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National Culture. Management Scientists are Humans Greet Hofstede , Management Science, Vol. 40, No. 1, January 1994, pp. 4-13. Outline. Why Culture and Management? Hofstede ’ s Method The Four Dimensions Later Refinements Trompenaars (1996) ’ s seven dimensions.

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national culture

National Culture

Management Scientists are Humans

Greet Hofstede, Management Science, Vol. 40, No. 1, January 1994, pp. 4-13.

  • Why Culture and Management?
  • Hofstede’s Method
  • The Four Dimensions
  • Later Refinements
  • Trompenaars (1996)’s seven dimensions
why culture and management
Why Culture and Management?
  • Managers are humans and exist in cultures
  • They make decisions, have rituals, heroes, and use and understand symbols.
  • Hence they must be influenced by something other than mere instinct or biology
  • Patterns of thinking, feeling and acting
  • Mental software, “Software of the Mind.”
  • Source is social environments, almost certainly from childhood
  • Culture is learned, not inherited
concept ladder




Personal Definition






Peers, Heroes





Concept Ladder
hofstede s view of culture






Hofstede’s View of Culture
hofstede s question
Hofstede’s Question
  • What are the components of culture, a small set of dimensions or characteristics, that enable us to classify culture-in-the-large (at a national level)? And do nations differ and can they be clustered into culturally-similar nations?
hofstede s method
Hofstede’s Method
  • Late 60s, questionnaires were distributed to thousands of IBM employees worldwide.
  • They answered the questions about work modes, methods, and meanings on desirable and desired situations and characteristics
  • The results were subjected to factor analysis.
  • Questions were based on prior work on culture by Inkeles and Levinson (a sociologist and psychologist)
factor analysis
Factor Analysis
  • Goal is to reduce, statistically, the number of dimensions it takes to describe a phenomenon completely while losing as little information as possible.
  • The following example shows how factor analysis would reduce what looks like a two dimensional distribution to only one dimension:
age wealth

How Much Money are you worth?

How OLD are you?


Age and Worth are closely related, so much so that if you know one, you can estimate the other…

age wealth one dimension

In other words, there is only ONE dimension called “agewealth” that captures most of the information about both.

The red lines indicate the errors that using one dimension brings about. The longer the sum of these lines, the less well one dimension captures these two dimensions

Age+Wealth=ONE Dimension
the four dimensions
The Four Dimensions
  • Power-Distance
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Masculinity
  • Individualism
  • And a fifth was added later…
  • Time Orientation (Was Confucius Value)
interpreting the dimensions
Interpreting the Dimensions
  • Range is generally 0 to 100, although some countries were surveyed later and hence ended up with scores > 100*
  • Mean value is 50; consider the standard deviation to be about 15, so the bulk of countries are between 35 and 65.
  • Hofstede was more interested in ranks rather than ratings; he later grouped countries in several dimensions…
power distance
  • How a culture handles notions of equality and power (US=40; Japan=54)


Malaysia 104 Austria 11

Guatemala 95 Israel 13

Panama 95 Denmark 18

Philippines 94 New Zealand 22

Mexico 81 Ireland 28

Arab Countries 80 UK 35

uncertainty avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance
  • How a culture handles risk and uncertainty(US=46; Japan=92)
  • HighLow
  • Greece 112 Singapore 8
  • Portugal 104 Jamaica 13
  • Guatemala 101 Denmark 23
  • Uruguay 100 Sweden 29
  • Belgium 94 Hong Kong 29
  • France 86 UK 35

How a culture handles assertiveness vs. modesty (US=62; Japan=95)


Japan 95 Sweden 5

Austria 79 Norway 8

Venezuela 73 Netherlands 14

Italy 70 Denmark 16

Switzerland 70 Costa Rica 21

Mexico 69 Yugoslavia 21


How a culture handles the individual vs. the group (US=91; Japan=46)


USA 91 Guatemala 6

Australia 90 Equador 8

UK 89 Panama 11

Canada 80 Venezuela 12

Netherlands 80 Colombia 13

New Zealand 79 Indonesia 14



Uncertainty Avoidance



Israel SE Asia, Latin America

Singapore, Jamaica Latin Europe, Latin America

Nordic Countries Japan

Latin America, SE Asia UK, US



  • Later Hofstede added long-term orientation

basically, how a culture treats future (how long in the future).

Currently Hofstede’s four (or five) dimensions are the basis for almost all organizational and national business cultural studies.

trompenaars 1996
Trompenaars (1996)
  • From a view-point of conflict and dilemmas in relationships with people, time, and natural environment.
seven dimensions
Seven dimensions
  • Universalism vs Particularism
  • Individualism vs Collectivism
  • Neutral vs Affective
  • Specific vs Diffuse
  • Achievement vs Ascription
  • Time-orientation (Future vs Past/Present)
  • Internal vs External Control
discussion questions
Discussion Questions:
  • Do you see Hofstede’s argument in 4 (or 5) dimensions of culture logical?
  • How about 7 dimensions of Trompenaars?
  • What’s your experience with other cultures?