Uncertainty Avoidance - Definition
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What is Uncertainty Avoidance?
Uncertainty avoidance is a cross-cultural phenomenon that describes how different cultures or societies react to and tolerate uncertainties. More specifically, it refers to how communities cope with unpredictability and uncertainty that are evident in the major aspects of governance.
Back to: Management & Organizational Behavior
A Little More on Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty avoidance reflects the degree at which a society or members of a society, tolerate, cope with or combats unpredictability otherwise known as the unknown. It describes individuals reaction to ambiguity.
Using the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), countries fall into different ranks depending on their tolerance for uncertainty.
They develop and implement laws driven towards sustainable development and prevention of uncertainty.
Some countries have strong or high UAI, these are countries with conventional behaviors and standards approaches.
Countries with weak UAI on the other hand embrace unconventional practices and are comfortable with uncertainty.
Individuals or countries with high uncertainty avoidance come up with effective measures and ideas to combat or reduce the occurrence of the unknown and make changes and step by step by planning to mitigate uncertainty.
Many countries are in the high Uncertainty Avoidance index (UAI), these countries include Mexico, Germany, Finland, Russia, Belgium, Italy, Korea, Greece, Portugal and Guatemala. Greece, Guatemala, and Portugal are however the highest uncertainty avoidance countries.
Although, quite a number of countries fall in the category of low uncertainty avoidance countries, Jamaica, Denmark, and Singapore are regarded as the lowest uncertainty avoidance countries.
Academic Research on Uncertainty Avoidance
- Uncertainty avoidance and the preference for innovation championing roles, Shane, S. (1995). Journal of International Business Studies, 26(1), 47-68.
- Is eCommerce boundary-less? Effects of individualismcollectivism and uncertainty avoidance on Internet shopping, Lim, K. H., Leung, K., Sia, C. L., & Lee, M. K. (2004). Journal of International Business Studies, 35(6), 545-559.
- Investigating enterprise systems adoption: uncertainty avoidance, intrinsic motivation, and the technology acceptance model, Hwang, Y. (2005). European journal of information systems, 14(2), 150-161.
- Uncertainty avoidance and the rate of business ownership across 21 OECD countries, 19762004, Wennekers, S., Thurik, R., van Stel, A., & Noorderhaven, N. (2007). Journal of Evolutionary economics, 17(2), 133-160.
- Entrepreneurial orientation, uncertainty avoidance and firm performance: an analysis of Thai and Vietnamese SMEs, Swierczek, F. W., & Ha, T. T. (2003). The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 4(1), 46-58.
- Uncertainty avoidance as a moderator of the relationship between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction, Reimann, M., Lnemann, U. F., & Chase, R. B. (2008). Journal of Service Research, 11(1), 63-73.
- Investigating the moderating role of uncertainty avoidance cultural values on multidimensional online trust, Hwang, Y., & Lee, K. C. (2012). Information & management, 49(3-4), 171-176.
- Comparing online information effects: A cross-cultural comparison of online information and uncertainty avoidance, Vishwanath, A. (2003). Communication Research, 30(6), 579-598.
- Cultural variations in strategic issue interpretation: Relating cultural uncertainty avoidance to controllability in discriminating threat and opportunity, Barr, P. S., & Glynn, M. A. (2004). Strategic Management Journal, 25(1), 59-67.
- Empowering leadership, uncertainty avoidance, trust, and employee creativity: Interaction effects and a mediating mechanism, Zhang, X., & Zhou, J. (2014). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 124(2), 150-164.
- Uncertainty avoidance, risk tolerance and corporate takeover decisions, Frijns, B., Gilbert, A., Lehnert, T., & Tourani-Rad, A. (2013). Journal of Banking & Finance, 37(7), 2457-2471.