Hofstede’s Limitations

Topics: Cross-cultural communication, Culture, Sample size Pages: 42 (14647 words) Published: April 15, 2012
Improving Cultural Indices



VAS TARAS University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business SH441, Human Resources and Organizational Development 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4 Tel: (403) 220-6074 Fax: (403) 282-0095 e-mail:taras@ucalgary.ca PIERS STEEL University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business Human Resources and Organizational Development SH444 - 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4 Tel: (403) 220-8428 Fax: (403) 282-0095 e-mail: Piers.Steel@Haskayne.UCalgary.ca

Key Words: Culture; Cross-Cultural Differences; Meta-Analysis.

Temple/AIB Best Paper Award - Nominee; AIB Track 7/ Managing People Across Border - Best Paper

Note. We would like to thank dozens of scholars who provided references to published and unpublished studies that were included in this meta-analysis and especially Dr. Geert Hofstede who has been keeping track of the studies that have utilized his Value Survey Module and graciously shared the list of relevant papers and dissertations from his personal library.

Improving Cultural Indices



Abstract The meta-analysis offers a refined set of national cultural indices along the dimensions of Hofstede‟s model of culture. The improvements are made in two ways. First, the study is based on a larger and more representative sample than that used in Hofstede‟s or any other large-scale cross-cultural comparison study. The meta-analytic sample was gathered from 532 empirical papers and contains data on over 2,000 samples comprising almost half a million individuals from 48 countries and regions. Second, we take into account and address the changes in national cultures and their relative rankings by offering separate sets of country rankings and cultural indices for different decades. These indices are indispensable for the researchers who use archival data as they allow for the matching of the archival data with the cultural indices from the corresponding period, an important option that no other cross-cultural study offers.

Improving Cultural Indices


Introduction Over the last several decades, cross-cultural issues have received an explosion of interest in fields ranging from psychology and education to accounting and marketing. Justifying this interest, culture has been shown to affect virtually every aspect of social and organizational life. Furthermore, social sciences‟ focus on cross-cultural factors should continue to grow, given the rise of globalization and its concomitant increase in international trade and communication. The increase interest in cross-cultural issues was largely triggered by Hofstede‟s book “Culture‟s Consequences,” published in 1980 and proved to be one of the field‟s most influential works. Although other models of cultures had been offered earlier (e.g., England, 1967; Haire et al., 1966), Hofstede‟s study was the first one to be conducted based on a large international sample and to employ relatively advanced, for its time, research designs and statistical analysis tools. The product of this effort was a concise set of quantitative indices for describing and ranking countries along several cultural dimensions. This provided a simple and easily comprehensible model of cultural differences as well as enabled a way to easily make direct cross-national cultural comparisons. The popularity and need for such a model, with its quantitative cultural indices, is undisputable. According to the Web of Science database, Hofstede‟s “Culture‟s Consequences” has been cited almost five thousand times, which has raised the work to the status of “super classic” in the social sciences. Interest in Hofstede‟s model remains very high and continues to grow, even decades later. The various editions of the book were cited 301 times in 2003, 351...
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