According to Geert Hofstede‘s cultural dimension scales, Greece scores particularly high in the Uncertainty Avoidance index (112). This indicates very low tolerance of ambiguity, a need for structure and rules, acceptance of an authority that has all the answers, a dependence on ultimate truths and grand theories.
A middle high schore in Power Distance — the degree to which a society accepts and expects inequality makes corruption and scandal cover ups entirely possible.
Because of structural and cultural differences, ready-made solutions for similar problems across different economies may not be appropriate. In the case of Greece, appropriateness may not even be the issue, as the major fronts of growth, national debt and social cohesion are brutally ommitted from the complicated equations of the infamous reform plan. Still, the program could be less culturally insensitive than itinially supposed: it is to a large extent tailored to the Greek weaknesses (as opposed to sensitivities or strenghts) and the country’s historic dependence on foreign help as consolidated during the Turkish occuppation era. It also cleverly bets on Greeks’ willingness to go to great lengths and take huge risks to avoid what is perceived as uncertainty. In that sense the plan is sold to public opinion as the panacea that will help cure the lethal disease.
Here are Greece’s scores on Hofstede’s cultural scales. Because the original model is based on a study conducted between 1967 and 1973, a new research would be worthy to help identify shifts of cultural indices in countries who underwent violent reform programs.
And perhaps, applying the model to its original organizational context, it would be interesting to see how global (corporate) decision makers such as the troika components score. If nothing else, to understand where they are coming from.