If we explore Peruvian culture 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.
There is ample evidence for Peru´s high PDI score of 67 at organisational level. In general, it is possible to find rather tall, centralised structural arrangements. By the same token, there are larger proportions of supervisory personnel and wage differentials.
Some observers trace back Peru´s PDI score to the tightly structured and centralized Inca empire; others point out that it has been fostered by colonial and authoritarian governments as well as the church. However, subordinates still perceive superiors as difficult to access and do not trust them. Superiors consider subordinates as being of a different kind and ask for respect – particularly if the latter are of black or indigenous origin.
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.
With a value of 16 Peru shows a very collectivistic score, in line with most other Latin American countries. Among other consequences, it is interesting to highlight that in general people here find large companies attractive and that, particularly among blue collar workers, the involvement with the company is moral – and not calculative. Managers endorse more traditional points of view and only slowly start supporting employee initiative and group activity. In general they aspire to conformity and prefer having security over having autonomy in their position.
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 42 Peru is a rather Feminine society. This trait has been the source of many cultural clashes and misunderstandings. For expatriates, locals were aloof or downright lazy. The actual reasons, however, were the locals weaker achievement motivation, their preference for human contacts and family over recognition or wealth, and the marginal role awarded to work by large sectors of the population.
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 87 Peru scores 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. The individual’s need to obey these laws, however, is weak. Corruption is widespread, the black market sizeable and, in general, you´ll see a deep split between the “pays réel” and the “pays légal”.
To make things worse, in these socienties, if rules cannot be kept, additional rules are dictated. According to Peruvian Nobel prize winner Vargas Llosa, “A logical consequence of such abundance is that each legal disposition has another that corrects, denies or mitigates it. That means, in other words, that those who are immersed in such a sea of juridical contradictions live transgressing the law, or that – perhaps even more demoralizing – within such a structure, any abuse or transgression may find a legal loophole that redeems or justifies it.
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 25, Peruvian culture is more normative than pragmatic. 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.
Peru has an intermediate score of 46 on this dimension.