Research the culture of a country of your choice and describe the key cultural differences between the U.S. and your chosen country. Include specific differences in leadership communication and the adjustments you would need to make if you were planning to do a business presentation to a group of leaders from your chosen country. Conclude with recommendations you would make to your co-workers on how to communicate effectively in this country’s culture. Paper should be two to three pages in length and conform to APA format. Please included references from Dimensionalizing Cultures (attached) and two additional scholarly references. I have also attached to grading rubric for reference as to meet all of the requirements.ORG423
Critical Thinking Rubric – Module 3
Meets Expectation
Content, Research, and Analysis
9-10 Points
Requirements
Includes all of the
required
components, as
specified in the
assignment
9-10 Points
Content
Demonstrates strong
or adequate
knowledge of
cultural literacy and
communication
strategies and
correctly represents
knowledge from the
readings and
sources.
9-10 Points
Analysis
Provides strong or
adequate thought,
insight and analysis
of concepts and
applications.
Mechanics and Writing
9-10 Points
Demonstrates
Project is clearly
college-level
organized, well
proficiency in
written, and in
organization,
proper format, as
grammar and
outlined in the
style.
assignment. Strong
sentence and
paragraph structure;
few errors in
grammar and
spelling.
Demonstrates
proper use of APA
style
9-10 Points
Project contains
proper APA
formatting,
according to the
CSU-Global Guide to
Writing and APA
Requirements, with
no more than one
significant error.
Total points possible = 50
Approaches
Expectation
Below Expectation
Limited Evidence
7-8 Points
Includes most of the
required
components, as
specified in the
assignment.
7-8 Points
Some significant but
not major errors or
omissions in
demonstration of
knowledge.
5-6 Points
Includes some of the
required
components, as
specified in the
assignment.
5-6 Points
Major errors or
omissions in
demonstration of
knowledge.
3-4 Points
Includes few of the
required
components, as
specified in the
assignment.
3-4 Points
Fails to demonstrate
knowledge of the
materials.
7-8 Points
Some significant but
not major errors or
omissions in thought,
insight and analysis.
5-6 Points
Major errors or
omissions in thought,
insight and analysis.
3-4 Points
Fails to demonstrate
thought, insight and
analysis.
7-8 Points
Project is fairly well
organized and
written, and is in
proper format, as
outlined in the
assignment.
Reasonably good
sentence and
paragraph structure;
significant number of
errors in grammar
and spelling.
7-8 Points
Few errors in APA
formatting, according
to the CSU-Global
Guide to Writing and
APA Requirements,
with no more than
two to three
significant errors.
5-6 Points
Project is poorly
organized; does not
follow proper paper
format.
Inconsistent to
inadequate sentence
and paragraph
development;
numerous errors in
grammar and
spelling.
3-4 Points
Project is not
organized or well
written and is not in
proper paper format.
Poor quality work;
unacceptable in
terms of grammar
and spelling.
5-6 Points
Significant errors in
APA formatting,
according to the CSUGlobal Guide to
Writing and APA
Requirements, with
four to five
significant errors.
3-4 Points
Numerous errors in
APA formatting,
according to the CSUGlobal Guide to
Writing and APA
Requirements, with
more than five
significant errors.
Unit 2 Theoretical and Methodological Issues
Subunit 1 Conceptual Issues in Psychology and Culture
Article 8
12-1-2011
Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model
in Context
Geert Hofstede
Universities of Maastricht and Tilburg, The Netherlands, hofstede@bart.nl
Recommended Citation
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in
Psychology and Culture, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014
This Online Readings in Psychology and Culture Article is brought to you for free and open access (provided uses are educational in nature)by IACCP
and ScholarWorks@GVSU. Copyright © 2011 International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. All Rights Reserved. ISBN
978-0-9845627-0-1
Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context
Abstract
This article describes briefly the Hofstede model of six dimensions of national cultures: Power
Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism/Collectivism, Masculinity/Femininity, Long/
Short Term Orientation, and Indulgence/Restraint. It shows the conceptual and research
efforts that preceded it and led up to it, and once it had become a paradigm for comparing
cultures, research efforts that followed and built on it. The article stresses that dimensions
depend on the level of aggregation; it describes the six entirely different dimensions found
in the Hofstede et al. (2010) research into organizational cultures. It warns against confusion
with value differences at the individual level. It concludes with a look ahead in what the study
of dimensions of national cultures and the position of countries on them may still bring.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
License.
This article is available in Online Readings in Psychology and Culture: http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss1/8
Hofstede: Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context
Introduction
Culture has been defined in many ways; this author’s shorthand definition is: Culture is
the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or
category of people from others. It is always a collective phenomenon, but it can be
connected to different collectives. Within each collective there is a variety of individuals. If
characteristics of individuals are imagined as varying according to some bell curve; the
variation between cultures is the shift of the bell curve when one moves from one society
to the other. Most commonly the term culture is used for tribes or ethnic groups (in
anthropology), for nations (in political science, sociology and management), and for
organizations (in sociology and management). A relatively unexplored field is the culture of
occupations (for instance, of engineers versus accountants, or of academics from different
disciplines). The term can also be applied to the genders, to generations, or to social
classes. However, changing the level of aggregation studied changes the nature of the
concept of ‘culture’. Societal, national and gender cultures, which children acquire from
their earliest youth onwards, are much deeper rooted in the human mind than occupational
cultures acquired at school, or than organizational cultures acquired on the job. The latter
are exchangeable when people take a new job. Societal cultures reside in (often
unconscious) values, in the sense of broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs
over others (Hofstede, 2001, p. 5). Organizational cultures reside rather in (visible and
conscious) practices: the way people perceive what goes on in their organizational
environment.
Classifying Cultures: Conceptual Dimensions
In an article first published in 1952, U.S. anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn (1962) argued
that there should be universal categories of culture:
In principle … there is a generalized framework that underlies the more apparent
and striking facts of cultural relativity. All cultures constitute so many somewhat
distinct answers to essentially the same questions posed by human biology and
by the generalities of the human situation. … Every societys patterns for living
must provide approved and sanctioned ways for dealing with such universal
circumstances as the existence of two sexes; the helplessness of infants; the
need for satisfaction of the elementary biological requirements such as food,
warmth, and sex; the presence of individuals of different ages and of differing
physical and other capacities. (pp. 317-18).
