Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 100-105
Published Online May 2014 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper: Unger, A., et al. (2014) The Relationship between the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI)
and the Hofstede-Dimensions: Preliminary Empirical Evidence from Germany, Morocco, and China. Open Journal of Social
Sciences, 2, 100-105.
The Relationship between the Zimbardo
Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and
the Hofstede-Dimensions: Preliminary
Empirical Evidence from Germany,
Morocco, and China
Alexander Unger1, Julie Papastamatelou1, Karim Gassemi2, Alan Lu3
1University of Applied Sciences, Ludwigshafen, Germany
2Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion de Casablanca, Université de Hassan II, Morocco
3School of Management, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China
Received January 2014
In this study we intend to test possible relationships between time perspectives and the Hofstede
dimensions at the individual level in three cultural settings: Germany, Morocco, and China. The
main basic assumption is that the configuration of time perspectives [1] influences the cultural
dimensions at the individual level. We assume that time perspectives are relevant for some of the
cultural dimensions, and we tested these hypotheses separately in the three cultural settings used
(Germany, Morocco and China).
Zimbardo Time Persepctive Inventory, Hofstede Cultural Dimensions, Cross-Cultural Differences
1. Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI)
Numerous empirical studies have shown that the concept of time perspectives developed by [1] has essential in-
fluence on many facets of human behavior. According to the theory, five independent dimensions were assumed:
a) Positive Past (PP), b) Negative Past (NP), c) Present Hedonistic (PH), d) Present Fatalistic (PF), and e) Future
(F). A sixth dimension was developed separately, which is named Transcendental Future [2] and refers to as-
sumption according to the time after death (highly influenced by religious beliefs or philosophical orientations).
This sixth dimension is not considered in the current study. For each of the dimension, it is assumed that each
individual could score independently low or high. For each dimension, a mean index is calculated ranging from
1 (indicating lowest possible scoring) to 5 (indicating highest possible scoring). PP is characterized by a positive
view of one’s past, whereas NP in contrast is characterized by a negative view of one’s past. Individuals scoring
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high on PH show a strong orientation toward immediate gratification and pleasure seeking. In turn, these indi-
viduals show typically low self-controle.g., in persistence in the context of goal striving. Individuals scoring
high on PF believe that their successes or failures in life did not depend on their own efforts but on faith, other
persons, or in general on factors from outside on which they do not have any influence at all. A high score at the
F dimension implies high levels of self-control and high working achievement. High F orientation is highly
beneficial for success in life and reaching important but uneasy goals. Several studies have demonstrated the in-
fluence of ZTPI on psychological well-being, cf. [3] and [4]. ZTPI-based therapies, which imply stepwise
changes of the corresponding time perspectives show success even in cases of severe psychological illnesses like
in the case of Post-Trauma t i c -S tress-Disor der , or PTSD [5]. A German study has shown that time perspective
could influence the burnout tendency of students [6]. Essential for wellbeing is the concept of Balanced Time
Perspectives—or BTP [7]; [8]; [4]; [9]; [10] and [11] respectively the concept of Deviation Balanced Time
Perspectives (DBTP), which was developed by [12]. For an overview compare also [13]. According to [12], a
balanced time perspective is characterized by the following configuration of the five dimensions: a) PP highly
pronounced, b) NP weakly pronounced, c) HP moderately pronounced, d) FP weakly pronounced and, f) F
moderately pronounced. Further, the influence on dysfunctional or problematic health or social behaviors such
as risky driving [14], addictive behavior [15] as well as risk-taking [16] was in the scope of research on time
perspectives. A recent study also shows a high relevance of time perspectives for the acceptance of unethical
behavior in the context of business ethics [17]. In summary, research in the last ten years has shown that time
orientation is highly relevant for a wide range of domains of human life related to success and well-being. Ac-
cording to management and working behavior it seemed also highly relevant, especially according to
self-control and achievement at the working place. According to achievement behavior, which may be most
relevant for management issues, we can summarize that a high Future orientation maybe most relevant. Further,
one could assume the general well-being of person mediates the influence of BTP or DBTP (Deviation from
Balanced Time Perspectives) on achievement.
