Abstract

Religion consists of humanity's beliefs, cultural systems, and worldviews of existence (Geertz, 1973). Its function is not merely a system of symbols that people act according to, but also the establishment of powerful, pervasive motivations in the society. This study intends to analyze the connection of religion and culture by using one of Hofstede's cultural dimensions, power distance (the extent of how power is accepted and expected to be distributed in the society). In this analysis, the researcher investigated the PDI (Power Distance Index) within the Utah Mormon culture. Researcher also compared the PDI scoring of Utah Mormon culture to the general US culture, as well as the PDI in Catholicism and Protestantism culture. The results showed that the unique Mormon cultural region in Utah has the lowest PDI in comparison to the US national culture and that of general Protestant and Catholic communities. This outcome is contrary to the general characterization of power in Utah Mormon culture. The result of this study raised more questions than answers. Although several factors and characteristics that contribute to the low PDI in Utah Mormon society, as well as its implications have been analyzed, the researcher found that this contradiction of the PDI scoring is related to Hofstede's original work. This study is challenging Hofstede's way in treating culture and its components as homogenous. Thus, each fragment of culture needs to be investigated as a separate entity. The study of power distance in Utah Mormon culture indicates how a society can understand its own characteristics and how it can communicate more effectively with other societies with different backgrounds or different PDI based on these characteristics. This study can educate people concerning how Mormons interact and perhaps might even, to a certain extent, at least, explain the conflicts in the society itself. Additionally, the results of this research can be a new contribution to the literature for this field and can further the research in verifying the characteristics of a given society.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Communications

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2015-03-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd7609

Keywords

power distance, cultural dimensions theory, Hofstede, Mormon

Included in

Communication Commons

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