Want to know about Pakistani culture? Try this 6-D Model

Pakistani culture through Geert Hofstede 6D Model

Recently, I wrote about our three-day training workshop on Future Leaders Program on this website. In that, I referred to Hofstede’s mention of Pakistan’s zero score on Long-Term Orientation.

Many asked me how these scores are made.

Below, I am copying from ‘s website on Pakistan. Their six cultural dimensions and Pakistan’s score in each dimension in real time are provided below.

At the end, I have given the link to the website, so you can have a comparison score with other countries as well. Or, if expatriate, with the country where you are currently living in.

What about Pakistan?

If we explore Pakistani culture through the lens of the 6-D Model, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of Pakistani culture relative to other world cultures.

1 Power Distance

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.

With an intermediate score of 55, it is not possible to determine a preference for Pakistan in this dimension.

2 Individualism

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.

Pakistan, with a very low score of 14, is considered a collectivistic society. 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.

In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.

3 Masculinity

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).

Pakistan scores 50 on this dimension, and as this is an exactly intermediate score it cannot be said if Pakistan has a preference to Masculinity of femininity.

4 Uncertainty avoidance

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 UAI score.

Pakistan scores 70 on this dimension and thus has a high preference for avoiding uncertainty. Countries exhibiting high Uncertainty Avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas.

In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work) time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation.

5 Long Term Orientation (LTO)

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 an intermediate score of 50, the culture of Pakistan cannot be said to indicate a preference.

6 Indulgence

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.

Pakistan, with an extremely low score of 0 on this dimension, can be said to be a very Restrained society. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism.

Also, in contrast to Indulgent societies, Restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires.

People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are Restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.

Comparison with China & India

Below is a screenshot of two neighboring giants, China and India for comparison:

Pakistani culture compared with China and India through Geert Hofstede 6D Model

Comparison with GCC countries

Also included are the scores from the two GCC countries we have presence in: Saudi Arabia and UAE.

We did not include data on Kuwait as it was similar to Saudi Arabia. No data was available on Bahrain. Also, no score was available on two dimensions – LTO and Indulgence – for UAE.

Pakistani culture compared with Saudi Arabia and UAE through Geert Hofstede 6D Model

Source: The Hofstede Centre

See also, some other indices:

Everything about Pakistan’s competitiveness – in 10 photos

Pakistan 15th most powerful military in the world

Pakistan world’s 43rd largest economy by GDP: World Bank

Pakistan at rock bottom in Human Capital Index 2015

Pakistan ranks 5th in terrorism-affected countries list

Pakistan 10th most fragile country

As S Asia ups economic game, Pakistan risks falling behind: WSJ. The question is why?

Pakistan, Afghanistan only two remaining polio endemic countries

Pakistan #106 in Good Country Index

91% Pakistanis have access to drinking water: Unicef/WHO

Pakistan 65th most vulnerable country to face climate change

In World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business Report, Pakistan ranks very poorly

Which country has the worst air pollution? | Hint: Pakistan

Pakistan: The brighter side:

Forbes calls Pakistan the next Colombia success story, asks US to see beyond security lens

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor enters stage of implementation: Xi Jinping

$46B China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: 15 years, 4 phases, 3 routes, 51 projects

Is trade with post-sanctions Iran another Godsend after China?

Bloomberg on Pakistan’s economic revival, construction boom

Next year, Pakistan may upgrade to emerging-market status: WSJ

Naya Pakistan: Travel from Pindi to Islamabad in 20¢ in wifi-ed AC bus

Rs 165B Orange Line Metro Train approved for Lahore

Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi with free wifi

Rs15B Green Line metro bus project for Karachi announced

No ordinary day as international cricket returns to Pakistan

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan is enjoying a rare period of optimism: The Economist

Good! Pakistan no more among the most corrupt in the world

Pakistan world’s least expensive country: WB

Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about


  1. So, basically, because our society still clings to old customs and refuses to accept change, the change drivers have to be instilled within the ‘groups’ . If we assume that the value sets of materialism, leadership and view of future are largely divided between the two extremes (because of the midrange no preference rankings) then it seems that we are at war within our selves.

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