Dimensions of National Culture

Dimensions of National Culture – fCulture GPS logoascinating application of science to cultural differences by Gerte Hofstede. You may have heard of the Big Five personality traits, here’s the same thing for countries. From Hofstede’s web site:

The values that distinguished countries from each other could be grouped statistically into four clusters. These four groups became the Hofstede dimensions of national culture:

  • Power Distance (PDI)
  • Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)
  • Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

A fifth Dimension was added in 1991 based on research by Michael Bond who conducted an additional international study among students with a survey instrument that was developed together with Chinese employees and managers.

That Dimension, based on Confucian dynamism, is Long-Term Orientation (LTO) and was applied to 23 countries.

In 2010, research by Michael Minkov allowed to extend the number of country scores for this dimension to 93, using recent World Values Survey data from representative samples of national populations.

There’s a tool on the site to compare countries. For example, you’d have thought Sweden was very like Denmark – according to his research there are differences. There’s also an iPhone app called Culture GPS to give you the same insight while on the go.

Internally my company gives us access to GlobeSmart:

GlobeSmart is a powerful online tool available to [employees]. It provides information on conducting business effectively in over 50 countries. Developed from extensive research and interviews with business people from each country, it is organized into more than 50 continuously updated topics. It helps you learn how to communicate, build relationships, and collaborate with new and existing colleagues and customers around the globe.

Lots more to GlobeSmart than I can cover here, they do refer to Hofstede‘s work.

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