2. The Hofstede Dimensions (HD)
When talking about culture, we notice that literature review corpus gives us many different understandings and
definitions of the concept. Reference [18] defines culture as a set of patterns and ways of thinking, feeling, and
reacting, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols. Those patterns constitute the distinctive achievements
and characteristics of human groups. Reference [19] conceived culture as a construct that manifests itself in an
organization as a result of the organization’s location within a particular society. Those two definitions lead us
to introduce the concept of national culture. Hofstede’s study of the national cultural dimensions, published in
1980, was the first study to compare countries using cultural dimensions, which included more than 50 countries.
Over several decades, this study has been best known as a cross-cultural study. Despite the criticisms addressed
to the Hofstede model (cf. for overview [20] and [21]), the Hofstede dimensions (cf. [19] and [22]) are part of a
widespread concept to measure and assess cultural differences. Central is the assumption of several cultural di-
mensions. In the first version, five dimensions were assumed: 1) individualism vs. collectivism (IDV), 2) power
distance (PDI), 3) masculinity (MAS), and 4) uncertainty avoidance (UAI). The model was enlarged stepwise by
adding three further dimensions: 5) long-term vs. short-term orientation (LTO) [23], 6) indulgence vs. restraint
(IDV) [24], 7) monumentalism vs. flexhumity (MON), and 8) exclusionism vs. universalism [25]. We assume
that some of the Hofstede dimensions are related to time perspective orientation.
3. Research Model and Hypothesis
3.1. Relationship between HD and ZTPI
Our research model consists of the Hofstede cultural dimensions at the individual level as dependent variables. It
is assumed that the time perspectives have an influence on how strong some of the Hofstede cultural dimensions
will be pronounced at the individual level. The time perspectives were assumed as independent variables. The
hypotheses were tested in three cultural settings: Germany, Morocco, and China. One has to consider that the
model assumes a measurement on the group level. We, howev er , analyze the relationship between both con-
structs at the individual level. This is discussable (for discussion, problems and results cf. [26]; [27] and [28])
but it seems reasonable because we have to measure the individual variation of the Hofstede dimensions to test
how it is influenced by time perspectives. We assumed that the following cultural dimensions will be influenced
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by time perspectives: LTO, UAI and IVR. According to LTO, we assume a positive influence of Future (high
Future orientation will result in long-term-orientation) and a negative influence by Positive Past (in the
Hofstede-model short-term orientation is based on relying on traditional values of a society as also emphasized
by individuals scoring high at Positive Past time perspective). We assume that Future, Negative Past and Fatalis-
tic Present time perspective will enhance uncertainty-avoidance tendencies. The first factor, because those indi-
viduals, who think more about the Future, will also try more, to avoid uncertainty. Persons with high Negative
Past and high Fatalistic Present orientation become more unsettled and thus show stronger attempts to avoid un-
certainty. A high Positive Past orientations, has an inverse effect my reducing the subjective uncertainty and
thus, create higher tolerance towards uncertainty. According to IVR we assume that those with high Hedonistic
Present orientation will perceive the restraints by the society as stronger and will thus show higher IVR values at
the individual level (cf. for all possible relationships Figure 1).
3.2. Summary of Hypotheses
H1: High Future orientation will increase LTO*.
H2: High Positive Past orientation will decrease LTO*;
H3: High Future orientation will increase UAI*.
H4: High Fatalistic Present will increase UAI*.
H5: High Negative Past will increase UAI*.
H6: High Positive Past will decrease UAI*.
H7: High Hedonistic will increase IVR*.
(*All cultural dimensions were measured at the individual level).
3.3. Methodology
The Hofstede dimensions were measured by the VSM 08, and for measuring the time perspectives, we used the
German version by [29] for Germany and the validated French version by [30] for Morocco. In the case of
China, we translated the items of the ZTPI into Chinese through bilingual Chinese translators, which were also
carefully checked by other bilingual translators. The sample sizes were n = 193 (Germany), n = 209 (Morocco),
and n = 192 (China). All participants were regular students. Those who took part in the survey study were stu-
dents of the University of Applied Sciences, Heilbronn (Germany); students of the School of Management,
Fuzhou (China); and students of the ENCG, Casablanca (Morocco). For analysis, we used linear regressions.
