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Uncertainty Avoidance in the Family

UncertaintyAvoidance in the Family

Throughinteraction, cultural traits passed from one generation to the other.Therefore, culture is learned. Different cultures differ in variousdimensions. Professor Geert Hofstede’s argues that UncertaintyIndex is an effective tool for estimating learned behavior and thevariance of cultural aspects. He defines the notion of uncertaintyavoidance as the level of a culture’s tolerance for uncertainty,ambiguity, and unstructured situations (Geert Hofstede 201). To putit more simply, cultures with a high UAI develop formal and explicitlaws to manage unstructured and ambiguous situations. On the otherhand, cultures with a low UAI are more comfortable with ambiguity andexhibit characteristics of relaxation in simple conditions. Inregards to the different aspects of culture, perception, symbols, andvalues, this discussion focuses on evaluating the concept ofUncertainty Avoidance and its significance in the modern day family.Therefore, this paper will present a discussion of the subject ofuncertainty avoidance in the family.

Thefamily is known to be integral in the development of the community.As the first institution for interaction, the family provides alearning system for future generations to be taught differentcultural traits. The works of psychology support that the early yearsof an individual are imperative in determining his future behavior.An infant in the society grows up adapting cultural traits learnedfrom the family. The family provides an individual the environment tolearn the cultural language, values, and beliefs he/she eventuallyadopts. In the family, the infant is brought up understanding thedistinction of good from wrong, and such early years often build upand manifest later.

Thelevel of uncertainty avoidance differs across societies. Some havehigh levels of ambiguity avoidance while others exhibit diminishedlevels. High uncertainty avoidance levels are manifested in thecommunity’s perception of what is right and wrong. Cultures havinga high uncertainty avoidance index have a clear distinction of whatis right from wrong. Usually, this is enforced by rigid rules andnorms that refrain people from practicing in certain acuities.Hofstede argues that in high uncertainty avoidance communities,children are left to feel guilty and sinful (Geert Hofstede 201). Theauthor continues to emphasize on the education system as a developerof a stronger superego in children of high uncertainty avoidance.Children in these communities grow up understanding the world as ahostile place. In the same way, these kids are protected fromunstructured situations. For instance, Hofstede gives an example ofthe American grandparent couple that was babysitting in an Italianpark, alongside other parents. From time to time, the Italian parentsseemed worried and disturbed by their children’s safety. When theItalian boy fell, the mother would be quick to pick him up and offerremorse. Their perception and avoidance of the playground as adangerous place shows traits of a high uncertainty avoidance culture.

Cultureswith a small Uncertainty avoidance index develop their perception ofambiguous situations. Research shows that the perception of lowuncertainty avoidance cultures is less precise. This includes thebenefit of the doubt to unknown circumstances (Geert Hofstede 203).In such communities, rules and norms have a high flexibility, andindividual`s superegos are weak compared to those with highuncertainty cultures.

Inconclusion, this paper discussed the subject of uncertainty avoidancein the family. The discussion concludes that in cultures with highuncertainty index people are encouraged to experience new situationsrather than avoid them. Risk avoidance in the family influences thatof the society. Some parents believe that what is different isdangerous while others teach their kids about curiosity.


Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov. Cultures and Organizations: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival . London: McGraw Hill, 2010. Print.