Cultural dimensions of dental students in a Thai university

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Pornpoj Fuangtharnthip
Ketwadee Jaitui
Praewpat Pachimsawat
Bishwa Prakash Bhattarai
Somchai Manopatanakul
Julalax Kasetsuwan

Abstract

This cross-sectional descriptive survey determined cultural dimensions among dental students. First, questionnaires based on Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory were distributed to all accessible students at the Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University, of whom 265 participants responded. In general, they showed high scores in uncertainty avoidance (UA), femininity and collectivism and focused on the long-term goal. However, they had low power distance (PD). In addition, the construct validity was evaluated using principal components factor analysis. The results of the 10-item questionnaire offered insights into the most relevant aspects of three culture dimensions: UA, male-female (MF) and long-term versus short-term goals (LS). These components were revealed logically with UA as the main component explaining 24% of the culture dimension, followed by MF and LS. To reinforce the mainstream learning theories, this study advocates that lessons with high learning barriers required instructional design and should be well-structured with a humanistic approach to address the high UA and femininity. Lessons must also respect the traditions and norms (long-term orientation). In conclusion, Hofstede's cultural dimension revealed the dental students’ learning style. Further, educators are encouraged to embrace cultural traits as humanistic and heuristic learning.

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Health sciences

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