4. Results
4.1. Long-T erm-Orientation (LTO)
According to LTO we confirmed our hypotheses of the enhancing influence of Future (H1) and the reducing ef-
Figure 1. Possible relationshio between ZTPI and cultural dimensions by Hofstede-model.
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fect of Positive Past (H2) in Morocco (for Future: β = 0.21, t(204) = 2.84, p = 0.005; for Positive Past: β = 0.23,
t(204) = 3.14, p = 0.002) and in Germany (for Future: β = 0.15, t(183) = 1.95, p = 0.053; for Positive Past: β =
0.21, t(183) = 2 .80, p = 0.006, wh ereas, both effects did not reach significance in China (all β’s < 0.04, all
t’s(188) < 0.48, all p’s > 0.635.).
4.2. Uncertainty-Avoi dance-Index (UAI)
The hypotheses according UAI (H3, H4 , H5 and H6) were confirmed in the same way for the Moroccan (for
Future: β = 0.11, t(197) = 1.71, p = 0.089; for Fatalistic Present: β = 0.33, t(197) = 4.32, p = 0.000; for Negative
Past: β = 0.19, t(197) = 2.60, p = 0.010; Positive Past: β = 0.16, t(197) = 2.48, p = 0.014) and for the German
subsample (for Future: β = 0.35, t(182) = 4.90, p = 0.000; for Fatalistic Present: β = 0.19, t(182) = 2.31, p =
0.022; for Negative Past: β = 0.17, t(182) = 2.18, p = 0.030; Positive Past: β = 0.33, t(182) = 4.32, p = 0.000).
Aga in , however we observed contradictory non-supporting results for the Chinese subsample. Only the enhanc-
ing effect of Negative Past (H5) was observed for China at the 10%-level, β = 0.16, t(186) = 1.77, p = 0.070, but
all other factors were non-significant, all β’s < 0.06 , all t’s(186) < 0.57, all p’s > 0.573.
4.3. Indulgence versus Restraint (IVR)
For Morocco Hedonistic Present (H7) reached significance at the 10%-level, β = 0.12, t(207) = 1.70, p = 0.091
and for Germany significance at the 5%-level, β = 0.23, t(182) = 3.23, p = 0.001, whereas again the results for
China showed a differing patter: The factor Hedonistic Present reached no significance, β < 0.09, t(189) <
1.43, p > 0.151.
5. Discussion
The first essential limitation is the use of student samples in all three analysed cultures, which has to be consid-
ered as a limitation in so far as one could not derive general statements about the general population in the three
considered cultures—Morocco, China, and Germany. A limitation on students may seem reasonable in two es-
sential respects: First, due to practical reasons. It is much easier to collect survey data from students properly
than from any other group within a society. Second, the use of students allows a comparison across cultures, be-
cause potential relevant disturbance variables—such as age, educational level, to some degree also income and
lifestyle orientation, and others—could be held constant and thus controlled. The second limitation is the fact
that the used ZTPI scales were not yet validated in the Chinese and German languages (whereas the used French
version was already validated). Several significant relationships between ZTPI and Hofstede dimensions at the
individual level were observed. These effects were, however, not entirely consistent across the three cultural set-
tings. In twoMorocco and Germany—out of three cultural settings supporting results were observed, whereas
contradictory mostly non-significant results were observed for China. Thus further theoretical considerations
and empirical studies are necessary to explain these differences. Future research has to clarify if the deviant re-
sults in China are based on measurement biases or on existing differences. The supporting results for both other
samples—Morocco and Germany—could be evaluated as preliminary confirmation of our theoretical model, but
further studies are necessary. Future research should also includebeside ZTPI and Hofstede dimensions at the
individual levelthe Hofstede dimensions at the level of the society and clarify their role according to ZTPI and
Hofstede dimensions at the individual level.
We like to thank to Prof. Dr. Mohammed Nabil Benchekroun (Directeur de ENSG, Casablan ca), Prof. Dr. Peter
Mudra (President of the University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen), Prof. Dr. Rainer Busch (Vice-President
of the University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen), and Prof Dr. Zhengpeng Tang (Dean of the School of
Management, Fuzhou University) for their organizational support in enabling this research project.
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