Many authors in the second half of the twentieth century have speculated about the nature
of the basic problems of societies that would present distinct dimensions of culture (for a
review see Hofstede, 2001, pp. 29-31). The most common dimension used for ordering
societies is their degree of economic evolution or modernity. A one-dimensional ordering
of societies from traditional to modern fitted well with the nineteenth- and twentieth-century
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belief in progress. Economic evolution is bound to be reflected in people’s collective
mental programming, but there is no reason why economic and technological evolution
should suppress other cultural variety. There exist dimensions of culture unrelated to
economic evolution.
U.S. anthropologist Edward T. Hall (1976) divided cultures according to their ways of
communicating, into high-context (much of the information is implicit) and low-context
cultures (nearly everything is explicit). In practice this distinction overlaps largely with the
traditional versus modern distinction.
U.S. sociologists Talcott Parsons and Edward Shils (1951, p. 77) suggested that all
human action is determined by five pattern variables, choices between pairs of
alternatives:
1. Affectivity (need gratification) versus affective neutrality (restraint of impulses);
2. Self-orientation versus collectivity-orientation;
3. Universalism (applying general standards) versus particularism (taking particular
relationships into account);
4. Ascription (judging others by who they are) versus achievement (judging them by
what they do);
5. Specificity (limiting relations to others to specific spheres) versus diffuseness (no
prior limitations to nature of relations).
Parsons and Shils (1951) claimed that these choices are present at the individual
(personality) level, at the social system (group or organization) level, and at the cultural
(normative) level. They did not take into account that different variables could operate at
different aggregation levels.
U.S. anthropologists Florence Kluckhohn and Fred Strodtbeck (1961, p. 12) ran a
field study in five geographically close, small communities in the Southwestern United
States: Mormons, Spanish Americans, Texans, Navaho Indians, and Zuni Indians. They
distinguished these communities on the following value orientations:
1. An evaluation of human nature (evil – mixed – good);
2. The relationship of man to the surrounding natural environment (subjugation harmony – mastery);
3. The orientation in time (toward past – present – future);
4. The orientation toward activity (being – being in becoming – doing); and
5. Relationships among people (linearity, i.e., hierarchically ordered positions –
collaterality, i.e., group relationships – individualism).
Others have extrapolated Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s (1961) classification to all kind of
social comparisons, without concern for their geographic limitations without considering
the effect of levels of aggregation, and without empirical support.
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British anthropologist Mary Douglas (1973) proposed a two-dimensional ordering of
ways of looking at the world:
1. ‘Group’ or inclusion – the claim of groups over members, and
2. ‘Grid’ or classification – the degree to which interaction is subject to rules.
Douglas saw these categories as relating to a wide variety of beliefs and social actions:
Views of nature, traveling, spatial arrangements, gardening, cookery, medicine, the
meaning of time, age, history, sickness, and justice. She seemed to imply that these
dimensions are applicable to any level of aggregation.
The one- or more-dimensional classifications above represent subjective reflective
attempts to order a complex reality. Each of them is strongly colored by the subjective
choices of its author(s). They show some overlap, but their lack of clarity about and mixing
of levels of analysis (individual-group-culture) are severe methodological weaknesses.
These weaknesses were avoided in an extensive review article by U.S. sociologist
Alex Inkeles and psychologist Daniel Levinson (1969, first published 1954). The authors
limited themselves to culture at the level of nations, and they summarized all available
sociological and anthropological studies dealing with what was then called national
character, which they interpreted as a kind of modal (most common) personality type in a
national society. What I have labelled dimensions they called standard analytic issues.
From their survey of the literature Inkeles and Levinson (1969) distilled three standard
analytic issues that met these criteria:
1. Relation to authority;
2. Conception of self, including the individuals concepts of masculinity and femininity;
3. Primary dilemmas or conflicts, and ways of dealing with them, including the control
of aggression and the expression versus inhibition of affect.
As will be shown below, Inkeles and Levinsons (1969) standard analytic issues were
empirically supported in a study by this author more than 20 years later.
Empirical Approaches and the Hofstede Dimensions
In 1949 U.S. psychologist Raymond Cattell published an application of the new statistical
technique of factor analysis to the comparison of nations. Cattell had earlier used factor
analysis for studying aspects of intelligence from test scores of individual students. This
time he took a matrix of nation-level variables for a large number of countries, borrowing
from geography, demographics, history, politics, economics, sociology, law, religion and
medicine. The resulting factors were difficult to interpret, except for the important role of
economic development. Replications of his method by others produced trivial results (for a
review see Hofstede, 2001, pp. 32-33). More meaningful were applications to restricted
facets of societies. U.S. political scientists Phillip Gregg and Arthur Banks (1965) studied
aspects of political systems; U.S. economists Irma Adelman and Cynthia Taft Morris
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(1967) studied factors influencing the development of poor countries, and Irish
psychologist Richard Lynn (1971; Lynn & Hampson, 1975) studied aspects of mental
health.
In the 1970s this author – more or less by accident – got access to a large survey
database about values and related sentiments of people in over 50 countries around the
world (Hofstede, 1980). These people worked in the local subsidiaries of one large
multinational corporation: IBM. Most parts of the organization had been surveyed twice
over a four-year interval, and the database contained more than 100,000 questionnaires.
Initial analyses of the database at the level of individual respondents proved confusing, but
a breakthrough occurred when the focus was directed at correlations between mean
scores of survey items at the level of countries. Patterns of correlation at the country level
could be strikingly different from what was found at the individual level, and needed an
entirely different interpretation. One of the weaknesses of much cross-cultural research is
not recognizing the difference between analysis at the societal level and at the individual
level; this amounts to confusing anthropology and psychology. From 180 studies using my
work reviewed by Kirkman, Lowe, and Gibson (2006), more than half failed to distinguish
between societal culture level and individual level differences, which led to numerous
errors of interpretation and application.
My hunch that the IBM data might have implications beyond this particular
corporation was supported when I got the opportunity to administer a number of the same
questions to nearly 400 management trainees from some 30 countries in an international
program unrelated to IBM. Their mean scores by country correlated significantly with the
country scores obtained from the IBM database. So it seemed that employees of this
multinational enterprises – a very special kind of people – could serve for identifying
differences in national value systems. The reason is that from one country to another they
represented almost perfectly matched samples: they were similar in all respects except
nationality, which made the effect of national differences in their answers stand out
unusually clearly.
