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What is uncertainty avoidance?

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Quick Answer

Uncertainty avoidance is the measure of conventions and norms within a society that have the purpose of minimizing unpredictability. Based on certain cultural characteristics, societies can be classified on a scale between high and low uncertainty avoidance.

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Societies with high uncertainty avoidance are characterized by formal social interaction, stringent record-keeping and a generally very slow rate of change, or an outright resistance to it. Policies in such societies are formally designed to minimize risks.

By contrast, societies with low uncertainty avoidance are informal in social interactions, not particularly interested in record-keeping and more given to risk-taking. While not necessarily eager for social or cultural change, such societies are not especially resistant to it either.

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