Hofstede

Uncertainty Avoidance

Recently I was in a café and the bartender asked me how I was doing. I gave a standard answer, “everything is fine” and the bartender responded with sarcasm to my conventional verbal fodder. I am a regular and experienced bartenders know verbal fodder when they hear it. I specified my answer, “for now I have nothing to complain, I worry about later” and I enjoyed a red wine to celebrate good company.

Geert Hofstede wrote the book “Cultures and Organizations – Software of the Mind” in which the findings of his research were presented and described. His findings were broken down in relevant cultural factors and relevant developments. One cultural factor that is a deciding factor is sometimes overlooked. The factor uncertainty avoidance is the factor that describes how people perceive risks and react to changes: a threat or opportunity.

That brings me to the experience of life. Between being born and death there is the phase of living.  To live means to survive and that means making decisions. Either routine or improvisation each choice is a risk on a scale ranging from disruptive to non-disruptive. Every day choices confront you with risks and some kind of reward is often desired.

Some people consider thinking about decisions, risk and rewards a waste of time. I enjoy thinking about and rethinking these aspects for all kinds of situations. Whether in comfort or discomfort being aware of how A can lead to B which can lead to C gives insight(s). With regards to uncertainty avoidance it affects one’s locus of control and long-term or short-term orientation.

Locus of control is either you exerting control or your environment exerting control. Long-term orientation makes people look ahead and postpone enjoyment while short-term orientation makes people live in the now and enjoy everything now. These cultural factors influence how people perceive uncertainty in their lives, either now or later.

Maybe I am over thinking this again. Even so the uncertainty of life keeps me thinking.

To quote Descartes: I think therefore I am…