Encouraged by the results of the country-level correlation analysis I then tried
country-level factor analysis. The latter was similar to the approach used earlier by Cattell
and others, except that now the variables in the matrix were not indices for the country as
a whole, but mean scores and sometimes percentages of survey answers collected from
individuals in those countries. Analyses of data at higher levels of aggregation are called
ecological. Ecological factor analysis differs from the factor analysis of individual scores in
that a usual caution no longer applies: the number of cases does not need to be (much)
larger than the number of variables. The stability of the results of an ecological factor
analysis does not depend on the number of cases, but on the number of individuals whose
scores were aggregated into these cases. Ecological factor analysis may even be
performed on matrices with fewer cases than variables.
Factor analyzing a matrix of 32 values questions for initially 40 countries, I found
these values to cluster very differently from what was found at the individual level. The
new factors revealed common problems with which IBM employees in all these societies
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Hofstede: Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context
had to cope, but for which their upbringing in their country presented its own profile of
solutions. These problems were:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Dependence on superiors;
Need for rules and predictability, also associated with nervous stress;
The balance between individual goals and dependence on the company;
The balance between ego values (like the need for money and careers) and social
values (like cooperation and a good living environment); the former were more
frequently chosen by men, the latter by women, but there were also country
differences.
These empirical results were strikingly similar to the standard analytical issues described
in Inkeles and Levinson’s 1969 article. Dependence on superiors relates to the first, need
for predictability to the third, the balance between the individual and the company to the
conception of self, and the balance between ego and social values to concepts of
masculinity and femininity, which were also classified under the second standard analytic
issue.
The four basic problem areas defined by Inkeles and Levinson (1969) and
empirically supported in the IBM data represent dimensions of national cultures. A
dimension is an aspect of a culture that can be measured relative to other cultures. The
four dimensions formed the basis for my book Culture’s Consequences (Hofstede, 1980).
The main message of the 1980 book was that scores on the dimensions correlated
significantly with conceptually related external data. Thus Power Distance scores
correlated with a dimension from Gregg and Banks’ (1965) analysis of political systems
and also with a dimension from Adelman and Morris’ (1967) study of economic
development; Uncertainty Avoidance correlated with a dimension from Lynn and
Hampson’s (1975) study of mental health; Individualism correlated strongly with national
wealth (Gross National Product per capita) and Femininity with the percentage of national
income spent on development aid. The number of external validations kept expanding, and
the second edition of Culture’s Consequences (Hofstede, 2001, Appendix 6, pp. 503-520)
lists more than 400 significant correlations between the IBM-based scores and results of
other studies. Recent validations show no loss of validity, indicating that the country
differences these dimensions describe are, indeed, basic and enduring.
In the 1980s, on the basis of research by Canadian psychologist Michael Harris
Bond centered in the Far East, a fifth dimension ‘Long-Term versus Short-Term
Orientation’ was added (Hofstede & Bond, 1988; see also Hofstede, 1991; Hofstede,
2001).
In the 2000s, research by Bulgarian scholar Michael Minkov using data from the
World Values Survey (Minkov, 2007) allowed a new calculation of the fifth, and the
addition of a sixth dimension (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010). The six dimensions are
labelled:
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1. Power Distance, related to the different solutions to the basic problem of human
inequality;
2. Uncertainty Avoidance, related to the level of stress in a society in the face of an
unknown future;
3. Individualism versus Collectivism, related to the integration of individuals into
primary groups;
4. Masculinity versus Femininity, related to the division of emotional roles between
women and men;
5. Long Term versus Short Term Orientation, related to the choice of focus for
peoples efforts: the future or the present and past.
6. Indulgence versus Restraint, related to the gratification versus control of basic
human desires related to enjoying life.
Each country has been positioned relative to other countries through a score on each
dimension. The dimensions are statistically distinct and do occur in all possible
combinations, although some combinations are more frequent than others.
After the initial confirmation of the country differences in IBM in data from
management trainees elsewhere, the Hofstede dimensions and country scores were
validated through replications by others, using the same or similar questions with other
cross-national populations. Between 1990 and 2002 six major replications (14 or more
countries) used populations of country elites, employees and managers of other
corporations and organizations, airline pilots, consumers and civil servants (see Hofstede
et al., 2010, p. 35).
In correlating the dimensions with other data, the influence of national wealth (Gross
National Product per capita) should always be taken into account. Two of the dimensions,
Individualism and small Power Distance, are significantly correlated with wealth. This
means that all wealth-related phenomena tend to correlate with both these dimensions.
Differences in national wealth can be considered a more parsimonious explanation of
these other phenomena than differences in culture. In correlating with the culture
dimensions, it is therefore advisable to always include the wealth variable. After controlling
for national wealth correlations with culture usually disappear.
Of particular interest is a link that was found between culture according to the
Hofstede dimensions and personality dimensions according to the empirically based Big
Five personality test (Costa & McCrae, 1992). After this test had been used in over 30
countries, significant correlations were found between country norms on the five
personality dimensions (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience,
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) and national culture dimension scores. For
example, 55\% of country differences on Neuroticism can be explained by a combination of
Uncertainty Avoidance and Masculinity, and 39\% of country differences on Extraversion by
Individualism alone (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004). So culture and personality are linked but
the link is statistical; there is a wide variety of individual personalities within each national
culture, and national culture scores should not be used for stereotyping individuals.
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Validating the dimensions is of course not only and not even mainly a quantitative
issue. Equally important is the qualitative interpretation of what differences on the
dimensions mean for each of the societies studied, which calls for an emic approach to
each society, supporting the etic of the dimensional data.
The Hofstede Dimensions in a nutshell
In this section I will summarize the content of each dimension opposing cultures with
low and high scores. These oppositions are based on correlations with studies by others,
and because the relationship is statistical, not every line applies equally strongly to every
country.
Power Distance
Power Distance has been defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of
organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed
unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from
above. It suggests that a societys level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much
as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any
society. All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.
