Cultural Dimensions

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Investigating five sorts (dimensions) of differences / value perspectives between national cultures. Explanation of Cultural Dimensions of Geert Hofstede. ('80)



Cultural DimensionsAccording 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 science.

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 cultures:

  • 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 life.

  • 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 social obligations.

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 -

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