100 Countries: Hong Kong

[For the overall scheme, see here: https://eastwestpsyche.com/2019/02/21/100-countries-project-the-scheme/. Not meant to be comprehensive — but concise.]


Cultural Dimensions


Hofstede Cultural Dimensions

Salient Facts:IMG_1408

  • Chinese inhabitants: primarily Cantonese and Shanghainese
  • Former British territory: Influence of ‘Western’ cultural features
  • Highly internationalised; significant non-Chinese communities: Filipino, Indonesian, Indian (Nepalese, Pakistani)
  • Preservation of Chinese traditions: Did not experience ‘Cultural Revolution’ of China mainland
  • Influence of Hakka nomadic ethnic minority
  • Maritime culture; numerous Taoist shrines to sea goddess Tin Hau

Tips for Better Understanding:SAMSUNG

  • Primary economic growth engine: immigrants from mainland China
  • Primary industry: finance; swiftly emerging as second highest industry: IT; unofficial key ‘industry’: start-up / entrepreneurship
  • English still widely spoken, but Cantonese preferred since 1997 handover (from UK to China) – and Mandarin Chinese rapidly rising
  • “One Country, Two Systems” policy – Hong Kong maintains its own governance, including freedom of speech and press, and right to demonstrate – but, the rapidly increasing influence of Beijing is widely felt
  • Hong Kong is one of the world’s most crowded cities – and also, is 4/5 protected greenspace

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

20161231_180635One of the prominent models for understanding cultures is that of Geert Hofstede, which identifies countries and cultural groups according to 6 dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism vs Collectivism, Masculinity vs Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long- vs Short-term Orientation, and Indulgence vs Restraint. Rather than duality, these dimensions are mapped on a spectrum. For the ‘big picture’ [click for larger version]:

Power Distance     Individualism-Collectivism

Feminity-Masculinity    Uncertainty Avoidance

Long-Short Term Orientation    Indulgence-Restraint

For more information: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/models/national-culture/ 

For a useful tool to see these dimensions by country, and to compare countries: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/



100 Countries Project: the Scheme

20180504_194639_2In preparation for our 100 Countries Project, Phase II: Reflection, we’d like to share with you our scheme for the upcoming 100(+) entries by country.

Each entry will begin with its classifications according to standard theories of cultural study (e.g., individualist vs collectivist). We’ll then offer some of our insights, or particularly salient facts about the country and its dominant culture, followed by a few tips for better understanding. Photos to accompany the article will be selected according to their ability to “tell a story” – to reflect an important cultural feature (or several).

We’ve decided to start with Hong Kong, as that’s where EWP is headquartered; while no longer technically a “country” per se, Hong Kong nonetheless, like its neighbor Macao, is culturally distinct from the Chinese mainland as a result of its history.

Having begun in Hong Kong, our articles will then progress throughout Asia, by sub-region; beginning with Northeast and ending with Western Asia, aka the Middle East, with a side journey to Oceania. From there, we’ll turn to Europe, from Southeastern through the various regional distinctions until we come nearly full-circle to Southern Europe – at which point, we cross the Mediterranean into Africa. Progressing once again regionally from Northern or MENA through Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa (the Central region has not yet become part of this project), we’ll go from there into South America, moving upwards to North America where we’ll begin with Spanish- and end with English-speaking countries.

The outcome, or Phase III, of our 100 Countries Project is multi-pronged, including a 7-book series on Intercultural Competency by region; the further informing of our current training programs which can be found HERE, as well as new ones in development to be delivered both onsite and online; the grounding of Dr Anne’s counselling practice with expatriates, intercultural couples, and Third-Culture Kids, as well as her consultative practice with multicultural corporations; contribution to 3 global projects currently co-facilitated by Dr Anne for the BPW community: Intercultural Dialogues: UNESCO Platform, International Mobility: Expatriate Empowerment, and Women, Peace & Security: UN1325; and, much more.

We hope you’ll continue with us on this journey around the world.

~Dr Anne

Mapping Your Cultural Orientation

20181104_193744_2We offer this tool, based on a standard set of classifications used for entire cultural groups, and which can also be applied to individuals. Naturally, these descriptors are not meant to be absolute; individuals as well as cultures are more oriented to one than the other, but would generally fall somewhere along a spectrum.

~Dr Anne


Map your own cultural orientation, that most accurately reflects your values, on each continuum below. Remember that a continuum represents an infinite number of possibilities between the two opposing ends. There are no right or wrong answers.

Monochronic: I like to be on time and expect the same of others.  


Polychronic: What happens is more important than when it starts and ends.
Low Context: When rules are presented, I prefer that every detail is spelled out clearly.  



High Context: Some rules are understood by everyone so it’s not necessary to spell everything out.
Individualistic: I prefer to work independently and be recognized individually.  


Collectivistic: I prefer to work as part of a group and think it’s better when individuals are not singled out.
Egalitarian: All people should be treated the same, no matter what their position is.  


Hierarchical: People should be treated differently depending on their title, position, rank.
Task Focused: When working on a project, I prefer to focus on getting the job done and become impatient with socializing.  



Relationship Focused: When working on a project, I value time spent in building relationships and work better with people when I get to know them.
Surfacing Differences: I directly address differences when there is an issue so the problem can be solved quickly.  


Maintaining Harmony: I prefer to deal with differences indirectly, behind the scenes, to avoid causing upset.
Emotionally Restrained: It’s better to keep emotions private.  


Emotionally Expressive: It’s better to express emotions openly.
Being: I derive more of my identity from who I am and who my family is.  


Doing: I derive more of my identity from what I do: schoolwork, activities, etc.


  • How does your cultural orientation map help you in your life?
  • How does your cultural orientation map hold you back in your life?
  • How is your cultural orientation map similar or different from your peers’?
  • Which traits are difficult for you to deal with in other people?


Based on research by Edward Hall, Geert Hofstede and Aperian Global. Compiled by Natalia Dyba.


Cultural Awareness Self-Assessment

20180824_194904_2Turns out, I can’t write and travel. The intensive research-oriented travel over these past 8 months — in 50+ countries across 5 continents — has taken all of my focus, and only now can I begin to write about it.

Like life: one can’t fully experience the moment if caught up in analyzing it. And so — we experience, deeply and openly; and only after: we reflect, and begin to understand.

Our 100 Countries Project is nearing completion, but only of Phase I: Local Experience. Within the next couple of days, Phase II: Reflection will begin.

But first, I offer you the following, from University of Washington|Bothell [modified by me]. Enjoy!

~Dr Anne

Cultural Awareness Self-Assessment

To begin to assess your cultural self-awareness, ask yourself several questions:

  • What are some of my core beliefs and how have they been culturally influenced?
  • How would I describe my worldview?
  • How would I describe the worldviews of my friends/relatives/colleagues/students?
  • How might these differ from the ways in which I see the world?
  • How much do I know about the cultural backgrounds of my friends/relatives/colleagues/students?
  • What information am I missing and how can I get that information?
  • How can I incorporate the worldviews of my friends/relatives/colleagues/students into my own?
  • What worldviews are demonstrated through the way in which I currently live?
  • How can I enhance my interactions with others, so that other worldviews are represented?