Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, and different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’.

For example, in Germany there is a reasonable high uncertainty avoidance (65) compared to countries as Singapore (8) and neighbouring country Denmark (23). Germans are not to keen on uncertainty, by planning everything carefully they try to avoid the uncertainty. In Germany there is a society that relies on rules, laws and regulations. Germany wants to reduce its risks to the minimum and proceed with changes step by step.

The United States scores a 46 compared to the 65 of the German culture. Uncertainty avoidance in the US is relatively low, which can clearly be viewed through the national cultures.

Power Distance Index | Individualism | Masculinity | Uncertainty Avoidance Index | Long-Term Orientation

Uncertainty Avoidance Index
1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120

Country PDI IDV MAS UAI LTO

Greece 60 35 57 112
Portugal 63 27 31 104
Guatemala 95 6 37 101
Uruguay 61 36 38 100
Belgium 65 75 54 94
El Salvador 66 19 40 94
Poland 68 60 64 93
Japan 54 46 95 92 80
Peru 64 16 42 87
Argentina 49 46 56 86
Chile 63 23 28 86
Costa Rica 35 15 21 86
France 68 71 43 86
Panama 95 11 44 86
Spain 57 51 42 86
South Korea 60 18 39 85 75
Turkey 66 37 45 85
Hungary 46 55 88 82
Mexico 81 30 69 82
Israel 13 54 47 81
Colombia 67 13 64 80
Brazil 69 38 49 76 65
Venezuela 81 12 73 76
Italy 50 76 70 75
Czech Republic 57 58 57 74
Austria 11 55 79 70
Pakistan 55 14 50 70
Taiwan 58 17 45 69 87
Egypt 80 38 52 68
Iraq 80 38 52 68
Kuwait 80 38 52 68
Lebanon 80 38 52 68
Libya 80 38 52 68
Saudi Arabia 80 38 52 68
United Arab Emirates 80 38 52 68
Ecuador 78 8 63 67
Germany 35 67 66 65 31
Thailand 64 20 34 64 56
Finland 33 63 26 59
Iran 58 41 43 59
Switzerland 34 68 70 58
Ghana 77 20 46 54 16
Nigeria 77 20 46 54 16
Sierra Leone 77 20 46 54 16
Netherlands 38 80 14 53 44
Ethiopia 64 27 41 52 25
Kenya 64 27 41 52 25
Tanzania 64 27 41 52 25
Zambia 64 27 41 52 25
Australia 36 90 61 51 31
Norway 31 69 8 50 20
New Zealand 22 79 58 49 30
South Africa 49 65 63 49
Indonesia 78 14 46 48
United States 40 91 62 46 29
Philippines 94 32 64 44 19
China 80 20 66 40 118
India 77 48 56 40 61
Malaysia 104 26 50 36
Ireland 28 70 68 35
United Kingdom 35 89 66 35 25
Hong Kong 68 25 57 29 96
Sweden 31 71 5 29 33
Denmark 18 74 16 23
Jamaica 45 39 68 13
Singapore 74 20 48 8 48

2 thoughts on “Uncertainty Avoidance

  1. I’m not sure to understand in which ways this scale works. For example, France score is 86. Compared to Germany, it means that french people would be significatively more disturbed by uncertainty in Business like delivery delays and would react with more unsatisfaction and Anger than German people ?

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