An Expat’s guide to fitting in with The Indonesian Culture, According to Research

As an expat moving to Indonesia, there may be many things which may be of concern. Some of the biggest concern in this case may be whether or not you could successfully integrate with the locals, be it at work or play. In this article, we would be covering in detail as to how you could possibly seek to understand and integrate with the Indonesian culture. This article is done with reference to the study conducted by Geert Hofstede

Number One: You Have To Respect Those Above You

They can be a police officer, someone older than you by age or even your boss. According to the research by Geert Hofstede, Indonesia scores really high points when it comes to Power Distance. Which basically means respect for hierarchy. Therefore, managers or high position holders tend to direct, delegate and command those who report to them as they operate based on the obedience levels of the rest of the employees. Therefore, if you come from a country which is not as hierarchical like countries of the west, then you should be wary and take the necessary measures to fit in.

Number Two: It Is Not About You, But Everyone

The second tip to know is that Indonesia ranks extremely low when it comes to individualism. Therefore, making Indonesia a very collectivist type of society where people have to look out and look after each other in groups. Also, it also means that people are generally expected to follow the social norms and conform to society.  If you are working for an organisation in Indonesia, this might be useful for you.

Number Three: Its (not) all about the success

According to Geert Hofstede’s dimension of masculinity, Indonesia ranks rather low on masculinity. Ranking high on femininity refers to caring for others and quality on life. As Indonesia ranks low on masculinity, success is pretty important, but material gain alone sometimes may not be the most important trait to Indonesians in general.

Number Four: Communication is not direct

Communication is indirect in Indonesia. This is according to the research factor of Uncertainty Avoidance.  No one in Indonesia wants to be the bearer of bad news nor want to confront someone directly for a problem. In fact, people often smile and portray themselves as happy although they may be extremely upset on the inside.

Number Five: Pragmatism

Indonesia is a rather pragmatic society where they are willing to give up the past in order to pursue the challenges of the present and future. In such  societies people often believe that the ‘truth’ is based on the context and not per se, for example.

Number Six: “Low Indulgence”

Indonesia is considered as a country of low indulgence. This means that basically, people are a little more restraint on culture, where do not see the importance or value in satisfying desires. As such, they often do not place as much importance on leisure time

So these are the aspects of culture in general in Indonesia. For more articles, click here. comment below on your thoughts. If you got a question, click here

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