If we explore Chile’s culture through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Chilean culture relative to other world cultures.
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Though Chile scores lower on Power Distance than most other Latin American countries, at 63 it still occupies an intermediate to high position on this dimension. Remnants of Chile´s authoritarian past linger on in diverse fields. Organisational arrangements show taller pyramids and low degrees of delegation. Status symbols are used to underline power differences. A hierarchical social structure and rather rigid social classes are present; common cafeterias are rare, privileges for the power holders common.
The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”. In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.
At 23 Chile scores low on this dimension, in line with most other Latin American countries. In our experience and a review of recent articles on the subject, it is possible to infer that a large proportion of the workforce shifted their perceptions. Blue and white collar workers alike tend to look for more autonomy and variety in their positions, are far more assertive than in the past and do not hesitate to change employers. These changes can be expected given the remarkable increase of Chile´s GDP and the fact that economic development fosters individualism. However, some paternalistic practices still remain in place, particularly outside Santiago.
A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational life.
A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine).
Though difficult to detect, evidence reveals the Feminine character of Chilean society with its score of 28 on this dimension. Far from being arrogant, both Chilean men and women show a modest behaviour or attitude. In Feminine countries the focus is on “working in order to live”. People need to feel a sense of “belonging” within a social group; they place value on warm interpersonal links and tacitly search for the approval of their group. Consequently, they tend to be supportive team members and managers strive for consensus. People value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favoured. Focus is on well-being and status is not shown or emphasised.
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance.
At 86 Chile scores high on Uncertainty Avoidance – and so do the majority of Latin American countries that belonged to the Spanish kingdom. These societies show a strong need for rules and elaborate legal systems in order to structure life. Contrary to general practice in other Latin American countries, Chile shows rather low corruption indices. In line with its high Uncertainty Avoidance score and to some extent also fostered by its authoritarian past, you´ll find great dependence on experts, the authorities, particularly among non-managerial employees.
Long Term Orientation
This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Normative societies. which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture, which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future..
With a low score of 31, Chile is said to have a normative culture. People in such societies have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth; they are normative in their thinking. They exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results.
One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. Cultures can, therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained.
A high score of 68 in this dimension means that Chile has a relatively Indulgent orientation. People in societies classified by a high score in Indulgence generally exhibit a willingness to realise their impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun. They possess a positive attitude and have a tendency towards optimism. In addition, they place a higher degree of importance on leisure time, act as they please and spend money as they wish.