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Delio I. Castaneda and Camilo Ramírez, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Cultural dimensions in Colombian and Chilean organizations

Culture is understood as a cohesive system of meanings and symbols in terms of which social interactions take place. It is expressed through symbols, ceremonies, myths, rituals, language, and stories which affect the behavior of employees and influence the way they can be managed to achieve organizational objectives. Hofstede´s cultural dimensions have been widely studied in different contexts. Dorfman & Howell designed an instrument in English to measure those dimensions at an individual level, thus allowing for research on individual level perceptions of culture dimensions. However, there is no validated Spanish version for this instrument. The objective of this research was to provide to the Ibero-American community the Spanish version of the Dorfman and Howell instrument. The questionnaire was translated into Spanish and adapted to the Chilean and Colombian population. The study included 1136 participants, 500 from Chile and 636 from Colombia. An exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were supported by the KMO and the Bartlett tests. Results indicate a better fit of a five-factor model, in similarity with the English language original instrument: masculinity-femininity, paternalism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and individualism-collectivism. In each country sample the five-factor model was compared with a one factor model, indicating a better fit for the five-factor model. Construct validity of the scales was confirmed in the Chilean sample, showing results in consistency with previous meta-analytical research. The Dorfman and Howell instrument is a valid questionnaire for the evaluation of cultural dimensions in Spanish speaking populations. The results of this study contribute to the understanding of the behavior of cultural dimensions in organizations of two Latin American countries. Additionally, they are of value in talent management for multinational companies that have operations in those countries. Comparative studies in other countries are recommended.