The value we would consider today is that of uncertainty avoidance. This value deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. 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 absolutism.
People from high uncertainty avoidance cultures have little tolerance for the unknown, focus on ways to reduce uncertainty and ambiguity, and create structures to help ensure some measure of predictability. For example, in countries like Britain, Jamaica, and Sweden, countries with low uncertainty avoidance, it is typical to attend meetings of groups where open-ended instructions are given, various ways of doing things are discussed, and loose deadlines are accepted. In contrasting cultures, such a process would create all kinds of dissonance and chaos from a person from a high uncertainty avoidance culture.
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