If we explore the culture of El Salvador through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of its 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.
At 66 El Salvador occupies an intermediate to high position on this dimension. Remnants of El Salvador´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, though less than in the past.
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 19 El Salvador scores low on this dimension, in line with most other Latin American countries. In collectivistic countries, trust, loyalty, personal relations and networking is essential. Family is very sacred in El Salvador. To get straight to the point is regarded as rude. Helping somebody out of a difficult situation will never be forgotten. As relationships matter very much, a lot of time is spent on building up trust. The communication style is indirect.
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).
At a score of 40, EL Salvador is a Feminine country. It means that society is driven by a certain amount of modesty and fairness. The El Salvadorians do not boast about their achievements. Instead they enhance their character through hard work and diligence and show their competitiveness by letting the results speak for themselves.
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 94 El Salvador scores very high on UAI – 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. Bureaucracy is very time consuming in El Salvador, documentation, need for stamps and written instructions are important. They are rather conservative, they do not always embrace strange and different ideas. Despite the very warm weather, a clear and full dress code is followed.
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.
El Salvador’s low score of 20 means that its culture is very normative. 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.
El Salvador has a very high score at 89, this indicates that Salvadoran culture is Indulgent. 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.