Table 1
Ten Differences Between Small- and Large- Power Distance Societies
Small Power Distance
Large Power Distance
Use of power should be legitimate and is
subject to criteria of good and evil
Power is a basic fact of society antedating good or
evil: its legitimacy is irrelevant
Parents treat children as equals
Parents teach children obedience
Older people are neither respected nor feared
Older people are both respected and feared
Student-centered education
Teacher-centered education
Hierarchy means inequality of roles,
established for convenience
Hierarchy means existential inequality
Subordinates expect to be consulted
Subordinates expect to be told what to do
Pluralist governments based on majority vote
and changed peacefully
Autocratic governments based on co-optation and
changed by revolution
Corruption rare; scandals end political careers
Corruption frequent; scandals are covered up
Income distribution in society rather even
Income distribution in society very uneven
Religions stressing equality of believers
Religions with a hierarchy of priests
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Table 1 lists a selection of differences between national societies that validation research
showed to be associated with the Power Distance dimension. For a more complete review
the reader is referred to Hofstede (2001) and Hofstede et al. (2010). The statements refer
to extremes; actual situations may be found anywhere in between the extremes, and the
association of a statement with a dimension is always statistical, never absolute.
In Hofstede et al. (2010) Power Distance Index scores are listed for 76 countries;
they tend to be higher for East European, Latin, Asian and African countries and lower for
Germanic and English-speaking Western countries.
Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance is not the same as risk avoidance; it deals with a societys tolerance
for ambiguity. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either
uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel,
unknown, surprising, and different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize
the possibility of such situations by strict behavioral codes, laws and rules, disapproval of
deviant opinions, and a belief in absolute Truth; there can only be one Truth and we have
it.
Table 2
Ten Differences Between Weak- and Strong- Uncertainty Avoidance Societies
Weak Uncertainty Avoidance
Strong Uncertainty Avoidance
The uncertainty inherent in life is accepted and
each day is taken as it comes
The uncertainty inherent in life is felt as a
continuous threat that must be fought
Ease, lower stress, self-control, low anxiety
Higher stress, emotionality, anxiety, neuroticism
Higher scores on subjective health and wellbeing
Lower scores on subjective health and well-being
Tolerance of deviant persons and ideas: what is Intolerance of deviant persons and ideas: what is
different is curious
different is dangerous
Comfortable with ambiguity and chaos
Need for clarity and structure
Teachers may say ‘I don’t know’
Teachers supposed to have all the answers
Changing jobs no problem
Staying in jobs even if disliked
Dislike of rules – written or unwritten
Emotional need for rules – even if not obeyed
In politics, citizens feel and are seen as
competent towards authorities
In politics, citizens feel and are seen as
incompetent towards authorities
In religion, philosophy and science: relativism
and empiricism
In religion, philosophy and science: belief in
ultimate truths and grand theories
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Hofstede: Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context
Research has shown that people in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more
emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty
accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they
try to have fewer rules, and on the philosophical and religious level they are empiricist,
relativist and allow different currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are
more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express
emotions. Table 2 lists a selection of differences between societies that validation research
showed to be associated with the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension.
In Hofstede et al. (2010) Uncertainty Avoidance Index scores are listed for 76
countries; they tend to be higher in East and Central European countries, in Latin
countries, in Japan and in German speaking countries, lower in English speaking, Nordic
and Chinese culture countries.
Individualism
Individualism on the one side versus its opposite, Collectivism, as a societal, not an
individual characteristic, is the degree to which people in a society are integrated into
groups. On the individualist side we find cultures in which the ties between individuals are
loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the
collectivist side we find cultures in which people from birth onwards are integrated into
strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents)
that continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty, and oppose other ingroups. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one,
regarding all societies in the world. Table 3 lists a selection of differences between
societies that validation research showed to be associated with this dimension.
Table 3
Ten Differences Between Collectivist and Individualist Societies
Individualism
Collectivism
Everyone is supposed to take care of him- or
herself and his or her immediate family only
People are born into extended families or clans
which protect them in exchange for loyalty
I – consciousness
We –consciousness
Right of privacy
Stress on belonging
Speaking ones mind is healthy
Harmony should always be maintained
Others classified as individuals
Others classified as in-group or out-group
Personal opinion expected: one person one vote Opinions and votes predetermined by in-group
Transgression of norms leads to guilt feelings
Transgression of norms leads to shame feelings
Languages in which the word I is indispensable Languages in which the word I is avoided
Purpose of education is learning how to learn
Purpose of education is learning how to do
Task prevails over relationship
Relationship prevails over task
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In Hofstede et al. (2010) Individualism Index scores are listed for 76 countries;
Individualism tends to prevail in developed and Western countries, while collectivism
prevails in less developed and Eastern countries; Japan takes a middle position on this
dimension.
Masculinity – Femininity
Masculinity versus its opposite, Femininity, again as a societal, not as an individual
characteristic, refers to the distribution of values between the genders which is another
fundamental issue for any society, to which a range of solutions can be found. The IBM
studies revealed that (a) womens values differ less among societies than mens values;
(b) mens values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and
competitive and maximally different from womens values on the one side, to modest and
caring and similar to womens values on the other. The assertive pole has been called
masculine and the modest, caring pole feminine. The women in feminine countries have
the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are
somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries
show a gap between mens values and womens values. In masculine cultures there is
often a taboo around this dimension (Hofstede et al., 1998).
Table 4
Ten Differences Between Feminine and Masculine Societies
Femininity
Masculinity
Minimum emotional and social role differentiation Maximum emotional and social role differentiation
between the genders
between the genders
Men and women should be modest and caring
Men should be and women may be assertive and
ambitious
Balance between family and work
Work prevails over family
Sympathy for the weak
Admiration for the strong
Both fathers and mothers deal with facts and
feelings
Fathers deal with facts, mothers with feelings
Both boys and girls may cry but neither should
fight
Girls cry, boys don’t; boys should fight back, girls
shouldn’t fight
Mothers decide on number of children
Fathers decide on family size
Many women in elected political positions
Few women in elected political positions
Religion focuses on fellow human beings
Religion focuses on God or gods
Matter-of-fact attitudes about sexuality; sex is a
way of relating
Moralistic attitudes about sexuality; sex is a way
of performing
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Taboos are based on deeply rooted values; this taboo shows that the
Masculinity/Femininity dimension in some societies touches basic and often unconscious
values, too painful to be explicitly discussed. In fact the taboo validates the importance of
the dimension. Table 4 lists a selection of differences between societies that validation
research showed to be associated with this dimension.
