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FotoGeert Geert Hofstede (1928): I am a Dutch social psychologist who did a pioneering study of cultures across modern nations. If you want to know what's on my mind at present, click on my photo. Read more under "culture". See under "Geert" for what was on my mind before, and for my CV.

Dr. Geert Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. From 1967 to 1973, while working at IBM as a psychologist, he collected and analyzed data from over 100,000 individuals from forty countries. From those results, and later additions, Hofstede developed a model that identifies four primary dimensions to differentiate cultures. He later added a fifth dimension, Long-term Outlook.

As with any generalized study, the results may or may not be applicable to specific individuals or events. In addition, although the Hofstede's results are categorized by country, often there is more than one cultural group within that country. In these cases there may be significant deviation from the study's result. An example is Canada, where the majority of English speaking population and the minority French speaking population in Quebec has moderate cultural differences.

National cultures can be described according to the analysis of Geert Hofstede. These ideas were first based on a large research project into national culture differences across subsidiaries of a multinational corporation (IBM) in 64 countries. Subsequent studies by others covered students in 23 countries, elites in 19 countries, commercial airline pilots in 23 countries, up-market consumers in 15 countries, and civil service managers in 14 countries. Together these studies identified and validated four independent dimensions of national culture differences, with a fifth dimension added later.

If you follow the links below you will find a map of the world for each cultural dimension, which enables you to quickly see how similar or different countries or regions are.

Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-Term Orientation

The drawbacks of applying the Hofstede Model

The Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions can be of great use when it comes to analyzing a country’s culture. There are however a few things one has to keep in mind.

Firstly, the averages of a country do not relate to individuals of that country. Even though this model has proven to be quite often correct when applied to the general population, one must be aware that not all individuals or even regions with subcultures fit into the mould. It is to be used as a guide to understanding the difference in culture between countries, not as law set in stone. As always, there are exceptions to the rule.

Secondly, how accurate is the data? The data has been collected through questionniares, which have their own limitations. Not only that, but in some cultures the context of the question asked is as important as its content. Especially in group-oriented cultures, individuals might tend to answer questions as if they were addressed to the group he/she belongs to. While on the other hand in the United States, which is an individualistic culture, the answers will most likely be answered and perceived through the eyes of that individual.

Lastly, is the data up to date? How much does the culture of a country change over time, either by internal or external influences?

Corporate and Social Responsibility:

An important new report on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
BUSS4 - Research Theme for 2011 - CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility priority? Increase profits…
CSR - Apple audits the supply chain
CSR - Avoiding the child labour hotspots
CSR - BBC One Planet on Coca-Cola & Sustainability
CSR - Branson, Paphitis and Meaden Turn into Eco Warriors
CSR - Charities hit by corporate stinginess
CSR - Comic Relief, Crisps and Cause-Related Marketing
CSR - Cooperative Group invites you to join a revolution
CSR - Costing the Earth & Reporting Sustainability
CSR - Focus on Fairtrade Fortnight 2011
CSR - Greed is Good
CSR - Green Growth Case Studies from UK Businesses
CSR - How Companies Avoid Paying Tax
CSR - How Transparent are the World’s Oil Companies?
CSR - keeping a CCTV eye on suppliers
CSR - Lesson Video - Clips from Blood Sweat and T-Shirts
CSR - Lesson Video: Child Labour in Bangladesh
CSR - Lesson Video: Primark on the Rack
CSR - Links to PLC Corporate Social Responsibility Reports
CSR - McDonalds and the Case for the Defence
CSR - Michael Porter speaks on Creating Shared Value
CSR - Pepsico Performance with Purpose
CSR - pressure group forces a change at PG Tips
CSR - Project Shakti
CSR - Salad Slaves - Supermarkets and Corporate Irresponsibility?
CSR - The Classic Milton Friedman Clip
CSR - the Essential Economist Podcast
CSR - The Key UK CSR Organisations
CSR - The Mega Dairy, Economies of Scale and Cornflakes
CSR - The Word Cloud
CSR - What is “Creating Shared Value”?
CSR - What is going on at 250-266 Ecclesall Road?
CSR and Fairtrade Fortnight
CSR at the Movies - Black Gold
CSR at the Movies - Capitalism a Love Story
CSR at the Movies - Food, Inc.
CSR at the Movies - Manufactured Landscapes
CSR at the Movies - Supersize Me in 7 Minutes
CSR at the Movies - Thank You for Smoking
CSR at the Movies - The End of the Line
CSR at the Movies - Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price
CSR becomes the Strategy for Co-operative
CSR Video - Business Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR Video - Everyone’s talking Corporate Social Responsibility
Michael Porter - Shared Value and the Limitations of CSR
Revision Presentation - Corporate Social Responsibility
Stunning Video - CSR, Ethics and Milton Friedman
The recession as an opportunity for Corporate Social Responsibility?

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Methods there are many, principles but few, methods often change, principles never do