to Geert Hofstede, there is no such thing as a universal management method
or management theory, valid across the whole world. Even the word 'management'
has different origins and meanings in countries throughout the world. Management
is not a phenomenon that can be isolated from other processes taking place
in society. It interacts with what happens in the family, at school, in politics,
and government. It is obviously also related to religion and to beliefs about
The five Cultural Dimensions of Hofstede
The cultural dimensions model of Geert Hofstede is a framework that describes
five sorts (dimensions) of differences / value perspectives between national
Power distance. The degree of inequality among people which the
population of a country considers as normal.
Individualism versus collectivism. The extent to which people
feel they are supposed to take care for, or to be cared for by themselves,
their families or organizations they belong to.
Masculinity versus femininity. The extent to which a culture is
conducive to dominance, assertiveness and acquisition of things. Versus
a culture which is more conducive to people, feelings and the quality of
Uncertainty avoidance. The degree to which people in a country
prefer structured over unstructured situations.
Long-term versus short-term orientation. Long-term: values oriented
towards the future, like saving and persistence. Short-term: values oriented
towards the past and present, like respect for tradition and fulfilling
To understand management in a country, one should have both knowledge and
empathy with the entire local scene. However, the scores of the unique statistical
survey that Hofstede carried out should make everybody aware that people in
other countries may think, feel, and act very differently from yourself, even
when confronted with basic problems of society. Any person dealing with Management
or Strategy is well advised to constantly remember the lessons
from Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Theory. Human beings have a deceiving
tendency to think and feel and act from their own experiences, especially
when they work internationally.
Book: Geert Hofstede
- Cultures Consequences : International Differences in Work-Related Values
Book: Geert Hofstede
- Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind
Special Interest Group
Cultural Dimensions (Cross Cultural Management) Special Interest Group.
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