Malaysia is “Top” in power distance index

I received an email while on the go, and i thought Wow! Malaysia has finally made it to the top of a world index. This is called the Power Distance Index and I shall post the link as well as the index below here:

The link is

For your convenience , this is part of the table: (go to the link for the full table and the map)

Hofstede’s Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.

On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ grows larger and larger.

Power Distance Index
1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120


Malaysia 104 26 50 36
Guatemala 95 6 37 101
Panama 95 11 44 86
Philippines 94 32 64 44 19
Mexico 81 30 69 82
Venezuela 81 12 73 76
China 80 20 66 40 118
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
Indonesia 78 14 46 48
Ghana 77 20 46 54 16
India 77 48 56 40 61
Nigeria 77 20 46 54 16
Sierra Leone 77 20 46 54 16
Singapore 74 20 48 8 48
Brazil 69 38 49 76 65
France 68 71 43 86
Hong Kong 68 25 57 29 96
Poland 68 60 64 93


33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Penang lang
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 09:47:51

    We love Gerakan, oh yes, the whole idea of it. The founding father, the principles, the ideology, the opposition voice in the Barisan Nasional, our homegrown party — our pride! But they have failed us. Failed us by compromising too much, failed us for not opposing when they should, failed us by remaining silent. However, as I have said, we are sentimental a people and our love is true.



  2. SadDay
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 12:36:00

    Watch This- Where is Malaysia Heading?


  3. Cadraver
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 12:36:25

    I’m just wondering who did the study to come up with the information on this index. Any thoughts?


  4. SadDay
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 12:37:27

    Watch This- Where is Malaysia Heading in this GLOBAL World?


  5. CYC
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 14:02:49

    This index is useful for us to know which country actually progresses on a balance manner. GDP alone is meaningless.


  6. clearwater
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 15:06:20

    Malaysia alone breaks 100 points on the Power Distance Index! An achievement off the charts. Beats all the banana republics from South America as well as the oil monarchies from the Middle East hands down. How come no one’s celebrating and the mainstream media is not bragging about it?


  7. justinian
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 15:30:18

    The longest dodol, the tallest phallic symbol, the largest no. of people participating in tai chi… and now this. We are truly world class. I’m bursting with pride.


  8. Dimin Gamindal
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 16:02:25

    ……soooo what meaning of..
    “Top” in power distance index???? (for the people!)


  9. Shams Fatani
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 22:31:36

    Yeh…hurrah..100+ % in the making of pariah state by the state. The state will never believe this “index of false assumption index”. The state is always right…right to the bottom of the drain. The ‘bottom’ is always be alienated & the state is always the virtues (read ketuanan). My foot!!!!!!!

    Why can’t we make this index as a sort of ISO index of our citizen and state.. This give the democratic distribution space of our political, social, economic, judiciary ect to the citizen of the state. Politic is sociology, the sociology of changes and advancement in civil society. Take this positive index study as the benchmark toward sociological structural changes of our citizen and the state (society). Think and adapt this index before we think about philosophy of 2020 transformation. This is what our society gradual directional need as a knowledge society toward socio-political & economic transformation.

    Thanks for posting this subject.


  10. disgusted
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 21:52:26

    53 years of “wanderfool” governance and we are finally “extinguished” in our “acute-ments” (or under achievements) and the Bottomline Nerds (BN) have done a great job! Sybas!

    We (the herd of sheep) deserve the pack of wolves in control.



  11. aca
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 17:11:17


    you done a great job.


  12. wisely
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 23:12:42

    Dr. hsu,

    Frankly speaking this is the first time i heard of such a ranking. How reliable is the source? based on what criterias. Worst than North Korea? all African countries with warlords?

    The website u link us to, look suspicious, mind clarify my doubt?


  13. Dr Hsu
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 07:16:56

    if you google power distance index and there is another uk website talking about it:

    there are many other links talking about power distance cultural index. This is all i can say and you have to decide yourself,


  14. wisely
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 19:02:01

    Dr. hsu,

    Thks for the UK link. Now based on the UK link it is stated that ‘Hofstede does not provide for all the country in the world’ In fact on 66 countries out of over 200 countries in the world are listed and that’s less than one third of the world countries or maybe less than 30% of the world country.

    With respect, ur ‘top of the world’ is a little misleading. I can accept this study is standard but with only around 30% of the world country is covered it is not right to depict our country is the worst country in the world in this aspect, u agree?

    if u look at the map again, majority of the African and Eastern Europe countries have no grading and some Latin and Central America as well as some Asia countries too are not graded esp North Korea. U think malaysia can be worse than North Korea and those countries controlled by warlords in Africa?