In Hofstede et al. (2010) Masculinity versus Femininity Index scores are presented
for 76 countries; Masculinity is high in Japan, in German speaking countries, and in some
Latin countries like Italy and Mexico; it is moderately high in English speaking Western
countries; it is low in Nordic countries and in the Netherlands and moderately low in some
Latin and Asian countries like France, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Korea and Thailand.
Long-Term vs. Short-Term Orientation
This dimension was first identified in a survey among students in 23 countries around the
world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars (Chinese Culture Connection,
1987). As all countries with a history of Confucianism scored near one pole which could be
associated with hard work, the study’s first author Michael Harris Bond labeled the
dimension Confucian Work Dynamism. The dimension turned out to be strongly correlated
with recent economic growth. As none of the four IBM dimensions was linked to economic
growth, I obtained Bond’s permission to add his dimension as a fifth to my four (Hofstede
& Bond, 1988). Because it had been identified in a study comparing students from 23
countries, most of whom had never heard of Confucius, I re-named it Long- Term versus
Short-Term Orientation; the long-term pole corresponds to Bond’s Confucian Work
Dynamism. Values found at this pole were perseverance, thrift, ordering relationships by
status, and having a sense of shame; values at the opposite, short term pole were
reciprocating social obligations, respect for tradition, protecting ones face, and personal
steadiness and stability. The positively rated values of this dimension were already present
in the teachings of Confucius from around 500 BC. There was much more in Confucius’
teachings so Long-Term Orientation is not Confucianism per se, but it is still present in
countries with a Confucian heritage. In my book for a student readership Cultures and
Organizations: Software of the Mind (Hofstede, 1991) the fifth dimension was first
integrated into my model. It was more extensively analyzed in the second edition of
Culture’s Consequences (Hofstede, 2001) and in the new edition of Cultures and
Organizations: Software of the Mind, for which my eldest son Gert Jan Hofstede joined me
as a co-author (Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005).
My initial cross-cultural data collected around 1970 by the IBM corporation among its
employees in more than 50 countries worldwide represented probably the largest
matched-sample cross-national database available anywhere at that time. Bond’s Chinese
Value Survey showed the power of adding results from other surveys; unfortunately, it
covered only 23 countries, and attempts to extend it to other populations were small-scale
and hardly reliable.
In the past quarter century the volume of available cross-cultural data on self-scored
values and related issues has increased enormously. If I had to start my research now, I
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would select the best elements from all these new databases. My prime choice would be
the World Values Survey. In the early 1980s departments of Divinity at six European
Universities, concerned with a loss of Christian faith, jointly surveyed the values of their
countries’ populations through public opinion survey methods. In the following years their
European Values Survey expanded and changed focus: in the hands of U.S. sociologist
Ronald Inglehart it grew into a periodic World Values Survey (WVS). Subsequent data
collection rounds took place with 10-year intervals; as this is written, a fourth round is in
process. The survey now covers more than 100 countries worldwide with a questionnaire
including more than 360 forced-choice items. Areas covered are ecology, economy,
education, emotions, family, gender and sexuality, government and politics, health,
happiness, leisure and friends, morality, religion, society and nation, and work. The entire
WVS data bank, including previous rounds and down to individual respondent scores, is
freely accessible on the Web (www.worldvaluessurvey.org). So far it has remained underused; potential users tend to drown in its huge volume of information.
Michael Minkov, a Bulgarian linguist and sociologist whom I had met on the e-mail at
the turn of the millennium, took up the challenge of exploring the riches of the WVS. In
2007 he published a book with a Bulgarian publisher, in which he described three new
cross-national value dimensions extracted from recent WVS data, which he labeled
Exclusionism versus Universalism, Indulgence versus Restraint and Monumentalism
versus Flexumility (the latter a combination of flexibility and humility). Exclusionism versus
Universalism was strongly correlated with Collectivism/Individualism and could be
considered an elaboration of aspects of it. The other two dimensions were new, although
Monumentalism versus Flexumility was moderately but significantly correlated with Short
Term/Long Term Orientation.
Minkov’s findings initially inspired the issuing of a new, 2008 version of the Values
Survey Module, a set of questions available to researchers who wish to replicate my
research into national culture differences. Earlier versions were issued in 1982 (VSM82)
and 1994 (VSM94). Next to the established five Hofstede dimensions, the VSM08 included
on an experimental basis Minkov’s dimensions Indulgence versus Restraint and
Monumentalism versus Flexumility (which I re-baptized Self-Effacement). The Values
Survey Module (VSM) can be downloaded from www.geerthofstede.nl. Aspiring users
should carefully study the accompanying Manual before they decide to collect their own
data. In most cases, the use of available results of already existing quality research is to
be preferred above amateur replications.
The next step in our cooperation with Minkov was that Gert Jan Hofstede and I
invited him to become a co-author for the third edition of Cultures and Organizations:
Software of the Mind (Hofstede et al., 2010). Minkov’s Exclusionism versus Universalism
was integrated into the Individualism/Collectivism chapter. By combining elements from his
Monumentalism versus Flexumility dimension with additional WVS items, Minkov
succeeded in converting into a new version of Long- versus Short-Term Orientation, now
available for 93 countries and regions. Indulgence versus Restraint became an entirely
new dimension that will be described below.
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Table 5 lists a selection of differences between societies that validation research
showed to be associated with the old and new version of the Long- versus Short-Term
Orientation dimension. In our 2010 book, dimension scores have been re-calculated
including Minkov’s analysis of recent World Values Survey data.
Long-term oriented are East Asian countries, followed by Eastern- and Central Europe. A
medium term orientation is found in South- and North-European and South Asian
countries. Short-term oriented are U.S.A. and Australia, Latin American, African and
Muslim countries.
Table 5
Ten Differences Between Short- and Long-Term-Oriented Societies
Short-Term Orientation
Long-Term Orientation
Most important events in life occurred in the past or Most important events in life will occur in the
take place now
future
Personal steadiness and stability: a good person is
A good person adapts to the circumstances
always the same
There are universal guidelines about what is good
and evil
What is good and evil depends upon the
circumstances
Traditions are sacrosanct
Traditions are adaptable to changed
circumstances
Family life guided by imperatives
Family life guided by shared tasks
Supposed to be proud of one’s country
Trying to learn from other countries
Service to others is an important goal
Thrift and perseverance are important goals
Social spending and consumption
Large savings quote, funds available for
investment
Students attribute success and failure to luck
Students attribute success to effort and failure
to lack of effort
Slow or no economic growth of poor countries
Fast economic growth of countries up till a
level of prosperity
Indulgence versus Restraint
The sixth and new dimension, added in our 2010 book, uses Minkov’s label Indulgence
versus Restraint. It was also based on recent World Values Survey items and is more or
less complementary to Long-versus Short-Term Orientation; in fact it is weakly negatively
correlated with it. It focuses on aspects not covered by the other five dimensions, but
known from literature on “happiness research”. Indulgence stands for a society that allows
relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and
having fun. Restraint stands for a society that controls gratification of needs and regulates
it by means of strict social norms. Scores on this dimension are also available for 93
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countries and regions. Table 6 lists a selection of differences between societies that
validation research showed to be associated with this dimension.
