Geert Hofstede's Research

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Geert Hofstede’s research in this area has been largely accepted as the standard for understanding culture within nations for study in many different disciplines including sociology and management research, among others. His studies because of their vastness in scale, gathering data from more than ”60,000 respondents in seventy different countries,” makes his research extremely reliable and foundational to research in this area (Hofstede, 1984, 1991, 2001).” Based on his research, Hofstede prescribed five dimensions for understanding international differences and similarities of culture, taking into account many macro and micro-level factors affecting culture, like ”demographic, goegraphic, economic and political aspects of society (Kale and Barnes, 1992).” The five dimentstions described by Hofstede are: Individual-collectivism, Uncertainty avoidance, Power distance, Feminitiy-masculinity, and Long-term orientation. • Individualism-collectivism is used to describe relationships found within each culture that either only concern themselves with their own individual concerns versus cultures that produce a collective culture where loyalty resides within a particular group within the culture. • Uncertainty avoidance describes cultural behavior which depends on a set of rules to determine or guide cultural behavior. Within this group, individuals within this culture feel ”threatened by uncertainty and ambiguity and try to avoid these situations (Hofstede, 1991: 113).” • Power distance defines the influence of power dynamics within a culture or family that shows the ”consequences of power inequality and authority relations in a society (Soares, Farhangmehr, & Shoham, 2007).” • Masculinity-feminity defines countries as either femin... ... middle of paper ... ...els have been criticized by many, including Hofstede. Hofstede questioned the applicability of Trompenaa’rs work considering its focus on managerial behavior based on organizational relationship models in the U.S., saying, ”A serious shortcoming of Tromenaar’s data bank which no professional analysis can correct is its evident lack of content validity,” while other critics of Trompenaar’s research say his research is faulty due to ”cultural biases and base assumptions (Minko, 2011) (St. Claire-Ostwald, 2007) (Agents2Change, 2012).” Even with these shortcomings, businesses continue to use these models for insight into cultural differences and how they affect management culture and behavior. There are several websites that incorporate Trompenaars’ seven dimensions model for asses-sing culture, including HR culture, business culture, and business coaching tools.
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