If we explore Belarusian culture through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Belarusian 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. It has to do with the fact that a society’s inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.
With a very high score of 95, Belarus is a nation where power holders are very distant in society. People in this society accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place, and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities, and the different distribution of power justifies the fact that power holders have more benefits than the less powerful in society. The discrepancy between the less and the more powerful people leads to a great importance of status symbols.
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 a low score of 25, Belarus is a collectivist culture. This is evident in the early integration and close, long-term commitment to a strong, cohesive ‘in-group’. These societies foster strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for and protects fellow members of their group. Loyalty is paramount and overrides most other societal rules. In these societies, offence leads to shame and loss of face.
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).
Belarus’s low score of 20 characterises it as a Feminine society. In Feminine cultures, the focus is on “working in order to live”. People in such societies value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. It is important to make sure that everyone is included. Conflicts can be threatening because they endanger the well-being of everyone; they are resolved by compromise and negotiation.
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 95, Belarus scores very high on Uncertainty Avoidance, demonstrating that as a nation they see mechanisms to avoid ambiguity. People do not readily accept change and are very risk adverse. They maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. To minimize the level of uncertainty, there is an emotional need for strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations.
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 very high score of 81, Belarusian culture is shown to be highly pragmatic. In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on situation, context and time. They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving 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.
Belarus’s very low score of 15 indicates a culture characterised by great Restraint. Restrained societies have a tendency toward cynicism and pessimism. Also, they do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People have the perception that their actions are, or should be, restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.