Indulgence tends to prevail in South and North America, in Western Europe and in
parts of Sub-Sahara Africa. Restraint prevails in Eastern Europe, in Asia and in the Muslim
world. Mediterranean Europe takes a middle position on this dimension.
Table 6
Ten Differences between Indulgent and Restrained Societies
Indulgence
Restrained
Higher percentage of people declaring
themselves very happy
Fewer very happy people
A perception of personal life control
A perception of helplessness: what happens to me
is not my own doing
Freedom of speech seen as important
Freedom of speech is not a primary concern
Higher importance of leisure
Lower importance of leisure
More likely to remember positive emotions
Less likely to remember positive emotions
In countries with educated populations, higher
birthrates
In countries with educated populations, lower
birthrates
More people actively involved in sports
Fewer people actively involved in sports
In countries with enough food, higher
percentages of obese people
In countries with enough food, fewer obese people
In wealthy countries, lenient sexual norms
In wealthy countries, stricter sexual norms
Maintaining order in the nation is not given a
high priority
Higher number of police officers per 100,000
population
Other Applications of the Dimensional Paradigm
When Culture’s Consequences appeared in 1980, it represented a new paradigm in social
science research: analyzing survey-based values data at the national level and quantifying
differences between national cultures by positions on these dimensions. Like other new
paradigms, it initially met with rejection, criticism and ridicule next to enthusiasm (Kuhn,
1970). By the 1990s the paradigm had been taken over by many others, and discussions
shifted to the content and number of dimensions. The paradigm inspired a number of other
studies into dimensions of national cultures.
Many projects further explored the dimension of individualism versus collectivism
(e.g. Kim et al., 1994; Hofstede, 2001, ch. 5; Triandis, 1995). From all the Hofstede
dimensions, this one met with the most positive reactions among psychologists, especially
in the U.S.A. which happened to be the highest scoring country on it.
Individualism/Collectivism scores were strongly correlated with national wealth which led
some people to the conclusion that promoting individualism in other cultures would
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contribute to their economic development. In fact, data show that the causality is most
probably reversed: wealth tends to lead to individualism (Hofstede, 2001, p. 253). The
individualism in U.S. culture also led people to studying it at the individual level (comparing
one person to another), not at the level of societies. In this case it is no longer a dimension
of culture but an aspect of personality. Also there is no more reason why individualism and
collectivism need to be opposite; they should rather be considered separate features of
personality. An extensive review of studies of individualism at the individual level was
published by Oyserman, Coon and Kemmelmeier (2002). Comparing these studies across
societies they found a different ranking of countries from the Hofstede studies; but
Schimmack, Oishi and Diener (2005) proved this was due to a methodological error:
Oyserman et al. (2002) forgot to control for acquiescence (response set), and the
acquiescence in their data was significantly negatively correlated with the object of their
study which made their results random.
The cultural focus on the Individualism versus Collectivism dimension led Triandis
(1995) to splitting it into horizontal and vertical individualism. This split overlooks the fact
that the Hofstede dimension of large versus small Power Distance already covered the
horizontal/vertical aspect quite satisfactorily. From my point of view the horizontal/ vertical
distinction for Ind/Col as a dimension of culture is redundant. It may be useful at the
individual level, but this is for others to decide.
Like individualism and collectivism, the terms masculinity and femininity have also
been used for describing values at the individual level. Earlier studies by U.S. psychologist
Sandra Bem (1974) showed already that in this case masculinity and femininity should
again rather be treated as separate aspects than as opposite poles.
An important alternative application of the dimensional paradigm was developed by
the Israeli psychologist Shalom Schwartz. Borrowing mainly from the work of U.S.
psychologist Milton Rokeach (1972, 1973) who studied values of U.S. individuals,
Schwartz composed a list of 56 values. Through a network of colleagues he collected
scores from samples of elementary school teachers and of college students in over 50
countries. (Schwartz, 1994; Schwartz & Bardi, 2001). Respondents scored the importance
of each value “as a guiding principle in my life”. Schwartz at first assumed the same
dimensions would apply to individuals and to countries, but his data showed he needed
different classifications at different levels. At the country level he distinguished seven
dimensions: Conservatism (later rebaptized “Embeddedness”), Hierarchy, Mastery,
Affective autonomy, Intellectual autonomy, Egalitarianism and Harmony. Country scores
for teachers published by Schwartz in 1994 were significantly correlated with the IBM
scores for Individualism, Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede, 2001, p. 265).
Another large scale application was the GLOBE (Global Leadership and
Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness) project, conceived by US management scholar
Robert J. House in 1991. At first House focused on leadership, but soon the study
branched out into other aspects of national and organizational cultures. In the period 19941997 some 170 voluntary collaborators collected data from about 17,000 managers in
nearly 1,000 local (non-multinational) organizations belonging to one of three industries:
food processing, financial services, and telecommunication services, in some 60 societies
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throughout the world. In the preface to the book describing the project (House et al., 2004),
House writes We have a very adequate dataset to replicate Hofstede’s (1980) landmark
study and extend that study to test hypotheses relevant to relationships among societallevel variables, organizational practices, and leader attributes and behavior.
For conceptual reasons GLOBE expanded the five Hofstede dimensions to nine.
They maintained the labels Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance (but not
necessarily their meaning). They split Collectivism into Institutional Collectivism and InGroup Collectivism, and Masculinity-Femininity into Assertiveness and Gender
Egalitarianism. Long Term Orientation became Future Orientation. They added two more
dimensions: Humane Orientation and Performance Orientation. The nine dimensions were
covered by 78 survey questions, half of them asking respondents to describe their culture
(‘as is’) and the other half to judge it (‘should be’). GLOBE thus produced 9 x 2 = 18 culture
scores for each country: nine dimensions ‘as is’ and nine dimensions ‘should be’.
