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Time Orientation

Hofstede's definition:


Long-term orientation deals with change.  
In a long-time-oriented culture, the basic notion about the world is that it is in flux, and preparing for the future is always needed. In a short-time-oriented culture, the world is essentially as it was created, so that the past provides a moral compass, and adhering to it is morally good.

The extent to which members of a society are prepared to adapt themselves to reach a desirable future, or the extent to which they take their guidance from the past and focus on fulfilling their present needs and desires.

  • Long-Term orientation emphasizes values oriented toward the future, such as perseverance, thrift, and deferred gratification of needs. In business, the emphasis is on building strong market positions first rather than striving for immediate high returns.

  • Short-Term orientation emphasizes values oriented toward the past and present, such as concern with social and status obligations. There is social pressure toward spending for status purposes (higher level of social consumption), and an expectation that there will be an immediate gratification of needs. Short-Term orientation in business stresses “bottom line” quarterly results; this year’s profits are more important than profits 10 years from now.

Long-Term Orientation

Planting Trees

Long-Term Orientation Advantage:
Developing New Market Opportunities


Success over a long time horizon is valued.


Managers are allowed time and resources to make their own contributions.


Thrift; sparing with resources.


Deferred gratification of needs accepted.

Short-Term Orientation

Woman Working in Garden

Short-Term Orientation Advantage:
Fast Adaptation


Quick results are expected.


Control systems are established to improve short-term financial performance and managers are judged by achieving these results.


Spending for status purposes (social consumption)


Immediate gratification of needs expected.
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