  15. wisely
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 19:03:51

    ‘on’ should be ‘only’


  16. JDsg
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 09:52:02

    @ Cadraver/Wisely: The results are the work of Dr. Geert Hofstede, a Dutch Professor of Management who is known for his studies on the impact of management by culture. His original study was done between 1967-73 by surveying managers at IBM in about 70 countries. (As others have noted here, not all countries are included.) The results have been duplicated in subsequent studies by other researchers, although it has been found that many cultures shift slightly over time as cultures change. Hofstede’s work is highly influential, and is taught in management classes (I myself have taught Hofstede’s work to my own students). More information about the various indexes and how the numbers were determined can be found at Hofstede’s website (link above).

    It should be noted that there is no “good” or “bad” number in any of the indexes. Malaysia may be at one extreme of an index, but that is not necessarily good or bad (it just “is”). Moreover, as Hofstede’s page on Malaysia shows, there are differences between the different ethnic subcultures within Malaysia itself. The number on an index is for the country as a whole, but that number may not be representative of some of the individual sub-cultures within the country.


  17. wisely
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 10:39:07


    Thanks for the enlightenment! Appreciated.


  18. clearwater
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 13:46:26

    No good or bad number in any of the indexes? Malaysia at the top extreme of PDI is not necessarily good or bad ? Sorry, I beg to disagree. I would very much want a lower PDI number for Malaysia, somewhere around the region of Germany where anyone can rise in society by dint of hard work, perseverance and ability.


  19. klm
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 10:35:47

    A poem to share.

    Fools Rainbow

    Do you believe in the leprechaun and his pot of gold.
    Find the end of the rainbow and you find his gold.
    Idris Jala painted one big rainbow.
    Hoping the leprechaun will not know
    Planting his pot of gold under a false rainbow


  20. klm
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 13:23:10

    Hey people. Please add to the above.


  21. CYC
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 17:03:51

    Will ETP transform our country to be a high income nation ? If u read the 15 questions raised by Nurul Izzah, the answer is quite clear : The lab did not do a thorough research and merely drawing a rosy picture without factor in those possible scenario of next 10years. Those ministers who shout hurray in approval of ETP are just idiots or kaki bodek without analytical mind. The power distance index will go further south.

    ETP is just another essay entitled “My ambition” or “My little dream” written by BN, and Najib just read aloud Martin Luther King’s famous speech “I have a dream” with no clue of its content. Its high time Najib should openly engaged the Israelis and learn something on way to “start up” a nation in real sense. No time to play masak-masak and fool KTK and CSL.


  22. CYC
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 17:34:32

    What does it takes to transform the country? Can it succeed when 1. Judiciary is rotten, 2. Education standard is declining, 3. Crime rate is high till residential area need to employ guards, 4. Society become more polarized, 5.Corruption is rampant and govt got no desire to address it 6. Politicians only thinking of enriching themselves. ?

    Ka ki kong ka ki song type of mentality !


  23. disgusted
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 00:21:42

    When a building is rotten to the core, transformation (rebuilding) is useless. The better word is, “demolition”.


  24. CYC
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 14:16:23

    Riddles of the year :

    1. What happened to the kids being taught by teachers with only 4 credit in SPM ?

    2. How would the govt transform these kids to be high income earners ?

    3. Will KTK join UMNO in the event Gelakan leaves BN ?

    4. Will CSL seeks solace from his mistress again to reduce stress after repeatedly slapped by Muhyideen ?

    5. Will Najib accept Nurul Izzah’s challenge when Ibrahim Ali already chickened out earlier ?

    6. Will WKS become MCA president eventually ?

    7. What will Gelakan becomes if Dr Hsu become its president ?


  25. Dr Hsu
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 00:15:31

    I am replying Q No 7 in US. I will never be presidenet simply because i am not a politician. I will probably just fade away from the Gerakan scene.

    Things are not well in many states, including KL, the state that was taken over by the central leadership in 2008 and KTK became the state chairman.

    If gerakan still sticks to UMNO, its end is quite near, seeing the squabbling and infightings despite the heavy defeat in 308.

    One sentence says it all ” NO EYES SEE”… But i sugggest the leadership must listen the grpund more.


  26. disgusted
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 00:29:57


    Latest, Malaysiakini cartoonist Zunar was arrested this evening and his publications banned except the latest, likely to be banned (cover with caricature of first Lady).