In an evaluation of the GLOBE project (Hofstede, 2006), I re-factor analyzed the
country scores on GLOBE’s 18 dimensions. Five meta-factors emerged, of which the
strongest, grouping seven of the 18 measures, was highly significantly correlated with
GNP per capita and next with the Hofstede Power Distance dimension. Three more metafactors were significantly correlated with respectively the Hofstede Uncertainty Avoidance,
Individualism and Long Term Orientation dimensions. The GLOBE questionnaire
contained very few items covering Masculinity in the Hofstede sense, but whatever there
was belonged to the fifth meta-factor. The results show that in spite of a very different
approach, the massive body of GLOBE data still reflected the structure of the original
Hofstede model. The GLOBE research has provoked an extensive debate in the literature,
but I have seen few applications relevant for practical use by cross-cultural practitioners
(Hofstede, 2010). Minkov and Blagoev (2011) have tried to validate each of GLOBE’s 18
dimensions by testing their nomological networks (correlation patterns with variables from
other sources). The largest number of GLOBE’s mutually correlated dimensions can be
considered useful as facets of Hofstede’s Individualism/Collectivism; some have enriched
insights into Hofstede’s Power Distance dimension, and GLOBE’s Assertiveness “should
be” provides some new elements. GLOBE’s Humane Orientation and Performance
Orientation, both “as is” and “should be” cannot be meaningfully validated at all.
An author sometimes cited as having researched dimensions of national culture is
the Dutch management consultant Fons Trompenaars (1993). He distinguished seven
conceptual dimensions, the first five borrowed from Parsons and Shils (1951) and the last
two from Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) which he applied to the level of nations (see
earlier in this article). Trompenaars collected a database of survey items related to these
dimensions, but in the only statistical analysis of his data published so far, applying
Multidimensional Scaling to some 9,000 questionnaires, only two interpretable factors
emerged, both correlated with Hofstede’s Individualism, one of these also with Power
Distance (Smith, Dugan, & Trompenaars, 1996; Smith, Trompenaars, & Dugan, 1995).
The only country scores that could be based on Trompenaars’ data refer to these two
flavors of individualism (Smith, Peterson, & Schwartz, 2002). Trompenaars’ claim to seven
dimensions therefore lacks empirical support.
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The World Values Survey has been described above. Although the search for
dimensions was not a primary purpose of this study, WVS director Ronald Inglehart in an
overall statistical analysis found two key country-level factors which he called: Well-being
versus survival and Secular-rational versus traditional authority (Inglehart, 1997, pp. 8198). Well-being versus survival correlated with a combination of Individualism and
Masculinity; Secular-rational versus traditional authority negatively with Power Distance.
Michael Minkov issued an extended and updated version of his 2007 book in a new
volume Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World (Minkov, 2011). For the dimensions
Exclusionism versus Universalism and Monumentalism versus Flexumility, country scores
have been re-calculated from partly different sources, for 86 countries for exclusionism
and for 43 countries for monumentalism. Indulgence versus Restraint has been reversed
and renamed Industry versus Indulgence; scores for 43 countries have been based on a
slightly different choice of WVS items. The old and new versions of these three dimensions
are still strongly correlated, in the case of Indulgence obviously negatively.
A unique feature of the new book is the addition of a dimension not based on survey
questions but on a statistically strong cluster of national statistics: murder rates, HIV
(AIDS) rates, adolescent fertility rates and low average IQ (Intelligence Quotient,
explainable from low education levels). This can be used for validation of dimensions
based on survey items. Minkov called it Hypometropia versus Prudence; hypometropia is a
medical term for short-sightedness, which he borrowed to avoid an a priori depreciating
term. He calculated hypometropia scores for 80 countries. It correlates significantly with
Minkov’s Exclusionism and Monumentalism. From the six dimensions in Hofstede et al.
(2010) only Individualism correlates significantly negatively with hypometropia, across 55
overlapping countries.
Dimensions of Organizational Cultures
The dimensional paradigm can be applied at other than the national level as well, in
particular at the organizational and occupational levels (Helmreich & Merritt, 1998). A
research project similar to the IBM studies but focusing on organization rather than
national differences was carried out by this author and a team of collaborators in the 1980s
(Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohavy, & Sanders, 1990). Qualitative and quantitative data were
collected in twenty work organizations or parts of organizations in the Netherlands and
Denmark. The units studied varied from a toy manufacturing company to two municipal
police corps. The study consisted of three phases: open-ended interviews with a selection
of informants, forced-choice questionnaires with all, or random samples of, employees,
and collecting measurable characteristics at the organization level. The questionnaires
included the items used for calculating national culture dimensions in the IBM crossnational survey, but added a large number of questions collected by the 18 interviewers in
the interview phase. This study found large differences among units in perceptions of daily
practices but only modest differences in values, beyond those due to such basic facts as
nationality, education, gender and age group.
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Six independent dimensions, resembling distinctions known from organization
sociology, were identified that describe the larger part of the variety in organization
practices. These six dimensions can be used as a framework to describe organization
cultures, but their research base in twenty units from two countries is too narrow to
consider them as universally valid and sufficient. For describing organization cultures in
other countries and/or in other types of organizations, additional dimensions may be
necessary or some of the six may be less useful. The six dimensions found in our research
were:
1. Process-oriented versus results-oriented
Process-oriented cultures are dominated by technical and bureaucratic routines, resultsoriented by a common concern for outcomes. This dimension was associated with the
cultures degree of homogeneity: in results-oriented units, everybody perceived their
practices in about the same way; in process-oriented units, there were vast differences in
perception among different levels and parts of the unit. The degree of homogeneity of a
culture is a measure of its strength: the study confirmed that strong cultures are more
results- oriented than weak ones, and vice versa (Peters & Waterman, 1982).
2. Job-oriented versus employee-oriented
The former assume responsibility for the employees job performance only, and nothing
more; employee-oriented cultures assume a broad responsibility for their members wellbeing. At the level of individual managers, the distinction between job orientation and
employee orientation has been popularized by Blake and Moutons Managerial Grid
(1964). The Hofstede et al. study (1990) shows that job versus employee orientation is
part of a culture and not (only) a choice for an individual manager. A units position on this
dimension seems to be largely the result of historical factors, like the philosophy of its
founder(s) and the presence or absence in its recent history of economic crises with
collective layoffs.
