Segments in this Video

Introduction: Five Dimensions of Culture in Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S. (00:56)


In this film, citizens of Ethiopia, South Africa and the U.S. discuss cultural understandings.

Ethiopian Self-Image (00:51)

Ethiopia is known for hunger and poverty, but there is more to the country, an Ethiopian woman says.

South Africa and Patriotism (01:11)

In the Johannesburg airport, a sign proclaims South Africa the world's greatest country. Interviewed South African students are mostly bemused; one finds such sentiments more typically American than South African.

Asian-Americans (02:15)

Second-generation Asian-American kids talk about internal and family struggles between American and traditional Asian values.

Bicultural South Africans (02:55)

Bicultural South African students talk about the struggle to negotiate different cultures, and uncertainty over identity.

Individualism Versus Collectivism (02:56)

Geert Hofstede identified five cultural dimensions, including individualism versus collectivism. Non-industrial cultures tend to be collectivist, as kids grow up doing many activities for the group or extended family.

Ethiopian Collectivist Culture (02:20)

An Ethiopian talks about his culture's focus on the good of the group, without expectation of reciprocation. However, volunteering and charitable organizations are not a big part of culture.

Individual and Group in South Africa (03:07)

Asked about whether they have an individualist or collectivist culture, South Africans say they are becoming more Western-influenced and individualistic.

Masculine Versus Feminine Culture (01:44)

Cultures with strongly divided gender roles are categorized as masculine, while those with flexible roles are feminine. The Netherlands has a highly feminine culture.

Gender Roles in South Africa (02:34)

South African students talk about their attitudes toward gender roles, generally rejecting rigid roles but sometimes indicating that there are still different expectations for women than men.

Gender in Ethiopia (02:33)

An Ethiopian says the society is becoming less male-dominated. In the countryside, women feel the need for a husband to protect them and do not know their rights, a woman says.

Women's Opportunities in Ethiopia (01:37)

An Ethiopian student says women lack equal opportunities at universities; government is trying to address this. A man says Ethiopian women have more opportunities than previous generations.

Power Distance (01:22)

We can compare cultures by looking at power distance, or how superiors and subordinates relate. Power distance measures the levels of respect or power within a classroom or in families, for example.

Authority in Classroom (02:12)

Ethiopian students have little choice in their college life; they follow orders. South African students challenge authority, these students say, but this was not the case in past generations.

Family Authority in South Africa (01:24)

South Africans say they will not challenge their parents, but do challenge authorities at school. Parents' thinking tends to be more traditional than that of students. The students perceive American children as disobedient of parents.

Power of American Students (00:59)

American students talk about the power of students in a classroom in America, and the power of a citizen in influencing government.

Short Versus Long Term Focus (01:01)

We can categorize cultures based on whether they encourage focus on the short or long term.

Time in Ethiopian Culture (00:49)

Some societies do not measure time. In Ethiopia, some do not track their own age, people tend not to plan precise schedules. Lack of resources deters certain types of long-term planning.

Long-Term Planning in South African Culture (01:33)

South Africans talk about the extent of their short-term versus long-term focus. Some have tentative plans for the long-term while recognizing that these can only be provisional.

Comfort with Uncertainty (01:54)

We can classify cultures by their comfort level with uncertainty. A U.S. citizen says he worries little about risks; an Ethiopian likes peace and avoids conflict; a South African talks about his culture's move toward more change.

Summary: Five Dimensions of Culture in Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S.: Intercultural Connections (01:10)

This film has shown us personal views of students and others in South Africa, Ethiopia and the U.S. Despite differences across the five dimensions of culture, all take pride in country and have common goals, such as good education.

Credits: Five Dimensions of Culture in Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S.: Intercultural Connections (00:43)

Credits: Five Dimensions of Culture in Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S.: Intercultural Connections

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Five Dimensions of Culture in Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S.: Intercultural Connections

Part of the Series : Intercultural Connections in Psychology: Altruism, Dimensions of Culture, and Happiness
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Might an African nation with a long history of apartheid and one that experienced only a brief period of colonization have different national morés? Could citizens of either type of country hold the same views as second-generation Asian-Americans? Are there beliefs about societal behavior that are common to all peoples? In this program, college students from Ethiopia, South Africa, and the U.S. discuss what Geert Hofstede called “the five dimensions of culture”—regard for individuality, gender roles, ability to tolerate social change, hierarchy, and long-term planning. As the students explain how these values are expressed in their home countries, viewers learn which attitudes are unique and which are shared by communities around the world. A viewable/printable instructor’s guide is available online. A part of the series Intercultural Connections. (39 minutes)

Length: 39 minutes

Item#: BVL53629

ISBN: 978-1-61753-980-0

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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