If we explore the Greek culture through the lens of the 6-D Model©, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Greek 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 60 Greece has an intermediate score, but it indicates a slight tendency to the higher side of PDI – i.e. a society that believes hierarchy should be respected and inequalities amongst people are acceptable. The different distribution of power justifies the fact that power holders have more benefits than the less powerful in society. In Greece it is important to show respect to the elderly (and children take care for their elderly parents). In companies there is one boss who takes complete responsibility. One should never forget that in the mind of a Greek all other cultures in the Western world inherited something from the ancient Greek culture. Status symbols of power are very important in order to indicate social position and “communicate” the respect that could be shown.
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 score of 35 Greece is a collectivist culture, “we” defined, which means that in this country people from birth onwards are integrated into the strong, cohesive in-group (especially represented by the extended family; including uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins) which continues protecting its members in exchange for loyalty. This is an important aspect in the working environment too, where for instance an older and powerful member of a family is expected to “help” a younger nephew to be hired for a job in his own company. From an Individualist culture this could be perceived as nepotism (= negative perception) but in collectivistic societies is a normal behaviour. In business it is important to build up trustworthy and long lasting relationships: a meeting usually starts with general conversations in order to get to know each other before doing business.
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 57 Greece is a medium ranking Masculine society – success oriented and driven. Men consider it a personal honor to take care for their family. In Collectivistic and Masculine cultures the success of a member of a family gives social value to the whole in-group; when meeting a new person a foreigner should not be surprised by Greeks speaking of the important and successful people they knows in town. Aristoteles Onassis, the Greek tycoon, well known all over the world, was and still is an example of a successful Greek whose status symbols speak of the excellent achievements in a Masculine society.
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 100 Greece has the highest score on Uncertainty Avoidance which means that as a nation Greeks are not at all comfortable in ambiguous situations: the unforeseen is always there ready to “lay an ambush”. The “sword of Damocles”, impending over the head of all of us, can illustrate this anxious and stressing feeling about life. In Greece, as in all high Uncertainty Avoidance societies, bureaucracy, laws and rules are very important to make the world a safer place to live in. Greeks need to have good and relaxing moments in their everyday life, chatting with colleagues, enjoying a long meal or dancing with guests and friends. Due to their high score in this dimension Greeks are very passionate and demonstrative people: emotions are easily shown in their body language. The Greek myth about the “birth” of the world tells us a lot about high Uncertainty Avoidance: at the very beginning there was only Chaos but then Cronos (Time) came in to organize life and make it easier to manage.
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.
Greece has an intermediate score of 45 on this dimension.
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.
Greece has an intermediate score of 50 on this dimension, so no clear preference between Indulgence and Restraint can be established.