3. Professional versus parochial
In the former, the (usually highly educated) members identify primarily with their
profession; in the latter, the members derive their identity from the organization for which
they work. Sociology has long known this dimension as local versus cosmopolitan, the
contrast between an internal and an external frame of reference (Merton, 1949).
4. Open systems versus closed systems
This dimension refers to the common style of internal and external communication, and to
the ease with which outsiders and newcomers are admitted. This is the only one of the six
dimensions for which a systematic difference was found between Danish and Dutch units.
It seems that organizational openness is a societal characteristic of Denmark more than of
the Netherlands. This shows that organization cultures also contain elements from national
culture differences.
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5. Tight versus loose control
This dimension deals with the degree of formality and punctuality within the organization; it
is partly a function of the units technology: banks and pharmaceutical companies can be
expected to show tight control, research laboratories and advertising agencies loose
control; but even with the same technology some units may still be tighter or looser than
others.
6. Pragmatic versus normative
The last dimension describes the prevailing way (flexible or rigid) of dealing with the
environment, in particular with customers. Units selling services are likely to be found
towards the pragmatic (flexible) side, units involved in the application of laws and rules
towards the normative (rigid) side. This dimension measures the degree of customer
orientation, which is a highly popular topic in the marketing literature.
The research grounding of these dimensions is documented extensively in Hofstede et al.
(1990). Applications and implications can be found in Hofstede et al. (2010, ch. 10).
Dimensionality of Cultures in the Future
The fact that the world around us is changing does not need to affect the usefulness of the
dimensional paradigm; on the contrary, the paradigm can help us understand the internal
logic and the implications of the changes.
Some critics suggest that the number of dimensions should be extended. Triandis
(2004) has defended this position, and the GLOBE project actually tried to extend the five
Hofstede dimensions to 18. But additional dimensions are only meaningful if they are both
conceptually and statistically independent from those already available, and they should
also be validated by significant correlations with conceptually related external measures.
There is an epistemological reason why the number of meaningful dimensions will always
be small. Dimensions should not be reified. They do not ‘exist’ in a tangible sense. They
are constructs: if they exist, it is in our minds (Levitin, 1973). They should help us in
understanding and handling the complex reality of our social world. But human minds have
a limited capacity for processing information, and therefore dimensional models that are
too complex will not be experienced as useful. In a famous short article, Miller (1956)
argued that useful classifications should not have more than seven categories, plus or
minus two. I would go for the minus rather than the plus.
Within the dimensional model cultures can of course change their position on a
dimension. Critics argue that Hofstede country scores based on IBM subsidiaries around
1970 are obsolete. But studies correlating the old country scores with related variables
available on a year-by-year basis in many cases find no weakening of the correlations. A
good reason for this is that the country scores on the dimensions do not provide absolute
country positions, but only their positions relative to the other countries in the set. The
relationship of the dimensions to basic problems of societies and the historical evidence of
the continuity of national solutions to such problems suggest that even over much longer
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periods the measures obtained will retain their validity. Influences like those of new
technologies tend to affect all countries without necessarily changing their relative position
or ranking; if their cultures change, they change together. Only if on a dimension one
country leapfrogs over others will the validity of the original scores be reduced. This is a
relatively rare occurrence. China might be one of those rare cases, where after a period of
relative isolation, decades of unparalleled double-digit economic development concurrent
with rapid global exposure and integration may be bringing about shifts, especially in the
younger generation. But this remains to be demonstrated in carefully designed research.
Some authors predict that new technologies will make societies more and more
similar. Technological modernization is an important force toward culture change and it
leads to partly similar developments in different societies, but there is not the slightest
proof that it wipes out variety on other dimensions. It may even increase differences, as on
the basis of pre-existing value systems societies cope with technological modernization in
different ways.
Culture change basic enough to invalidate the country dimension index rankings, or
even the relevance of the dimensional model, will need either a much longer period – say,
50 to 100 years – or extremely dramatic outside events. Many differences between
national cultures at the end of the 20th century were already recognizable in the years
1900, 1800 and 1700 if not earlier. There is no reason why they should not play a role until
2100 or beyond.
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Hofstede: Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context
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About the Author
Geert Hofstede (1928) holds an M.Sc. level degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D.
level degree in social psychology. He had a varied career both in industry and in
academia, retiring as a professor of organizational anthropology and international
management from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, in 1993. Through his
book Culture’s Consequences (1980, new edition 2001) he became a pioneer of
comparative intercultural research; his ideas are used worldwide. A student-level book
Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (1991, third edition 2010 co-authored
with Gert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov) has so far appeared in 16 European and 3
Asian languages. Geert Hofstede was listed in the Wall Street Journal of May 2008 among
the Top 20 most influential business thinkers. He held visiting professorships in Hong
Kong, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. He received honorary doctorates from seven
European universities, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and the Academy
of International Business in the USA and a Honorary Fellow of the International
Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.
Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011
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Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2, Subunit 1, Chapter 8
Discussion Questions
1. In today’s newspaper, find an article about an event or situation in which cultural
differences between persons born and educated in different countries may have
played a role (there are always several). Which one of the six Hofstede et al.
(2010) dimensions is most useful for understanding what was said and done?1
2. Think of the last time you personally experienced a culture shock. Culture shock
occurs when somebody becomes painfully aware that a person or persons born
and educated in another country think(s), feel(s) and/or act(s) differently from what
was expected. What happened and which one of the six Hofstede et al. (2010)
dimensions explains best the reason for the shock?
3. Next time you attend an international meeting, compare the theories and ways of
presentation of participants born and educated in different countries. Which one of
the six Hofstede et al. (2010) dimensions was most useful for understanding the
differences in what was said and how?
4. Draw the culture profile of the country in which you grew up on the six Hofstede et
al. (2010) dimensions. Then imagine two persons from two different countries and
imagine how each of them will describe your culture to a compatriot.
1
Culture scores of countries can be found in Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov (2010) and on our
home website www.geerthofstede.nl under “research and VSM” and “dimension data matrix”.
Scores are also published on a website www.geert-hofstede.com operated by ITIM consultants and
on a “Culture GSM” app, but the author is not responsible for the information presented there.
http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss1/8
26

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