Hofstede's Model

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The fundamental idea on which Hofstede’s model would eventually be based on had already emerged during the first half of the twentieth century. It was then that the view that all societies, modern and traditional, are confronted with the same basic problems and only their way of handling them is different evolved among social anthropologists. Particularly anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead played a significant role in spreading this opinion. Hence, through research, social scientists began to identify those problems all societies have in common (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov, 2010, p. 29). By means of a broad survey on English literature concerning national culture, Inkeles and Levinson (1954) came up with the following issues…show more content…
As they were similar in all regard besides their nationality, they represented an ideal sample to study differences in national culture and thus the influence of nationality was reflected rather well in their answers of the survey. With the aid of a statistical analysis of the survey the following four common problems were identified: “social inequality, including the relationship with authority”, “the relationship between the individual and the group”, “concepts of masculinity and femininity: the social and emotional implications of having been born as a boy or a girl” and “ways of dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity, which turned out to be related to the control of aggression and the expression of emotions” (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov, 2010, p. 30). Quite evidently these results corresponded very well with the findings of Inkeles and Levinson twenty years earlier. As a consequence, the first four cultural dimensions of Hofstede’s model were established: “power distance”, “collectivism versus individualism”, “femininity versus masculinity” as well as “uncertainty avoidance” (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov, 2010, pp.…show more content…
Nevertheless it has also attracted some criticism. Five very common critiques include that surveys are not an appropriate measure of cultural differences, using nations as a unit to study cultures is not suitable, findings resulting from the study of subsidiaries from one company do not apply to whole national cultures, the data from the IBM study is old and therefore outdated and four or five dimensions are not sufficient (Hofstede, 2002, p. 1356). In spite of these critiques, Hofstede’s model is one of the most popular cultural dimension models and is considered to be one of the most important works of corporate cultural studies. It is furthermore considered to be quite reliable as it was found empirically and is based on a fairly big sample that includes a wide range of nationalities from all over the world (Neelankavil and Rai, 2009, pp.
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