According to them, everything happen for a reason and this way of thinking is significant in decision making in their personal life or within an organisation (Elder, 1966). Fatalism has an impact on two Hofstede’s dimensions. Power distance is defined as a degree of inequality among people of the community (Thomas, 2008). Hofstede (2009) found that India is a country with a high power distance which means that they accept unequal power and wealth. Indians think that people on the top were destined to be on the top so they accepted their decisions due to the fatalism philosophy.
However, the power distance in United States is relatively low (Hofstede, 2009). Uncertainty avoidance represents the extent to which people are frustrated by unstructured and unpredictable situations (Thomas, 2008). India has low uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 2009). In fact, they prefer few rules as possible and less structures activities. In addition, they are not scared of the unknown and want to take risks. Fatalism emphasises the belief that people do not have the control of every situations (Elder, 1966).
United States is also low in uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 2009). According to Hofstede research, both India and the U. S are masculine which means that the society accepts values like assertiveness, performance, success and competition (Thomas, 2008). Individualism/ collectivism is defined as the degree to which people in a country prefer to act as individuals rather than members of groups (Thomas, 2008). India tends to be collectivist while United States are highly individualistic (Hofstede, 2009).
After analysing Hofstede cultural dimensions between India and U. S, it is worth noting that there exist differences between the two countries. Union Carbide would have examined the Indian cultural values before doing business in the country. This could have avoided the Bhopal’s disastrous. According to Donaldson, it is important for communities to self-define the aspect of their business morality and in this case, Union Carbide would have been aware and accepted it in order to respect the Indian tradition.
This is called the moral free space. Usually, business communities develop ethical norms which represent a collective viewpoint concerning deals and the right behaviour to adopt when making them (Donaldson, 1999). The respect of tradition could be in contrast with core human values Donaldson considers that companies have to respect traditions of country where they work; nevertheless, sometimes these traditions could be in contrast with the core human values. As already mentioned, India is a country with high power distance.
For example, in Bhopal, the municipal authorities were against the continued use of the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant at its original location (Shrivastava, 1987). The plant site was for commercial or light industrial use but not for hazardous industries. However, as UCIL was a powerful company in India, the central and state government authorities rejected the city’s objection and authorised the company to stay at its location (Bennett et al. 2005). Everybody accepted it and this decision was final.
Even if the hierarchical system is accepted in India, Union Carbide could not have respected this tradition because it is in contradiction with the respect of individual’s basic rights. The government did not protect the individual’s rights because the plant was about two miles from the Bhopal railway station, local commercial activities and two slum colonies were located across the street from the Union Carbide plant (Shrivastava, 1987). So, in order to support and protect the Indian’s right, Union Carbide could not have respected this tradition.
Uncertainty avoidance is relatively low in India and it is worth explaining its consequences on the Bhopal plant. The working environment of the plant tolerated negligence and a lack of safety consciousness among workers and managers (Shrivastava, 1987). This behaviour is not only in contrast with the respect of human dignity concept but also with the individual basic rights. In fact, the employees’ low morale jeopardised the population’s health and safety.