Management Hall of Fame
Most Respected Management Gurus

Geert Hofstede
Cultural Diversity (1928-Present)

  • "Management in a global environment is increasingly affected by cultural differences." (Geert Hofstede)

Key Work

  • Graduates from Delft Institute of Technology.
  • Receives Ph.D. from University of Groningen.
  • Undertakes massive research project into IBM.
  • Publish "Culture's Consequences" &  "Cultures and Organizations books"

In his work, Hofstede defines (group, organization, nation) culture as being collective, but often intangible. 

n his view, it is made up of two main elements: 

  • Internal values, which are invisible (right and wrong, individualism and collectivistic etc.)
  • External elements, which are more visible and are known as practices from greeting rituals to hero figures

He identify 4 dimensions for defining work-related values associated with national culture:

  1. power distance : How much a Society accept and how they Handles Inequalities and thus centralization or distribution of power, resources, salary, privileges, and status symbols.
  2. individualism/collectivism : The degree of loyalty and the level of group welfare integration where everyone is expected to look after him/herself versus the welfare of the group they are within.
  3. masculinity/femininity: Gender role and control
  4. uncertainty avoidance

He also devised the "values survey module" for use in researching cultural differences, and as a frame work to understand the differences in Multinational teams, which become a valuable tool to avoid conflict in international management.

Books & References:

  • Culture's Consequences, International Differences in Work-Related Values (Cross Cultural Research and Methodology). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1980.
  • Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991.

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