    Zunar was taken from the Bricksfield police station to Serdang and now further to Sepang police station. The book launching event (without any books) was launched by Perak PAS de facto MB Nizar at the Chinese Assembly Hall tonight.

    Zunar’s wife, Steven Gan and Nizar spoke at the event. Looks like BN is cartoon phobia now.


  27. wisely
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 17:09:40

    Personally, I have no problem for PR to come to power if they can guareentee me:

    1. A secular state and not islamic state

    2. A develop and modern country which is not rule by ulamas

    3. A peaceful country

    But can I have my guareentees?

    For me personally,

    1. If this country is going to be an Islamic country under PAS, i rather be ruled by UMNO

    2. If this country going to suffer economically under the hands of Ulamas, i rather have what it is today

    3. Above all if this country to be in turmoil, i rather not shake the equlibrium.

    I believe many will not agree with me, so let us all be ready to pay the price for the change!
    ( I hope I am wrong but I don’t have a good feeling about PR ruling this country esp with these 3 Qs and many other Qs unsured and unanswered!)


  28. klm
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 18:38:11

    To the not so wise one. Why are you putting up Chua Soi Lek’s argument? This is an old argument already put to rest. Events have already taken over. Has MCA been sleeping all these years?


  29. disgusted
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 22:00:50

    Of course, tidur tidur but as a concubine to the master, sharing same bed with different nightmares.


  30. CYC
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 11:18:32

    Wise man,

    I have big problem with PKFZ chief suspect Ling Liong Sik as UTAR chairman and a person with tainted morality CSL claiming to represent Chinese community. I have even bigger problem with a party ruled with perpetual promises but without fulfilling promise. These questions remained unanswered for half century.

    I promise to support BN’s rule if they guarantee my equal right as a citizen and not bound by the unwritten rule of being No. 2 even if my capability justify to be No. 1. Period.


  31. wisely
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 19:15:41

    I just want to say this,

    Whether it is my own points or Dr. Chua’s, the fact is until today PAS and DAP have not and cannot agree on their stand on islamic state, i everyone can agree. with this. I believe PAS will never give up this vision as it is their foundamental struggle and at the same time i believe DAP will not agree either.

    The key to the above point is if PR were to rule who will be PM. If Anwar, maybe still ok but if Hadi then i believe PAS will quite likely push thru this agenda . Now Nik Aziz always says only Karpal is against islamic state and it is his personal stand and not until lately LKS and a few others join in to oppose. The latest gambling money as aids to the elderly in Penang also being question and opposed by PAS.

    We all should be realistic to know LKS will never be PM. The most is DPM and for that PAS is also against it. In 2008 PAS AGM they still want to keep the 30% which Najib slowly do away or at least partially do away. Now PAS members are also Malay.

    Singapore is different, Majority are chinese and majority of the the poor there are Malays. Here we know very well Malay cannot compete with Chinese in many sectors. UMNO members are malay and don’t forget so also is PAS I think it will not be much different in mindset and attitude. With PAS being even more religious minded, i am afraid it is not good for the economy. One thing i can agree is that PAS is clean and not corrupt like UMNO but how about PKR?

    Today PKR election look ‘very much’ like UMNO and with the increase of DAP members and who I believe, many are looking at what can benefit them and the infighting for power in Perak and Selangor, sooner or later DAP will be another MCA! At the end everything will be the same.

    The good thing i see with the emergence of PR is the 2 party system which will give the check and balance to the governing body.

    Finally, I too want the best for this country and I too like many here, a chinese. If DAP itself will to rule, yes, i can believe most of their promises will come true but pls don’t forget PR two other component parties which the majority are Malays. At the end i feel many promises will remain as promises. Less corrupt, definitely! Fairer maybe but if the Malay are getting poorer and poorer( if not aided -like in Penang) , will there be unrest?

    My conclusion is that, there are many uncertainties if PR will to come to power, they still have not and did not give us the answers to the questions here and many others. Many possiblities will happen and the key question is will the country be stable at the end of the day. That’s why i am more comfortable with the slow reform by BN and like Dr. Hsu have said many times, Najib is sincere with his reform agendas and the latest development is quite promising too. At least, i can be assured of peace and hope that more reform will be push thru. In short, why not give Najib a chance than risk ourselves with too many uncertainties!


  32. CYC
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 09:58:16

    “Accepting certain dead is better than uncertain cure is indeed a better option” the wise man says.

    “Take the challenge of engaging the uncertainties with hope and bury the certain dead formula” we say.


  33. klm
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 11:56:42

    Dear oh not so wise one. For some one like you who seemed well educated and rational, I cannot figure out why you think like this.


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