculaesei, A.-N. (2015). Culture and gender role differences. Cross-Cultural Management, 17(1): 31-35.
Neuliep, J.W. (2015). Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach (6th ed.). Sage.
Neuliep, J. & D. Ryan (1998). The influence of intercultural communication apprehension and socio-communicative orientation on uncertainty reduction during initial cross-cultural interaction. Communication Quarterly, 46(1): 88-99.
Nisbett, R.E. (2003). The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why. Toronto: Free Press.
Parry E. & P. Urwin (2017). The evidence base for generational differences: Where do we go from here? Work, Aging and Retirement, 3(2): 140-148.
Pawlowski, B., R. Atwal & R.I.M. Dunbar (2008). Sex differences in everyday risk-taking behavior in humans. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(1): 29-42.
Persell, C.H. (1984). Understanding Society: An Introduction to Sociology. Harper & Row.
Peterson, M.F. (2003). Review of the book Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations, 2nd ed., by Geert Hofstede. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(1): 127-131.
Ponto, J. (2015). Understanding and evaluating survey research. Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology, 6(2): 168-171.
Robinson, R. (1983). Geert Hofstede: Culture’s Consequences (book review). Work and Occupations, 10: 110-115.
Rubdy, R. & T.R.F. Tupas (2009). Research in applied linguistics and language teaching and learning in Singapore (2000-2007). Language Teaching, 42(3): 317-340.
Samovar, L.A. & R.E. Porter (2001). Communication Between Cultures (4th ed.). Wadworth.
Samovar, L.A., R.E. Porter, E.R. McDaniel & C.S. Roy (2017). Communication Between Cultures (9th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.
Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M.P. Zanna (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 25 (1-65). Orlando, Florida, USA: Academic Press.
Sorrells, K. (2013). Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice. Sage.
Sully de Luque, M. & M. Javidan (2004). Uncertainty avoidance. In R.J. House, P.J. Hanges, M. Javidan, P.W. Dorfman & V. Gupta (eds.), Culture, Leadership, and Organization: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies (602-653). Sage.
Ting-Toomey, S., G. Gao, P. Trubisky, Z. Yang, H.K. Kim, S. Lin & T. Nishida (1991). Culture, face maintenance, and styles of handling interpersonal conflict: A study in five cultures. The International Journal of Conflict Management, 2(4): 275-296.
Tsirigotis, K. (2018). Women, femininity, indirect and direct self-destructiveness: A review. Psychiatric Quarterly, 89: 427-437.
Xie, W. & F. Cavallaro (2016). Attitudes towards Mandarin-English bilingualism: A study of Chinese youths in Singapore. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 37(6): 628-641.
Yeganeh, H. & D. May (2001). Cultural values and gender gap: A cross-national analysis. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 26(2): 106-121.
Yi, J. (2004). Individualism-collectivism: A geographical comparison among cities in Korea and the United States. The Journal of Language for International Business, 15(2): 19-34.
Yu, H.C. & P. Miller (2003). The generation gap and cultural influence: A Taiwan empirical investigation. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 10(3): 23-41.


Jung-Soo Yi (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Jung-Soo Yi, Wright State University, Dept. of Communication, 415 Millett Hall, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435 USA

Jung-Soo Yi is professor in the Department of Communication at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He received his PhD in speech communication from Pennsylvania State University. He teaches courses in public speaking, organizational communication, intercultural communication, and negotiation and bargaining communication.

Yi, J.-S. (2021). Revisiting Hofstede’s Uncertainty-Avoidance Dimension: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Organizational Employees in Four Countries. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 21(1), 46–61.

Article Details