The Geert Hofstede analysis for Panama
is similar to its Latin American neighbors. There is a high
power distance indicating that inequalities of power and wealth
have been allowed to grow within the society. Uncertainty avoidance
ranks high which indicates a high concern for rules, regulations,
controls and issues with career security typically, a
society that does not readily accept change and is risk adverse.
ranks lowest which signifies a society of a more collectivist
nature and strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility
fellow members of their group.
has Power Distance (PDI) as the highest ranking Hofstede
Dimension at 95. This score of
is tied with Guatemala as the highest Power Distance of all
Latin American countries, where the average is 70.
(see the Latin Graph
This high Power Distance (PDI) ranking for Panama is indicative
of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the
society. This condition is not necessarily forced upon the population,
but rather accepted by the society as part of their cultural
Panama's second highest Hofstede Dimension i Uncertainty Avoidance
(UAI) at 86, which is more typical of all Latin American countries
with an average of 85. This high Uncertainty Avoidance Index
(UAI) ranking, indicates the society’s low level of tolerance
In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty,
strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and
implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control
everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As
a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the
society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.
has a relatively low Individualism (IDV) ranking at 11, compared
to other Latin countries average of 21. The score on this Dimension
indicates the Panamanian society is Collectivist as compared
to Individualist. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment
to the member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or
extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is
paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations.
The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes
responsibility for fellow members of their group.
Of note is that Panama has the second largest divergence of
Power Distance (PDI) to Individualism (IDV) of any country surveyed
in the world, with a difference of 84 (PDI-95 minus IDV-11 =
84). Guatemala is first with 89 and Malaysia third with 78.
In many of the Latin American countries, including Panama, the
population is predominantly Catholic (see Religions Graph below).
The combination of Catholicism and the cultural dimensions shown
in the Hofstede Graphs above, reinforce a philosophy predicated
in the belief that there is an absolute ‘Truth”.
As Geert Hofstede explains about peoples with a high Uncertainty
Avoidance Index, their attitude is, “There can only be
one Truth and we have it.” More Geert Hofstede Details
by Stephen Taylor - the Sigma